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Warm Smiles and Merry Hearts

Camp Article// June 16, 2017

Another morning came and went at Camp Merri-Mac, and while the day is almost done, the fun certainly is not!

The most exciting part of closing day is the moment each camper’s face lights up as the hug their parents and immediately introduce them to all of their camp friends. They then dive straight into the re-telling of all of their favorite camp stories and adventures. It is difficult to watch campers leave this haven, but it is a comfort to know they are bringing the laughter, joy, and growth they experience here to their homes to brighten the lives of others.

After our full session campers waved their last good-byes, they gathered in tucker in for sloppy joe’s and an afternoon full of beautiful renditions of classic disney songs and Taylor Swift. Kate R. said the best news she’s heard about life outside of camp is the reappearance of Taylor Swift’s songs on Spotify. I think every girl at camp can agree with that! We ended lunch with a conga-line to “Love Story,” and the girls moseyed up the hill for rest hour as it began to drizzle. Rest hour was spent in warm beds with letters and books in hand as the rain pitter- pattered on the roof.

Every camper participated in various activities including archery, pottery, cooking, DIY, and PAWS. Leslie, our head cooking instructor, sang along to disney songs with the campers as they pulled four fresh loaves of chocolate-chip banana bread out of the oven. The girls hovered over the warm plate of bread as banana-chocolate scent wafted in the air, and Lizzie B. claimed it was the perfect rainy afternoon. The puppies enjoyed the rainy weather as campers including Kathryn N. and Mary Raines A. chased them around the Ranch in an attempt to snuggle with their warm fur on a chilly day!

Due to the weather forecast, we will watch Toy Story in Tucker Inn tonight in honor of Juliana’s Princess Party! It has been a full day, and tomorrow we will wake up to have another exciting day of energy, enthusiasm, and more campers! Each day at Merri-Mac is a gift, just like each of your children are to us.

For those parents whose daughters departed from camp today, thank you for sharing your loved ones with us, and thank you for allowing them to experience this blessed place. I pray you all arrive home safely and I hope you all got a glimpse of heaven your girls experienced every day in this wonderful place.

From this Haven,

Elizabeth “Biscuit” Chandler

Leslie’s Cooking Corner: Camp Merri-Mac Sliders

Cooking is back in full swing at camp and we are blessed to have a new outdoor kitchen, complete with an oven and FOUR gas grills!  After our first class—safety talk and the perennial favorite, chocolate chip cookies—we decided it was time to check out those grills.  And we had some delicious fun!  We made sliders and had a condiment bar that would put your favorite local burger restaurant to shame.  Our condiment bar included:  caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, pickle, bacon, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, ‘special sauce’, marinara sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, and Ranch dressing.  Campers made mini burgers, grilled them, buttered and toasted their buns, and topped them with whatever combination of condiments they desired.  Some made pizza burgers (marinara sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella), others made bacon cheddar burgers, mini mac’s (lettuce, tomato, special sauce, and a pickle), and most campers just created their own combinations.  They all were delicious and fun to make.  We look forward to a long, and yummy summer of cooking and grilling!

IMG_4496

Camp Merri-Mac Sliders

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • 12-16 small rolls
  • Melted butter

Directions:

  • Preheat grill
  • Divide ground beef into eight 2-3 ounce pieces.  Roll the pieces into a ball, flatten, and press down in the center.
  • Gently brush both sides with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Split small rolls and brush each side with melted butter.
  • Place sliders on preheated grill and cook 3-4 minutes.  Flip and add cheese, if cheese is being added.
  • Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove to serving tray.
  • Place each roll, buttered side down on grill, away from direct heat, and lightly toast.
  • Remove to serving tray.
  • Create your own slider with toppings and condiments.

Examples:

  • Pizza burger:  use mozzarella cheese, top with marinara sauce, and pepperoni
  • BBQ bacon burger: use cheddar cheese, top with bbq sauce, and bacon
  • Traditional cheeseburger:  use cheddar, top with ketchup, and a sliced pickle
  • Mozzarella mushroom burger:  use mozzarella, top with mushrooms, and Dijon
  • Caramelized onion burger:  use cheddar, top with onion, and special sauce

SPECIAL SAUCE:

1 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup chili sauce

Juice of one lime

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

CARAMELIZED ONION:

2 onions, sliced in half, then thinly sliced

4 tablespoons butter/margarine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Melt butter, add onions, sauté, stirring constantly, as onions begin to brown.  Add brown sugar and continue to sauté until golden brown.

SAUTEED MUSHROOMS:

8 ounces mushrooms, sliced

4 tablespoons butter/margarine

½ teaspoon garlic salt

Melt butter, add mushrooms and garlic salt, sauté, stirring constantly, until soft.

 

A New Day at Camp Startin’ Off Right!

It was 7am, the sun was coming up bright, and a new day at camp was starting off right! The girls all cleaned up their cabins and they got them all neat and then they headed down the hill to get them something good to eat (cheese omelets, hash browns, and bacon to be exact). The Sunnysiders lead the camp in the “Prune Song,” “Chante”, and a staff favorite, “Hip Hooray,” which has the girls make a lap outside around Tucker Inn while singing along.

 

After that warm-up the girls headed off to chapel for worship, where Adam focused on John 3 and opened by sharing a personal story from years ago. His family was enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning eating pancakes when he needed to grab a light bulb from their basement. To his surprise his sewer tank had overflown and 8 inches of sewage now covered his basement. Adam connected the state of his house to us, that we may seem perfect on the outside but on the inside we may have 8 inches of sewage that only God can clean up, and much like the plumbers, He will do so gladly.

 

After chapel the girls went off to their tribe meeting to continue learning songs and after a quick game of tetherball it was time for morning activities! Cooking class made grilled apples and some intense bouts of fencing were happening down in the pavilion. Basketball played knockout and tennis played a camper favorite game called “Jail.” The puppies were as lively as ever, girls continued to improve their aim in Riflery and worked towards bars in Archery, and Climbing put in work on the traverse wall.

 

All too fast it was time for lunch where chicken nuggets and French fries awaited the campers. Tribe songs followed lunch and then the girls practiced for Friendship Circle one last time, as tomorrow is session 1A closing day. Lunch concluded with the announcement that tonight’s evening activity will be COUNSELOR HUNT. This is a tribal competition where the staff hide all over camp and whatever tribe the camper is in that finds the counselor will receive whatever point value that counselor is worth … but be careful some counselors are worth negative points!!

 

After rest hour (BEST HOUR), the younger girls ran down the hill to get trading post until a midafternoon downpour descended on the camp. The Tweedles donned their rain gear and ran through puddles, making the best of every situation.

 

Afternoon activities were a bit wet, but like true Merri-Mac girls, we powered through and made the best of it. Dance class learned new moves in the lodge, cups and bowls are being finished in pottery, and the girls got to ride bareback in horseback riding. It has been a great last regular day of camp for session 1A girls, thank you for sharing your daughters with us.

 

From this haven,

Kristy G.

Cloud 9 counselor

Archery instructor

Very proud Choctaw

Happy Princess Party, Juliana!

So began another “not so ordinary” day at Merri-Mac! From the start of the morning, excitement was in the air with the long-anticipated Princess Party scheduled for tonight. This a big celebration where all the girls will dress up in fancy clothes, and the cabin princesses will put on a play for the entire camp. Each cabin princess was chosen specifically by her cabin and has worked hard all week to get ready for the event! After the play, we will honor our current Princess of Merri-Mac and celebrate with some delicious donuts!

After the buzz of breakfast, it was time for chapel! We sang my personal favorite, “The Banana Song,” and listened as Adam continued to talk about John 4. Today, he connected the passage to the story of Eustace, a character in the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and emphasized how Jesus, like Aslan in the movie, is not afraid to confront us and point out where we are wrong. Yet, this is all out of his love for us. Just as Aslan removed the dragon scales from Eustace, Jesus removes all the “nasty stuff” from our lives and changes our hearts into who we are meant to be.

It was another busy morning of activities at camp after chapel ended. In pottery, everyone put the finishing touches on their pieces by glazing them, just in time to take them home and put them to good use! The girls in the cooking kitchen were starting the day off right with a second breakfast of quiche and baked cinnamon apples (and it sure did smell good). As the sun shone brightly, tennis balls were being thrown and girls were practicing their volleys!

Traveling up Windy Hill, the sound of guitars could be heard as campers played some lovely tunes to match the happy spirits of the day. And of course, Lake Doris was bustling with activity as girls practiced their wet-exits and rolls in kayaking, as well as their flipping of canoes in canoeing. And last but not least, climbers were scaling the towers and riders were jumping on their horses – oh what a joy to see campers improving their skills.

Time for a trip update! Trips today included some eager water-skiers leaving for Lake James after breakfast, and some brave backpackers returning from an overnight trip full of waterfalls, yummy campfire food, and great memories!!

Mamma-mia, time flies when you’re having fun because next thing you know, it was time for a delicious lunch of pizza! Today, for our lunchtime singing, we practiced songs for “Friendship Circle,” reminding us that even though first session is drawing to a close, the memories and friendships will last forever and will remain strong until next summer.

The cool breeze and dark sky signaled a storm as rest time began, but hearing the rain and distant thunder from the quiet cabins was oh so peaceful. Even with the threat of rain, no one could stop the campers from hurrying down to the Trading Post for some afternoon sweets when the bugle sounded. The rain passed quickly, and soon it was time for afternoon activities. Sunnysiders spent some time making suns to give to those who impacted their camp experience. All the girls on the dock were able to enjoy a free swim, and the campers in cooking made even more quiche!

But still, thoughts were all focused on Princess Party tonight! Talk of shower schedules and time spent trying on outfits reminded us that being at Merri-Mac is just so much fun. After dinner, the girls will head up to the Mike, all dressed up, ready for an evening of fun.

Even as the end of the first two weeks is near, the joy here at camp fades. The laughter and chatter of girls still fills the cabins and rings in the hills. It is truly a special place at Merri-Mac – a place where every girl feels like a princess!

 

~ Jeannie M.

Sunspot Counselor

Dance Instructor

Christmas in June!

It’s Christmas at camp! Last night the girls were surprised and excited to find out that Santa Claus was coming to town. After dinner the Sunnyside and Dreams girls did crafts with the cabins while Santa’s elves (the staff) stuffed stockings and warmed up our singing voices. Once all of the stockings were ready to go we set out with candles to carol at each cabin. The staff returned to the cabins and before we knew it, not a a cabin was stirring not even a tweedle!

A Solo 13 backpacking trip got back just before the start of Christmas morning activities. These girls slept in the woods all night by themselves! We were so proud of these girls for their endurance and bravery!

We slept in an extra hour and then woke up to Christmas music and the smell of donuts. The girls threw on their festive attire and rushed out of their cabins to eat a full Christmas morning feast of donuts, yogurt, bananas and hot chocolate. The girls danced to the Christmas music and laughed as we were overwhelmed by sugar rushes and the Christmas spirit. And don’t worry, Mom and Dad, we took lots of pictures!

The Sunnyside campers received their decorated clipboards that the counselors have been working hard on since the start of camp. The Sunnyside girls were excited to be a part of this continuing tradition and show off their position as the oldest girls at camp.

In chapel we sang fun Christmas songs and listen to Adam talk about John 4. We discussed Jesus offering the woman at the well “living water” and talking about what this means. Adam explained that Jesus is the only way to be truly satisfied.

We had Christmas lunch today which consisted of turkey, dressing, peas, and mashed potatoes. Also, we had dessert at lunch – a Christmas miracle! After lunch we headed to a much needed rest period. Following rest period was a mad dash to tray-po for more sugary snacks!

Despite an excited holiday, the girls headed to their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th activities to continue working hard to get their bars. In backpacking the girls continued to work on starting a fire. The volleyball players worked on their serves. The campers in canoeing flipped the canoes, also known as swamping, and then learned how to fix the problem they had just created. Guitar worked on playing jingle bells and then went around “caroling” to the other activities. Pottery finished up glazing. Delicious peppermint milkshakes and chocolate cakes were made in cooking class.

Oh, everyday at Camp Merri-Mac is so wonderful but there’s nothing like Christmas in June! Can’t wait for what tomorrow holds!

Lainee A.

Rainbow Counselor

Proud Iroquois

Christmas Eve at Merri-Mac

Campers emerged from their cabins this Tuesday morning and walked down the hill in the misty mountain air. Belgian waffles was on the menu board at Tucker Inn and the campers quickly doused their breakfast delicacy in maple syrup. The girls moved from filling their tummies, to filling their hearts with songs of praise as they sang “Spring Up Oh Well” with much enthusiasm and listened to another true story from Adam at chapel.

As the misty haze lifted off of Lake Doris, the sun joined camp for first activity. Girls in paws enjoyed a sunny walk with the pups in tow and drama practiced lively skits outside of their usual class room. When asked what her favorite thing about camp was Charlotte P. said “Everything of course! But my favorite activity is paws!”

Cooking baked chocolate cake and milkshakes while fitness and tennis worked on strenuous circuits and drills to improve their form.

As the lunchtime rolled around, so did the thunder clouds. An accurate “Thor Guard” thunder and lightening detector let the girls know that it was not okay to be in the water or on any open fields. Soccer, swimming, kayaking and other related activities played it safe in covered areas around camp and still had an adventurous time.

A camp favorite- Taco in a Bag was for lunch and evening activity was announced! Merri Christmas Eve Merri-Mac! Santa, Mrs. Claus and an Elf visited the dining hall to belt out “All I want for Christmas is you” in extreme excitement.

As Christmas eve comes to a close, all of the cabins will return to the hill for carols sung by their counselors. Today has been filled with growth and anticipation for the coming days at camp. All of us here can not wait for more amazing days like this one with your amazing girls.

All is calm and bright here at Merri-Mac.

And to all a good night!

Love, Zena D.

A Merri-Monday!

Today marks one full week of camp! This week has been filled with community, adventure, new skills, and growth. Campers have locked down their daily routines and are enjoying the simplicity of camp. Today we woke up refreshed and ready to conquer the week after a restful Sunday.

It’s “America Monday,” which means camp was filled with red, white, and blue colors all day! The Sunnyside cabin started off our morning very patriotically by getting everyone in the dining hall to sing “I’m Proud to be an American.” In Chapel today we talked about what Jesus asks of us. The scripture that accompanied the message was Luke 14 — more specifically, the parable of the Great Banquet.

Our camp activities were back into full swing this morning. All of our activities strive to teach technical skills to each camper. In Mountain Biking campers learned how to change flat tires and how to fix a broken chain. In Backpacking campers learned how to tie a bowline and taught line hitch in order to successfully set up a sturdy tarp. In Soccer campers worked on foot skills and shooting, they ended the day with a game of power and finesse. In Horseback Riding the riders learned how to post and trot. In Kayaking our paddlers learned to perfect their strokes, t-rescues, and rolls. In Diving our divers continue to work on their three step approach, tuck dives, and many others. In Climbing campers learned backpackers coil, figure 8 follow through, double fishermen’s knot, and had the opportunity to work on the traverse wall routes. In Pottery our potters put their first pieces in the kiln. And as always, our archers in Archery continue to get bullseyes! These are just a few things that happened in our activities today. I assure you all that our other classes were jam-packed with tons of fun, too!

One of the things that we as a camp strive to excel at is our trips. Trips are a tangible way campers get to apply their acquired skills into the real activity. Today we had many trips go out. Kayakers Elise B., Catherine D., Audrey S., Millie M., and Natalie C. paddled their way down the Lower Green. Comet counselor and leader of the trip, Elizabeth C., said the girls had a great day and learned a lot! Mountain Bikers Gabriella C., Ellie H., Molly M., Kate S., and Allie M road the trails around Lake James. Cloud Nine counselor, Emily K., said the mountain biking trip was a huge success! The girls even got to swim at the lake! Tonight we have backpackers Sarah T., Savannah T., Colman F., Lainey M., Charlotte P., Olivia W., Rauri O., Caroline H., Ella R., Anna G., Elle W., Clara H., and Zelle W., hiking up to the Shelter on the Tomahawk Trail for an overnight. Rumors say they are going to be making some very delicious meals! Perhaps some s’mores, too? Another backpacking trip is going out for Solo 13’s. The girls who will be conquering the Solo 13’s are Mary E.B., Claire J., Lauren M., Margaret B., and Emma D. These girls will be earning a mark towards White Feather after completing their Solo’s. We are incredibly proud of them!

As America Monday comes to an end, the Seminoles, the Iroquois, and the Choctaw are battling it out to a game of Tribal Trivia! Today has been filled with new adventures for all of your girls. As evening activity is ending, all of our campers will be heading to their cabins for post-evening activities. These post-evening activities include the slip’n’slide, s’mores, laser tag, free swim, s’mores, and possibly raiding trading post? Shh!

In just one week we have seen an immense amount of growth in each of your children. We are eager to see what this next week has in store. Thank you again for sharing your children with us, they are a blessing to us all!

 

In Christ,

Kristie G.

Blue Heaven Counselor

Proud Iroquois

Sunday at Merri-Mac

Another beautiful week has passed here at Camp Merri-Mac. The girls are in their element with their friends new and old. As the day begins girls are up and about laughing and playing tether ball. The birds are chirping and campers are gathered playing the ukulele. The first Sunday at camp has arrived.

Every one get excited! Cinnamon rolls and coffee cake for breakfast. Eat, clean up, sing… TAYLOR SWIFT IS ON SPOTIFY!!! We sing and dance to “Love Story” while each cabin gets their group picture made. Each girl so beautiful and unique in their own way. Now, it’s off to chapel to sing some fun tunes and watch a cute skit on the story of Esther by Rainbow cabin. Great job girls! Woohoo free time! As I walked through camp I visited each cabin to see what everyone was up to. There are girls painting each others nails, making post cards, and just spending sweet time together.

To lunch we go! Chicken, potatoes, and green beans. Announcements, Announcements, Announcements… VESPER tonight!! Each girl is up out of their seats with excitement. Now we’re off to rest hour, ahhhh. After everyone is refreshed we’re ready to go have some more fun. Lake Doris, here we come! As I look out, all the girls are giggling and having the time of their lives, diving, kayaking, paddle boarding, and being blobbed. Sweet, sweet friendships are overflowing as the day continues.

Now it’s time for dinner. COOKOUT! One of the best ways to start the end of an amazing Sunday at camp Merri-Mac. There are hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and pasta salad, YUUUUMMMM! Each girl is gathered around the yard with big smiles filled with good watermelon.

Vesper has arrived. Every one, counselors, kids, and directors gather in the chapel to see what some of the staff have prepared for this already fun day. Guitars, spoons, washboards and singing fills the air as we all sing “Wagon Wheel” to the top of our lungs. Skits are performed and everyone is dying of laughter. The band comes up again, now it’s time to wind down with some worship. As everyone sings the chapel is filled with the Lord, and another beautiful day has come to an end. Merri-Mac is slowing down and the girls are off to bed. Thank you Lord for another wonderful Sunday at camp.

From, Hannah L.
PAWS instructor

Saturday’s Activities!

Saturday morning, girls put on their sweatshirts before doing morning chores and heading down to breakfast. They ate french toast sticks and sausage and then headed up the hill for chapel. After hearing a funny story with a neat lesson from Adam, the girls were ready to start the day.

In cooking, the girls made delicious mac and cheese, as well as hot dogs, which they cooked on the outside grill. Guitar class practiced their skills while jamming out to their favorite songs. The girls did climbing at the Upper Tower on Spencer’s Green. In PAWS the girls had a blast washing and playing with the puppies. In archery, Madeline W. shot a bullseye on her second try ever! Way to go!

Lunch today was the well-loved meal of mini corn dogs and mac and cheese. When the girls went back to their cabins during rest hour, the cabin princesses were announced by a gift on the girls’ pillow. Each princess then went to the Mike to start rehearsing for Juliana R’s princess party! Juliana, a Counselor-In-Training this summer, was elected by the camp to embody the spirit of camp last summer, and she will direct a play with these cabin princesses as the cast!

The weather warmed up during the day and was perfect for Sunnyside’s special trip! The girls went to Max Patch and had a great time together! With the tribal chiefs out all day, tonight’s evening activity was Cabin Night, and every cabin had fun doing something special together. Some cabins roasted smores over a campfire, and hung out singing songs on the tennis courts. Big Dipper and Moonmist walked up to the Council Ring to roast cinnamon rolls!

After evening activities, the girls got ready for bed and went to sleep. It was another great day!

 

Lila B.

Pottery Instructor

Big Dipper Counselor

What does our website have to do with our philosophy of camping?

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 a picture of your camper a couple times each week, 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 often 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