Our staff was amazing this summer! I recently wrote a big thank you blog to all groups of staff, so be sure to check that out. From kitchen and grounds staff to medical and support staff, Mother-Daughter Weekend and Mini Camp Counselors, to our very own Term Counselors and of course the Administrative Team. I am the luckiest camp director there is to have such an amazing team working SO hard to make camp happen and to create that ‘Ghany magic for the campers. A successful camp is only as successful as its staff, and happy counselors make happy campers. This group of staff navigated a few challenges, from COVID to a hail storm and a high river all with a smile and a can-do attitude. From the bottom of my heart – thank you!
Celebrating the 100th Summer – all summer!
Did you know it was our 100th summer? 😉 We formed a committee this time last year – yes a year ago! – to start planning out the big centennial summer. We started with a few events during the year – a virtual Vespers that took us through 4 generations of Alleghany, a spirit week, TBT blog posts, and the hashtag #GhanyTurns100.
So when we got to camp, we were ready to roll! Marketing Director Cami put together an amazing slide show and organized hundreds of old photos into albums, and Program Director Casey planned a fun evening activity for both Terms called Memory Lane to celebrate and enjoy various aspects of the last 100 years of camp. The Dance Shows both terms had themes pertaining to the 100th anniversary, and several Campfires and other events also touched on this milestone (see below for a specific campfire!). It was hard to escape this theme this summer ☺. Our Heads of Banquet Amy Wilson and Katherine LeMay were hard at work behind the scenes planning a huge birthday celebration-themed Banquet for the end of 2nd Term, which turned out amazing! And of course, we capped off the summer with our 100th Anniversary Bash at the end of Family Camp (separate blog coming soon all about this event!).
As I said all summer – you only turn 100 once! And I didn’t want to miss the chance to celebrate or acknowledge this amazing milestone at every moment. I hope it was as special for the campers, staff, and alumni as it was for me.
First Term, the 10-years were in charge of Campfire. This means anyone in camp who has been to Alleghany for 10 summers or more (read: the old folks!). I took this campfire under my wing and wanted to keep it 100th summer–themed, while also educational, entertaining, and fun! With the help of the other 10 years, we came up with a very fun theme and had a blast putting on our skit.
We decided to combine the idea of a countdown to the 100th anniversary, with an old camper recounting her memories from her first summer at camp. So, my mom, Bonnie became camper Mary Helen, age 109, who attended Alleghany in 1922. She sat with the youngest campers and recounted her tales of being at camp while putting together a quilt to commemorate the memories.
Meanwhile, the rest of us acted out those memories in a countdown fashion. We started with 10 – 10 decades of Alleghany – and shared facts and tidbits about the world and camp from each decade. From there we acted out in groups:
9 Bugles a Day
7 Weeks of Camping
6 Head Counselors
5 People per Tent
4 Activities per Day
3 Generations of Dawson Directors
1 Camp Alleghany
Each number had its own skit, and each group performing got to create their own skit in any way they wanted. So we had fun songs, poems and rhymes, and some super hilarious skits. It was SO fun to be a part of, and I think the campers and staff really enjoyed it! One counselor said it was her favorite campfire because not only was it super entertaining, but also informative. What more could you ask for?
Going Down the Slip N Slide During the 4th of July Carnival
One of our favorite traditions each summer is Carnival – for July 4th and Christmas in July! (July 25th). Each year we set up a big slip-n-slide for these events, and it’s probably the most popular carnival booth to attend. It’s been years since I personally have been down it, but nurse Katie Webster, also my dear friend and fellow JC of ’97, convinced me to go down it with her this year! It was fun and funny and silly all at the same time and I am glad we did it ☺. I also went down a second time with my son Noah.
Special I Remembers for Casey
And finally, a more bittersweet one… look for a blog this Fall on saying farewell to our beloved Program Director Casey as he embarks on new adventures in the camping world and check out his farewell announcement from last spring! We couldn’t let him get by without celebrating him not once, not twice, but three times this summer!
During our final Campfire of 1st Term, called Babies Boats, each unit came up and gave Casey special “I Remembers.” This is a Ghany tradition reserved for the final nights of each term where groups of staff or campers remember certain aspects of camp. This was a surprise for Casey, and it turned out great! Some units did songs, others did poems, and others read out their favorite memories. I think he was touched.
At the end of 2nd Term I didn’t want to repeat the same thing, so we took a song – I’m a Nut – and each unit wrote a verse of it to remember Casey. At Candlelight Campfire we sang the song together with each unit performing their verse. Again it was a surprise, and again I think it really meant a lot to him.
Finally, during our 100th Anniversary Bash, we honored three people, Casey being one of them. I had the honor of speaking about him and presenting him with a rocking chair with a plaque on it to remember Casey at Alleghany for years to come.
While I’m sad he’s leaving and it’s certainly not one of my Top 5 favorite things that he’s going away, it was very, very special to be able to honor him and all his contributions to Alleghany this summer. I am grateful he gave us such advance notice so that we could plan and prepare well in advance for his departure, and have time to really celebrate him this summer.
So as you can see, many of these things are related to our 100th summer, but even if not – another summer is in the books, and an amazing summer it was. We hope everyone who joined us is having a great start to the school year and is reminiscing fondly of Alleghany during this time of year. We hope to see you all back next summer!