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About Adam Boyd

The camp director of Merri-Mac for Girls.

Saturday’s Activities!

Saturday morning, girls put on their sweatshirts before doing morning chores and heading down to breakfast. They ate french toast sticks and sausage and then headed up the hill for chapel. After hearing a funny story with a neat lesson from Adam, the girls were ready to start the day.

In cooking, the girls made delicious mac and cheese, as well as hot dogs, which they cooked on the outside grill. Guitar class practiced their skills while jamming out to their favorite songs. The girls did climbing at the Upper Tower on Spencer’s Green. In PAWS the girls had a blast washing and playing with the puppies. In archery, Madeline W. shot a bullseye on her second try ever! Way to go!

Lunch today was the well-loved meal of mini corn dogs and mac and cheese. When the girls went back to their cabins during rest hour, the cabin princesses were announced by a gift on the girls’ pillow. Each princess then went to the Mike to start rehearsing for Juliana R’s princess party! Juliana, a Counselor-In-Training this summer, was elected by the camp to embody the spirit of camp last summer, and she will direct a play with these cabin princesses as the cast!

The weather warmed up during the day and was perfect for Sunnyside’s special trip! The girls went to Max Patch and had a great time together! With the tribal chiefs out all day, tonight’s evening activity was Cabin Night, and every cabin had fun doing something special together. Some cabins roasted smores over a campfire, and hung out singing songs on the tennis courts. Big Dipper and Moonmist walked up to the Council Ring to roast cinnamon rolls!

After evening activities, the girls got ready for bed and went to sleep. It was another great day!

 

Lila B.

Pottery Instructor

Big Dipper Counselor

What does our website have to do with our philosophy of camping?

Each fall we begin our search for three staff members with a social media and image background and a love for camp. We also hire an extra counselor so that we can pull a different girl out of her activities and cabin each day. Her job is then to become our camp photographer and journalist. She begins after our morning staff meeting taking pictures and notes of the day’s events and usually ends her day sometime after taps writing an article to be posted later that night. Amazingly, all of this does nothing to change your daughter’s camp experience, in fact that is the point!

Instead we want to give our parents a one-way window into their daughters’ summer. As parents Ann and I want to know everything that happens with our own children (now all on staff!), but as camp directors we also know how important it is for them to develop a healthy sense of independence. With this in mind we have developed Merri-Mac’s web site as a way to sneak a glimpse of her camp experience without changing that experience at all.  

Chances are that you will find a picture of your camper a couple times each week, but the purpose of the site is not to show individuals; it is to tell the story of camp.  We want our parents to see everything that happens at camp. We want you to know what the Field Day’s tribal cheers sound like. We want you to become caught up in the plot of Stardust raiding Milky Way. We want you to know share the adventure of Tweedle Dum raiding the kitchen. We want this because these are the things that are making your campers smile and sing and lose their voices laughing and cheering!

Each morning before breakfast I sneak into my office to flip through the most current pictures. My daughter’s picture is not often there, but each morning I learn something about camp that I never knew- yes, I still do.  The reason we have a website is because we want our parents to fall in love with camp the same way our girls do, so let us know how we’re doing.  Let us know what parts of camp you would like to see and we’ll make every effort to show it.

 

Great Camping!

Adam

Great news from camp!

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Dear Friends and Family,

We are excited to announce that we have purchased 215 acres that will eventually become the new home for our boys program, Camp Timberlake. Don’t worry, Merri-Mac will stay exactly where it is!

The property is located thirty minutes east of camp and we are starting construction immediately. While we are excited to move forward quickly, we won’t be rushing any part of the design or building. Details and precision make all the difference as we create a space that perfectly balances safety, fun, and adventure.

Our mission is growth through friends and adventure, and both our programs are doing just that – growing.  They’ve been growing so much that Timberlake is ready for the next great adventure. The mission, traditions, and essence of both camps will remain the same, but Timberlake’s new home will give our boys a place to be on their own, find new adventures, and grow life-long friendships. We are also excited to give our girls more room for pajama parties, Christmas in July, and Sock War.

Great times ahead!                                                                               Adam & Ann and John & Catherine

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A few pictures from the new property

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New TL 4

 

Awards and Resiliency

After twenty-five years running camps together, Ann and I have started to ask ourselves whether we would rather watch our children grow, or help our children grow, because sometimes, at the most important moments, we cannot do both.

We recently sent out a parent survey, and we learned a few things. One is that camps need to do a better job explaining their awards ceremonies. Every camp does this differently, but almost all have this one thing in common: the most important growth, recognition and awards happen when parents are not there. Season-end awards tend to be superlatives: Most Outstanding, Most Improved, Honor Camper, etc., and of course these are the ones that parents are most likely to see. But great programs are aimed less at final awards and more at each camper’s trajectory of growth.

Multiple studies reported by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. (Growth Mindset) show that children develop more resiliency when they try hard, fail and continue trying, than those who easily achieve the award or goal. A 2011 study demonstrated increased brain activity with students who struggle through a problem. Others show that more effort produces more myelin, greasing the skids for growth by changing the brain itself. As a result Dweck prescribes, “praising the process” rather than the success.

Every great camp does this differently. We do it through our White Feather and Little Chief programs. These are weekly gatherings where we award pins and promotions based on growth in skills, chosen challenges and character. The idea is to recognize small steps that lead to big growth. These ceremonies do not recognize every camper, but they do recognize every type of camper. The every camper part happens later that night when a counselor sits by each girl’s bed and describes in detail her strengths and witnessed growth.

So how can you tell from a closing ceremony whether this is happening at your camp? Stop watching the girl receiving the award and start watching the pride of everyone else. They are proud because they know how hard she worked, and they are proud because they are best friends, and they are proud because they are growing too.

So parents, you may miss the best part – but your campers never do!

From This Haven…
Adam

After the ceremony!

After the ceremony!

Snapshots of our Mission Statement

A favorite trip from this summer was a waterfall rappel at Upper Creek Falls.  Our expedition staff ran the trip and enjoyed helping camper experience something in a different way than they were typically able to on camp property.

Campers this summer loved participating in this trip because they were able to experience something that challenged them both mentally and physically.  They were given the opportunity to intentionally and actively try something new and experience the beauty of God’s creation all around them. In the excitement of the newness of the trip, campers were regularly amazed with themselves and exclaimed “I can’t believe I did that!” This rappel trip to Upper Creek Falls is just one of many ways that we here at camp work intentionally to live out our mission statement, “ growth through friends and adventure.”  Alongside their friends each camper rappelled down an amazing waterfall, full of joy, enthusiasm, and a renewed sense of confidence.  

Here are some of our favorite shots from these trips this summer.  

Growth through friends and Adventures

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Peace and Prayers

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Extending all our love and prayers for safety and peace of mind to all of our camp families facing the reality of severe weather this weekend.  We cover all our Florida and coastal families this day with the beautiful promises in the Camp Psalm.

Peace and Blessings

CAMP PSALM

To the hills I lift my eyes

Whence my hope from heaven arise.

From the Lord comes all my aid

Who the heavens and earth hath made.

 

God shall guard from every ill,

Keep my soul in safety still.

Both without and in thy door.

He will keep thee evermore.

 

God shall ever be thy guide

And thy foot shall never slide.

Neither sun by day shall smite

Nor the silent moon by night.
God shall guard from every ill,

Keep my soul in safety still.

Both without and in thy door.

He will keep thee evermore.

 

Director Travels to visit Camp Families

 

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The coming of fall means the beginning of travels for our Directors to the homes of the people they love the most, campers!  Each year we set up parties at the homes of camp families who are generous enough to host these mini reunions and reminisce about the good old days of summer.  We love doing home shows not only because it is great fun to see all your camp friends, but it is also a wonderful chance to invite all your classmates and neighbors to get a small glimpse into what Merri-Mac is like and why we love it so much.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our Merri-Mac families that have so generously offered to host Adam this fall for a home show, He cannot wait to see you all!  If you are interested in hosting or attending a home show please call the camp office to find out if Adam will be in your area! 828.669.8766

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Joining the Team

 

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We are excited to announce the newest addition to our staff! Mary Page Boyd will be serving as the year around camp Intern. Mary Page has been a long time camper, counselor, and staff for Merri-Mac and has proved her excellence in both character and work ethic year after year.  Anyone who is lucky enough to know her, has no doubt that she loves camp dearly and is excited to learn in this new role. Mary Page hopes to help make camp the best it can be for many years to come. She graduated with honors from University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in May of 2016 with a degree in American Studies, and is excited to apply this knowledge to camp.

 

-Ally Gudeman, Assistant Director

 

Staff Appreciation Day

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Just like every other morning, reveille sounded at 7 am sharp. This morning though the campers heard different voices encouraging them to get out of bed and do their chores. Today is Staff Appreciation Day, so the girls in Sunnyside, Dreams Begin, and Dreams End woke up at the crack of dawn, cleaned their cabins, dressed up in some borrowed staff shirts and went to all the other cabins to pretend to be counselors for the day. They helped their assigned campers clean their cabins spotless and then sat with them at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead of going to their normal daily activities, they were allowed to help teach all the activities. For many of these campers, they have grown up at Merri-Mac learning these skills and today they got a taste of what it would look like to come back as counselors and be instructors.

While most campers were in regular camp activities, a few girls had the opportunity to go on a climbing trip to Snakes Den. Afterwards, they hiked to a really cool waterfall. Head of Merri-Mac climbing, Claire Lippy, remarked, “They absolutely crushed it.” We love camp, but we also love being able to send girls outside of camp to experience some of the rivers, rocks, and trails that this beautiful part of our country has to offer.

Back at camp, Kennedi G. , Kelsey W. , Mariah B. , Olivia S. , and Janie H. all received their bronze bars in canoeing. This bar requires knowing basic strokes and being able to control their boat on the lake. On the other side of the lake, Ava W. and Claire H. got their rolls in kayaking after several class periods of hard work. And in the other corner of Lake Doris, Holly H. received her silver bar in swimming.

In Pottery class, the young potters began to glaze their pieces. Right next door in cooking class, the girls baked scones for the entire camp to snack on during our evening activity, Fine Arts Night this evening. In Puppy Camp, they took all the dogs on walks around camp. In Backpacking class, the girls did the low ropes course. Over at the archery range, Albatross D. received her Gold bar, which can take years of work. Albatross also got her Gold in lacrosse along with Grace A. It’s incredible the amount these girls have learned and how much they have grown since their arrival here at Merri-Mac.

We love recognizing and celebrating growth at camp whether it be by allowing girls to instruct an activity or by receiving a bar to demonstrate their mastery of certain skills. As I’m writing this article, all of camp is up at the Mike for Fine Arts Night. Tonight many of our campers will perform dances and songs for the entire camp. While many nights we get to celebrate our girls athletic abilities in tribal events, tonight we get to see them shine and be beautiful in a completely different way through the arts.

As we enter the last week of the summer, I reflect on what a blessing it has been to have a place like Merri-Mac that gives all of us (staff and campers) such positive and uplifting community. Here girls are inspired to teach a something they never knew before coming to this place. They are empowered to get up in front of 200 girls and sing and dance. They are celebrated when they learn new skills and grow as people. And all while doing this, they are loved and supported by each other. I consider it a blessing to call this place my home and my job.

 

Mary Grace Budd

Proud Sunnyside Counselor and Seminole

Not an Ordinary Day

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Today wasn’t any ordinary day at Merri-Mac; it was Sunday. The greatest thing about Sunday is that it is a day meant for resting. The girls get to wake up an hour later than usual and don’t have to worry about what to wear that day. They all get to wear their whites.

It was such a beautiful scene walking down to breakfast with the girls in their pristine whites ready to celebrate the Sabbath. After breakfast we have Chapel. On Sundays Chapel is a little different too. We sing more worship songs and a cabin is in charge of the bible story. Milky Way cabin got to do it this time and they did a great job of making the story of Jonah and the Whale come to life.

The rest of the morning is very relaxing. Some girls practiced the activities that were open, such as; climbing, basketball, diving, and guitar. Everyone else painted nails, talked in cabins, and even got to see the puppies walk around camp! After lunch was free swim. The blob and slide were a favorite among the girls. With the sound of Thor-guard the girls rushed out of the water and to their cabins. Even though free swim was cut short the girls had fun playing games in their cabins.

Dinner started and we all enjoyed hamburgers with fresh watermelon and cookies. The cabins Dreams Begin, Dreams End, and Sunny Side all came down either dressed as an animal or a hunter. Tonight was the Sunny Side Dreams Prom. All week the Sunny Siders have been asking Dreams girls to the prom and tonight they get to have their dance party. But before that happened everyone went to Vespers, a fun version of Chapel with funny skits, upbeat songs, and a great message at the end. 

The girls will soon be off to bed to dream about the adventures they’ll have tomorrow and the friendships that will keep on growing. As the summer wraps up the thought of all the girls leaving saddens the staff, but we thank you for sharing your girls with us this summer. Merri-Mac would not be the great camp it is without your daughters being apart of it.

From this Haven,

Shea Van Alstyne

Milky Way councilor