What a joyful day it has been at Camp Merri-Mac today! The sun rose quickly over the mountains this morning as your daughters and granddaughters wiped their bleary eyes, cleaned their cabins until they sparkled, and skipped down to breakfast. They remembered the fun they had last night playing tribal volleyball and cheering on their fellow Choctaw, Iroquois, and Seminole friends and cabinmates! The younger half of camp gathered on Macky’s Green last night to play “Newcomb,” a version of volleyball. Leah E. said it was “really fun to play, and every teammate worked together.” Madeline M. expressed her enjoyment of these evening activities because they are “fun, we can socialize when cheering, and it’s great bonding time.” Up the hill in the Mike, our gym, the older half of camp played A and B teams of volleyball—the games are the same, but the B teams cannot spike or overhand serve the ball. Choctaw camper and volleyball player Caroline G. said, “Everyone had a lot of sportsmanship and a lot of heart.” What a fun night it was to play and cheer together!
After filling our bellies on biscuits, scrambled eggs, hash-browns, and sausage links, everyone skipped to chapel. We sang a couple of fun songs together, including “Anchor for Our Soul,” which features the chorus of “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers and some enthusiastic hand motions and dancing. I gave the chapel talk today, explaining how Jesus is the Rock who came down to Earth to pull us out of the mud of our sin by dying and rising again.
The weather was a perfectly warm temperature today, so during free times, many girls were out of their cabins enjoying the sun and each others’ company. Holland M., Allie M., Isabel E., and AG H. set up their Eno hammocks between a couple of trees! Many girls also choose to play tetherball, a favorite camp pastime.
Girls’ Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes were on their second days of class today, so many skills were being learned and perfected as the girls worked towards their bronze, silver, and gold bars. From Pottery class, your girls will bring home pots that they “pinched” themselves! Meghan H. made a “Snaily Boy” statuesque for her Gramps! They should also return home with improved basketball skills, as today they ran some shooting drills using hula-hoops instead of baskets! In Basketball, girls partner together—usually one older girl and one younger—and compete each class to earn points. Then at the end of the session, the partnership with the most points will win a prize! This kind of system encourages friendships across ages, mentorship, and friendly competition. Nicole R. and her friends MC, Morgan B., and Mairin M. looked like they were having a great time in Basketball today.
Just up the hill at Volleyball, girls, such as Ryan S., were learning how to set the ball. Another Volleyball class played “Queen of the Court” to practice passing and working as a team. At this point in the day, delicious smells began to waft from the cooking kitchen, so I had to stop by. Sure enough, your daughters offered me some of their freshly baked blueberry and chocolate chip muffins! I hope they make some for you too when they return home because they were delicious. After downing a couple of those, some girls headed to Backpacking, which focused on the seven principles of “Leave No Trace” while camping in the woods. They did this by making up songs and skits! Bree P. and Sang-Mi L. helped lead these principles in one of their classes!
Since Camp Merri-Mac is in the mountains of western North Carolina, we have incredible opportunities to take our girls out to rivers, trails, and rock walls in the area to use the skills they’ve been learning in activities in camp on real-life creation. Today, several girls went waterskiing! Gabrielle H., Lennox H., Isabella O., Mary Brice M., Katherine M., and Bailey S. had a great time out on the lake this morning.
After such a busy morning, everyone was surely excited for lunch. The Greek pitas and M&M cookies did not disappoint and gave us enough energy to walk back to our cabins for some rest time following lunch. The bugle rang clearly and a stomping of feet was heard as everyone sprinted down the hill for Trading Post, the point in the day when campers can get a snack and a soda before the second half of their activities.
Climbing classes met at our brand-new climbing wall on Spencer’s Green, which features four different faces so multiple campers can climb at once! There is also a bouldering area where girls can climb without ropes and spot each other while doing so. Juliana R. and Ashlynn K. climbed two sides of the Tower wall while Lizzie R. practiced her bouldering! In Tennis, Natalie B. and her friends learned how to do backhand swings.
The lake was busy, and the sounds of splashing and laughing echoed all around camp. Many classes participated in a “Friday Fun Day” program, which allowed the girls to blob, free swim, and go down the water slide. Kayakers learned how to “edge” and “brace,” which keeps them upright on a river situation. They also played some paddleball together!
Horseback-riders pranced by on a trail ride, which is a different setting than the usual horseback-riding ring so the girls learn to ride up and down hills.
Right now, everyone is preparing for dinner and an exciting evening activity of “Division Night,” wherein Junior Camp (the Tweedles) will have a dance party, Intermediate Camp will play America-themed Color Wars, and Senior Hill will battle it out in dodgeball in the Mike. Then each cabin will split up and have a great time bonding together, raiding the Trading Post, having a free swim, or many other options. Even before Division Night, we will hold the ceremony of White Feather, where girls will be congratulated on multiple accomplishments they’ve made at camp so far, whether that be bronze, silver, or gold bars, electives such as running the Tomahawk trail, or camper/counselor commendations, which reward selflessness in the cabin. A couple girls earned their bronze bars in Gymnastics today: Emma Claire M. and Moriah S.
All of your daughters’ smiles and laughs were contagious to me as I walked around camp today, and they will surely have many stories to tell you when they return home in a week. Thank you for sharing them with us for these two, four, or six weeks—we are thankful for their energy, youthfulness, and joy that radiates and makes this camp what it is for many: a home away from home.
Good night, and God bless,
Dreams Begin Counselor
Ten-Year Merri-Mac Girl
University of Virginia ‘17