Meet Taylor Pounders (12) and Ellie Williams (11), each from Richmond, Va. Both first-time campers for first term 2013, they didn’t know each other before camp and met only briefly while at camp. However, their mothers (your humble narrators) bonded through a coincidental meeting and recently got the girls together for lunch.
Our mother-daughter (x2) conversation centered on each girls’ Camp Alleghany experience. We all literally laughed and cried reminiscing about the girls’ first time away at camp for three full weeks.
Both girls were pretty homesick during their early days (and even a few later days), but both have already registered to return to first term in 2014!
Why are they coming back? Taylor says,
I think I will feel a lot more comfortable this summer because I will know more people and know what to expect. I also learned that distance really does make the heart grow fonder. Being away from my family definitely made me realize how much they mean to me.
I was homesick last year, but I knew that this experience only comes once in a lifetime. I now know I’m in a safe environment with the fun counselors and amazing friends that surround me. I can’t wait to relive this magical time!
In preparation to go back in June 2014, together the girls developed their top 20 list of “What I wish I knew before I went to Camp” and gladly offer it to prospective, new and returning Ghany Girls. Enjoy!
Top twenty tips for girls and their families
- Bring magazines with you. You’ll want them during rest hour.
- Bring the weirdest/goofiest things with you because you’ll use them. Wild duct tape, tutus, decorations for your tent, hats, accessories — anything!
- Bring embroidery thread, hemp string, and yarn for bracelet making. Also bring scotch tape and scissors.
- Tell your parents not to write you a lot, especially the first week. We were both very, very homesick and reading “I miss you” made it way worse. You can say “I love you” but talk only about fun, chatty stuff.
- If you’re missing home, especially the first week, wait to read your mail until before you go to bed. It will help you live your day to the fullest.
- Always try new foods in the Dining Hall. You might like things you don’t think you would.
- Bring cards and games because they’ll help you bond with your tent mates.
- Bring a quiet battery operated fan, a Frog Tog (absorbent towel) and a Crazy Creek chair.
- Bring tank tops, not heavy, thick t-shirts. It is hot and you will be sweaty and gross.
- Bring nice jeans, top and shoes for Vespers. Not fancy, but nice.
- Forget something? No problem! You can borrow from the new friends you’ve made!
- Bring tissues for Sisters Vespers if you don’t have a sister. You will wish you had a sister with you and you will want tissues.
- Bring pictures of fun things you like (not your family because it may make you homesick) to decorate your tent. It helps it feel more like home.
- Make labels to address envelopes. They give you Camp Alleghany stationary so you just need stamps and addresses.
- Bring LOTS of hair elastics. You can do each other’s hair, and you’ll wear your hair up all the time.
- Bring lots of bug spray.
- Bring a head lamp with a RED light (not a white light because it attracts bugs). You will use it going to the bathroom and reading in your tent after dark.
- Talk to your counselors about how you’re feeling. We were really, really homesick and different counselors really helped us by talking to us.
- Don’t have people mail you a lot of stuff because you won’t have room in your tent for it and you won’t have room to bring it home in your bag.
- Fuel your body with good food! Taylor’s favorite food? “Go for the spaghetti, brownies and ice cream.” Ellie’s favorite food? “Definitely the croissant sandwich with turkey and cheese. Oh, and the potato wedges!”
–Jennifer Pounders and Liz Williams (And Taylor and Ellie too), Parents and Campers, Camp Alleghany for Girls