Now that camp is in full swing and we’re immersed in the gentle rhythms of life by the Greenbrier, I thought I’d sit back and reflect on just how different our camp setting can be from one day to the next, from week to week, and even from hour to hour sometimes.
Of course there’s something about Camp Alleghany that transcends time, something that feels the same whether we’re looking back at pictures from its founding in 1922 or walking to the Dining Hall today.
But even so, there are many moods to camp depending on when and where you cast your gaze. And that’s what I want to do now, with a kind of mini photo gallery of some varied moment around camp.
Goodbye Mini Campers
Though we’re sad to see our Mini Camp friends go, luckily we have some great photos to remind us of that fun-filled week. (And soon I’ll have a blog on some Mini Camp highlights.) If your daughter was at Mini Camp, you can still log on and purchase photos using your account, so please take some time to peruse them and find some treasures!
In the meantime, just look at these sweet Mini Campers with their candlelight candles. Reverence, quiet, and a sense of peace and reflection is written on all their faces and it’s clear that, even though it’s only been one week, they’re ‘Ghany Girls now!
Now here’s another photo that I just love.
At first glance it’s nothing but a stack of firewood — but it speaks to me of so many things.
First, it tells in its silence of someone acquiring the wood for our fires. In this case, it was our dedicated Alumni Association. The wood was taken from the old Rifle Range, cut, hauled, bundled, and stacked and now sits there full of both this labor-intensive and historically rich past and yet full of a future where they will be stoking the sparks of our campfires.
I love that this is a mixture of recycling and repurposing in a way that honors what has been — the old Rifle Range — even as it feeds new memories.
In the meantime the logs just look beautiful, quiet, purposeful. I love this shot of a quiet camp moment of its own and many future camp moments yet to happen.
There may be nothing like that joy of arrival, for all of us, from the Dawsons and Shreckhises to the counselors, staff, and campers. We all ride the beloved Barge and endure a patient river crossing while juggling gear and jiggling with anticipation.
And then it’s friends on the other side, big welcomes, a song, and huge smiles!
I wonder what the Greenbrier remembers of all these comings and goings? Does the Barge feel a duty to ferry its charges from side to side, always waiting, always ready, always serving us? That’s one of the mysteries of the surroundings at camp — what do these seemingly inanimate things hold in their memories?
Well, what we do know is there’s a lot of love evident in this picture of some of our counselors getting to camp. For me that’s an extra delight because there’s nothing better than having a staff of gifted, well-trained, reliable people who also LOVE the place they work!
The mood on opening night of Term Camp rapidly moves to one of hilarity when the fabulous team of counselors do their activity skits. I think we could be offering “Deep Contemplative Meditation” as one of our activities and the counselors would find a way to dress it up and make it hilarious!
This picture of a line of canoeing counselors hamming it up for the campers says it all:
Speaking of deep contemplative meditation, it looks like my son Mason is getting away from the ‘Ghany Girls hen party to indulge in a moment of pure solitude. He’s clearly learning early on that camp is not all about hugging, cheering, smiling, and doing, doing, doing.
Sometimes it’s about letting go of everything and just laying there amidst the hills of West Virginia, resting, quiet, at ease with nature and your self.
And in his case that lasts about thirty seconds, so take the picture while you can! 🙂
Lots of concentration
In addition to Mason’s inner focus, there’s focus a-plenty to go around camp since many of our activities require concentration for both safety and skill.
I always love seeing the girls practice archery and rifle because those activities offer the most direct example of safety and skill combined. And it’s great to hear the girls gush with pride at hitting a target — and even struggle for mastery while trying to get there — as they take this class so seriously!
More moments to come
This photo of the canoes just waiting in the water reminds me that many, many more moments and moods are yet to unfold over the course of term camp.
Sadly those moments go all too quickly, so we need to treasure them when we’re in them.
I’m sure alumni who are reading this will feel that old familiar pull of the rhythms of camp and the many moods that are expressed over the course of a day — from I’m starving to I’m pooped to Go Blue! (or Go Gray!) to just laughing and enjoying it all to basking in the starry sky looking down on us at bedtime.
–Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls