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Why camp friends are the best friends

amkcamper

2003

20140907_004659 (1)

2014

I spent last week at the beach with some of my best friends, all of whom are camp friends. We played a lot of Spikeball and board games. We made great food and laid in the sun. A week at the beach with these people is easy. Why? Because we have done this before. We have had to take care of our living space together, we know when it’s time to set the table, we know how to play together. We all have either worked and/or been campers at Merri-Mac (and our husbands at Timberlake).

Why camp friends are the best friends:

Accustomed to being apart: When you go off to college or move to a new city the friends that will stick are the ones that know how to maintain friendships over long distances. Camp friends are accustomed to spending 2-4 weeks together then being apart for the rest of the year. These relationships have had to overcome distance from the beginning so things like going off to college are no big deal.

Unique common bond: Friendships are formed over common bonds, similar to being on a sports team together, but camp is like this to an extreme. You bond over having a love for your tribe, cheering each other on as you overcome fears, doing something really cool for the first time, and coping with being away from your parents for weeks at a time. This is unique. This is special.

Own language: At camp you have your own language. Friends at home don’t know what you are talking about when you mention Tray-Po, Macky’s, or the Mike. They don’t know what it means to be Choctaw, Iroquois or Seminole.

Live together: At camp you live, work, and play together. You and your cabin mates will work side by side cleaning the bathroom floors, or writing a new addition to your cabin song together, or going on a camp-out together. These kinds of things bond people.

Truest version of you: At camp there are no cell phones or computers. You are forced to have real conversations, look people in the eye, overcome conflict face-to-face, talk about your day, or talk about why you are nervous about going to high school after camp. People see you as your truest self.

Camp is a safe place: Camp is a safe place to make friends. You can be yourself, act silly, be a kid, and know that you are going to be accepted.

This was not our first vacation together. This won’t be out last vacation together.  We will make time to be together for the rest of our lives. Our children will eventually join the mix, wearing their tribe shirts, singing camp songs and laughing about inside jokes that are only understood by people who have the privilege of feeling their hearts swell as they turn onto Montreat Rd.

 

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This is Goodnight and Not Goodbye

 

As the Merri-Mac girls awoke this morning, one thought crossed their minds: the last day of activities. Inevitably, this brought upon nostalgia mixed with a strong desire to take advantage of every moment that the day would bring.

At breakfast, we enjoyed an egg and sausage casserole and a coffeecake (which most campers compare to the flavor of Fruity Pebbles). After breakfast, we walked up the hill to the chapel where we sang “The Banana Song” (a silly song about the love of God, the opening lines of which go: I like bananas/ yeah, mangos are sweet/ I like papayas, but nothing can beat/ that sweet, sweet love of God), “For All the Saints”, and “Light the Fire.” Counselor Miranda spoke about how God works in our hearts and then our actions begin to glorify Him in all that we do. She quoted Deuteronomy 6:5, which reads, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Today was an eventful final day of activities! In pottery, the campers finished up their work and glazed their pieces. Guitar classes hiked around camp to serenade all the different activities. They sang the popular song Pompeii by Bastille to pottery and Blessed be the Name of the Lord to riflery. In Riflery, Alex V., who got her gold this summer, named her gun! However, by the time I came by the class, she hadn’t chosen the name yet.

At lunch, we had a camp-favorite: pizza! After singing tribe songs at the top of our lungs, we hiked up the hill at the heat of the day to rest hour. Like always, everyone rushed down to trading post right when the bugle sounded, and we gave our sweet tooth exactly what it wanted.

Back to activities, guitar continued to serenade all the activities. Climbing rocked it at the brand new upper tower and the boulder.  Hot chocolate and marshmallows were enjoyed over a fire by back packing classes. Backpacking classes celebrated a wonderful session by making hot chocolate and roasting marshmallows over a fire. At the lake, the girls played kayak polo, which is basically like any team sport that requires a net and a ball… but it is played in kayaks and the use the paddles to pass the ball to each other. In cooking class, girls were refreshed by delicious milkshakes with whatever toppings and flavors they wanted!

Tonight at dinner, we had Asian chicken and rice with spring rolls and, after we enjoyed our fill, we sang our cabin songs for the last time!
Following dinner, we went up to the Tee Pee for White Feather, where girls are commended for moving up in ranks, receiving bars, marks and commendations. Gabrielle A. earned the rank of Bear, which is the highest rank in Junior Camp. Patterson G., Virginia C., Mattie G., Mary Elizabeth G., Janie C., and Mary Katherine F. earned the highest rank in Intermediate Camp—Long Bow. Finally, Elizabeth C., Becca M., Anna M., Millie M., Taylor T., and Alex V. received the White Feather—the highest rank at Merri-Mac!

The following girls received gold bars: In basketball, Katie G.; in chorus, Elizabeth C., Ellie P., Alex V.; in climbing, Mattie Y., Becca M.; in competitive swimming, Mattie G.; in EWS, Millie M.; in guitar, Margaret P.; in gymnastics, Savannah L., Morgan S., Leah G.; in kayaking, Elizabeth C.; in soccer, Anne Carter C., Emily K.; in swimming, Mattie G.; in tennis, Ingerid E., Margaret V., Aynsley R., Lindsay A., Kate T.; and, in volleyball, Mary Katherine F., Alex V.

After White Feather, we remembered all the memories we have made this summer at Final Campfire. Each cabin stood up and shared their favorite cabin memories! Then, at lakeside, which is one of the most beautiful events a Merri-Mac girl will ever see, a huge fire was set ablaze in the middle of the lake. The chiefs of Choctaw, Iroquois and Seminole, rowing in a canoe, brought the fire back on a torch to their tribes. Then, we sang, the Camp Psalm, All My Life’s A Circle, From This Haven, Tell Me Why, and Pass it On. During Pass It On, everyone sent out a lit candle on a plate to float across the lake. The first verse of this beautiful song is as follows:

It only takes a spark / to get a fire going / and soon all those around / can warm up in its glowing / That’s how it is with God’s love / Once you’ve experienced it / You spread His love to everyone / You want to pass it on.

Then, after singing Shades and I Want to Linger, the staff sang TAPS and everyone said goodbyes, shared some love in hugs and tears, and then went back to their cabins for the last night with their bunkmates that they have grown so close to.

We are so proud of all these girls have accomplished this summer and we cannot wait to see them again next year. They have grown so much over the past few weeks and, every day, we are so incredibly grateful that you have shared them with us. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow at closing ceremony! As we sang this evening, this is goodnight and not goodbye.

Maddy Mudd

Big Dipper Counselor

 

Staff Appreciation Day!

You know it’s going to be an great day at camp when the staff hands the reigns over to the oldest girls at Merri-Mac for what we call Staff Appreciation Day! At the sound of reveille this morning, each cabin was greeted by a few fellow campers from Sunnyside, Cloud Nine, Sundrop, Dreams End, or Dreams Begin sporting borrowed staff shirts and excited faces. As a way to thank the staff for all their hard work this summer, these fifteen and sixteen year old girls took over being counselors for the entirety of the day, teaching classes (with guidance – of course!) that they excel in and staying with cabins that they had picked earlier in the week, while the staff took over their roles as campers, sitting as their normal tables during meals and becoming a student during classes. Not only does this give staff a break, but it allows the older girls a feel of what life on staff feels like.

 

A camp favorite meal of biscuits, sausage, and circle eggs filled our bellies this morning before we headed to chapel to hear Adam tell another “true story,” which paralleled with how God will always for his children. After a prayer and a few staff announcements, the girls headed up to their respected cabins (with their counselors for the day) for free time before first period.

 

Each older camper was ecstatic to be a teacher for the day. Some stayed in one class for most of the day – Elizabeth W., Allie Y., and Caroline M. were in canoeing, and taught their classes the proper swamping technique. Amelia G. was in cooking and made milkshakes, while Allie W. taught knitting, each camper working on various projects. Marquesa C. lead volleyball, teaching campers practicing different drills and several techniques, and Lindsay A. and Anne Sutton W. taught tennis, only stopped by rain for one period. Gracie T. and Elizabeth C. taught kayaking, and helped some campers with t-rescues while others learned to roll. Meanwhile, other campers moved around each period. Emily K. was in camp craft, fencing, DIY crafts, and climbing. Merri-mac was definitely not short staffed today as there were 31 Sunnyside, Cloud Nine and Sundrop campers, as well as 24 Dreams Begin and Dreams End campers helping out with classes and cabins today!

 

At the sound of the 12:30 bugle, the girls made there way to Tucker Inn for mini corn dogs and mac and cheese – another favorite meal here at camp. During the meal, camp sang a spirited happy birthday song (Cha-Cha-Chas welcome) to Ashlynn! The staff then chose their favorite tribe songs to sing while eating a chocolate chip cookie desert, but only two songs were sung instead of the usual three, as voting for Princess, Spirit of Good Cheer, and Spirit of Sportsmanship took place this afternoon. Each Sunnyside-aged camper that had stayed for four weeks lined up on a bench in the dining hall as every staff member and returning camper voted for the girls they thought truly represented Camp Merri-Mac. Afterwards, the girls headed up to their cabins for rest hour, trading post, and free time.

 

At 3:30, third period began, and they girls went back to teaching and learning. Rush L. and Hollis B. dueled in fencing today while Savannah S. took a lap around the horse ring in riding. After fourth period, campers ate a meal of fried okra, rice, and jelly cake before participating in tonight’s evening activity – cabin night! Each counselor had planned a special activity for their cabins, ranging from free swim to scavenger hunts to a movie and popcorn at the Mark. Cabin night is a great way for campers to spend time with their counselors and fellow cabin-mates, especially in these last few days at Merri-Mac.

As activities wrapped up, girls headed up Windy Hill (or down to Tweedle Cabins) for a nightly devotion, and at the sound of taps each counselor-for-the-day said goodnight to their campers, and went back to their own cabins for bed.

It was quite a wonderful day at Merri-Mac, and it is on days like these that I feel how truly blessed to be able to spend part of my summer with each of your beautiful daughters, so thank you, parents, for sending them to this lovely place!

 

Lucy White

CIT and Proud Choctaw

Those Days of Vespers and Friendship and Cheer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.  Those days of vespers and friendship and cheer.  8 AM rolled around just in time as the beautiful girls of Merri-Mac awoke to a very relaxing Sunday.  Chores were done by all, and extra special attention was paid to cubbies this morning as a competition was announced: the cabin with the best looking cubbies for the next two days will be treated to a pool party and cookies at the Boyd’s.  Girls worked feverishly at perfecting their cubbies in hopes to win this grand prize.  The girls dressed in their whites and headed down to a delicious breakfast of cinnamon rolls where they began to divulge all of the details of the dance at Camp Rockmont last night.  Girls loved spending an evening with the gentlemen of Rockmont and dancing with their friends.  The day continued into chapel where the girls of Comet led chapel and told us about the story of Leah, Rachel, and Jacob.  Jacob was in search of a wife when he met Rachel and Leah the daughters of Laban.  Jacob wanted to marry Rachel but was forced to work for seven years until he was allowed to take her as his bride.  As the seventh year ended, Jacob was to marry Rachel but was given Leah instead.  Jacob and Laban talked and Laban promised that if he would work another seven years he could actually have Rachel as his wife.  The seven years passed and Rachel became his wife as well.  God saw that Leah was not liked by Jacob and was given the ability to have sons while Rachel could not.  The sons that Leah would have would bring about our Savior, Jesus many years later.  We learned that though we are not always the most liked on earth, Jesus loves us all the time and will always help us through everything.  Free time ensued from Chapel until lunch and the girls played games and went to the Stardust Spa where the girls of Stardust pampered their customers with massages, hair-do’s and mani-pedis.  Lunch was a camp favorite of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and peas, with apple pie for dessert.  Tribal competitions and songs were put aside today as Chapel songs could be heard through the dining hall instead.  As a part of the Sunday tradition, the girls walked up the hill for an hour long rest hour!  That hour is especially celebrated after a long, fun week of activities.  The bugle rang and the girls raced out of their cabin to enjoy friendship and the candy at trading post.  More free time followed and the girls were able to have free swim in the beautiful Lake Doris and also work on their bars for their classes.  Many jokes and memories were made today as the girls were able to enjoy the time spent relaxing in the beautiful weather with their friends.  The day turned into evening and the girls lined up outside for the Sunday cookout.  This is also a camp favorite meal consisting of hamburgers and hotdogs grilled especially for our campers.  After all tummies were full, the girls headed up to Vespers, where they watched skits performed by counselors and songs performed by Merri-Mac’s own Black Mountain Oysters.  Maddy Mudd delivered the message for tonights Vespers.  She talked about rock climbing and how Jesus is our “belayer” (the person who makes sure you do not fall whilst climbing).  He always catches us when we fall and is always there to encourage us as to where our next step in life should be.  Vespers ended and the girls are now enjoying some time with their cabin before the bugle rings for bedtime.  This has truly been a remarkable summer and I have been blessed by each of these wonderful girls at camp.  Sweet dreams Merri-Mac, may your dreams be as big as the sea and as wonderful as the memories made here at camp.

From this haven,

Jacqueline Carbonetta

Proud Seminole

Stardust Counselor

University of the Sciences of Philadelphia ‘18

Weekend fun!

You know it is going to be a great today at Merri-Mac when french toast and sausage was served for breakfast! After several servings of the kitchen staff’s delicious dish, the campers were off to chapel for songs and praises. Today, the Dreams End counselor, Keitt, talked about what makes Camp Merri-Mac so unique from anywhere else on Earth. The answer is the clear presence of God’s love and the amazing community between the girls. Then, she encouraged everyone to share that kind of love and that special part of camp with the rest of the world. After chapel, the girls were off to their first and second period activities. The activities were jam packed with  going on trips, learning news skills,and earning bars.

There was a kayaking trip to the Tuck which included Anne C., Emily K., Nora C., Alexandra W., Catherine D., Sophie M., Marquesa C., and Holly H. Another trip was taken for climbing, which included Becca M. and Mattie Y. These two ladies are working on their gold in climbing.

In kitchen, the ladies baked and ate some delicious blueberry and chocolate chip muffins. Speaking for myself, they were quite yummy! Outside of the kitchen, the knitting class was relaxing with good company and knitting headbands. Not far from the Patio, the volleyball class was learning how to spike and scrimmaging. On Macky’s Green, the soccer class was playing World Cup and the girls were working on bars. Close by, the backpacking class was on the high ropes course. In DIY craft class, the campers were continuing to work on their giant arrow jewelry hangers. Moms, a heads up, these make great mom gifts. In riding class, the riders were practicing small jumps. Nearby, Lake Doris was in full swing with classes like kayaking, canoeing, diving, and swimming. The climbing class climbed in the Mike and on the traverse wall today. For the beloved puppy camp, the ladies were taking the puppies on walks on Spencer’s Green and teaching them commands like stay, sit, and lay down. Talk about photogenic puppies and campers! Up on Senior Hill, the guitar class were strumming along to songs like “Scientist” by Coldplay and “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5. In drama class, the girls were learning how to mime and how to be put in an invisible box. Valuable life skill? In fitness class, the campers jogged around camp.

Addition to the busy activities, we were proud of the many girls that earned a lot of bars today. In tennis class, Hastings W. and Elizabeth W. earned their bronze, and Mary Elizabeth G. earned her silver. In climbing class, Mary Elizabeth G. earned her bronze and Chloe M. earned her silver. In guitar class, Claire D., Maddy M., Heather C., and Anne Sutton W. earned their bronze. Additionally, Rush L. earned her silver. In gymnastics class, Morgan S. and Savannah L. both earned their gold. In volleyball class, Caroline K., Ava D., and Gabriela N. earned their bronze. Mattie G. earned her silver.

During lunch, the girls were served meatball subs and chocolate chip cookies for dessert, a very popular meal. After being stuffed from lunch, Adam announced that the girls from Stardust and above were invited to the Rockmount Dance. Tucker Inn was filled with screams and hollers! After the excitement sizzled down, the girls were given a strategic shower schedule and went off to rest hour. The afternoon consisted of showering and preparing for the dance, as well as, continuing with afternoon activities. As for now, the campers are at dinner eating tacos and talking about the dance. It has been a great day for Camp Merri-mac and will be an even wonderful night spent with the gentlemen of Camp Rockmount.

 

Can’t thank you enough for letting us make memories with your daughters!

 

Sincerely,

Ying Lin

Moonmist Counselor

What is White Feather?

Each week Merri-Mac gathers by divisions: legends are read, awards are given and handprints are left on standards.  We do this because we think it is important to recognize growth in our campers, and equally important that they recognize it in themselves. It is important because we are made to live life together, to be challenged, grow and succeed, and to engage our world.  These things are always best learned in families, but we believe they are next best learned at camp.  We also believe that the things that happen at camp help girls grow and so we have designed our White Feather program to lay breadcrumbs on the trail for growth at camp.

As part of White Feather girls accumulate “marks” based on activity achievements, elective challenges (solo backpacking trips, running Tomahawk Trail, etc.) and cabin leadership.  Each mark takes them a step closer to their next “promotion” toward the highest rank of White Feather.  With each mark and each promotion girls receive pins and necklaces, which we encourage them to keep on their camp pennant.  The result is that through their years they will build a record of their camp accomplishments.

In the end the most important part of Merri-Mac Council comes after the ceremony is over.  During cabin time on the evenings that we hold council the counselors will go to each camper to describe the gifts and abilities that they have noticed in her.  This is where a girl who may never earn a White Feather Promotion, or a Gold Bar, or be elected to a tribal office, can be told about her own unique gifts and contribution to her camp family.

 

- Adam

Tribefest!!

Today was full of tribal spirit! The girls woke this morning, put on their tribal attire, and went down to breakfast in anticipation of the coming day. Tribefest had finally arrived. Each girl awaited a day full of friendly competition, in the hopes of winning points for their tribe. The girls met at tribe meetings after chapel to get decked out in tribal wear, red and gray for Choctaw, black and white for Iroquois, and blue and gold for Seminole. The girls also made posters to hold up at the swim meet, while their fellow tribe mates swam. The girls were super excited as Patti-O and Mary Becker led them down to the lake to let the swim meet begin!

Swimfest made a splash with several heats of freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly, and backstroke, with girls competing from the junior, intermediate, and senior cabins.  After strong efforts from all three tribes, Choctaw came out on top with the win. The Iroquois won spirit points for the swim meet, after a morning of great tribal spirit, cheering, and dress.

After swimming, the girls participated in Tribal Trash Pickup, where they searched camp for trash to be collected by their tribal leaders. The girls love this game because while striving to earn points for their tribe, they also get to make camp even more beautiful. After a valiant effort of gathering trash, the Choctaw earned the win!

After a delicious lunch of Greek chicken and chips, the girls played sock war in the afternoon. Eleanor P., Elizabeth W., and Caroline C. acquired the flag for Iroquois, winning the whole game and earning those precious points for the Iroquois tribe. It was an Iroquois sweep, with the black and white tribe winning spirit points for the second time today! We introduced a new competition to camp this summer: hiding a small arrowhead somewhere around camp and giving the chiefs clues on where to find it. The Seminoles, led by Elizabeth C., found the arrowhead under the Tweedle bridge, giving the tribe a victory for the day!

For dinner, we enjoyed a meal of sweet and sour pork, eggrolls, rice, and edamame. This filled the girls appetite and gave them more strength for the coming competition, later in the night. Then, the silence ban was turned on and the girls headed up to the teepee for the white feather ceremony. In junior camp, the girls earning the Tumbleweed promotion were Kathryn C., Cameron F., Cate L., Jayne Beth M., Ashley P., Avarie A., Lindsey B., Spencer C., Alexandra D., Camille L., Grace M., Amelia., Tallulah S., Julia D., Addie F., Bennett P., Molly T., Reese Z., Caroline F., Mary Jane L., and Davies S. The girls that earned Groundhog were Abby S., Lindsay J., Kate H., Abby F., Addie F., Martha O., and Nataleigh P. The girls who earned Badger were Eliza Dunn T. and Lindsay J. In intermediate camp, girls who earned Arrow were Ella Lee C., Ryan H., Lattie M., Kelsey W., Caroline K., Everly H., Norah M., Fernanda G., Ava W., and Molly K. The girls who earned Crazy Creek were Paola I., Ava D., Riley E., Copeland R., and Mary Elizabeth G. In senior camp, the girls who earned Running Deer were Julia B., Kate B., Sarah Katherine E., Corrina G., Holly H., Brigitte N., Marianna S., Sarah T., Margaret Anne W., CoCo Z., Kate F., Kathleen O., Joelle S., Ellie P., and Caitlin M. The girls who earned Red Tail were Eleanor P., Savanna S., Margaret V., Caroline W., Vivian G., and Anne Sutton W. The girls who earned Junior Feather were Morgan G., Alex V., and Marquesa C. Finally, earning the highest rank at camp, Amelia G., Maddie M., and Gracie T. earned their White Feather necklace. This is a huge honor here at camp and we are very proud of all of the girls promoted tonight.

Following our White Feather ceremony, the girls are going up to the Mike for the final tribal event of the day, battleball. May the best tribe bring home the victory! What an exciting day of tribal competition and spirit! The girls will go to sleep easily tonight after a full day of tribal fun and competition.

 

 

 

Madison Mirandi

Dreams End Counselor

Proud Iroquois

Fine Arts Night, And A Fine Day At Camp!

Merri-Mac woke to a beautiful and cool morning on this lovely day. All the girls happily rose out of bed, excited to see what adventure today at camp would bring. Their positive attitudes could not be dampened as they went about their chores, leaving cabins everywhere spotless and ready for cabin inspection. After much hair braiding and some tether ball games, we all headed down the hill to the Tucker Inn for breakfast.

After singing a short prayer and grace, Merri-Mac dug in to a delicious meal of French toast sticks, bacon, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, fruit, and milk and orange juice. After everyone’s tummies were full, the Sunnysiders led camp in the silly morning songs. Today we sang “I Won’t Grow Up” modified from Peter Pan, “Propel Your Craft,” a spinoff from “Row Row Row Your Boat,” and “Cannibal King,” which surprisingly has nothing to do with cannibals, but rather is his love story with a maid.

Right after breakfast, some girls left on trips for the day. Kayaking took a trip out on the Nantahala with Aynsley R., Eleanor P., Elizabeth W., Gracie T., Elizabeth C., Andie K., and Katherine M. Girls left for morning waterskiing on Lake James including Ivy C., Hannah P., Hastings W., Kate S., Caroline P., and Jayne Beth M. The afternoon waterskiing trip would include Molley K., Gretchen N., Riley P., Katherine P., Kate T., and Abigail B. Still missing from our numbers were the girls on the two night backpacking trip including Taylor T., Sarah T., Marquesa C., Emily J., Celia S., and Maddie N.

Next, the girls walked past the magnificent Lake Doris to the chapel for morning worship. Margaret P. led all of camp in the songs on her guitar in order to work for her gold in guitar class. We sang “Let My Light Shine Bright,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “As The Deer,” ending with the Camp Hymn. Adam spoke about how we require God’s grace, which he gives us through Christ, and how God will always provide for us and give us what it takes to be the best that we can. He read Romans 3:23, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Psalm 127:2, Lamentations 3:23, and 1 Corinthians 10:13. After chapel, everyone left for their Choctaw, Seminoles, and Iroquois tribe meetings in order to prepare for the all day tribal event tomorrow called Tribefest.

After some free time, everybody scattered across camp to go to their first activities. On our lovely Lake Doris, the kayakers played water polo, the canoers practiced strokes, and the divers worked on bars. Ava W. earned her bronze in diving! In the Mike, the gymnastics girls worked on floor skills in rotating stations and also beam skills. Some practiced floor routines to perform in Fine Arts night tonight. Up the trail, riflery worked on shooting and PAWS puppy class walked and taught sitting and staying. Riding did a trail ride around camp. Up on Senior Hill, guitar and dance both practiced for Fine Arts night and learned new songs and dances. In guitar, Bailey S., Kat G., and Corrina G. all earned their bronze bar! Drama rehearsed skits. In archery, Abigail B. and Ryan H. both hit bull’s eyes! During fourth period, a gentle rain began to fall. Climbing stayed dry in the grotto and practiced bouldering skills. Knitting made headbands on the Patti-O around a fire. Cooking today made quesadillas with queso and salsa. I can say first hand that it was the best queso ever. Pottery worked on pinch pots and ocarinas.

After second period ended, we headed down the hill to the Tucker Inn for lunch. We ate scrumptious pizza and fruit salad along with a sandwich bar and salad bar. For dessert we had M&M cookies. Yum! During the meal, our very own CIT Lucy W. was made to stand up and sing an original song. After eating, the Sunnysiders led us in tribal cheers. Today was tribal switch day! Each tribe sang other tribe cheers. However, even though the Iroquois tried to commandeer it, “Choctaw Tribe Dominates” rings true only for the red and gray. After lunch, we hiked up the hill to our cozy bunks for a half-hour of much needed rest time. When the bugle rang, everyone rushed down the hill to the Trading Post for candy and soda. Tetherball tournaments ran in full swing. Soon, the bugle rang for third period to begin. Camp craft learned how to set up tarps with taut lines and bowline knots. Volleyball worked on passing and serving. Swimming practiced their strokes, getting ready for the Swimfest swim meet in Tribefest tomorrow. Emergency Water Safety practiced stride jumps. Fencing worked on footwork and fenced some matches. Tennis practiced serves and cross court returns. Basketball worked on layups and free throws. In chorus class, the girls rehearsed for Fine Arts night and also sang in Merri-Mac Idol. Lacrosse practiced throwing and catching and then played a scrimmage. Soccer practiced shooting and played dribbling games. After fourth period, everyone headed up to to their cabins to dress into the theme for Fine Arts night, Classy or Tacky.

We all came down to dinner dressed in our finest, ready for a night of performance. We ate a delightful meal of chicken fingers, mashed potatoes, green beans, and salad with a yummy dessert of lemon bars. After clearing our tables, we sang cabin songs. Then, everybody walked up to the Mike for a wonderful display of camp talent. Performing tonight were Natalie and Riley P. playing violin, Rush L. and Sofie S. singing and playing guitar, Olivia Faith D. singing a solo for her silver in chorus, Leah G. performing a gymnastics floor routine, Margaret P., Vivian G., and Caroline M. playing guitar and singing, a duet of “Yellow” by Coldplay performed by Corrina G. and Deborah Z., and a Sunnyside dance. How gifted these campers are! Many were brought to tears by the beautiful voices and performances.

Then, campers left to their cabins to prepare for cabin activities. Rainbow camped out at the shelter. Dreams End played an intense game of laser tag. Moonmist and Sunspot both roasted s’mores over crackling campfires. Rainbow played games in the Lodge. Big Dipper, Stardust, and Little Dipper all raided the Trading Post at various hours of the night. All before taps, of course! Comet planned a cabin activity in the Tucker Inn.

The girls headed back to their cabins to get ready for bed. The night ended with a quick devotion to end the night on the uplifting thought of God’s grace through Jesus. As taps rang, all was quiet on the hill except for the cicadas and a few counselors serenading their cabins to sleep. It seems that the fun never ends at Merri-Mac. From reville until taps, the day is filled with adventure, friends, and joy.

 

Sydney Blume

Moonmist

Climbing Counselor

Proud Choctaw

Go ‘Neers

 

It’s The Most Wonderful Time… Of the Summer!

What a wonderful Christmas day we had here at Camp Merri-Mac! The warm sun cracked through the dew and mist, waking each camper up and filling her with the joy that a new day brings! Especially when that day is Christmas! After catching a few extra minutes of sleep, the blue maintenance truck rolled up the hill waking everyone up with the sweet tunes of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”,and of course the sweet taste of Krispy Kreme donuts and hot chocolate with marshmallows! The sugar kick continued as the girls unpacked all of their stockings, which their counselors had lovingly stuffed with candy the night before. After each donut and Reese cup had been polished off, everyone headed down the hill to chapel, where we sang Silent Night, Joy to the World and other wonderful Christmas hymns. Counselor Jenna E. delivered a great chapel service meditating on the words from Jonah 2:1. Not long after chapel came to a close, activities began and the day was in full swing! On the Patti-O outside of the cooking kitchen, girls were hard at work knitting headbands of various colors, sizes and patterns. Patterson G. was working on a headband to give to her friend Anna Laura C. Inside at the kitchen; campers were making and sampling their own chocolate chip muffins, as well as blueberry muffins with a lemon glaze. In the shade of the fencing pavilion, the girls started on putting what they have learned so far into a fencing match! On the Tennis courts, campers worked on volleys, ground strokes, and began working towards their bars. Mary Elizabeth G. and Janie C. showed particular prowess out on the courts! In guitar, Joelle S. earned her bronze bar, and the rest of the class continued to learn how to play various Christmas songs. For lunch, girls enjoyed a Christmas feast of turkey, peas, mashed potatoes and stuffing, with fudge bars for dessert of course! As lunchtime drew to a close, an exciting new game was introduced to Camp Merri-Mac. An arrowhead has been buried at camp, and glory will come to the tribe who finds the arrowhead before the summer ends. After lunch, a much needed rest hour came, followed by trading post and tetherball and a pick up lacrosse game on Macky’s Green. Before long, it was time for activities to start up again! On the Archery range, girls worked hard to always remember to follow through when shooting, as well as learned the parts of a bow. Climbing met on Spencer’s Green today. The new climbing and bouldering wall continue to be some of our most exciting additions to camp this summer! Joelle S. and Claire H. both earned their bronze bar on the new tower today. Another one of our most exciting additions this summer is, of course, the PAWS program! Campers took turns walking Chief, Hogan, Archer, Mac and Brennan around camp, teaching them various commands such as sit, stay and lay down. The rifelry range had very exciting news to report today, Alex V. became the second camper to earn her bronze bar this summer! Congratulations to Alex! Chorus met at the chapel today, where Katherine M., Janie H., and Taylor T. earned bronze bars. Taylor U., Elizabeth C. and Ellie P. earned their silver bars in chorus today. Taylor T. also earned her silver bar in chorus today, as well as embarked upon a two backpacking trip. One of my favorite things about life at camp is constant action and adventure that each camper gets to experience! Down at the Lake Doris, Kaitlyn P. successfully rolled her kayak after two years of hard work dedicated to this skillful sport! In the Emergency Water Safety class, Millie M. earned her silver bar and Anna M. earned her gold bar. A gold bar was also awarded to Margaret V. in swim class, Cate L. earned her bronze bar in swimming and Grace M. perfected her freestyle kick in swim class as well.

After a long day filled with adventure and accomplishment in the hot Christmas sun, everyone’s stomachs welcomed a hearty dinner of Taco-In-A-Bag complete with brownies for dessert. Not long after dinner drew to a close, the girls headed to The Mike to enjoy a special Christmas themed Vespers.

As our summer days are dwindling and school is fast approaching, we are all cherishing these precious moments of friendship and adventure that we are so blessed to experience at Camp Merri-Mac. Come September, I’m sure we will all remember our camping days and friendships true.

 

Sincerely,

Davie Boone

Comet Counselor

Faithfull Seminole

 

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Twas The Night Before Christmas…

This brisk morning at Merri Mac started with a delicious meal of baked oatmeal, and bacon. The girls sang their morning songs, and then were excited to find out the winners of last night’s evening activity. Iroquois won spirit points, and the Seminoles won the game of Inferno. After breakfast, the girls huddled in the chapel to sing songs and hear the morning message from stardust counselor Jackie. This morning’s chapel was on John 9:39. After chapel, it was time for tribe meetings. The Iroquois chief, Christie G., taught her tribe a new song.
At 10:30, morning activities started. It was the first day of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday classes for session 3B. Which meant, safety talk day. However, the teachers made sure to incorporate some fun along with the instructions. In kayaking, Sophie M. practiced her roll that she got just a few days ago. In Cooking, the girls made monkey bread and quiche. “The monkey bread was my favorite,” said Grace (tweedle dee). In knitting the girls started making headbands, in canoeing they played canoe tag, in DIY crafts they made button trees, and in volleyball they practiced passing and serving the ball.
After morning activities it was time for lunch. It was a favorite meal, chicken patties, French fries, and M&M cookies. The line of people was out the serving area waiting for refills on the delicious food. After lunch it was time for tribe songs, Iroquois got to practice their new song in front of everyone. Everyone was excited to hear that the evening activity was Christmas Eve, perfect for this cool day. The Sunnysiders led the entire lunchroom into singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when it was announced.
After lunch everyone ran up for rest half hour. Which was followed by trading post and free time. Almost all the campers made sure to spend this time outside on this gorgeous day. Eating their candy at the picnic tables, playing tether ball, going on runs, making bracelets, and playing card games all around the volley ball courts and trade po area.

This afternoon during activities there was a lot going on too. In pottery they had a choice to throw on the wheel, or make a pinch pot. “I chose to throw on the wheel, I learned how to center my clay,” said Clare D. In riding they got to know the horses, and practiced riding them around the coral. In archery they learned proper stance, and shooting, and in riflery they went through an in-depth safety talk and then practiced shooting for a little while. In fencing they learned the parts of the foil, and then played games practicing proper form. In EWS the girls practiced back boarding.
After afternoon activities all the girls got decked out in their Christmas clothes and headed down the hill for dinner. Dinner was ziti with meatballs and broccoli, and for dessert it was cherry cobblers. Through out the meal sunnysiders would randomly start singing Christmas carols to get the camp in the Christmas spirit. After dinner everyone ran up to get socks for their counselors to stuff with candy. Every cabin drew names for secret santa, and crafted gifts for the cabin mate they got.
This evening all the counselors will walk to each cabin and sing a couple Christmas carols. The girls will be read a Christmas story then go to sleep early. Tomorrow morning everyone will get the chance to sleep in, then be awoken by a truck full of doughnuts and hot chocolate. Camp is great. Merry Christmas Eve Y’all!

 

Counselor Emily Jameson

Milky Way