We can’t remember whose idea it was, in the beginning, to celebrate Mom’s milestone birthday with a multi-generation reunion at Camp Alleghany’s Family Camp. It just immediately seemed so obvious to us.
But, wait: bring an 80-year-old to a place with no air conditioning, an uphill hike to meals, and shared bathroom facilities? What about the non-Ghany Girls in our clan? Our menfolk got right on board, but would our teenage boys perfect their sullen poses and have video game withdrawal? What about the youngest ones? What were we thinking?
But of course, Mom agreed right away:
It’s wonderful because there is something for every age to do, and we have kids from 7 to 21. The food is great, the scenery is gorgeous.
Exuberant silliness, a key ingredient in any family reunion, flows in abundance at camp, as Sarah (granddaughter of the honoree) noted, saying:
It’s perfect because our family all have a great time and everybody else thinks we’re fun too instead of being like, ‘it’s that family with the matching shirts – again.
Generations of love
Mom is a blessing to us in too many ways to enumerate in this or any blog post, but high on the list are her attitude and her love of Camp Alleghany. She’s the one who found Alleghany for us and gave it to us, her daughters. So in our own Circle Game, with this reunion we gave a little bit of camp back to her.
Did you expect to be here at 80, I asked. Her reply was unequivocal:
Yes! And 90 is in my sights. Tell Becky to start planning another cake now. Camp is a place I can keep coming back through the years as I metamorphose.
Her favorite camp memory?
Watching three small girls — they couldn’t’ve been more than 10 — decide that today was the day they were going to roll a canoe. They’d start, and then they’d chicken out. They’d try again, and not be all together. Finally they did it, and you have never seen such satisfied faces. That’s all they did for the rest of the class.
Mom has worked for Alleghany as a Baltimore area rep, Head Hopper, and Store Manager, but says:
If I could have any job at camp now it would be in marketing and recruiting. I would extoll the benefits of camp for kids who are lucky enough to get to come here. I have seen it with my three daughters and now my granddaughters. It’s that ‘I can’ attitude — just get with it and try it and learn something new, and make it fun for the people around you.
Ghany Girls forever
Like every good Ghany Girl, Mom found old friends and made new ones at Family Camp, tried new things and relished old favorites, brought her best attitude and spirit to every moment, and inspired us to do the same.
We hiked, paddled, shot, swam, drew bows, used glitter glue, ate s’mores, fell into our beds, and started all over at reveille. Modern summers get so busy; this was the easiest and best “busy” of ours.
Time and again the river called all our generations to skip its stones, watch its meanderings, hear its song, and just be, together, in this beautiful needed place.
Thanks, Mom for finding Alleghany all those years ago and for getting to 80 in style. And thanks Alleghany for a perfect celebration!
— Carson Gleberman, Alum, Camp Alleghany for Girls