Every year there are so many things in our lives to be thankful for, and every year the memories, friendships, and lessons that camp has given me are high on my list. But after conversing with some friends in my age group (shout out to Kristin Baker for the inspiration!), I was reminded that my favorite camp meal is none other than Thanksgiving itself.
The dinner bell
“What’s your favorite camp food?” is a question that every camper, counselor, staffer, and parent loves to ask. And really, it’s a hard one to answer at Alleghany because the food is sooooo good.
But ever since I can remember in my 10 years as a camper and a counselor, my answer has been, “Thanksgiving.”
Ms. Hazel and Ms. Alene’s versions of a mid-summer Thanksgiving were about the same, always including turkey, mashed potatoes, some sort of vegetable such as green beans; and then rolls and the best stuffing EVER. The Thanksgiving meal is served a few times each summer (THANK YOU), so I get my fix more than once a year — unlike the traditional November-only holiday!
My love for Thanksgiving might be a little biased because I’m obsessed with the traditional holiday as well. But there’s something that’s always been special to me about having Thanksgiving dinner at Camp Alleghany. And all this made me wonder, What specifically is it about this little camp meal that makes it as appealing — maybe even more so! — than the large, delicious extravaganza my family hosts every year?
Simplicity is elegance
Thanksgiving dinner at camp, I realized, is special to me because it’s so simple.
Our Thanksgiving at home is always a large affair, with lots of family, friends, and of course, lots of food. But at camp, all the excess isn’t necessary. I don’t need green bean casserole or corn pudding or roasted sweet potatoes (all some of my real-life favorites!) to enjoy the meal; in fact, they’d probably seem a little out of place.
The simplicity of camp is one of the many things that has kept me coming back each summer as a camper and now, as a counselor. Camp is the ultimate place to get away from the craziness of so-called “real life.”
Across the river, we don’t need phones, makeup, boys, or even fancy Thanksgiving side dishes. With great friends of all ages around us, simplicity is what we want and appreciate. That, in itself, is something special that I am truly thankful for.
And if anything, the fact that the dishes are taken care of for us during Thanksgiving dinner at camp — thank you, thank you, thank you Kitchen Staffers, Hoppers, and Green Team! — probably doesn’t hurt either. I mean, I like to help but…you have to admit, everything tastes so much better when someone else cooked it, and served it, and cleaned it! 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving ‘Ghany Girls and everyone!
–Audrey Dyer, Alum and Counselor, Camp Alleghany for Girls