The Non-Camper Counselors were asked to share their thoughts and favorite memories about Camp Alleghany at Vespers tonight. The young counselors and first timers all had wonderful things to say. Since I was never a counselor here either, they asked me to include my thoughts. So, here they are.
What brought me to Alleghany?
Well, actually Sam did. I visited camp with him in 1969 and he got the whip-o-will song sung to him at every meal. It meant nothing to me at the time. We came to family camp in the 70’s after we were married and finally, came full time when Sam’s father made Sam his business partner in 1984.
What are my best/favorite memories?
Of the 28 summers I’ve been at Alleghany, I spent 19 of those summers running the drama department. I would be less than honest if I said I didn’t miss it. I do, but I’ve never regretted allowing others to take charge and stretch their abilities by running the department. I have so loved watching the girls I directed blossom into directors themselves. Anyone who knows anything about theatre knows it is a magical place. I loved sharing that magic over the years.
I have some fond memories of my time as a tent counselor, too—and not just the dead mouse in my sister’s bed! My sister, Gayle, and I were upstart counselors for two terms in Unit Four. And while we were somewhat of a mystery to our unit heads, we weren’t to our campers. We enjoyed the role we played in their growth as well as giving support to the younger counselors.
I think the best thing about Alleghany is the sisterhood that evolves here. I’m 63 years old, but count among my friends all ages here from Unit One Junior campers through upstarts and staff. I welcome new friends this summer Gaby, Leah, & Kayla to my growing list of young friends. I can’t think of any place else where such friendship and sisterhood is possible.
We appreciate each other, here. We celebrate all successes and offer support for other times. That is what we do; it is what we learn to do. It is who we are.
But the most wondrous part of Alleghany has been watching my daughter Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise grow into a strong, confident woman. Alleghany allowed her to stretch and explore all her possibilities. She’s now giving back to Alleghany a part of what she was given and that makes me smile.
What is my future here?
I hope to be here for many years to come. I’m thrilled to be a grandmother and rejoice every time I see Mason smile. I know I’ll feel the same way about each grandchild. Because Alleghany is in very capable hands, I know this camp and its ideals will be around for many years to help each young woman become the person she knows she can be; to be self-confident, strong, and able to be or do whatever she chooses.
For all of this, I thank you, Alleghany
–Bonnie Dawson, Head of Special Events