Counting our Blessings
In spite of some recently chilly days, I think we all know that summer is soon to be upon us.
I find I’m always counting down the days to get back to camp, but I think I can safely say that coming back this summer has never been more exciting!
I know many of us understood the concerns for safety and federal and state compliance that made it not possible to be at Mini or Term camp last summer. But boy are the banks of the Greenbrier River are calling us home!
With the struggles of last year in mind, the Admin Team has worked to find a program for the 2021 ‘Ghany We Will Give campaign that will truly help a group of individuals who have had an especially hard time during the pandemic — our treasured elderly population.
If you’re not familiar with ‘Ghany We Will Give let me share with you this important aspect of service built in to the camp experience.
‘Ghany We Will Give
‘Ghany We Will Give is a way for campers, counselors and alumni to give back to the Greenbrier County community for their years of hospitality to our camp. Since the program’s inception, we’ve collected everything from feminine hygiene products to canned food to animal care items for organizations such as the Family Refuge Center, Greenbrier County Schools, and the Greenbrier Humane Society, to name a few.
We always aim for 100% participation, and we hope you and/or your camper will join in for another strong year with ‘Ghany We Will Give.
Now in the program’s seventh year, we’re honored this summer to be working with Helping Hands of West Virginia whose mission is simple but essential: to help neighbors in need in West Virginia.
This newly established non-profit organization is committed to serving West Virginia residents who are in dire need by constructing and making available what are called “Blessing Boxes.”
Sharing our Blessings
These Blessing Boxes are placed throughout the state to make it easy for donors to give directly to those in need in a dignified way. Blessing Boxes are self-serve for donor and recipient. Donors leave non-perishable food items that can be of use to those facing temporary or permanent financial or other struggles while those in need simply visit the boxes to pick up that food.
Blessing Boxes are just that — a true blessing for giver and receiver alike. In Greenbrier County alone, there are over 20 Blessing Boxes that get regular use and are desperately needed in the community. During our time in the county this summer, we want to help keep those Blessing Boxes strong as ‘Ghany Girls surely can!
As it turns out, some feedback regarding the specific needs of elderly, homeless, and destitute folks in the area spurred a new facet to the Blessing Boxes program called “Blessing Bags.” Blessing Bags are in great demand to help meet basic hygiene needs that can be costly additions to already strained budgets for users of the Blessing Boxes.
This summer we will be collecting basic hygiene items from our entire Alleghany camp community to help fill these very important bags!
Our hope is that every camper will bring a few items to donate. As is our custom, ‘Ghany We Will Give begins as campers enter camp on Opening Day ready to deposit their donations. Watching our community donations grow over the course of Opening Day is always a thrill and such an affirmation of the generosity of our community!
After donations are received they will be processed and prepared by our Upstarts (14s and 15s) as part of the service project component of their program, who will also discuss their service in their Upstarts “class.” From there, our errand runners this summer will take the donations in.
As you pack for camp, please keep ‘Ghany We Will Give and the Blessing Bags in mind. And to make it easiest on you (and to ensure the widest variety of needs are met), please use the following list, divided by campers’ ages, as a guide when sourcing and packing your item(s):
Blessing Bag Donations by Camper Age:
Unit 1 (rising grades 2-4): Small hand sanitizers and lotions.
Mini Camp & Unit 2 (rising grade 5): Travel size shampoo and conditioner.
Mother-Daughter Weekend & Unit 3 (rising grade 6): Bar of soap and cotton washcloths.
Start Ups (rising grade 7): Toothbrush and toothpaste.
13s (rising grade 8): Deodorant.
14s (rising grade 9): Adult size white cotton socks.
15s (rising grade 10): Small packs of facial tissues.
LITs (rising grade 11): Lip balm and combs.
As you shop, please remember that donations are needed for both men and women and can be bought in a larger pack to be divided out. And while the list above will help ensure that we have an equal amount of each item to adequately fill the Blessing Bags, all donations in the hygiene category are welcome and will be put to use in the bags.
As a native of Lewisburg, there is nowhere I love more than home. I want to personally thank you in advance for your support. Please e-mail me should you have questions about the program.
With much gratitude,
Laura K. Gorsuch, Alumna, Summer Office Assistant, ‘Ghany We Will Give Chair, Camp Alleghany for Girls