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A Sunny & Dreamy Monday

Today at Camp Merri-Mac was a little different, because it was Staff Appreciation Day and boy, did we feel appreciated! The Sunnysiders (Sunny Side and Cloud 9) and Dreams (Dreams Begin and Dreams End) girls had the pleasure of dressing as their favorite counselors in their staff shirts and leading activities all day. The day started off with the Sunnyside and Dreams girls learning how difficult it is to wake up a cabin full of sleepy girls and making sure they finish their chores before breakfast! Watching these girls step up and lead was a very special thing to see! You should be so proud of your Sunnyside and Dreams daughters! They showed great leadership, patience, and wisdom today. It was beyond encouraging to see them beam with responsibility and confidence!

The most important meal of the day, breakfast, was pancakes with sausage, cereal, fruit, yogurt, and granola. Some of the new staff learned to appreciate the magic of a cup of coffee, as they received that perk with their new status. Chapel followed with sweet worship music. Watching the girls wrap their arms around each other’s shoulders and sing the camp’s psalm is probably my favorite part of the day. Tears are typically shed. A message followed about Romans 5:8 “ But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. We were reminded that no matter how broken we are the Lord is bigger than our sin and sees us as His precious Son.

I had the privilege of taking pictures of your sweet daughters today and captured some of the biggest smiles! The younger girls thrived being taught by the older Sunnysiders and Dreams girls. As counselors, it was a joy to see the older girls step up and lead! The energy was up all day and quite relaxing for the counselors, not going to lie. Your girls rocked it! Lunch today was Stromboli (a camp favorite) with cookies on a stick for dessert. Can’t get much better than that! Dinner was fajitas and cake for dessert. The new staff got to lead their cabins in their cabin songs and sing the staff song at dinner. It was quite entertaining.

We are all dressed up in our finest attire to attend Fine Arts Night! The red carpet is waiting for all of our talented Fine Arts such as chorus, drama, dance, and fencing to perform. It will be quite a show! Fine Arts Night is a great example of the diversity Camp Merri-Mac truly has to offer and more importantly, how many talents God’s children have been given to serve Him. 1 Peter 4:10-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

 

In Christ,

Courtney Billions

Dreams End Counselor

Go Vols

Telling The Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media Crew Getting the Shot

Media Crew Getting the Shot

There are a thousand stories that happen at camp every day, and one of them is the story of those telling the story. Each day before breakfast our media team begin planning their day. They look at the schedule to make decisions about where to film, how to distribute four cameras to counselors and then they head out to take photos themselves. Their day ends around 10:00 pm editing and posting the best moments of the day. Each of them are professionals and each of them get excited every time a parent understands camp a little better. They love camp, and they work hard to help tell the story – so thanks to Lauren Geerken, David Johnson, Phil Mollenkof, Sunday Grant and Wendy Perry for sharing so many camp stories.

– Adam

Prepare for Homesickness at Girls Summer Camp near Florida

The only downside about going away for summer camp is leaving home. As drop off day at our girls summer camp near Florida gets closer, campers may start to feel stressed and against leaving. But don’t worry, this is completely normal and can be the beginning signs of homesickness at summer camp. Every camper experience some sort of homesickness while away at summer camp and it is impossible to avoid. But here at Camp Merri-Mac, we have come up with a few tips to help you prepare yourself and your daughter for summer camp this year.

  1. Be Positive- Children are likely to feel uneasy or sad the days leading up to summer camp. Since they will be leaving home, their friends, and their family for the summer, these feelings are common and unavoidable. Try and cheer them up by reminding them of all the fun experiences they will have at summer camp this year! Talk to them about the girls summer camp activities they will get to participate in, all of the new friends they are going to make, and the memories they will come home with and remember forever. Speak positive about summer camp and don’t show your daughter that you are stressed or upset about them leaving. Remind them that summer camp will be over before they know it and they will want to go back as soon as possible!
  2. Practice- As much as you try, homesickness can’t be avoided. Instead, have your daughter spend a weekend away from home at a family member or friend’s house. This will give them a chance to practice being away from home and sleeping somewhere other than their own bed. Have them follow the schedule of what a typical day at girls summer camp would feel like. This will give them a chance to experience and get used to girls summer camp before they even leave home.
  3. Tour the Campgrounds- One of the best ways to reduce feelings of homesickness is to take a tour of the campgrounds. More often than not, campers will stress over getting lost or not knowing where the girls summer camp facilities are. By taking a tour together, this will give campers more confidence and to become more comfortable with their new surroundings.
  4. Meet the Staff- If possible; you and your daughter should meet with a member of the girls summer camp staff. Allow your daughter to ask any questions or voice any concerns. In addition, this is a great way for campers to have a friendly and familiar face on drop off day.

Still looking for the best girls summer camp near Florida for your daughter? Contact Camp Merri-Mac at 828-669-8766 to schedule a tour or for more information today!

 

Sunday News from Merri-Mac!

Today is the day that the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Today, as is done every Sunday here at Merri-Mac, all of the campers got up and put their whites on and the staff awoke and put their staff shirts on: this is a sweet tradition here at Merri-Mac and is also a great day for pictures. The girls got to sleep in an extra hour because, hey, a little extra rest never hurts, right? After this, chores began. After about 40 minutes, the cabins were in tip top shape and the ladies set out to venture through another day in an amazing place.

The first event they attended was breakfast where they ate cinnamon roles, cereal, or yogurt. They also sang sweet Sunday morning songs and then headed to the chapel for some more singing and a Bible message delivered by the girls from Milky Way. They brought a message from Daniel 6:26-27 about God and His enduring love. After this the girls set off for some free time before they headed to the activities that were offered today.

I had the privilege of  taking pictures today and even had a buddy from the Tweedles tag along with me this morning: her name is Emily, and she kindly asked the girls from Rainbow to sing their cabin song for her, and so they did so with quite a bit of enthusiasm. They really are role models for those that are younger than they are. We had morning activities and then evening activities, and between the two the girls had some good ‘ol fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, and mini apple turnovers for lunch. Tweedle Doe shared some learning experiences they have had during this time. These included having learned two point on a horse, how to make a horse jump over a bucket, and that Jesus got arrested when he really didn’t do anything wrong. What great news it is to hear what some of our girls have learned over the week of camp that they have had thus far.

Today’s activities included diving, rifelry (in which Julianna R. earned her silver), an intense fencing tournament, chorus and dance (whom were preparing for liberal arts night), an enthusiastic Zumba class led by our very own Princess, Anne Dillon L., basketball (in which some girls earned their bronzes), volleyball, an outstanding climbing tournament, guitar (in which Morgan B. earned her gold in today), archery, cooking, free swim (which was so popular that we maximized the amount of girls we could hold safely in the lake), and there was even a couple of sand castles built today. A lot of the girls also played gaga ball and tether ball today as they had an afternoon to choose activities to do today.

Rest hour today was an hour long, so you may be getting some letters soon parents. We also had trading post at the beginning of free time. After free time ended, we headed to dinner, which was a cookout and we had hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, chips, and cookies. Your children miss you and can’t wait to see you again, but they are also having a lot of fun! Now were headed to Vespers. Check out Facebook to see some funny skits later tonight!

 

Counselor Caitlin

 

Tribefest!

Reveille was heard throughout the camp this morning as campers hopped out of their beds and began their daily chores. As campers run down the hill to a breakfast of french toast and sausage, they realize that this Saturday is unlike all of the other days here at Merri-Mac. Today is tribefest. A whole day filled with tribal activities, rather then the girls normal schedule of various camp activities. After breakfast, a wonderful chapel was led by Arianna J. about how we are enough because Jesus is enough. Songs such as “let my light shine bright” and “on Jordan’s Stormy Banks.” echoed throughout the mountains.

After chapel, the day began. Tribefest begins with what we call swimfest. Girls would compete in a swimming competition for their tribe. Many girls put on their swimsuits and everyone headed down to Lake Dorris. Girls swam in a variety of events, including a life vest relay, a staff relay, and a tribal leader relay. After a loud and cheerful competition, Choctaw was declared the winner of the first tribal activity of the day. As swimfest ended, an announcement was made that tribal trash pickup had begun. Girls can get points for their tribe by wandering around camp and picking up as many pieces of trash as they can and then delivering it back to their tribal leaders.

From tribal trash pick up we all headed to the tucker inn for lunch. A delicious meal of meatball subs and pasta salad was devoured by hungry campers, followed by the chanting and stomping of tribal cheers. The girls regained all their lost energy with a one hour rest hour and then sprinted down the hill to trading post. Battle ball was the next event for the day and everyone headed to The Mike. Tribes were separated into age groups and the battle began. Two tribes played battle ball (dodgeball) at a time. Laughter and cheering was all that could be heard as the girls showed their tribal pride. After battle ball, everyone was ready for dinner and ran down to fill up on a scrumptious meal. Evening activity was a game of tribal trivia in which every girl could show her strengths throughout the variety of categories. After a long day of cheering and smiles girls headed up to  their cabins and fell asleep to the sounds of nature outside their windows and dreamt about what incredible memories lie ahead in the days to come

 

Choctaw tribe dominates

Big Dipper counselor

roll tide

Jessica Goldman

Friday Funday

This morning the sun rose to reveal another mystical day in the land of Merri-Mac. Campers sat up in the bunks as counselors pranced around, attempting to get their sleepy girls to begin their morning chores. Eventually, the cabins were spotless and campers moseyed down the hill to chow down on a yummy breakfast complete with hashbrowns, eggs, and biscuits. After chapel and free time, campers embarked on a day filled with friends and adventure in their classes. Some of those highlights included some riders jumping their horses for the first time, a super intense game of kayaking waterpolo (water polo played in kayaks), and a chili cookoff in cooking class. After dinner, all of camp gathered around the teepee to celebrate commendations and promotions earned by their fellow cabinmates and friends. This is a special time for campers and staff because it gives us an opportunity to recognize growth in our campers in a very tangible way. We are proud of all of our campers, but we are especially thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate some milestones met by our campers as they received promotions and commendations this evening.

 

Camper Commendations

 

Kate R., Louisa dB., Eliza D., Kaci M., Hillary R., Emily S., Abby S., Ruthann S., Jade B., Carly P.,  Victoria F., Idalia dB., Elyce D., Alice A., Katherine W., Kristen P., Zofia C., Anna M., Leah Cate B., Shelby C., Prentice A., Lindsay J., Edie B., Emma J., Stewart Anne M., Isabel E., Shane O’S., Hadley C., Katherine Faye N., Anna C., Betsy J., Katie M., Julia P., Lizzie B., Millie M., Anna B., Katie F., Caroline C., Juliana R., Ava F., Kate S., Ryan S., Sophia H., Emily R., Madeline H., Alex H., Merrill L.

 

Counselor Commendations

 

Lucy V., Greer H., Eva B., Amelia L., Ava B., Lucy L., Jade B., Mary R., Anna Grace S., Kate S., Betsy B., Zofia C., Natalia R., Shelby C., Ava H., Casey C., Laken T., Maddy P., Hannah W., Eleanor D., Sophie B., Rachel C., Mary Avrett B., Mary Julia G., Allison F., Mary Elizabeth B., Morgan P., Hannah K., Anna B., Katie F., Ava F., Morgan B., Bianca B., Eliza D., Ellie H., Meghan M., Isabella B., Lila B.

 

Promotions

 

Tumbleweed:

Anabel D., Katie R., Elizabeth W., Greer H., Lucie R., Pearce W., Olivia R., Maya N., Lucy V., Louisa dB., Layla M., Emily S., Avery G., Mary Clayton S.

 

Groundhog:

Amelia D., Nora B., Emily S., Ryan S., Mary Richard E.

 

Badger:

Eva B., Eliza D., Amelia L., Eliza D., Molly G., Kaci M.

 

Arrow:

Hallie B., Lucy L., Ruthann S., Sarah Caulley S., Hastings W., Audrey G., Carly P., Zofia C., Sarah W., Morgan R., Laken T., Mary R., Anna Grace S., Ashton G., Sarah R., Olivia R., Abby A., Audrey H.

 

Crazy Creek:

Tess B., Shelby C., Sydney M., Casey C., Avery F.

 

Running Deer:

Sophia H., Swayze W., Anna B., Ava F., Kate S., Emily E., Krissy S, Merrill L., Katie F., Sarah B., Betsy J.

 

Red Tail:

Sophia H., Merrill L., Isabeau C., Sarah K., Lizzie B., Emily R., Alex H., Ava F., Isabel E., Mary Elizabeth B.

 

Junior Feather

Sang-Mi L.

 

White Feather

Anna B.

 

After the White Feather ceremony, Merri-Mac divided into cabin areas for Division Night. Within the Senior Hill cabins (Sunnyside, Cloud Nine, Sundrop, Dreams Begin, Dreams End, Rainbow, Big Dipper and Moonmist), campers split up into two teams to debut a new game called Pirate Ball. The game consists of treasure hunting, fencing battles, canoe water polo and inner tube water polo in an attempt to score points for their teams. Though competition was fierce, smiles could be found on all of the “pirates’” faces. The intermediate cabins (Stardust, Milky Way, Comet, Little Dipper, and Blue Heaven) split into teams and drafted gold fish to compete in an intense series of Gold Fish Races. The girls gathered around gutters and cheered on their gold fish to the finish line. Blue Heaven’s thoroughbred gold fish took the cake in tonight’s tournament. Finally, the junior campers (Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Doe, Tweedle Dum, and Sunspot) headed to Mackey’s Green for a fun night of slip n’ sliding. Overall, division night was a hit. Laughter and joy echoed through the mountains as the girls headed with the counselors back to the cabins for showers and cabin time. With that, the campers nestled in their beds to get some necessary rest after another exciting, action packed day at camp.

 

From this Haven,

Elizabeth “EP” Powell

Cabin Area Director

Go ‘Noles

Thriving Thursday

Another beautiful day at Merri-Mac started with a delicious breakfast in the Tucker Inn followed by chapel lead by Becca V. I began my day by starting at 1st period gymnastics where girls are working diligently to earn their bronze. I made my way down to team sports. Soccer was beginning to work on basic skills and bars as well as volleyball. Backpacking treated themselves to delicious s’mores while learning how to cook over a fire. Over at Riding, beginners were learning how to walk around the ring and more advanced riders were working on bars. Over at pottery, were many girls were doing there coil pinch pots in order to earn their bronze.

Over on the Patti-O, all the girls in knitting were working on headbands and scarves. Cooking was beginning their chili cook off. Each period creates there own chili recipe and certain staff members will be judging to pick the best chili. The girls were given the items needed for chili but with no recipe so they made it all themselves. I hope it went well. Next I wandered over to fencing where I watched Audrey Goddard earn her silver. Then I went to archery where many girls picked up the bow for the first time while the others have been working on bars and shooting for years.

After this everyone was out of classes for a little bit of free time and then off to lunch. Pizza! A camp favorite for our girls was for lunch today. It was always a favorite of mine when I was a camper. Dessert was homemade rice crispy treats, and they were amazing. Third period, I started on the dock where I watched first year camper Sydney H. get her wet exit in kayaking and Morgan P. get her roll. Canoeing worked on basic skills and perfected their strokes. I visited gymnastics again where Anna C. successfully complete and ariel, which she has been working on for 3 years. I ventured to archery and then to riflery where girls were shooting and working for bars.

My last stop for the day was puppy camp. A fun, loving activity that everyone at camp has come to love. We took them for a walk and gave them treats. After Dinner, tribes divided for gold rush, an exhilarating favorite evening activity at camp where campers find gold scattered around camp. Today was an absolutely wonderful day here at Merri-Mac. We can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings… especially to find out who won gold rush!

 

Proud Seminole,

Hailey Howsare

Merri Christmas!

Merri Christmas!

The schedule today was rocked by Christmas festivities. The girls were encouraged to stay in bed till 9, but many of them were so excited that they woke up early to start the day. At 9 am Merri-Mac staff drove to the cabins playing Christmas music and passing out the Merri-Mac Christmas breakfast, which consisted of donuts and hot chocolate. Emma J. boasted that she ate four and half donuts. The girls soon got ready and finished their morning chores. Chapel started at 10:30 where they sang Christmas hymns and Adam read the story of the velveteen rabbit. Because of the late start, the girls skipped first period and proceeded to second period. Isabel E. cross-stitched the slogan “First, Last, and Always” in DIY crafts and Julia Claire A. practiced for the Fine Arts Night in chorus.

The girls then enjoyed their favorite taco in a bag lunch. During Trading Post, Stewart Anne M. held a tennis tournament and Sydney B. held a fencing tournament. Third and fourth period proceeded on schedule and then it was time for dinner. The girls enjoyed sliced chicken with dressing, mashed potatoes, and green beans with peach crisp for dessert. The Christmas festivities continued at the Christmas Party where the intermediate cabins performed individual skits. The girls were then encouraged to shower and get ready for bed, but before it was time for bed they enjoyed a firework show. And it was a Merri Christmas indeed.

With good cheer,

Counselor Micah

Terrific Tuesday!

It’s been another joyous day here in the mountains of Merri-Mac! The sun rose and gave us a beautiful morning for the girls to wake up to and start doing their chores. We came down to the Tucker Inn for breakfast where we had a delicious Merri-Mac specialty: breakfast pizza! After clearing and singing morning songs, we headed up to the chapel where we sang  and danced to “Pharoah, Pharaoh” (a camp favorite) and listened to Miranda give a hilarious and beautiful talk about a time she accidentally ate a poisonous peach nut. After a little bit of free time, the bugle sounded and it was time for first period. As it was the first day of Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday classes, everyone had safety talk and learned what they’d be getting into in each of their classes–then dove right in! I ran into Cooking making some gorgeous pies, Archery starting to shoot, and DIY Craft learning to cross-stitch. After two periods, it was time for lunch, where we were thrilled to find a good southern meal: fried chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries. After singing tribal songs and finding out that Seminoles won the Sock War last night, we were met by an exciting visitor and an even more exciting announcement: Santa, telling us that tonight’s activity is Christmas Eve! Everyone went wild, but soon it was time to quiet down for rest hour. Not for too long, though; everyone was ready to run to Trading Post when the bugle rang. After some free time to hang out, play in the creek, or challenge a friend to tetherball, it was time for activities again: Kayaking was practicing hip-snaps, PAWS was teaching the adorable (and recently initiated) puppies to sit, and Riding was already trotting over poles. Not long after fourth period was over, I started to see girls of all ages filing down the hill towards dinner wearing red and green–some even wearing antlers! Perfect for the night’s theme, we all had roast pork, cinnamon apples, peas, and potatoes, with pudding for dessert. Back up on the hill, older campers babysat the younger ones with fun activities like making visors for secret Santas, or creating skits for tomorrow’sChristmas Vespers. Once they were all tucked in, staff came around and caroled to every cabin–beautiful Christmas songs and lit by candlelight. Little do the campers know it, but they’ll all be finding a stocking filled with candy when they wake up tomorrow!

Love,

Merri-Mac Counselor Robyn

 

Maximum fun!

Today was another beautifully sunny day at camp Merri-Mac with singing coming from all directions. It was the first day of activities for our new campers and they were all very excited to get into a regular routine and meet the girls in their classes. Before they were able to have maximum fun, however, they had to learn to be safe! All activities have a safety talk at the beginning of the first class of the session. Safety talks are used to educate the girls on how to properly use the necessary equipment involved in their classes. Safety talks are also used as an icebreaker between counselors, counselors-in-training, and campers. A favorite icebreaker question among counselors is to ask the camper: if you could be an animal, which one would you be? Speaking of animals, last night we had initiation, and we initiated the puppies too!

Seminoles: Puppy Page, Puppy Motley, Puppy Gibbs, Kathryn R, Louisa D, Greer H, Olivia R, Mary Clayton S, Jillian G, Elisa B, and Ana Christina L.

Iroquois: Puppy Dillion, Lucy V, Anabel D, Emily S, Avery G, Elle Waldron, Layla M, Lucie R, Maya N, Natalia R, and Sydney H.

Choctaw: Puppy Robb, Pearce W, Isabella R, and Gabriella K.

My day of observation and picture taking began at the archery range where, after the safety talk, many girls began working toward their bronze bar. The girls were divided by height and eye dominance to find a bow that best suits them. At the range, we have a few commands. When the instructor says the “fire” command, they like to get creative. A favorite among many of our campers is “let it go, let it go. Can’t hold it back anymore!” The best part about that command is that the designated command caller sings it just like Elsa in Frozen. The younger campers like to join in as well.
My second stop in the day was on Little Dipper porch where little fingers were strumming guitar strings to make a sweet melody everywhere you turned your ear. Girls in the guitar class are also working towards bars. The favorite song among campers this summer seems to be “Riptide”, or anything by Taylor Swift, of course.
My next stop coming down senior hill was the fitness class. The girls in here work hard every day doing a varirety of workouts. Many of the girls who take fitness also attempt to earn the elective mark of running the fitness trail. In fitness they learn how to properly exercise their muscles. They also learn how important it is to hydrate often to keep our bodies going throughout the day, not just in fitness class.
After checking in on fitness I made my way down the hill to pottery where the girls learned how to make pinch pots. This is where you take a ball of clay and pinch the center down to make a bowl-like shape. It is a fun and simple first craft for our first day campers. The motto in pottery is if you can dream it, you can build it. Pottery teaches the girls patience, gentleness, dedication, and focus. The beautiful thing about pottery is that a girl gets to learn the basics, and then she is able to create something that is truly her own; something beautiful that she formed from a ball of clay with her own two hands.
After that I made my way over to knitting and cooking. The knitters had so many different styles of creating scarves, headbands, and as one girl told me, “I don’t know exactly what I’m making yet; I’m just knitting.” Just beyond that, however, in cooking, they knew exactly what they were making: fish tacos and fresh salsa. As I walked in, the room was filled with the sound of chewing and faces that expressed the accomplishment they felt at having made a fresh meal to enjoy.
After a filling lunch of turkey wraps and curly fries, we headed to our cabins for rest hour and free time. Following that, campers and staff headed to their classes for the second half of the day. The class I visited first was volleyball where they played a game of freeze tag to warm up in preparation for some volleyball drills. This was a different version of freeze tag than I was used to, however. When a girl was tagged and frozen, she knelt down on one knee and held out her arm with her hand palm down. To get unfrozen, another girl had to come by and sit on her knee and “flush” the hand on the extended arm. They called this version of freeze tag “toilet tag”. An interesting new spin that was very popular among the campers.
My next stop was at the stables where girls were learning about the different parts of a horse and how to be most safe when interacting with them. Two girls during my time there were getting one-on-one coaching instruction in the proper way to lean with the horse and balance on the sturups. The instructor started the horse off in a walk and worked up to a trot so that the girls could get a basic feel for riding.
After I spent some time with the horses I made my way to Lake Doris where canoeing, kayaking, and swimming classes were taking place. I spent most of my time watching the kayakers work on their rolls; it is fascinating to watch! Another class that is fun to watch is the climbing class. They spent their day at the traverse wall on the side of the Mike. The Mike is our gymnasium building. The traverse wall is more of a beginner’s wall and is perfect for the first day of classes to get the feel of climbing close to the ground.
Today was a great day. The girls now have a scheduled routine. They have been taught how to be safe and have a feel for the basics of their activities. We ended the day with a spaghetti dinner followed by sock war. The girls are now soon to be doing cabin activities, devotion, and then off to bed. Day number one is almost over, and we are all so honored that you sent your girls to Merri-Mac!

Catie Shearer