Where but at a summer camp could you find a reasonably intelligent, normal adult male of 60 plus years willing to don an orange cape to portray the “Guardian of the Forest?”Or an oversized orange cowboy hat to be the Sheriff? Or a set of orange fairy wings to portray the “Fairly Godfather?” Well, I guess that is why we’re in the camping business, because my husband Sam Dawson, Camp Alleghany’s director, has willingly done all of this for the NCCC campfire & initiation each summer.
NCCC stands for Non-Camper Counselor Club. These are the girls who find us on the internet, or come to us from overseas through the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC) organization. None of them have been campers at Alleghany, and while our “home grown” counselors can be the backbone of our staff in terms of knowing the traditions, the NCCCs offer new ideas, fresh energy, a lot of hard work, and a new twist to things that really spice things up.
We have a wonderful group of NCCC counselors this summer who come from Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, England, Scotland, Russia, and New Zealand. They’ve all added so much to our program. We have seven in leadership positions, one of whom returned for her fourth summer with us this year.
Color my world
Now, what about all the orange? Well, at Alleghany, every group has their own special color and orange is the NCCC color.
And those orange fairy wings? Well, the second campfire of first term is the NCCC initiation.
For many years now, I’ve taken a fairy tale or used an old western “formula” and written a story that I read while the rest of the NCCCs pantomime the action, usually with missed cues that make things very interesting and often funnier. In recent years, we’ve visited “Orange Gulch” and saved the town from rustlers, a greedy railroad baron, and a range war over water rights.
We’ve also seen “The Wonderful Wizard of Orange,” a version of Cinderella—sort of, and our most recent offering was “Snow Orange and the 7 Dwarves.” Only, the dwarves were the tallest of the girls, not the shortest. We changed the story around, but in the end Snow Orange ended up at Camp Alleghany and everyone lived happily ever after.
Sam has obliged me by wearing an enormous orange spongy cowboy hat as well as the fairy wings. He’s a trooper and the campers and counselors just love him for it!
So with the campfire and a few other bits completed, the NCCCs are now “officially” members of the Alleghany family. We are so happy to have them, too.
–Bonnie Dawson, Head of Special Events, Camp Alleghany