If you’re like me, you feel like it’s way too long between the end of camp and the beginning of the next summer. Sure, I always have lots to do in planning for the next season, but the whole time I’m thinking, “Hurry up and get here, I want to be at ‘Ghany!”
But one thing stands out amidst the off season that brings a very close taste of camp to everyone who participates. It’s our recruiting parties.
If you’ve never been to one, I encourage you to check out our party schedule to see if one is happening in your neck of the woods. Or contact me, if you’d like to plan one for this winter or next. I promise, it’s super fun!
This year we’ve had more recruiting parties than ever before and they’ve all been wildly successful as we’ve shared the ‘Ghany love with old friends and curious newcomers alike. I’ve been thrilled because my party hostesses and alumni attendees have told me it’s the best way they’ve found to help bring their love for Camp Alleghany to life for friends who’ve asked about what makes our camp so special.
Nuts and bolts
So, how does it work?
A camp mom or alum will host a party at her home (or a family member’s house or nearby venue) and, with my help on addresses, invite all the current Alleghany campers as well as prospective campers in her area.
Perhaps she’ll ask friends with daughters who’ve inquired about camp. Or maybe her daughter knows some girls who might be interested. The idea is just to create a warm gathering to socialize and share the Camp Alleghany story.
The mood is simple but festive. The hostess provides a few snacks, and either my dad or I (or both!) come to the party to lead the presentation. We show our stellar camp video, a power point of pictures, give away a few door prizes, and answer any questions.
In a way it’s as much a mini reunion as it is an initiation into camp for interested families. Current campers and alumnae love seeing one another again, and are so helpful in talking about camp and their experiences there. In fact, given the love for Alleghany that campers and alumnae have, giddy might be the better word!
The recruiting parties are really a time when both camp and campers shine, young and old.
Make new friends, but keep the old
This year in particular we’ve had an awesome showing of alumnae at several events. Baltimore and Lynchburg have had the most alumnae turnout so far this year in case you’re feeling competitive and want to show what’s possible in your area. 😉
(Note to self…hmmm, maybe this could become the next big Blue–Gray competition?)
I hope our alum will look at the schedule and come out to a local event. We always love seeing our beloved past campers!
Generally our recruiting parties wrap up at the end of February. But in an interesting twist, our other big off season event — camp fairs — (I’ll write more about them on Thursday) have been extending into March. That’s prompted some hostesses to consider March events as well. Who knew March could be such a great time to fill up those last few spots we have for campers? (Calling all Senior campers, ahem…)
In it together
Recruiting has even become a family affair for some of our alum.
Alum twins Amy O’Donnell Metzger and Lauren O’Donnell recruit together in Baltimore, sharing their love for Alleghany and their love for event planning to throw truly fabulous recruiting parties.
And now alum sisters Suzanne Yelverton Stroup and Christine Yelverton Gornto are recruiting, too, on different points of the Eastern seaboard. Suzanne is hosting in Arlington, Virginia and Christine in Raleigh, North Carolina in March.
There’s plenty of room for creativity and/or simplicity in hosting these cozy events.
If the recruiting bug is calling you, please send me an email to discuss your interest. I’d especially love to have someone in my own area of Staunton, Virginia who’s interested in hosting a recruiting party. That would be wonderful!
But if you’re simply near a party and curious, grab a friend, make a mother-daughter day of it and come see what all the fun is about!
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany