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About Adam Boyd

The camp director of Merri-Mac for Girls.

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

Clear Skies and Sunshine

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After a few rainy days, it was awesome to have clear skies and sunshine all day.  The girls started the day with french toast then headed to chapel. We heard from Anna Potts who told us a story about her time as a CIT in Costa Rica. We learned about who Jesus is and how he carries our burdens. After chapel we enjoyed some free time, usually filled with fresh apples and tetherball.

First period brought lots of smiles, especially in PAWS where the girls took the dogs for a stroll around camp. In knitting, the girls worked on head bands. The girls filled up on pizzas in cooking; they made pizza for the girl sitting next to them!

Second period rolled around, and happiness and laughter flowed through the camp. In diving, Elizabeth Olvey taught the girls their tuck and pike dives. In backpacking, the girls did team initiative activities on the low ropes course. They had to use their communication skills and trust that the other girls would have their back.

Lunch was a delicious meal of meatball subs! The girls then made their way to a much needed rest hour. Free time provided trading post and even a fencing tournament! It was announced that tonight’s evening activity is BASE JUMPING!

Third and fourth periods came and went. It was another beautiful day at camp! We have loved getting to know your girls and look forward to this last week of friendship!

From this haven,

Barney

 

From This (very clean) Haven…

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On Monday, the Health Inspectors came.

If scary music didn’t start playing in your head, then you’ve obviously never had a run in with the Buncombe County Health Department.

Let’s back up. Monday started out like any normal Monday would. At camp, that means that we all wore American themed clothing to celebrate our weekly holiday: ‘Merica Monday. Campers were laughing while they played tetherball and rock-hopped in the creek. Birds were chirping, staff were happily teaching classes and everything was just as it should be.

The door to the office opened and everything changed; there was a disturbance in the force.

“The health inspectors are here.”

Here’s the thing about health inspections: we hate them AND the health inspectors hate them. They routinely inspect restaurants, food trucks, and hotels. We are kind of all of those things, but we’re none of them at the same time. They only have to do camps once a year, and when they’re here every sink, toilet, floor, door, bed, lightbulb, refrigerator, and screen have to be inspected. One hundred and fifty acres of camping goodness.

So what do we do when the health inspector arrives unannounced?

Adam’s instructions: “Bring them to me. Game on.”

Our staff sprang into action, tearing through the cabins in about 10 minutes and double checking everything. We clean every morning, but when 232 girls use four toilets in the dining hall every day, double checking is never a bad idea. In the words of Davie, our CIT director: “I had never moved with such purpose.”

It’s fun to joke about the health inspector now that they’re gone, but as much as we dread their coming, we take it seriously. Paying attention to the details is one of our core values at camp. We do that really well because God cares about the details. He cares about how many hairs are on our head (Luke 12:7). God cares about whether or not our campers are in comfortable cabins. He cares about the way we take care of their bug bites and the way we comfort them when they miss home.

In the end, we got a 99% because one bathroom stall didn’t have toilet paper. Seriously.

From This (very clean) Haven…

Mary Page Boyd

Christmas in August

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‘Merri’ Christmas in August, Merri-Mac! Today was a special day for many reasons, but the fun began with a most unusual Reveille. Instead of the bugle, girls were awakened by the sound of Christmas music and the smell of piping hot chocolate. From the sleigh that strangely looked like camp’s blue maintenance truck, Santa’s helpers disguised as Senior Staff handed out delicious donuts. The sleigh made its rounds, and the girls put on their finest Christmas apparel for chapel. Adam read us the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, a classic Christmas story, and we were reminded that, just as love made the rabbit real in the book, we are made alive and new by Jesus’ transformative love. That is what we celebrate this Christmas and every Christmas!

After chapel, we all found a sweet surprise back at our cabins—stockings stuffed with candy for each and every girl! we headed to a sunny day of activities. The lake was buzzing with girls in swimming, diving, and kayaking classes who were enjoying the Christmas gift of a free swim! The line for the blob stretched across the dock, and Georgia W., Virginia L., and Eliza R. were among the many itching (and giggling) to be blobbed! Nearby, yoga class was working on focus and breathing—a great feat given the sounds of splashing and blobbing in the background. The riding classes added to the mix, too, as they strolled along the waterfront on a trail ride around camp.

In gymnastics, Tallulah S. and Lacey C. made sure they did plenty of stretching before they did any stunts. Further up the hill, we could hear the strumming of a dozen guitars! Gretchen N., Caroline K., and Libby M. were all working on their bars in the class, practicing songs like “Black Bird” and “Light the Fire.” On the archery range, girls were aiming their arrows with precision; Mariah B. got three bull’s-eyes today! At Puppy Camp, we were putting together scrapbooks for the dogs’ owners, with beautiful pictures by Vivian F. and CeCe J.

Christmas would not be complete without a timeless lunch of turkey, peas, stuffing and mashed potatoes! We worked off our food singing “12 Days of Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” on the dining hall benches. Nevertheless, we would be back for more during Trading Post! Many Sunnysiders used this time to decorate their new clipboards, which they received for Christmas this morning. Gracie Rae H. was especially excited to show off hers! In our afternoon classes, mouths still watered as cooking class whipped up a Christmas pasta combination: red marinara sauce and green pesto sauce. In lacrosse, Abby K. was teaching a class to earn her gold bar. Spirits were not dampened as rain clouds loomed over the mountains later this afternoon. Soccer, climbing, and mountain biking used the weather as an opportunity to play games together and even organize a cheerleading routine! And speaking of routines, dance class was learning choreography for their Fine Arts Night performance this coming Monday.

For evening activity, campers enjoyed watching the opening ceremony for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics! There is no better way to end the day by cheering on our country and all the countries represented here at Merri-Mac!

Merri Christmas to all, and to all a merri night!

Madeline Anderson

Proud Seminole and Tweedle Dum counselor