Episode #11 – The Heavenly World

                                                 Camp Illahee  “Heavenly World”

                                                                 A New Chapter

Chistian and Claire.jpg                                                                   Christian and Claire

Camp Illahee, an Indian name meaning “heavenly world,” is a summer camp for Girls located in Brevard, North Carolina.  Camp Illahee is one of the most beautiful camps in North Carolina. It is surrounded on all sides by the Blue Ridge Mountains, vast forested areas, multiple waterfalls, and freshwater springs.

My two granddaughters Christian and Claire are returning as counselors to a camp that they attended for seven years. They both feel like being a counselor is “the best job ever.” You can make a difference, you can inspire greatness, and you can grow as a person.  Welcome to our “heavenly world.”

My daughter Jete’, granddaughter Bailey and her husband Max, and myself will be driving the girls to Camp Illahee this Thursday, June 21st.  It’s a nine-hour drive through some of the most beautiful country God has created. We will drop the girls off at a camp that began its existence in 1921. Camp Illahee carry on a tradition of teaching campers to face challenges and build confidence in themselves.

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As we arrived in Brevard and were walking around reacquainting ourselves with one of America’s “coolest small towns”  when Bailey saw a rainbow.  We took this as a good omen that this was going to be a very successful month at camp for Christian and Claire. Speaking of “cool,” we enjoyed every moment in Brevard with temperatures lingering around 79 degrees!

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Brevard is located at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest and has become a noted tourism, retirement and cultural center in western North Carolina.

Brevard adjacent to DuPont State Forest is the only one in North Carolina designated as a recreational forest with over 6,000 visitors.  A waterfall in the forest, Triple Falls, was used as a filming location for the Hunger Games and Brevard is also known for its white squirrels

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We arrived at camp when Christian and Claire ran into long time friends, also counselors for the July camp.  From left to right: Christian, Claire, MK, myself, Coleman, and Emily.

The counselors can hang out at the “Basement of Curtis” when they have free time.  Each counselor wrote a bio on themselves which is posted on one of the walls so the other counselors can learn about each other.

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Each counselor has their own cubbies in the “Basement of Curtis” to keep their laptops, cell phones, and anything they need that are not allowed in the cabins.

IMG_2492                                       They also have reminders about duties!

We all helped the girls get settled in their cabins before the campers arrived.

IMG_2456.jpg                                                 Max, Bailey and Christian

IMG_8621.JPG                                                     Bailey and Christian

IMG_2476.jpg              Bailey and Max did a great job settling Christian in her cabin “Tiger Lily”

IMG_2475                           Walking back to the upper hill we arrived at Claire’s cabin

IMG_2459.jpgEach cabin has a slogan posted on their cabin as the campers arrive. This was Claire’s slogan!

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IMG_2462.jpg                            Jete’ helping Claire get settled in Cabin fourteen!

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IMG_2483.JPGComing down the hill from the cabins Christian, Claire, and campers will be passing this beautiful scene on their way to meals and activities!

We had such an incredible time in Brevard shopping and having interesting and fabulous meals. It was very hard to say goodbye to Christian and Claire and also to a wonderful family togetherness. The beautiful and rustic Maloney cabin, our home while in Brevard, set the stage for a memorable mountain get-away!

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The world is full of marvels and we need not travel outside the United States to experience the world’s most beautiful mountain towns. So head for the hills.

This trip for me was more than experiencing the Heavenly World of Illahee.  It was the thrill of seeing my two grandchildren turn a new chapter in their lives, one of leadership in a very personal way.  They are now taking on the role of teacher, role model, and hero. They will be interacting with these young campers 24 hours a day in one form or another; teaching them, guarding them and protecting them. They will leave being a different person from the one we drove to camp.

I looked at a picture of Christian walking her campers to breakfast with this wide-awake smile on her face.  I said to myself where is the sleepy head young lady we brought to camp that could never get up much less smile in the morning.

I watched Claire getting all organized for her campers to arrive. Although Claire is a very organized person, she was different in her wanting everything to be perfect for her campers.  She is a born leader and I know will come home a seasoned chief executive officer.

My granddaughter Bailey and her new husband Max took on the responsibility of getting Christian ready for camp and settled in camp. Her mother Reneé couldn’t come to see her baby take on this very grown up job. However I know she is very proud of her first-born Bailey and husband Max for their participation in this adventure.

My daughter Jete’ is a marvel to me with her bondless drive to make life good for her children and all those around her. She is the first sergeant, the heart and Soul of her family.

You see life is not only good but it is filled with all the colors of that rainbow we saw when we arrived in Brevard. At eighty my cup in running over with the joy and love I feel for my daughter Jete’, for Bailey & Max, for Christian and Claire and the great four days we spent together in “The Heavenly World” of illahee.

4 thoughts on “Episode #11 – The Heavenly World

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