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