For those of us who have ever been to sleepaway summer camp, the fond memories are almost entirely universal. The sense of freedom that the child feels to find herself immersed in nature, a big blue sky above dappled with white puffy clouds, the rustling of big trees sending a gentle breeze, the lapping of the wide river singing its song, and the gentle call of birds rounding out the symphony.
Sleepaway summer camp is, in a word, idyllic. It’s an idyllic, timeless experience that shares in common aspects of a dream, of a “perfect childhood,” a moment when all was in order and yet adventurous, feeling secure and yet offering opportunities for healthy exploration.
Traditional sleepaway summer camps have changed very little in their over 100+ year histories, and this is a testament to certain things remaining constant for a reason — because nature and outdoor time, community living and summer weather, campfires and stretching muscles, and friendships and laughter have always offered a deep nourishment to kids (of all ages, I might add, I still LOVE summer camp!)
‘Ghany Girls Forever
At Camp Alleghany for Girls, we still do it the old school way. Our canvas tents are mounted on wooden platforms and host 4-6 girls and a counselor for 1- to 3- to 6-weeks. Our older campers are close with their counselors, but are afforded the opportunity to bunk with their age cohort alone.
We still rise to Reveille and end the night with Taps, and gather in the morning for assembly and citizenship and come streaming together at the sound of the old ship’s bell for meals.
We still give girls options for taking their activities of choice each summer, while exposing them to the other activities on offer with a “taste of activities” day and evening activities.
We still arrive at camp excited to cross the river on the Barge and get to the “other side of the world” that is camp, and we still depart camp in tears, so sad to say goodbye to camp friends until next year!
We still let each girl set personal goals for her activities or other pursuits each summer, and we encourage her unique individuality, knowing that as her voice is strengthened, all girls are strengthened in who they are, who we are.
We still sit in wonder around a campfire and laugh out loud beyond our wildest dreams when grownups do skits or lose a bet or challenge to a camper!
We still line up expectantly for mail call to feel that old fashioned letter from home in our hands, and loll about during Rest Hour poring over that summer novel and relishing a moment of quiet.
We still weave friendship bracelets and give each other nicknames and twirl clovers between our fingers when we gather for each term’s Lunch Under the Apple Tree.
We still fight hard for Gray or Blue in Crab Soccer or a relay race, and shake our friendly opponents’ hands in congratulations and “good game” when the summer’s winner is announced!
We’re ‘Ghany Girls who believe in giving our all, opening our hearts, extending a helping hand, and seeing the value and worth of ourselves and of each of the people around us in a summer.
Making ‘Ghany Possible
Every girl should have this opportunity. And when you give to the Lantern Scholarship Fund you help make this dream a reality for a girl (and several) who otherwise wouldn’t be able to dangle her legs off the dock for swimming, or step into an exciting role for the Dance Show or in the Drama Play, or just hear the sound of crickets and see the twinkling stars overhead.
On this Giving Tuesday, we hope you’ll make a donation to the Lantern Scholarship Fund, and spread the ‘Ghany Love just a little bit further to a girl who really deserves to be there!
— Elizabeth Shreckhise, Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls