This chilly Monday morning was special for a plethora of reasons. The Sunnyside and Dream’s End girls started off on the Sunnyside trip- a tradition of a special day for the oldest girls at camp to bond and cap off their camp experience together. Caroline S., Sophia C., and Merit G. all commenced to climb up to the mountaintop above camp. These three were among this year’s group of extremely brave girls to embark on “Solo-13s.” A Solo-13 is an overnight camping trip for campers 13+ years conducted on the trail above camp. This trip is special because it requires that the girls that go set up their camping spots alone and sleep alone, with whistles and counselors nearby. The official reward is one mark, but as a counselor, I’ve noticed how heightened pride and self-trust are more lasting benefits from this challenge. It helps that each of the girls’ cabins exploded with cheers and congratulations when they say their friends had successfully made it through the night.
Amid the flowers and streams tended by our groundskeeper, Bobby B. campers sprinted down the hill to the Tucker Inn to snag a breakfast of smell of cinnamon toast sticks and sausage. Little did the campers know that this was the start to everyone’s 2nd favorite day of the year- Christmas Eve! Innocent to this news until lunch, campers started daily activities started as normal. Georgia D. was excited to show off her blue friendship bracelet she was working on in DIY. Over at the dock, “Juliet” was blasting cheerily from the dock playlist and our kayaking class looked like ducklings paddling in a line around Lake Doris. The campers were working on learning to brace for paddling rapids and Drake M. demonstrated a perfect “hand of God” rescue. In the Mike, Rebecca S. and CeCe N. were working away at their bronze bars in dance. Rebecca S. said she learned the key to dance is “just going with it, even if you make a mistake.” In the guitar hut, campers were working on their bars as well, attempting to master the songs Radioactive and Hallelujah.
A camp favorite, tacos in a bag, were for lunch! At lunch, Santa and his elf burst in with a jolly surprise- tomorrow would be our Merri Christmas, (in my humble opinion) the best day at camp. As girls rushed off to rest hour visions of the fabled blue maintenance truck turned donut delivery wagon danced in their heads. Christmas tunes played for the rest of the day throughout free time and into the next rotation of activities. In riflery, Celia C. hit a bullseye with her favorite rifle “Murphy’s Law” and Campbell S. shoot with her favorite “Short and Stocky.” On Pippin Hill, our yoga class completed an ab-focused flow that would rival any Youtube yogi, with a view of the Application mountains. I was really excited to see all of the love that went into the cups and bowls in pottery class and all of the passion that went into creations in a knitting class. Sarah M. said that knitting really relaxes her, even if it requires a lot of patience and dedication to making something cool.
After a yummy dinner of Italian meatball subs, all of the girls went back to their cabins to write kind notes for their cabin mates for a game of Secret Santa and the Merri-Mac counselor choir got together for one night only to serenade the cabins with carols. As I watched our Happy Hollow campers scream and run outside to see the candlelight and hear the carols, I couldn’t help be in awe of how much fun that our community here can pack into a day. Our night wasn’t even finished- we had a scavenger hunt planned to find a treasure chest of trading post snacks and the girls had Q-tip “super-spy” ear-pieces already in while listening to the choir. Camp really is a place where imaginations are allowed to be nurtured and grow, and even in the midst of a pandemic, girls feel safe and carefree. I was also struck for a moment by how much care and planning goes into our activities. Our upper staff truly loves investing in the joy of our campers, and they don’t let a detail slip by. Along with the rest of the camp, I can’t wait to see what magic they pull off tomorrow!