Good Morning, all you Merri-Mac girls!

Shouts, singing, and constant laughter echoed through the Blue Ridge Mountains of camp early this morning. The day began like any other at Merri-Mac, but a level of excitement and anticipation was present, characteristic only to the first day of camp.  We arrived in the Tucker Inn for a meal of breakfast casserole, fruit and yogurt, and cereal, which was enjoyed by all. Following clearing the tables, the entire camp joined together in singing some of our favorite morning songs.

One thing I love about Merri-Mac is the amount of unity amongst the girls. While most new campers are unaware of the songs and traditions of Merri-Mac, veteran campers are quick to teach and guide the new girls to learning the songs and camp ways. By next week, first year campers will be proudly singing along as true Merri-Mac girls.

In chapel, we sang “For All the Saints” and “Star of the Morning”, both of Adam spoke on how God is not afraid to tell us when we’re wrong. Adam emphasized that God is incredibly powerful, but He is always good, loving, and just.

After chapel, the girls made their way to the prospective tribe meanings: Choctaw meeting at the Lodge, Iroquois at the Fencing Pavilion, and Seminole at the Tennis Courts. The Sunnyside tribal leaders taught new girls, and the importance of getting tens for personal points. In just ten short days, we will find out which tribe wins the Banner at our closing ceremonies, so personal points are of the utmost importance.

From there, the bugle played to signal that it was time for their first and second activities. Today was safety talk day, meaning that most classes focused on name games as well as learning activity safety procedures and bar requirements.

In dance, girls were learning basic skills to work on getting their bronze bar. The girls began and ended class by stretching and doing warm up exercises. In guitar, instructors Kendall K. and Maddy M. taught the string names, parts of the guitar, and helped girls learn basic open chords. Kat P. and Anna P. succeeded in earning their bronze bars, which will be recognized at the next White Feather ceremony. In tennis, campers played games to teach basic skills, such as forehand and backhand.

In the second activity period, Lake Doris was packed with smiling campers enjoying water activities. On a hot summer day, the lake is definitely the best place to be around camp and is beloved by all. After three weeks of hard work, Bailey A. succeeded in earning her Gold Bar in Competitive Swimming. Her final task was to swim a 400M freestyle in under seven minutes, which she completed with a time of 6 minutes and 5 seconds. On the other side of the dock, Dreams Begin campers Emily M. and Ellie B. practiced their basic canoeing skills. The canoeing counselors taught a song to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” to help girls learn the parts of the paddle. In Kayaking, Morgan P, Sang Mi L, Jessica G, and Meghan R. practiced paddling around Lake Doris, while working on their T-Rescues.

Up in the Mike, Gymnastics worked on their pike jumps off of the balance beam. Nearby in Climbing, girls worked on climbing the overhang and the grotto, both of which require campers to climb at a less than 90-degree angle. In addition to this, girls learned how to correctly put on a harness and tie a figure eight knot.

After a busy morning of activities, the girls enjoyed a delicious lunch of hamburgers, French fries, salad, and brownies. The rest of the afternoon was filled with singing tribe songs and honoring our camp Princess, until it was time for a much-needed rest hour.

Later on the girls hurried to enjoy the daily excitement of trading post and free time, until it was time for third and fourth period activities.

In cooking, Ms. Leslie taught the girls how to make chocolate chip cupcakes. Her secret was adding chocolate chips into the batter and powered sugar on top before the chocolate frosting. As officer of the day, the campers kindly allowed me to sample one, which was a real treat! Parents: be sure to ask your girls to show you their cooking skills and try out this recipe when they get home.

From there, I ventured up the hill towards the Teepee. Basketball is one of camp’s newest activities and has been a camp favorite for the summer. Here, girls learned proper passing, dribbling, and basket shooting techniques. In archery, campers learned how to shoot a bow and arrow, while working on their perfecting their aim.

In fourth activity period, there was only time for the safety talk, as today was picture day! The girls headed down the hill to the back green, wearing their best whites to take the camp picture. Girls smiled for the camera, with winning the alleged dollar prize as their motivation.

At 6 PM, it was time for a dinner of Southern comfort food, consisting of fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls, and apple turnovers for dessert.

With full tummies, we were off to enjoy a camp favorite activity: WHITE OUT! This camp-wide shaving cream fight is a beloved activity by campers of all ages. Everyone loves getting a little messy and lots of shrieks and laughter could be heard from Macky’s Green. Girls were even allowed to go on our giant Slip ‘N Slide to conclude the evening. It was a great day for all cabins and a wonderful start to this session of camp.

At the start of today, I decided that I was going to figure out just why girls love Merri-Mac so much. Here are some of my favorite answers to the question of “Why do you love Merri-mac?”

“I love Merri-Mac because even though I’ve switched sessions and the faces may change, the heart of Merri-Mac is still the same.”

Maggie B. Dreams Begin

“I love camp because the counselors and staff are the best!
Izzy O. Moonmist

“Because of the relationships you make and how you come back to the same friends every year”

            -Camille P.

“You can be yourself and do things you won’t be able to do at home, such as dressing up and singing tribe songs.”

            Sang Mi L. Blue Heaven

“I love camp because of the freedom and how you’re able to be yourself and just have fun.”

            Emma B. Blue Heaven

“Camp is fun and you can do lots of activities!”

            Elizabeth P. Tweedle Dee

“I love camp because you get to meet new people from different places.”

            Ashlyn King, Big Dipper

“Because I love my tribe!”

            Mary Helen Powell, Sunnyside

“I love camp because we have a lot of fun actitivites.

            Camille B. Tweedle Dee

“The environment is God-filled and friendly”

            Anna P. Sundrop

“The counselors are the best people in the world!”

            Katie B. Milky Way

This is why your girls love camp. It’s fun and a place where kids can simply live and be kids. Like many of my fellow counselors I grew up at camp and can relate to every single one of these answers. Merri-Mac is where girls can discover who they are and live each day how God created them to be.

Thank you so much to all of the parents reading this for sharing your girls with us this summer. They are a blessing to all and we know that this summer will be one of favorite memories and pure joy.

From this haven,

Lucy D., Dreams Begin, Guitar Instructor, and Proud Iroquois