Joyful. I am joyful to spend these warm weeks amongst the mountains, strumming guitars, yelling for my tribe, holding hands and skipping with your sweet daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and friends. They are joyful in all that they do, and this was especially apparent as I trekked around camp today in moments of cloud, moments of rain, and moments of sunshine. Laughter echoed and bounced off of the mountain peaks, and sweet voices of encouragement and friendship rolled off of the hills.
After a filling breakfast of biscuits, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns, everyone headed to chapel, where Cloud Nine counselor Hannah W. compared humankind to her plate of brownies that fell on the floor. She described how the Lord has brought a new box of brownie mix and has made in us a new creation, referencing 2 Corinthians 5:17. Cloud Nine camper Margaret P. helped me lead chapel music this morning, playing the guitar.
Activities began with a smattering of rain, but the rain couldn’t keep us down! Climbing met in our gym, the Mike, and climbed the overhang wall in there. Gymnastics perfected their swivel hips and progressed in their floor and trampoline skills. Lake Doris was a bustle of activity all day, with canoe-ers working on their white-water skills and kayakers practicing their various T-rescues and rolls. Heather C. learned her roll in Kayaking today, which is a huge accomplishment! Over in Camp Craft, backpackers learned how to tie tarps, which will certainly come in handy if they decide to embark on one of the many trips we take out here at Merri-Mac. Nestled in some of the most beautiful mountains, among incredible white water and rocks, we take out dozens of trips per week to go backpacking, climbing, water-skiing, white water rafting, mountain biking, canoeing, or kayaking! We had quite a few of these trips out today; I can’t wait for them to return and tell stories about the beautiful sites they saw and the incredible adventures they had! Lucy B., Madison C., Zena D., Lauren D., Kate H., Allie J., Lillian Jane L., Sarah R., Caroline K., Alyssa S., Matilde V., Mary Emma W., Olivia W., Caroline W., Bailey Z., Marin G., Addison K., Margaret H., and Ellie K. went white-water rafting on the Pigeon today! Alexa L., Shea S., Everly H., and Taylor M. climbed the Grandmother Boulders. This morning, Maeve h., Nora Q., Tallulah B., Molly M., Mira S. and Emma D. went water-skiing on Lake James. What an awesome day for out-of-camp trips to experience the great outdoors!
A lunch of Greek pitas and homemade potato chips was a welcome event to rumbling tummies, and a quick half-hour of rest and quiet refreshed everyone for the rest of a busy day. During free time, Vanessa D. and Eleanor P. lit fires with three matches and kept it going for an hour in order to earn a mark towards White Feather, a system at Merri-Mac that celebrates growth and investment in camp. They will be recognized at the White Feather ceremony tomorrow evening.
In Pottery today, the girls had the opportunity to mold mugs and cups out of clay. Some got more creative and made coasters, pendants, or a bridge, like Kate W. did! Cooking and PAWS joined together today; chefs made dog biscuits, and dog lovers walked the puppies over to the Back Green to enjoy those biscuits! It was so fun to see the girls and dogs playing together on the grass. Soccer today worked on bronze, silver, and gold bars, which honor accomplishment in activities. Isa F. and Claire H. earned their bronzes in Soccer today! In DIY Crafts, crafters began to cross-stitch different patterns and quotes. Some Riding classes went on a trail ride around camp today!
Tonight’s evening activity is Cabin Night, so each cabin will have something special planned for bonding! Sunnyside and Cloud Nine will do a short sunset hike up to Craggy Pinnacle, Little Dipper and Moonmist will splash the night away at the Boyds’ pool, and Tweedle Dee will do glitter crafts. Blue Heaven and Big Dipper will have free swim in the lake, surely using the blob and water slide. Stardust will do a short hike up to the Shelter, a camping site on camp property, where they will roast marshmallows. It’s sure to be a fun night for all!
After eleven summers at 1123 Montreat Road, I am still blown away by the kindness and gentleness these campers teach me each day. Thank you for your tremendous trust and sacrifice in entrusting them to us for a few weeks this summer. Camp is unlike any other place, a safe haven for new skills, new adventures, and new adventures. I can’t wait for you to hear all of their stories!
From this haven,
University of Virginia, ‘17