The second full day at camp is coming to a close, and what a joyful day it’s been! New friends have been made, new skills learned, and new discoveries made. After reveille rang, bright eyes opened, and your girls began work on their morning chores in hopes of their cabin winning the “cabin cake” for the best cabin scores at the end of the week. I took a stroll around Lake Doris as the mist lifted from the mountains beyond, and the delicious smells of scrambled eggs, biscuits, and potatoes wafted up from the Tucker Inn.
After bellies were full, the echoes of sweet voices rang around Black Mountain as we worshipped in chapel. Our chapel was renovated this past year, and it is a stunning place to join together in song and in prayer, with high ceilings and rich stone floors, overlooking the lake. Birthday girl and Tweedle Dee camper Brooke B. got to ring the bell that signals the beginning of chapel! Stardust counselor Jessica G. read from Jeremiah 29:11 and spoke about how God always leads us down the right path, unlike a time where she mistakenly led the Choctaw tribe down the wrong path when she was a camper. What an encouraging message with which to start the day!
Today was everyone’s first time attending their Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule of activities, so each activity period began with a quick introduction and safety talk. Safety is of the utmost importance here at camp, but fortunately, every class was able to cover all of the information promptly in time to actually participate in the activity! Guitar classes began learning chords, kayakers learned how to wet exit (get out of the boat underwater, in case of emergency), and budding archers and riflery superstars shot their first targets!
We are so fortunate to be in the midst of some of the most incredible mountains and rivers—sites for the many climbing, water skiing, backpacking, and canoeing trips that go out each day! Today, we had several trips out enjoying the beautiful North Carolina scenery while practicing their skills on real rocks and rapids! Katherine G., Katherine M., Elizabeth C., Reilly B., Anne D., and Rachel D. went kayaking. Abigail S., Caroline C., Claire R., Bella C., Katie B., and Victoria M. went climbing. This afternoon, Nora C., Brooke C., Reilly B., Helena C., Kate A., and Mary Louise D. spent some time in the sun on Lake James water-skiing! The weather was hot and beautiful—perfect for sunning by Lake Doris and trotting around the ring.
After a hearty lunch of chicken patty sandwiches and the camp favorite “s’more pockets” (chocolate and marshmallow wrapped in dough), we announced that the Choctaw had won last night’s evening activity of Sock War. Sock War is similar to Capture the Flag, but to get the other tribe members out, you must hit them with a long sock! Iroquois snagged “spirit points” for that evening activity, which means they demonstrated the most cheer and sportsmanship towards the other tribes during and after the game. After dinner tonight, everyone will play Base Jumping, where campers are sent on missions to deliver slips of paper to different destinations for their tribe, avoiding counselors who are trying to steal their paper along the way. Go Seminoles ☺
Free time today was abundant with relaxation and with play. Many campers strung up hammocks and giggled and chatted with friends. Some passed the time playing tetherball tournaments. Others gathered together to compare schedules and plan their days. In Fencing today, they played a name game using one of the fencing gloves. This is a perfect example of the way that campers meet so many friends here at camp—not just within their age group in their cabin, but also within their tribes and in their classes! I was a camper here for seven years and am still friends with girls who were years younger and older than me, but we were able to meet and spend quality time together at camp in our classes and tribal activities.
My belly is full of scrumptious chocolate chip cookies from Cooking class, my heart is happy from playing with puppies in Paws, and my face hurts from smiling at all of the ways your precious girls have shown me joy and love today. Thank you for sharing your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and friends with us. I know that Camp Merri-Mac has made an incredible impact in my life after eleven years, and I can’t wait to see all of the ways these sweet girls will grow even after a few short days!
From this haven,
Cabin Area Director
University of Virginia, 2017