The summer of 2020 at Camp Alleghany for Girls was a strange one, to say the least. But the upshot was that it was still a very productive summer behind the scenes.
The Administrative Team, some family members, and a few staff members went to Camp two weeks before Family Retreats to prep for that unique 2020 summer program and to focus on projects we often don’t make time for. “Work Camp,” we called it. Work Camp was not only productive, but we had a great time as a camp community, even while missing the campers and the larger staff.
What all did we do, you ask? A lot, and I’ll share a little bit of it here.
Facilities Director Garrett O’Dell and his crew built a new office this past off-season. It’s a beautiful building, and we needed to move in. Furniture, boxes, supplies, white boards, wall hangings, and other office needs had already come out of the old Office, and were in the new building, but not yet home. Office Manager Louise Dawson and Camp Director Elizabeth Shreckhise took the lead on this, and in no time the new space had the warm, welcoming feeling of a true Camp Office.
Below the Office (and in the same building) are our new Camp Store and Camp Post Office. Long time Camp Store Manager Ruth Reitz took charge here. It’s amazing to walk around the new store she set up, and to see all of the wares out on display with so much space for moving around. We can’t wait for you to check it out next summer!
The old Office is our new Camp Infirmary, which also needed some love in preparing it. Former Camp Nurse Gretchen Hitchcock and her daughter, current Camp Nurse Katie Hitchcock Webster, volunteered to come out for a week to set up the newly renovated building. Their task was sorting through the boxes and boxes of supplies we had moved over from the old Infirmary and organizing them into the new space. After lots of hard work, the Infirm is ready for 2021!
With a new Infirmary, we dubbed the old infirmary the “Hen House,” which was actually re-using an old name for a building that had been repurposed as the old Post Office and then torn down. Confused yet?
After clearing out all of the medical and infirmary supplies from the old Infirmary, we set the Hen House up as a new counselor hub. Head Counselors and counselors will have a designated work space here that’s separate from the Lodge. Our Staff Photographers each summer will also work out of the Hen House.
Saying Goodbye Is Sometimes A Good Thing
In all of the building space shufflings, with emptying out stuff, transferring it, and setting things up anew, there was also a lot of overdue purging.
- “Oh, this tape deck we haven’t used in a half century, and even I, with my love of analog cassette tapes don’t want,” – get rid of it!
- Long out of date forms that are stockpiled for an apocalyptic paper shortage? – into the recycling bin.
- Outdated books – off to Goodwill.
- Camp archives and memorabilia on the other hand – organized and filed away — our 100th summer and anniversary is coming up in 2022 after all!
Decluttering was a huge victory for buildings this summer, and Louise took great joy in that effort and its refreshing results.
A Fresh Coat
Then there were painting projects galore.
Our many-hats-wearing Counselors sanded and painted old benches. If you remember the Adirondack chairs that desperately needed some love — or can picture them — they were re-loved and also re-painted.
And then there were building and place signs that needed to be spruced up to give Camp a fresh new feeling after all of these moves. So Counselor Rei painted or repainted around 15 signs for us including the Goat Path, Dining Hall, Twin Tulips, Tennis, Arts & Crafts, and a refresh of the Camp Store and Post Office signs, to name a few.
Mini Camp Director Beth Anne (BA) Clark-Thomas, decked out in Mini Camp tie-dye, pitched in her renovation skills to paint doors and trim for the Store, Office, and Infirmary. It’s amazing what teamwork and a coat of paint can do!
We weeded flower beds, tacked tents, prepped the Dining Hall, made and posted Family Retreat signs, reorganized the Canoe Hut, set out cleaning supplies in all the Family Retreat tents, and so many other renovating, reorganizing, and sprucing tasks that I’m not remembering. It was such a healthy purge and shine for Camp!
Friendship, Just the Perfect Blendship
Just as important was the socializing, something we all needed after months of quarantine. Who better to have that time with than Camp friends?
To be at camp and freely work together, all staff had to be COVID-tested prior to arrival. Everyone tested negative, of course, and that set the stage for our little camp bubble to be extra safe and comfortable.
With this in place, in addition to working, staff had an outdoor movie night and game nights. Another evening after dinner, staff hiked up to Twin Tulips and back down a brand new trail that Leadership Program Director Teresa Padgett and I built. Camp now has a two-mile loop from the Cottage to the Barn via Twin Tulips!
It was a great two weeks making Camp beautiful and getting ready for Family Retreats. Even if we hadn’t been able to run Family Retreats, it would have come off as a successful summer considering a pandemic. Everyone was safe, and we came together as a Camp Family to get this work done.
Thinking about it now, I’m missing everyone who came out to share their love for Camp. Thank you and thanks to all of our families and the broader Camp Community! You are why we do this.
Work Camp Staff included: Elizabeth Shreckhise, Teresa Padgett, Garrett O’Dell, BA Clark-Thomas, Louise Dawson, Casey Tucker, Sam and Bonnie Dawson, Stephanie Astley, Ruth Reitz, Gretchen Hitchcock, Katie Hitchcock Webster, and Counselors/Nannies Ellie, Emily, Leah, Megan, and Rei.
—Casey Tucker, Program Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls