One of the most beautiful parts of camp is the tradition. Merri-Mac girls are part of a tradition that has persisted for over 70 years. We sing the same songs, compete with the same tribes, and walk the same pathways that Macky and Lucy did the first summer Merri-Mac opened its gates.
This winter we are doing several remodels and expansions. I live on camp property, and walking around the construction sites each day exposes nostalgia I didn’t know I had. The cabin where I lost my first tooth is being completely redone. The back porch, where my first lifelong friendships were made is getting a new exterior. The very first cabin I felt brave enough to stay four weeks instead of two is being remodeled. Many things are changing at camp.
Last week I was looking through camp’s archives. We are fortunate to have alumni that have carefully maintained scrap books and letters dating all the way back to 1945. In those files, I found a letter that Macky and Lucy, two of our founding ladies, wrote to their campers the year they bought Bridewood Acres, soon to be Camp Merri-Mac, in Black Mountain:
From my window…I can look out and see most all of our new camp Merri-Mac. It is all so exciting–saws and hammers going, new lumber being stacked all over the place, workmen busy everywhere you look–and our new camp Merri-Mac going up before our very eyes.
…Things here are really buzzing. Macky is really busy. I catch myself puffing and hawing just trying to catch up with her.
The Enchanted Barn is being done over and will be used as a sort of workshop for arts and crafts, photography, etc. It’s almost unbelievable when you think of it but it’s taking shape now and promises to really be “The Enchanted Barn.” The new stables will be a row of stalls–race horse style–over near the riding ring…
These Bridewood Acres are really beautiful this time of year. You can see for miles from up at Camp Merri-Mac on a clear day…It will be even prettier by the time you all get here in June–the trees will be all green again and the rhododendron have thousands of buds that should open when you arrive. Our cabins will be really pretty all nestled in the edge of the trees on “Windy Hill”–just waiting for the happy reunions of old friends, to welcome new girls, to hear tribe yells, happy laughter, and much going on all summer. I’m truly glad that I shall be a part of all this. And I know that you all want to be a part of it too. Won’t it be wonderful to all be together again and in our Camp Merri-Mac this summer?
So, yes, things are changing at camp. They have always changed! We value traditions for the unity and continuity they bring, but I believe the tradition that we cling to above all others is that of growth. That is what we want for our property as we constantly look for ways to make it better for our cherished campers, but more importantly, that is what we want for each girl that spends her summers with us.