Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ghany girl

They say that the sense of smell can bring back long forgotten memories. They are so true.

As a pre-teen, I had the pleasure of attending Camp Alleghany, a camp for girls in West Virginia. My mother had once been a counselor at this camp and I had heard so many stories of her time there.

I remember being completely nervous and anxious heading off on the charter bus, but so excited for my new experiences.

I attended 'Ghany for three years (not consecutively, as my sister had the chance to go as well). They were the most amazing summers of my life. I had never attended a sleep away camp before, or since, so I don't really know if my experiences there are unique to this camp or not; I would like to believe that they are.

I try explaining why 'Ghany is such a great place to my husband, and he ends up looking at me as though I were crazy (he may be right, but not about camp). Even as I write this, I have a hard time coming up with words to describe and explain why Camp is so special to me.

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of taking my oldest daughter for her first Camp Alleghany experience- a week of Mini Camp, allowed for first timers. As we stood on the banks of the Greenbrier River waiting for the Barge to ferry us over to Camp, so many emotions filled my heart. The sound of the Barge scraping the ramp was such a welcome sound. Sarah and her friend (who chose to attend Camp with her) were filled with nervous energy and couldn't wait to get across the river.

As the Barge neared the opposite side of the river, the line of counselors dressed in Blues & Whites, linked arm in arm, greeted us with a familiar song..."A welcome we're singing to you today..." Tears welled in my eyes as I remembered being serenaded in a similar fashion many years ago.

Once we were checked in at the store and the infirmary, we walked to Junior Camp to tent row. The second I entered her tent, I was smacked in the face with a such a familiar scent, it nearly knocked me over. The aroma of the tent alone transported me back 25 years to when I was a camper. It was amazing: the campfires, vespers, the walk through the woods to the dining hall, dances with Greenbrier boys, drama productions, the Old Johns, assemblies, hospital corners & inspections, Blue/Gray competitions (go Gray!), mail call, Cooper, Frannie, glass bottles of coke & fireballs at the store after dinner, peppermint patties & peanut butter, lunch under the apple tree. Big sigh!

I am positive that my daughters now think I am crazy, but I am hoping that Sarah will now have a glimpse into why!

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