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3+ Generations of Greystone Girls: A Few Stories

There is nothing more special than seeing campers attend each year whose mothers, grandmothers, and even great-grandmothers were Greystone Girls before them! While some things at camp have changed, the core Greystone experience remains the same. Campers who attend now experience the same traditions, friendships, and closeness with God that the previous generations did, and it can be such a sweet thread of connection throughout a family.

Whether it’s the first year at camp or the 80th, each family has a unique story, and today, we’re hearing from a few alumnae who are in multi-generational Greystone families. Hilary, Elizabeth, and Page’s daughters all currently attend camp, and below they’re sharing what they’ve seen change about camp, what has stayed the same, and what it’s like to share this connection with their daughters, mothers, and grandmothers.

No matter what your Greystone story looks like, we think you’ll find yourself nodding along, remembering your own stories, and seeing some familiar names! There are dozens of current campers who are the 3rd or more generation from their families who have attended Greystone, and we hope that number just continues to grow in the coming decades. Do you want to share your multi-generational camp story? - we’d love to hear from you!

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Hilary Smith

4 generations of Trotman/Chapman/Herring/Smith (and Chambers!) girls have attended Greystone! Helen Trotman was my grandmother; she was a camper in 1934 from Norfolk, Virginia. She learned about Greystone from her Presbyterian church, and as an only child, I can’t imagine that anything would have been more fun for her! She came back as a counselor in TU9 in 1953 with my mother (Polly Chapman) as a camper. The rest of the family just followed right on along. Jim would come show the movies when I was a very little girl at our house, and I was always so proud to show home friends “my” camp!

My sister, Lucy Herring, was a camper from 1973-1980 and was a Sailing counselor in 1982 and 1983. I followed her and was a camper from 1976-1987 and returned to teach Kayaking in 1988. I filled out my application as best I could when I was just 6 years old for 7 weeks of Main Camp. I was not going to be left home alone again! My nieces (Lucy’s daughters) Alice and Sallie Chambers attended Greystone from 2007-2016, and my daughter, Evie, has been a camper since 2016.

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The biggest change we’ve seen has been the number of campers! I think the sheer size of the Dining Hall and the Pavilion filled with campers would really be a crazy concept to my grandmother. She would have loved the new Fine Arts area; she taught Needle Crafts. The beautiful open porch would have been such a neat thing after doing Crafts under the Dining Hall in the dugout!

I think the ability to fit the traditions of old Greystone from an 8-week summer into an almost 5-week Main Camp session is magic. The Council Fires and the Opening and Closing Vespers, the Team Fires, Challenge Day, and Watersports Day - these are still the same beautiful events that every generation was a part of. I love that about camp!

The most important things have stayed the same: friends! Generations of Greystone friends overlap, and those friends last a lifetime. Evie is friends with my camp friends and also their daughters. My mother was a camper with the mothers of my camp friends. Greystone has supplied my family with beautiful friendships.

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My mother loved riding the train from Norfolk, Virginia to Tuxedo. She said at every stop they would add girls and have to add cars to the train because there were so many campers.

Lucy recalled being a little girl and having our mother sit with her on her bed and talk about the map of camp. The Riding ring over here. The Riflery range way up here. The bus to the swim docks way over here.

I remember singing camp songs with my grandmother, mother, and sister. But so clearly, I remember being on the bus from the Greenville airport to camp with Lucy my very first summer, 1976. I was so overwhelmed and happy to hear the girls on the bus singing all those camp songs I had heard my mother and sister sing for so long. The difference a big group of singing Greystone girls makes, to this day, is huge and just so joyful. I still love singing at camp!!

My sister and I were talking about Lincoln (the bus driver) just the other day. While he waited on the steps for us as we loaded the bus for swimming (steps at the end of a path from the castle to the front gate now all covered with ivy), he would whittle and make tops. The luckiest of girls might have received a top from Lincoln!

I always remember as a small camper going to the Hostess Cabin on a rainy Sunday to check the big group pictures. I was looking for my people! I loved that I could find my grandmother as a young teenager and again the summer she turned 30 as a counselor. I found multiple pictures of my mom as a tween, and then my sister about the same age. We all had been swimming in the lake and singing in the Pavilion at about the same age, all so happily. What fun that my nieces followed and now my daughter is there as well, still swimming in the lake and singing in the Pavilion with friends that will follow her through life.

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Elizabeth Laffitte

Our connection with Greystone began when my great-grandmother, Alice Andrews served as the head Riding instructor for many years in the 30s and 40s. My mother, Alice Lee Fraser attended the 8 week session for 5 years in the 60s. She was top dog: Queen, Best All Around, Best Legs (that was a thing, apparently), and Captain of the Odds!

When my mom was in her 40’s she went back as a counselor for a couple of years. It was both weird and cool to have her there while I was a camper! The most special part of her being at camp at the same time as me was that she tapped me for the temporary Honor Council during Council Fire.

My sister (Clermont Fraser) and I attended in the 80s and 90s. I didn’t return for my final year as a camper, but I was visiting Flat Rock and my mom heard that Greystone was short on counselors. They pulled me in to be a counselor at August Camp even though I was not old enough! I was in TL1, and I loved being a counselor for those two weeks. My daughters Lowndes and Lucy have also attended camp for years.

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So many any aspects of Greystone are the same now as they always were. My great-grandmother would probably be disappointed that none of us are really into horses, but she would love that we all play tennis!

The Breakfast Club stories and the Christian faith are still the same. Jim and Libby were a great duo. I still remember hymns we learned for the hymn of the year. We had interesting speakers such as Elisabeth Elliott. The dining together and singing is still wonderful, although we were very blessed with Mary playing piano when I was a camper.

We know that it is an extreme privilege to attend Greystone. Today I can see the influence it has on my daughters. I think they have more confidence, wisdom, and maturity because of their camp experience.

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Page Wick

We’ve had a long history with Greystone with 3 generations attending! Our connection to Greystone started when “Queen” (my girls’ great-grandmother) traveled from Boonville, Missouri in the 1930s to attend a summer camp in Michigan: Camp Kechuwa (which had since turned into a boys camp). She knew that summer camp was an invaluable experience and was looking for a camp for her own daughters.

Queen took her girls to go see the Greystone movies in St. Louis with Mrs. Hanna, and it was a match! (Queen said there wasn’t anything else to do in the summer in Columbia except work at the Dairy Queen and go to the drive-in!) Queen sent “Dede” (Drew Bass Stull, my girls’ grandmother) on the train to Greystone from St. Louis with her older sister. Dede has stories about camp friends that she met on the train as stops were made all along the way to Tuxedo, North Carolina!

Of course, we grew up hearing Greystone stories and songs, so my sister (Annie Stull Cochran) and I (Page Stull Wick) attended Greystone, too! While the majority of our friends attended Texas camps, we loved camp as a way to see our Spartanburg cousins, who also attended every year, as well as meet new friends from all over the country. Because our mom took the train, she didn’t think twice about putting us on the plane every year to and from camp. We didn’t know any different and just expected that 3 a.m. wake-up call on the last day of every year to get back to the airport!

Now we have 3 girls (Amelia, Josephine, and Mary Martin Wick) who also go with their first cousins (Page Cochran and Sallie Winters) to Camp Greystone (Dede sent 5 granddaughters to Main Camp this summer)! We had 9 cousins in all attending camp sessions last year, including Mary Stewart Holmes Loring’s girls (Blair, Merrill, and Sims Loring) and Blair Holmes Brown’s daughter (Annie Brown). We’ve enjoyed traveling to drop them off at least one way each year, and it’s been so fun to visit old and new camp friends. Greystone is such a special experience for our whole family to have in common!

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Our girls think the programming is one of the biggest things that tends to change throughout the years. A good example is how the swimming program has evolved. Our grandmother Dede talks about being motivated to swim fast in Lake Summit in the 1960s so the fish didn’t nip on her toes! In the 1980s, we swam in the lake down the road (Mary Stewart Holmes Loring and I could share some stories), but the most memorable was that we had to take the “old” swim bus to class! We had to cross a rickety bridge that could not hold the weight of the bus AND all the occupants! So we got off the bus, ran across the bridge, and then got back on the bus!

Now, in the 2020s, our girls don’t know anything different than a beautiful pool and an awesome Putt Cove. While there isn’t a required swim class these days, our girls are excited to take their favorite swim class which happens to be Synchronized Swimming (no fish included)!

Something else that has changed is the communication. I can only imagine in the 1960s Dede’s mother taking her to the train station. To be gone for 8 weeks didn’t phase those campers, and there must have been minimal communication back and forth and certainly no pictures! In the 1980s, the handwritten letters were gold, and there were those girls who got the fancy packages from the Wrinkled Egg with a note from home. We couldn’t wait to come home and develop our disposable camera camp pictures at the drugstore. We wrote long notes and chain letters to camp friends to keep in touch and exchanged mix tapes with our “summer songs”. I also remember the Sparks newsletters printed on Xerox copies that were so fun to receive!

And now in the 2020s, Greystone of course does an amazing job with all of its communication throughout the year, and now I don’t think our girls (and us as parents) could imagine camp without all the daily photos (and printed emails)! Queen would be shocked to know of all of the “instant” information and pictures we get as Greystone parents while our girls are at camp!

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The calmness and serenity of camp is one thing that seems to have remained the same over the years. The sounds of Reveille, the fireflies at dusk, the Council Fires, and the songs are all part of the “bubble” of Greystone. You just have the special feeling of being in a holy place and a safe place when you are there, and it’s something that I think this generation craves even more.

Of course, there are physical updates (like not having to run to the shower house because we didn’t have a shower in our cabins!), but the overall core essence of camp remains steadfastly the same.

Thankfully, the Miller family has also been one of the most valuable things that has remained the same over the years. Even with different directors and personalities, there is a common thread of joy, generosity, commitment, and gratitude that runs through the years!

For us, all of the Greystone traditions are something that are a way to connect over the generations! Everyone loves to talk about their most loved and memorable EPs. In the 1960s, we loved hearing about Dede being in the Miss Greystone contest. There was a contest for what made the perfect Greystone girl such as Miss Hair, Miss Legs, Miss Hands, and so on! In the 1980s, we talked about how we all loved the first Corn Roast, Game Show Night, and watching Laura shine in her role as a member of the Supremes (with those red nails)! Now in the 2020s, our girls tell us about their favorite EPs including Color Throw and Jimboy Olympics.

We also all love the songs that have remained the same over the years. We reminisce over the smaller things, too, like being a Table Girl or the job wheels, that are still a part of the Greystone experience!

Having the generational connection also makes it easier for us to understand the special experience that our girls are having at camp. All of us (mothers and grandmothers) know how impactful Camp Greystone will be for our daughters’ entire lives. Now, the only hard part is that our youngest daughter has heard that Dede got to go to Greystone for 8 weeks each summer, and she wishes she could stay for that long, too! We are so grateful for Greystone being such an important and constant part of ALL of our lives through the years.

Greystone is a special place that does a wonderful job of reinforcing our family values in a consistent way over the years. In a world that seems to move so quickly (in every sense!), it’s so nice to have a place like camp that brings back focus on what’s really important.