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With the Shades of Evening

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It was a rainy last day of camp, but that did not stop the girls from having fun in all of their last activities! Girls were playing lacrosse, riding, swimming, and even climbing in the rain. Cooking classes served up some delicious m&m cookies, and in backpacking the girls learned how to use a water filter and made hot chocolate with filtered water from Tweedle Creek. Everyone on the lake had free swim today so girls were diving, blobbing, and splashing around in the water all day.

After a great lunch of mini corndogs and mac and cheese, Sunnyside led the camp in calling out the kitchen staff and singing thanks to them for their hard work. In DIY and Pottery, girls wrote thank you notes to staff. In Riding, the girls were able go on a trail ride around camp. It was a day of thanks that was bittersweet but full of smiles.

The day ended with White Feather, Final Campfire, and Lakeside.

At White Feather, Owen M., Bays Q., Virginia L., Julia C., Emma A., Amelia C., Lillian Jane L., Oleanna K., Olivia S., Josephine V., Taylor M., Shea S., Meg F., Beth H., Caroline S., Nikke F., Juliana H., Ayva R., Mary S., Hannah G., Caroline B., Kenley C., Addison K., Clarissa S., Lindsay J., Ivy C., Riley M., Morgan S., Gabrielle A., Ava W., Molly M., Norah M., Tory S., Elizabeth W., Drake M., Hannah F., Grace R., Carolyn C., Holly H., Sarah R., Olivia  D., Sydney H., Hayden W. all received promotions in the ranks of White Feather.

Abby B. was promoted to full White Feather, and everyone was so proud of her major accomplishment. Final Campfire followed White Feather with all of the cabins sharing memories from the summer and the Sunnysiders finishing it out with Shabooga Roll Call (a silly chant that always brings surprises and laughter) and handing out the Suns that they had made for both campers and staff.

Lakeside finished out the night beautifully with the girls gathered around the lake singing and placing candles in the lake. After lakeside the girls gave hugs, promised to stay in touch, and shed many tears as they said goodbye to all the dear friends they had met that summer. They girls then headed to bed with the anticipation of Closing Ceremony and seeing their parents. At Closing they will be recognized for accomplishments, sing tribal songs, find out who the new princess is, and of course find out who won the banner!

Margaret Patton (CIT)

Another Merri day at Camp

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The sun was brightly shining this morning as the campers awoke at 7:00 AM to the cheery tones of Reveille and headed down the hill to eat a nice meal of biscuit sandwiches. Laughter could be heard all across the dining hall as campers sang their favorite breakfast songs for one of the final times this year.

In Chapel, the girls enjoyed hearing Adam answer the question of what God requires of us and told us a story that inspired us to live faithfully. Chapel was followed by the girls last Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday classes of the summer. In knitting and pottery, the girls finished the projects that they had been working so hard on these past two or four weeks. In kayaking, diving, swimming, and canoeing, the girls all enjoyed a nice free swim where they could ride the waterslide, jump off the Blob, ride the paddle board, or just have fun while swimming in Lake Dorris.

During Lunch, campers ate a delightful meal of tacos and then enjoyed singing everyone’s favorite tribal songs. After that, we practiced singing the beautiful Lake Side songs and there was barely a dry eye in all of Tucker Inn.

For the afternoon activities, cooking enjoyed making homemade ice cream in ziploc bags and adding whatever flavor they would like in it. In dance, the girls played a nice round of freeze dance to some of their favorite songs. In soccer, the girls practiced punting and then played a nice game of football. The Sunnysiders all enjoyed working on their suns in DIY craft this afternoon and carrying on a Merri-Mac tradition.

For Dinner, the girls came down in their tribe jerseys ready to eat some nice ravioli and then play a camp favorite game of sock war. However, during dinner, the rain started to pour down on us and plans were changed so that we could stay safe and enjoy and awesome game of Tribal Trivia instead. A great day was had by all as the girls enjoyed some of the last few moments with their camp friends this summer.

Julia Bell

Counselor In Training

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

Finally, A Chilly Day at Camp

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After a long night of steady rain, the cheery bugle rang over a foggy Merri-Mac morning. Campers across the mountainside crawled out of bed and ran for their sweatshirts to wear on the first actually cold day of camp! As different Disney tunes blared from cabins, chore were done in a bright mood despite the weather and a camp classic and much loved breakfast was served: Baked Oatmeal, praise!

With the morning off on a lovely foot, every girl set off to chapel and made their joyful noise, singing songs like River of Life and For All The Saints. Beloved counselor Kristie G. shared her story of getting lost on a hike to show how man thinks we know where we need to go, but only God can show us and take us down the true path. The chapel dispersed into the still brisk morning and first period soon began. Guitar chords and clashing fencing foils sounded out over the fog, bullets and neighs and barks joining them as the day progressed into second period.

Chicken patties and sweet potatoes fries warmed us up from the inside out on the chilly day and the Seminoles and the Iroquois revealed their new tribal songs at lunch!

The most exciting part of the day was now upon us, and, with a special guest Santa and Mrs. Claus and their elf appearing, there was no doubt was the evening activity was: CHRISTMAS EVE! Mariah Carey blared and girls cheered as candy was tossed to tables met with excited hands.

With the catchy Christmas tune still stuck in heads everywhere, rest hour was well needed after such an active morning. Like clockwork, at 2:30 and one second, the trading post bugle sounded and as did tons of feet down stairs, out of cabin doors, and much more carefully than usual down the muddy slope. Sugared and happy, third and fourth period went wonderfully, with Sabrina O. getting her silver in fencing and Sarah R. getting her gold in riflery!

After fourth, girls ran back to their cabins to deck out in full Christmas gear, donning everything from ugly (but actually really cute) sweaters to penguin onesies and knees socks every shade of red and green. The festivities were afoot and Christmas chill and cheer were still in the air when campers headed back to their to hang out with the Sunnyside and Dreams girls “babysitting”. To close the wonderful night with a band, the girls headed up to Spencer’s green for fireworks, a bright and vivid close to a foggy day. Taps rang its sound, Storybook Bibles were read aloud, and sweet dreams of sugar plums and sleeping in an extra hour danced in the heads of each Merri-Mac girl.

Merri-Christmas and Go Seminoles,

Hunter Willis

What does our web site have to do with our philosophy of camping?

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

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

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

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

Great Camping!

Adam

What if my camper is not smiling?

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Camp is the happiest place I’ve ever seen.  I know this because we laugh a lot!  We laugh a lot more here than at home, or school, or even with our friends.  Sometimes we get tired of laughing and just smile a while, but before long we forget and start laughing again. We laugh every time we wake up and the counselors have designed a new creative way to get us out of bed.  We laugh every time we have a skit at a meal, or sing songs, or do our tribe cheers, or promote a camper.  We laugh every time a camper tries to climb the tower, for the third time, and finally gets it.  We certainly laugh when we see a staff member covered in paint after initiation, or get tagged out by the youngest camper in the Sock War, or sing a solo in the Dining Hall.  

But we have also learned one important thing.  It is actually impossible to smile all the time.  We know this because if it were not true we would do it!  Sometimes, while we’re tying our shoes or thinking real hard, or maybe learning to roll our Kayak, the smile just goes away for a moment and sometimes during these rare, non-smiling moments, someone takes a picture.  

So…if you see a picture of your camper not smiling please don’t worry; they might be thinking up the next thing to smile about!  But if you do worry, please let us know.  We’d be happy to let you know how they are doing.

 

From This Haven…

Adam