We celebrated the Fourth of July in traditional ALC fashion this week. Each year, the entire day is planned and organized by the Junior CTs. They choose the theme, create decorations, divide counselors and campers into colorful teams, strategize games, and plan the menus - all without campers or counselors being aware of what they are doing.
The amazing thing is that you could return to camp after years of being away and still recognize our festivities on this day (for example, our annual morning game of ‘Streets and Alleys’). Some of the games have changed, and so have the themes. The “Hawaiian” and “Smurfs” themes of the ‘80s and ‘90s have given way to “Princess Power and “Wreck It Ralph” in 2017 and 2018. Even with changes, there is a thread that connects us all through the years. For those who have been - and those who will be - Junior CTs, there are the lessons of leadership, careful planning, and teamwork that we learn as part of leading the Fourth of July for this community. These lessons carry us forward as we become counselors and take on more leadership in camp. Ultimately, they give us the confidence and needed experience to take on leadership in our lives outside of camp - be it at school, in a job, or in contributions made to our communities. For our campers, they look forward to the fun of the day, they witness our CTs as emerging leaders at camp, and maybe they even dream of their chance to be a CT.
There are many ALC traditions that seem timeless, but are always timely for our campers. These traditions include: Logs - our Sunday evening ceremony; sharing a table with campers and counselors of all ages each day, where we practice manners, try new foods, have great conversations, and laugh often; Sunday-in-the-Pines - a time for us to reflect on a common theme; Sunday Picnics - a time for tent groups to spend together as a camp family; ALC Songs - the words we sing together tell stories of ALC’s history, lessons to live by, things to make us laugh; ALC’s Tents - cozy spots where we learn to live with others, where we develop and strengthen what become lifelong friendships, where we learn to be a good friend and tentmate. It is these traditions, as well as other moments, that bring this community together; that connect us through the generations of girls and women who have grown up here; and that provide each of us with moments of growth during the summer.