My daughter Chloë is Camp Alleghany-obsessed. She loves everything about it and, it seems, has already planned out her next seven summers there, from her final one as a camper next year, and on to what she hopes is a great career as first a JC, then a counselor, and then who knows what.
So Sunday when I dropped her off for first term she was eager and delighted for everything about to come.
Pining for Camp
As I’ve written before on this blog, I’m a leap-frogger — my mom went to Alleghany in the 40s, and my daughters in the 21st century, but I never went. Yet yesterday, as I dropped Chloë off, I felt again that unique magic that is ‘Ghany as if it were, in part, my own. And, after three years of bringing Chloë down, I was also impressed with the increasing organization and professionalism of the staff and operations. Seeing the magic and the officialdom has got to be a parent’s dream come true.
Even I feel giddy about the barge, the subject of so much camp lore as the portal into the camp world. On Sunday it floated back and forth across the Greenbrier with a pendulum like consistency, poled by the young men of the Green Team who were keenly focused on the rhythm of their jobs atop the running river. I loved, too, that their poles were not some new fangled tool from a high tech firm. Nope, they were just long sturdy branches from an obliging tree. Each Green Teamer seemed to know the river so well, and were in tune with each other wordlessly, as we floated to and from the opposite banks.
Then there was the song of greeting, and all the staff in their dress blue and whites, beaming faces waiting for us on shore. The true enthusiasm of everyone just feels like a place you can call “home.”
Chloë, who’s now 15 and an Upstart, was sorted — after getting hugs from her previous JC — into her tent, and passed off to her counselor, Hailey, who offered immediate friendliness and warmth.
And then came the barage — a gaggle of girls with gangly arms and athletic legs and sunny smiles, all repeat ‘Ghany girls, screaming out Chloë’s name and offering hugs and squeals of delight. Chloë has always been an easy going kid, and well liked, but still, it’s nice to see she has so many summer chums who remember her and were excited to spend another term together. And she was equally excited about seeing these friends, about her tent mates, about the staff, and about everything Ghany.
And as a parent there’s no better feeling than having complete confidence in not only the facilities and staff of a camp, of its cleanliness and safety and precautions (I heard one counselor tell some campers about a boundary they couldn’t cross, which she said respectfully while also explaining why) but also its warmth and its values. So, after a quick and efficient run through the infirmary line, and dropping Chloë’s guitar and carry on bag at her tent we found ourselves…superfluous. That is to say, Chloë was in her element and after all, we were dropping her off — it was simply time for us to go.
I still felt a wee pang of jealousy that I never got to go to a camp like this. But living vicariously isn’t so bad sometimes. Chloë’s happiness is enough for the both of us on this score!
–Lindsay Curren, Parent, Camp Alleghany for Girls