We celebrate with the beloved Anne (Archer) Yetsko and her husband Daniel as they welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Mary Archer into the world earlier this month. Mary Archer already can’t wait for her time in Tweedledee cabin come summer 2022.
When you think of summer camp staff, it is easy to let your thoughts go immediately to the camp counselors. While these positions make up the vast majority of our staff, it is important to remember that there are always many other positions to fill. The Water Skiing Instructor, Videographer, Cooking instructor, Riding staff and Maintenance team all play unbelievably important roles at Merri-Mac on a daily basis. These positions, along side the cabin counselor, allow us to give your daughter the best possible experience at camp each summer. So next time someone asks you about what they should do as a summer job, suggest Camp Merri-Mac for Girls, because there are always more jobs available than what meets the eye!
We are very happy to announce that many of our counselors from Summer 2015 will be returning again for our upcoming summer at Camp Merri-Mac! While many others will also be joining our staff, as of now these are some of the wonderful, talented and passionate women who will be around next summer to love and serve your daughters!
Anna Laura Cranford
We are thankful for this great foundation of a staff for next summer!
There are few moments that bring on a louder cheer in the Merri-Mac Dining hall than when the trays of S’more pockets are brought to each table. When the menu board reads Baked oatmeal, Taco in a bag, or S’more pockets, a giddy excitement rushes through all the campers, as someone inevitably proclaims, “this is my favorite!”
With that in mind we thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite camp recipes with you so that the next time your daughter is really missing camp, (which, let’s be honest, is always) together you can make something to remember the good ol’ days of summer time at Merri-Mac. Enjoy!
Baked Oatmeal: Ingredients
3 Cups quick cooking oats
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Cup Milk
Taco in a Bag: Ingredients
Browned Seasoned Taco meat
Snack size bags of Fritos
S’More Pockets: Ingridients
1 Premade Pie Crust (homemade optional)
3 Milk Chocolate Hershey bars
2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 Egg white (beaten)
| By: Ally Gudeman, Assistant Director |
All around camp our passionate landscaping team has cultivated and developed the many trees, bushes, flowers, and fields on our property. The intentional care of our property serves as a beautiful metaphor of our ministry model here at camp.
This property has taken years and years of cultivation and devoted attention. Our grounds keepers have intentionally dedicated time and love to working with the land day after day. We recognize that each part of the land holds a unique and special beauty that contributes to the community of our property, thus making it a better place. Each piece of land is personally cared for based on its needs and developed with loving and gentle intentions.
Much like the way our landscaping team cares for our unique and beautiful land, so do we care for our campers. We believe that each camper is perfectly unique, beautiful, and worthy to be cared for. There is a desire to care for and love our campers so well that they feel empowered to become the best, strongest and most confident versions of themselves. We spend intentional time, year after year, loving these young women and getting to know them each personally. We attempt to cater specifically to their needs and hopes each day. As a forest cannot grow over night, so it is with the campers of Merri-Mac. With each passing year Merri-Mac will be here, helping grow, cultivate, and develop our campers into the strong, beautiful, and mystifying pieces of God’s creation that we truly believe they are.
By: Ally Gudeman |assistant director|
This week marks the end of an era for us here at Camp Merri-Mac! Our beloved Donna White is retiring. We threw a party for her at Red Radish in Black Mountain last Thursday (and got her some new chairs for her next adventure!)
Donna has been the office manager for 20 years. She literally took us from doing business pre-internet (doing all work on a typewriter and in shorthand) to the place that we are today. You would be hard-pressed to find a more intelligent, organized, friendly, and stout-hearted lady anywhere in the world. We are honored that we got to work with her for so many years! We think she is pretty amazing.
This morning, the girls woke up to a great surprise. They had been allowed to sleep in for an extra hour, and woke up only when staff members came around with donuts and glad tidings for “Random Donut Day”. After supposedly being cancelled, we learned that the long awaited Tribefest would be held today. After eating as many donuts as our stomachs could handle, we headed off to Sunnyside chapel down by the lake. Each girl read a Bible verse or favorite quote they felt would inspire the younger campers. Afterwards, they all jumped in the lake, fully clothed, and sang their cabin song for one of the last times.
A camp favorite, we played tribal trash pickup to initiate what was sure to be a great day. After making camp a cleaner place, we headed to tribal trivia in the Tucker Inn, which consisted of stretching our minds and dance parties. Next on the list of perpetual fun was battle ball for older campers, and sock war for the younger ones. Both were full of spirit and a blast simply to be around.
After lunch and trading post, we played a new game to camp; pirate ball. Have your girls explain it when they get home tomorrow; it’s sure to be a new favorite! After dinner, we honored campers through our White Feather Ceremony. The awards were:
Camper Commendations: Mia S, Olivia R, Bryce P, Ava W, Esmeralda S, Molly R, Eliza Dunn T, Abby S, Blake D, Maggie S, Caroline D, Everly H, Elizabeth W, Margaret H, Kate S, Kate W, Molly M, Bryce M, Lizzie H, Emma S, Ansley B, Matilde V, Evan P, Katie B, Patterson G, Carolyn C, Mae H, Lucy B, Bailie S, Eleanor P, Corrina G, Marianna S, Georgia S, Caroline W, Holland T, Lindsey H, Nora Q, Mary Emma W, Morgan G, Kate T, Vannessa D, Juliette A, and Julia B.
Counselor Commendations: Grace M, Loy H, Turner C, Katherine E, Callie S, Bennett P, Cate L, Jayne Beth M, Amy W, Addison K, Sarah P, Annabel R, Katherine M, Lydia W, Marin G, Morgan S, Ava W, Gretchen N, Savannah L, Olivia W, Ella Lee C, Molly F, Maddy P, Emma C, Vivian R, Tallulah B, Iasbela F, Ella T, Drake M, Kate B, Caroline H, Brooke R, Savanna S, Joelle S, Holland T, Abby B, Nora Q, Julia S, Mary Laci M, Caroline C, Zena D, and Alex K.
Ground Hog: Esmeralda S, Katherine Grace M, Olivia R, Ava W, Turner C, Loy H, Bennett P, and Mia S.
Arrow: Amanda J, Sarah P, Blake D, Mary Emma W, Caroline D, Lindsay J, Molly M, Kate S, Nora Q, Vivian R, Amy W, Maggie S, Emma D, Marin G, Cate L, Jayne Beth M, and Eliza Dunn T.
Crazy Creek: Kate H, Alexa L, Nora Q, Morgan S, and Katherine M.
Long Bow: Claire H, Lizzie H, and Savannah L.
Running Deer: Caroline H, Grace A, Isabela F, Amelia L, Mary P, Alexandra W, Drake M, Carolyn C, Mae H, Sabrina O, and Sarah R.
Red Tail: Julia B, Caroline H, Patterson G, Holland T, Vanessa D, Shay A, Joelle S, and Margaret Anne W.
Junior Feather: Juliette A, Kate T, and Lindsey H.
White Feather: Morgan G and Mary Laci M.
It’s hard to say goodbye to camp and the friends we have made here, and as we head to final campfire, we begin to daydream about next summer.
It’s 5:15 pm and I’m in my office catching up on email to parents. But I’m not getting much done because I keep stopping to listen. Right now the mountain is vibrating with tribe cheers. It’s Tribe Fest and we are finishing it off with an enthusiastic game of Pirate Ball at the lake. Any game with pirate music and Krakens, campers and rafts, and balls and kayaks elicits a lot of cheering. I have been to a lot of Tribe Fests at camp, and I have been to a lot of field days schools, and there’s a big difference. Schools just do not make this much noise. I think there are three reasons.
First, girls are different when there are no boys in the room. They get very loud, they laugh more, they are not afraid to look silly, and they are not afraid to be athletic, or leaders, or teachers. Our girls are made to engage the world around them and when it is just girls they have the freedom to do this without any concern what a boy might think about it. An all-girl’s camp is a safe place for our campers to figure out who God has made them to be.
Second, living together is completely different than being dropped off at 8:00 and picked up at 3:00. When children live together they develop a sense of empathy that is difficult to find in other places. The result is they find themselves cheering for friends and family, not just randomly selected teams. Even when they do not win, they are proud of each other.
Finally, we are made to be challenged, grow and succeed. When a girl has the freedom to fail without anyone laughing about it, she has the freedom to try new things, and when she does this she is not afraid of challenges. Of course at that point growth and success are then just right around the corner. That is why when they see their friends succeed they begin cheering…very loudly. It’s very loud here.
Adam (is now further behind with his email)
Every day at Camp Merri-Mac is a wonderful day, but some days are just special. Today was one of those days, filled with moments of laughter, singing , and true friendships. After an amazing night walking the red carpet at the Merri-MACademy Awards where we celebrated some of our extremely talented campers, we began another day at Merri-Mac.
We awoke to the familiar sound of the bugle, signally us to begin our day and get an early start on cabin clean up. In the next few days, the girls will find out which cabin has the highest overall cabin clean up score, who will be rewarded with the highly coveted cabin cake. After blasting Taylor Swift music to make chores more fun, we headed down to enjoy a delicious meal of breakfast pizza, blueberry orange coffee cake, cereal, Fruit, and Yogurt. We continued our meal with some beloved morning songs to help begin our day with a smile, before heading to chapel.
For many, chapel is a favorite time of day because it gives both campers and staff the opportunity to sing chapel songs and reflect on what is truly important in our lives. This morning, we sang “Every Move I Make”, “As the Deer”, and “10,000 Reasons” in chapel, before ending with the beloved Camp Psalm. Rainbow counselor Elizabeth O. spoke on what God requires of us by talking about how we can trust God and his plan for our lives and future.
After chapel, girls enjoyed free time before the beginning of their activities. Tetherball games were held by the junior and intermediate campers as a number of different ages worked to practice their skills in this camp favorite. Gracie Rae H. and other Dreams Begin and Dreams End girls helped the Tweedle campers to paint their nails to reflect their tribal spirit.
While most girls were in activities, a small group of girls had the opportunity to venture on trips in both kayaking and waterskiing. This morning, Caroline C. Joelle S, Amelia L, Isabel R., Olivia W, Katherine H, and Maria B. went to Lake James to experience the excitement of waterskiing. In addition, Elizabeth W, Margaret P, and Alexandra W. spent the day kayaking the Pigeon River.
In Tennis, girls worked on practicing their forehand and backhand and played a game of worm, to improve their shuffling on the court. In Camp Craft, it was an exciting day for the girls: the opportunity to go on the high ropes course. In DIY Crafts, it was a free day, where campers were allowed to finish up any remaining projects or crafts they had been working on. Holland T. spent time working on decorating her book, while other campers worked on cross-stitching, handmade friendship bracelets, and other projects.
Lots of fun was to be had over at the waterfront of our beloved Lake Doris. Kayaking played a game of Kayak Water Polo, where girls were working to score goals through hitting a ball with their kayak paddles. Drake M. practiced her newly perfected roll, while diving and swimming played fun water games to improve their skills.
At the end of second activity, there was an excitement in the air and shouts of joy occurred as we realized that lunch was Taco in a Bag, a camp favorite. After this delicious lunch, the Sunnyside and Cloud 9 tribal leaders announced that it was Tribal Switch Day! The Iroquois tribe sang Seminole songs, the Choctaw Tribe sang Iroquois songs, while the Seminole Tribe sang Choctaw songs.
At the end of lunch, we made our way up to the hill with full stomachs and ready for another great part of the day: rest hour. The girls enjoyed getting to take a little bit of time to write home, read, or even take a nap, in order to recharge for the rest of the day. At exactly 2:30 PM, the bugle rang once more, signally that it was time for the daily stampede to Trading Post. The girls enjoyed getting to eat their snacks near the volleyball court or by the lake and make memories with their cabin mates who will become lifelong friends.
In PAWS, the Merri-Mac puppies were precious and ready to learn. The campers were instructed to practice the commands of “sit”, “shake”, and “down” with the eager to learn puppies. The girls also enjoyed getting to work on pages for the puppy scrapbook, which will be given to the puppies’ new owners. Our Merri-Mac girls have played a key role in helping train these puppies over the summer for their new homes and it’s amazing to see the progress that they have made over the past few weeks. In Riflery, Bailey S. chose to name her rifle “Hey Bails”, as a reward for getting her Gold bar recently in the activity.
In cooking, the girls learned how to make scones and learned about the history of this favorite baked good. The girls made three different batches of scones: chocolate chip walnut, pretzel chocolate chip, and cranberry white chocolate. Nearby in knitting, girls finished up knitting their headbands and practicing their knitting and pearling skills.
After the end of 4th period, we all changed into our tribal jerseys and tribe colors in preparation for the night’s evening activity: GOLD RUSH! Gold Rush is a classic evening activity, where gold is hidden all throughout camp and found by campers. If the campers are caught, they have to tell a story to the judge of why the gold is theirs and why it should go to their tribe.
Tonight’s dinner was a delicious meal of tortellini, garlic bread, and vegetables, with cake with rainbow sprinkles for dessert. The girls all went to Gold Rush happy and ready to win points for their tribes.
Thank you for sharing your daughters with us and for giving us as counselors the incredible privilege of getting to know them and make camp memories together.
Cloud 9 Counselor