Interview: Smith Houts

Emily Smith Houts, “Smith” to her camp friends, is a Greystone treasure. You’ve probably seen her walking around camp, always smiling, camp cats trailing behind. But how much do you really know about her? I sat down with the camp legend herself to hear some of her favorite camp stories.

Smith was a camper from the beginning, attending lots of summer camps before finally coming to Greystone in 1965. After 2 more camper years and one long skip year (where she racked up the phone bill calling her camp friends every day!) she was back to serve as a counselor in 1969. As a teacher, Smith took a brief hiatus from Greystone to work at Illahee, another great girls’ camp in the area, before retiring to join our year-round team in 2002.

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Gill Moore pinning Smith's G on her the summer of 1967.

Smith’s Favorite Camp Memories:

  • When she was 16, Smith took the midnight train to camp! They sang songs all night long before meeting Mrs. Hanna at the train station.
  • They used to have an Evening Program called “Counselor Hunt.” Smith and her friends hid on the roof of the dining hall and were never found!
  • One of Smith’s favorite activities was typing class with Mary McConnell in the dugout under the dining hall. They all brought their typewriters and typed with the termites!
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Smith and her camp horse, Friction, before winning 3rd place in the horse show.

Fun Facts:

  • Smith still has her ribbon from the Greystone horse show hanging in her room. She was a 15 year old in the beginner class and won 3rd place . . . she couldn’t have been happier!
  • The biggest thing campers could get in trouble for with Mrs. Hanna was chewing gum. If you were caught, you had to dig a hole in the dirt and bury it.
  • On the last night of camp, Smith and her camp friends used to throw a prized posession off the end of the canoe dock. There’s no telling what’s bured in Lake Edith!
  • Back in Smith’s day, the odd and even mascots didn’t change from year to year. The odds were the clovers and the evens were the daisies!
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Smith says that program areas have changed the most since she’s been a camper (there are so many options now!) and camp has grown in size, but the friendships Greystone girls have now are still as wonderful as ever. Her camp friends still write letters to this day, and Smith still has all of her letters from the sixties.

Let’s give a big cheer for our dear Smith Houts! Her hard work, friendly spirit, and easy laugh make camp better every year. We can’t imagine camp without her!