Alleghany, Alleghany, let’s all make way.
Here’s to the best camp! Here’s to the Blue and Gray; the Blue and Gray forever!
Alleghany, Alleghany, here’s where I’ll stay!
Down on the Greenbrier in West V. A.!
Alleghany, Alleghany, let’s all make way
Each summer many young ladies are welcomed to their first camp experience at Camp Alleghany. They may begin as a Mini Camper or as a Term Camper. Their first summer may be shortly after they completed first grade or, as in this summer, they may come for the first time when they are 16. They may even come first as a counselor.
Whenever they begin, whatever their age, what we know is that increasing numbers of girls and women come back, and come back, and come back!
All terms this summer — 2015 — were full with bulging wait lists. Consider this: Of the 415 girls in term camp this summer, only 44 were first timers. That means that 371 girls were returning campers!
Here’s to the best camp. Here’s to the Blue and Gray; the Blue and Gray forever!
Those girls who return to camp do so for many different specific reasons. A quick run through camp asking one question, “What makes you want to come back each summer?” yielded these replies:
I just love camp!
I have the best friends of my life here!
I learn things here I can’t anywhere else.
Blue/Gray competition! Go (insert three girls shouting “Blues” and “Grays” simultaneously.)
It’s where I can be the ‘real’ me here.
The great friendships I’ve made at camp.
The things we do here have been part of a history of girls for years… like songs and groups and stuff.
There are awesome girls who accept me; it’s not like middle school.
I like that we get to choose what we do.
Alleghany, Alleghany, here’s where I’ll stay
Begun in 1972, the Four Year Flip-Flops, are a rapidly expanding group of girls who’ve spent four or more summers at Alleghany. Their song is sung in a kick line at Assemblies. That line now extends the full length of the Play Hall and often includes international staff who had traditionally come for just a one year experience, but who have caught that ‘Ghany spirit and have returned time and again.
Another group that continues to grow are the Ten Years. These folks have attended Alleghany as campers and counselors for ten or more years and are treated to a fine dinner in town each summer.
As everyone enjoyed recounting camp stories, and welcoming the newest members of the group, conversation evolved around the idea of counting their total years of impact at Alleghany. Twenty-six individuals have enjoyed a cumulative four hundred and fifty-three years at Alleghany. While the actual range of their years spent at Alleghany is 10 to 42, that total reflects an average of 17 years at Alleghany!
Interestingly, asking a number of those ten-year folks the same question asked of campers above, yielded these replies:
The sense of place that I have here.
I love all of my friends that are here and the family atmosphere here.
I am able to be myself here.
I found out who I am here.
I’m the best ‘me’ here!
Being part of a community working together to afford young girls today the same incredible opportunity I enjoyed as a camper at Alleghany.
Working with the staff and watching them progress.
It’s really a fun job and a great place to work.
Down on the Greenbrier in West V. A.
Interesting to note, another group of ‘Ghany girls has continued to grow across recent years. That group, as yet unnamed, is comprised of women who have chosen to buy or build homes in Greenbrier County.
Currently there are at least 15 ‘Ghany alums (including two Green Team alums), some currently working at Alleghany in the summer, who have acquired homes all along the Greenbrier River and in close proximity to camp. Extending time “down on the Greenbrier” across a bigger part of their lives, and sharing it with their families, is evidence of the very special place Alleghany holds for each of them.
Since 1922 Camp Alleghany clearly has had — and will certainly continue to have — a lasting and positive impact on the lives of young women. The Camp Alleghany Alumni Association (CAAA), which is open to all family, friends, and members of the Alleghany community, was founded in 2007 as a separate incorporation from Camp Alleghany, Inc. (CA Inc.).
CAAA works in collaboration with CA Inc. in a variety of ways to ensure that past, present, and future generations of women have access to the lasting benefits of a summer camp experience.
If you’d like to be a part of this alum community please join (or renew your membership with) the CAAA whose mission is, “To Unite, To Give, and To Enrich!”
We look forward to many more years together as ‘Ghany Girls, ‘Ghany Women, and ‘Ghany Friends!
— Beth Anne (B.A.) Clark-Thomas, Alum and Mini Camp Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls