I hope parents have been receiving my emails about how camp life has proceeded apace in spite of record heat and blustery storms. But if not, this column is for you (and for friends of Ghany who are wondering what camp is like this year).
First off, ‘Ghany Girls are resilient, cheerful, and willing to meet life where they find it. It’s that spirit that has made recent days much easier to…weather! 🙂
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
At camp we continuously underscore the importance of keeping the campers’ water bottles filled always. It’s just that with the heat, we’re doing it double time! The counselors and JCs check in with the campers during and between every activity to make sure everyone is well hydrated and that activities in the heat are moderated with rest and extra cooling off opportunities. Just as the girls need internal hydration, they also need to cool off by taking a dip. Many activities have found creative ways to add in a quick swim or float in the river to cool off (with lifeguards present, of course).
Sports and Fitness took a float on Thursday, and Wild World went creeking — it’s always cooler in the creek in the shade of the forest and wading is a great way to stay cool while observing the natural world.
I visited Dance class on Friday and they were going to take a minute to just stand in the water (up to ankles only) for a few minutes to cool off. I saw another activity dunking their heads under the troughs for a quick splash to the extremities — they were literally “keeping cool heads.”
We’ve also set up “hydration stations” around camp with jugs of water, and we’ve added more free swims and an evening swim to beat the heat.
And then the Friday storm hit.
All of you East Coasters (and those following the news) will know that the large storm that hit across the nation also hit Greenbrier County. The storm arrived at Alleghany around the time we were wrapping up Evening Activity and all of camp gathered in our safe and sturdy Play Hall to sing songs together to wait for the storm to pass. And pass it did — everyone was safe and secure in bed by 10:30 when the storm moved out of our area.
Just like storms in the past we “weathered the storm” just fine and all campers and counselors are safe, accounted for, uninjured, and most of all happy! We were on a regular schedule on Saturday with lots of sunshine and high spirits — all the campers are such troopers!
Of course, like so many places, Camp lost power due to the storm (I left camp to send this out), making communication a little limited. But our back-up generators are always ready to fill in the gaps as I’ll explain below.
Meantime, rest assured the girls are doing great, the counselors are full of positive energy, and all is well at Alleghany.
‘Ghany in 1922 in 2012
Camp Alleghany has been around since 1922 and in many ways, we’ve done things the exact same way (with some minor variations) for almost 100 years. In fact one of our calling cards is that we are a traditional, low-tech camp that offers girls a time away from modern life in the beauty of the mountains.
During our many years in operation there have been hot summers and big storms before and we’ve fine tuned the art of staying calm, cool, and collected as well as safe, healthy, and high-spirited during anything that comes our way.
In many, many ways, the heat wave of 2012 and the power outages due to storms this year haven’t really changed much about life at camp — at least for the campers. We’re blessed to be living in such a simple community where electricity is not needed in the majority of camp anyway, therefore our regular programs and activities are not affected at all.
The campers spend most of their day blissfully electricity-free just as they do every year! They swim and canoe, lob tennis balls, hike and shoot arrows, dance and sing, make up “theatricals,” mold clay, paint and weave friendship bracelets, and all manner of activities that are just what they hoped for with their Camp Alleghany experience. The only difference this year is that we go the extra-extra mile in keeping them doubly cool inside and out with plenty of extra water.
Our generator is powering our kitchen and our well so that all of our refrigerators are staying cold, and we have enough water for the girls to continue to shower regularly (as well as fill up their water bottles over and over again!). We have plenty of fuel for our generator, enough so that we feel comfortable powering our office for a few hours a day — to send email updates and write a blog such as this! 🙂
We received a large food order, so we’re well stocked with food and supplies. The temperatures here are fortunately cooler due to our mountainous location, and the river provides a refreshing respite from the heat should we need it.
Rest assured the girls are well-fed, hydrated, clean, cool, safe, and for the most part oblivious as to what is going on outside of camp. Just as we don’t want parents to worry about safety at camp, we want the girls to be free from worry about life back at home so that they can fully enjoy the camp experience.
There may be a few more days of heat but it’s nothing that a ‘Ghany girl can’t handle, especially with our crack team of wonderful counselors keeping the activities going with aplomb. With July 4th happening tomorrow, the girls are far too eager for a big celebration to let a little heat or a summer storm get them down.
And that’s what makes a ‘Ghany Girl a ‘Ghany Girl!
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls