Those of you who are old hands at Camp Alleghany know how much we love the color system.
But what if you’re new to Ghany? What do all the colors mean? Well, you can get a quick overview here.
But I want to tell you today about one particular color — a Tinge. As the Camp Alleghany Color page states:
The Tinges are a group of counselors who were campers, completed the Junior Counselor leadership program, and then became a full Counselor, adding a purple “tinge” to their pink counselor color.
Well that’s what I was this year, a first year Tinge. And to me there’s something particularly special about that first year, because those who were in the Junior Counselor Program (JCs) at the same time as me and my fellow first year Tinges were already close to us, having been 16s when we were Junior Counselors.
It’s like a circle, connected with no end!
Being a first year Tinge was one of the most wonderful and rewarding summers I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience.
My age group was very lucky in that 11 of the original 15 JCs returned for a second summer, as first year Tinges. It was great to have so many of my close camp friends there with whom I could share the sunny days, longtime camp memories, and our new responsibilities as full Counselors.
Passing the purple torch
The absolute best part of being a Tinge is initiating the JCs!
When the JCs first arrive to staff training, we remove every purple item from their possession. Every one. You brought a purple flashlight? Sorry, it’s ours. Your only two pilow-cases are purple? What were you thinking — it’s gone! 🙂
Of course, this is all in the spirit of fun.
Then, we take the JCs to The Purple Palace, a building in the back of camp that they can dream about, imagine, long for, but that they only get to enter after they’ve been initiated as full JCs!
Over the next three weeks, we then proceed to call a series of “Now’s,” that the JCs are trained to stay attuned to.
A “Now,” is a moment when all of the Tinges have put on massive amounts of purple clothing, items, and et cetera from the dear JC’s possessions, and have stationed ourselves in a spot in camp.
Then, together we call out the word, “NOW!” at the top of our lungs.
As soon as they hear it, the JCs, no matter where they are or what they’re doing, must run to wherever we are, sit together, and wait. We then sing the JC song to them and it’s revealed whether this time they are or aren’t going to get their purple goods back. So a “now” is essentially a “fake out” for their initiation.
On the real day that the JCs get initiated, they don’t know that it’s coming — how could they after so many fakeouts?
But for that special day, the Tinges have made cards for the JCs which have funny memories and inside jokes listed on them.
When the time arrives, we act like it’s just more of our playful trickery, until we step forward and read the JCs their cards.
That day was such a happy day for all of us!
I loved seeing how overjoyed the JCs were and how excited they were to get into The Purple Palace.
Yet it was bittersweet, too; it was so strange to think that just a year ago that was me and my closest friends, sitting in anticipation, waiting for that special moment when we would become Purple Princesses. But it was almost a better feeling, seeing someone else experience something that was so special to you, and knowing that you are still a part of it.
In it together
This is how Camp Alleghany traditions are. They link girls, one to another, across time and space, and camp sessions 30 years ago and more to campers today.
With all we learn at camp — new skills, our own strength in “roughing it” under tents and in all weather, sharing small spaces with other people, and as counselors, to be responsible for others — the counterpoint are these moments of levity, melancholy, and connections.
These are our traditions, our colors, our rituals, our moments.
It’s what makes us ‘Ghany Girls once and forever!
— Chloë-Ester Cook, Counselor and Alum, Camp Alleghany for Girls