July 8, 2017 by Don Gentle
We sure had a wonderful day in activities. Most of the instructional periods had a fun event going on that worked with some sort of instruction. Sailing was playing a came of pirate attack. If your boat was hit three times on the sail with a tennis ball, then you had to capsize and right your boat again. All of this, while the boys in paddling were playing a counselor hunt game with similar consequences. If your boat was touched you, had to jump out of the canoe in the deep water and get back into it.
Horseback riding had some fun games that ended in a blindfold-like game of finding a doughnut. Climbing pulled out some “big wall” gear to show the boys and allow them to use. We have some very experienced climbing staff. Some of these guys enjoy the big eastern-style climbs you might find in areas like Yosemite where you are up on the wall for days at a time. These are the “big walls” I am referring to above. The boys enjoyed it a lot.
The big event of the day was the dance with the ladies of Illahee. Several parents have asked me why we do dances. While I don’t think it is a highlight for all the boys, they definitely enjoy it; at least a little. As a mentor to young men, I find it important to create appropriate social events where these ladies and gentlemen can learn to interact and at least “practice” acting appropriately. We purposely do a country dance or square dance, where all of the campers participate at once doing something that is either and event they only do at camp or at least something they do not do at home. Some of our peers put on a “pop song” social dance that you may be familiar with in middle school or high school. This event could not be farther from that sort of experience. The best part is that everyone is moving together and participating at once. I typically find these events a little like Cotillion class. A way for our boys to demonstrate some manners and etiquette to our neighbors across town. I am actually quite surprised how well the boys perform! In all of its lovely awkwardness, the event played out very well. The boys mostly acted like gentlemen and the girls were mostly like ladies. It was a great time and the weather was perfect!
Our youngest half of camp went over to Illahee, while the older boys stayed here. Zoob and I split forces (and a sneaky visit). She went over to Illahee with the younger guys and was able to see our daughter, Izzie. I stayed here and was able to sneak in a visit with our oldest, Grace. She introduced me to some of here cabinmates and friends while we enjoyed some ice cream sandwiches on the lawn. It was a fine mountain evening and a lot of fun!
Speaking of Camp Illahee. Our girls have attended for a number of years. This will be Grace’s fifth year and Izzie’s fourth. It is their first year to be away for a whole month. I think the parents are having a harder time than the girls. Laurie and Gordon run a top-notch program and it is perfect for our two girls! They love it there! The Strayhorns are great friends that we think of highly. They are a few steps ahead of us in the parenting world, so we watch and refer to them often about what to expect next. Their son, Turner, attended here back in his camper days and even returned as a counselor trainee. He has since been pulled back to the “heavenly world” of Illahee where he is a much needed and excellent staff member. We were even fortunate enough to have all three nephews on the Strayhorn side attend High Rocks in the past. If you are in town, be sure to call up Camp Illahee for a visit. It is a great place to check out for your girls and the tour is wonderful.
It’s just about time to get this blog up for the day. I think we are all looking forward to a little bit of a restful and reflective Sunday. I will put up a few more dance pictures from Illahee tomorrow around mid-day for you. The group got back a little late.
Have a great night,