As I’m sure you can imagine, there are so many wonderful things about each summer at Camp Alleghany. Just being here is so special for me. And of course, it goes by way too fast.
In reflecting on this particular summer—our 90th summer as a girls camp!—I experienced the same thing I always do—the impossible task of picking my top five favorite things about this year.
Top five? Try top 500!
There are so many special, touching, goofy, unique, challenging (in a good way), and meaningful encounters, events, and moments that I wish I could include them all. But I wont subject you to reading all 500, I mean 5,000 of them! (Wait for the book) 😉
Instead, I’ll force myself—against my will—to limit it to five. Drum roll please…
I am in awe that this camp that I am so fortunate to be a part of us has been going on for 90 summers. That means 90 summers of the same traditions, continuing year after year. We’re singing songs, playing games and doing things in many instances that a 2011 camper’s great-great-grandmother might have sung!
It’s the traditions that bond generations of Alleghany girls together—campers have the same experiences now that they did in the 1920s, 30s, in the 70s and 80s! I mean, WOW!
In special recognition of that, this year we brought back some very old traditions that were mothballed for a while. We do that from time to time to keep things fresh. You know, “everything old is new again…”. I love digging through our rich Camp Alleghany archives and photos to unearth such treasures, bringing them out to play again. I’ll continue to do so.
And of course, we kept many of the recent traditions going. It makes me proud to assist in running a camp that is so firmly built on its traditions. And with only ten years until our 100th summer celebration, you can bet I’ll keep these fires stoked. And I’d love it if you’d share some of your favorite traditions with us in the blog comments section!
#4, My little man
Seeing camp through my son Mason’s eyes, and watching him grow from a baby to a toddler in just a few short months’ time has been amazing. And in my favorite stomping ground, too! He’s a totally different little person than he was when we first came to camp this summer—it’s going to be a whole new ballgame when we get home!
And to think, he’ll be running all around camp next summer. Seriously, on his own two little legs. Fortunately for him there’s such lovely terrain to explore, a delightful river to dip into, and so many eyes to watch out for him and hands to help care for him. What a delight for me to be with him at work, yet to have Granny and Pa-pa here too, his dad on weekends, his full time sitter Annie, and all the staff, counselors and campers who are his new friends!
I feel confident in saying that the experience of now being a mother truly helps me do my job as a camp director even better. I’ve long taken seriously the role of being responsible for other peoples’ children all summer. Now I know in my own heart how deep that charge truly is.
This summer we had video producer Tor Ramsey come to camp for three different visits to get footage for our new promotional video.
There are so many ways to tell the Camp Alleghany story, and that will be very different if, like me, you’re on the inside, having grown up here so many years, and now working on camp year round. But mine is not the only way of telling the story. Campers, parents, alum, staff, counselors, visitors, newcomers, they all have their view too. It’s wonderful for me to tap into how other people see our camp.
As a videographer specializing in camp marketing, it was so insightful to see camp through Tor’s eyes. Working with him was fascinating. Not only did I love the language of framing a shot to capture the heart of a moment, I also felt prodded into a deeper understanding of how to communicate our strengths and unique offerings at Camp Alleghany. This opportunity to connect with someone who excels in this kind of story telling has been a great professional development opportunity that will definitely help me do my job better as a recruiter and director. I loved it!
#2, So many girls!
Okay, so…people absolutely love Camp Alleghany! What can I say, I do too! I can only assume that that’s why we were so FULL this summer! We had extremely high numbers of campers and for the first time in decades second term was more full than first.
I am so happy that girls are continuing to return to Alleghany and that we get more ‘Ghany Girls year after year. I’d like to say we could run camp year ’round, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of it being a really special thing about summer. Plus it would be kind of cold in those tents! So we’ll hope to see as many of you next year because I LOVE the way those singing voices sound when there are so many. The spirit is so high and the bustling so ever present.
It’s just great to know that so many people still value and treasure a traditional-style girls summer camp.
#1, Our staff
I’m not too shy to say that we clearly have THE BEST STAFF in the biz! Everyone worked so diligently, with such upbeat and positive attitudes, bringing such skill at problem solving, creativity, and mindfulness that I could have just walked away and it would have all gone on without me! Well, you know what I mean. I can trust and rely on my staff so much that it does, in fact, make my job easier. And most importantly, it made the summer the best it could be for the campers.
I love seeing the love our campers have for the counselors, and the counselors for the campers. The comfort the campers feel with the medical staff, kitchen staff, Green Team and everyone who helps them out makes clear just how safe, happy and free they are to be the ‘Ghany Girls we know they are, and can be!
Our staff is the tapestry holding up all we do (“…as the tapestry of ‘Ghany is woven in our hearts…”). In every way I am so grateful for the fabulous, reliable, engaged and engaging staff this year. Thank you to you all!
The other 500 things…
I’m sure you know that when we see each other there will be plenty more to share about what made this summer great. And I hope you’ll share your favorites here, too!
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director