You've Got Mail

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We highly value letters at camp. They arrive every morning in one of two formats… hand written letters (about 4,000) and emails (about 1,000). We get about four times as many letters as emails (a fact I was not aware of until today!). It is a big job for Nancy (who is very diligent about sorting everything out). Nancy puts them in their appropriate box by 2:00, just in time for Rest hour. Each letter and email offer a glimpse into the heart of the sender. Each one has a perceptible impact on the camper, keenly anticipated and often read over and over before being stacked on a shelf for safe keeping.

Everyone likes to get mail. It provides a huge boost and is always deeply appreciated. You have no idea the power of a letter (or you would write even more of them!). We started an “Adopt a Counselor” program last year with our Alums with exactly this impact in mind. Anyone interested in writing one of our current counselors is assigned a name… that’s all. They send these counselors surprise letters and sometimes care packages of homemade treats (counselors can get packages!). These surprises arrive unexpectedly during Main Camp (when counselors often get tired). The impact is HUGE. Just the thing to put a smile back on your face! We will do this program for the rest of time… so very sweet and possibly the beginning of a long friendship arising from this distant contact.

Today I will share a few letters that I have read this week. One from the Wall Street Journal this morning, one from a parent who wrote over the weekend (she gave permission to share), and one from a 22 year old alum starting her new job. Each one touched me deeply and I think they can be an inspriaton to you as well. The letters speak to the impact of camp and are more eloquent than anything I can think to say.

First the Wall Street Journal

Lizz Rich Cohen’s “The Life Lessons of Summer Camp” (Review, July 9) absolutely crushes the summer-camp experience. Between my 10 summers as a camper and nearly five as a counselor, I spent over two years combined at summer camp from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, experiences and skills learned that I rely on to this day. That my parents worked to afford to send me to camp was a sacrifice for which I remain ever grateful. I recall most readily my experiences as a counselor, taking campers out on extended bicycle and hiking trips throughout New England. There were always the campers who were the fastest, the most able, and who “got there first.” I much preferred to be the “broom” on those trips, to help encourage campers who thought they couldn’t do it and felt they weren’t as good. They all did it, albeit more slowly, and they were at least as good. I believe those experiences helped shape the campers’ young lives for the better. For me, the looks of accomplishment on the faces of those 11- and 12-year-old campers, the spoken words “I did it,” and their smiles remain to this day cherished memories.

Second The Parent

What an absolute surprise and delight to see this photo in my Waldo last night. Left to Right: Ellie Holland, Katherine Harlander, Claire Wilhelm. Cabin mates and Camp Besties, Main Camp 2022.

They are holding an identical photo following their first day swim test of Junior Camp, 2017. Cabin mates and Camp Besties even then. None of the girls knew each other prior to Greystone- Ellie and Katherine had been pen pals (always write your pen pal those who are wise will say…) who hit it off from the first letter and communicated all spring. Claire jumped into their bunk during move in and the rest is history. Katherine and Claire have attended every session together and have been cabin requests each time. Ellie moved to Main two years sooner, but has still been in their cabin the 4 sessions they have shared together.

Notable recreations from the photo:locationtowel and name tags as accessorieshairstylesEllie’s thumbs up, her pre-arranged sign to me that she was having fun

Third the Alum

I have just graduated from Alabama and started work as a wedding planner in Birmingham. I love the season I am in, but often get nostalgia of my times at Greystone. As a nine year camper and one year counselor, I am beyond thankful for my sweet summers in the mountains. Each Opening Day, I get emotional and often tell my friends how my heart “hurts” not being there. Because Greystone has been on my mind, I figured I would write a thank you letter to somehow express the ways camp impacted my life. From my relationship with The Lord to the self-confidence I gained, Greystone taught me life lessons that I continue to be reminded of. The sacrifices y’all make to impact the kingdom and provide an escape is not unnoticed. I send a BIG thank you from every Greystone Girl! We are thankful!

The Details

  • Breakfast Corned beef hash
  • Lunch Poppyseed Chicken
  • Dinner Gyros, falafel, rice pilaf, lemon potatoes, greek salad
  • Weather Hot (85 degrees), chance of showers
  • EP Counselor Talent Show (a favorite, often silly, program).
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