I got to be Officer of the Day today, which meant I took pictures and am writing this article! Usually Sundays at camp are a rest day where we don’t have our usual four-class activities, but since a lot of new campers arrived Saturday, we had our regular schedule to help them get into the swing of things. And the swing is…

Reveille: This is the bugle call that wakes up campers up 7:00 am. I’m in Sunnyside with 12 of the oldest girls at camp. They’ve been here for a week now and have started being able to sleep through the bugle alarm, so it’s up to my two co-counselors and I to wake them up so that they have time to do their morning chores before breakfast.

Breakfast: Breakfast begins at 8:15. We pray, and then the counselors serve the first plate to each camper. Camp food is actually really awesome, and everyone is always excited for meals, perhaps because as with everything at camp, there is singing and dancing involved. After breakfast we sing silly fun songs, lunch is tribe songs, and dinner is cabin songs. I imagine for a new camper, there is comfort in the consistent routine of meal times.

Chapel: After breakfast, everyone heads over to the chapel to worship and hear a short sermon from a counselor. Today Rachel explained how she teaches pottery, and how like she shapes a pot and means for it to be beautiful, we are molded by God and He creates us with intention to be beautiful creatures that show Him, imperfections and all.

First through fourth periods: These are our activity times. I’ve taught fitness, cooking, tennis, and backpacking (camp craft), so it was really fun to see all the other activities, particularly because I was able to watch the other counselors and see how much fun they have hanging out with the campers. Even so, some of the best moments were just watching the campers be goofy with each other. Merri-Mac really is such a joyful place. Also, since today is Father’s Day, we followed the tradition of getting “Happy Father’s Day” photos of campers that made signs for their dads (they will be posted on campminder). I could tell some of them really missed their dads, which was so sweet. But don’t worry, they ran off with their friends or to the Trading Post for some candy after their photos. Here are some quotes from counselors and campers about their activities today:

Meg Jameson (counselor): “I taught swimming today. We worked on bars, which was exciting because a few girls are close to getting their bronze. For swimming, a bronze includes a 25 freestyle, 25 breaststroke, 25 backstroke, a standing dive, 10 minutes water tread, and 10 minutes survivor float. I love it when the girls start working towards a bar because they get to see themselves excel in their activity and mark their own progress.”

Aiden Bell: “I was in rock climbing today at the traverse wall, and I really liked how encouraging the teachers were. They want you to succeed, so rather than just sitting there and watching you, they give you ideas for a move.”

Caroline Alessandra: “In kayaking, we worked on paddling and our wet exit without a Kayak skirt. Today was actually my first day ever kayaking, and it was great. I love being in the lake, and it is something I don’t get to do at home.”

Chloe Ryan: “I learned how to pick guitar with my fingers!”

Tibby Burgess (counselor): “Today there was improvement in every person in my fourth period tennis class. We split them into beginner and advanced groups, and I fed balls to the beginners. In the beginning balls were flying everywhere, but they were staying in by the ends. I love seeing girls come in the first day saying, “I’ve never played before,” and then by the end of their time they have improved in stroke and can build up to a rally.”

Britta Broyles: “Today riflery was my favorite because I like the feeling when I hit the target. I hit three out of three. I’ve been doing riflery for a while, but I want to shoot better and know more about how guns work so I’m taking it again.”

Katelyn O’Connor: “Pottery was cool today because I got to use the wheel for the first time ever. It was a rough start, but I wasn’t disappointed because I expected a rough start and Annie was so cooperative with me. I actually ended up getting a plate at the end!”

Claire Bonds: “Swimming was fun! I just like swimming and I feel free in the water. This is my second time at camp, and I came back to have more fun. I love meeting new people in my cabin.”

Davie Boone (counselor): “We played Queen of the Court in basketball, and I loved it when the bell rang and one of the girls wanted to keep playing and was excited that she would get to play more when she had basketball again.”

Hunter Skidmore: “Cooking was awesome because we made brownies, and it’s fun to actually make stuff anyways. I cook at home, but I get to do a lot of things at camp that I don’t do at home, like kayaking and backpacking.”

Olivia Faith Diamond: “I’m about to get my roll in kayaking. I just need to move my paddle a little bit more once I’m flipped over. But one of my favorite things about camp is the tribes. They are like a more condensed family. That’s who we play evening activities with, like Sock War.”

Lillie Klein (counselor): “In riding today, I was leading a Tweedle who just didn’t know what she was doing at all. But when she started trotting, she got the biggest smile on her face and was loving it, and that moment made my day.”

Virginia Doran: “In rock climbing, I made it the second ledge of the wall. It was my first time ever rock climbing, so I felt proud of that.”

I’ve found that it is hard to summarize a day at Merri-Mac. Everyone is learning, growing, and having fun in so many different ways. But I think it speaks volumes that when I was asking girls about what they had done today, the common thread (including the Tweedles) was that they spoke so easily about what had been fun, and almost everyone included that they love camp because they get to try new things and spend time with their friends. Happy Sunday and Happy Father’s Day from Camp Merri-Mac!

By Sarah H.