My father was passionate about first impressions. When he entered a room, he did so with a big smile and wide arms as he made everyone feel at home. When he entered the gates of camp he did so with the eyes of a first time visitor, making sure everything was clean and manicured. He wanted people who met him to feel appreciated from the first moment and he wanted visitors to feel welcome at camp from the minute they first saw it. Most of our camp improvements were done with an eye toward the impression a first time visitor. It was a good template and we continue to use it… but it is not the facility that make this vital first impression - it is the people.
We give tours almost every day, sending a quick survey after they leave. The common response with every survey is how friendly camp is. They start with the guide (Smith and Caroline do an amazing job splitting this duty) and immediately go on to the campers and the counselors who made them feel at home. When the tour golf cart drives by, it is with smiles and waves from those they pass on the road. Campers say “Hi” to the little girls who are obviously excited to be at camp for the first time. When the tour stops to watch a class, they see campers learning skills with intensity and moments of laughter; they hear music (lots of classes play music); and they are greeted by all they meet. It is this feeling of hospitality that most impresses the parents as they leave. It represents our core value of glorifying God.
Our Skip Year girls are leaving this morning, after enjoying a bit of Greystone hospitality. A perfect Corn Roast, a late night with their friends, and breakfast on the Dining Hall porch. They are certainly not first time visitors to camp, but their delight with all the work that has been done to make this 100th summer special was very gratifying. It was nice to see them embraced by the entire camp as the VIP’s that they are.
We are going to get a bit more rain over the next few days, mostly in the afternoon and evening tonight… which plays a bit of havoc with our plans! You see, tonight is our big 100th Anniversary Celebration, party, and fireworks show. Dinner will feature a decorated dining hall, party favors, and we will sing Happy Birthday to Greystone. We will then adjourn to the campus for some fun… some FOAMY FUN (a giant foam pit is coming from Indiana!), some dessert (a food truck will have treats for all), and some games. Afterwards we will have a fireworks show. We think we can squeeze all this in, but it is possible the scattered showers will join the fun.
It should be a great night.