Traditions play a large role at Keystone, and after 106 years, we have many. This time of year we always find ourselves inundated with requests for information about “Christmas in July.” Just this week, we had inquiries from Guideposts and Clean Eating + Vegetarian Times. Southern Living did a great piece on us a few summers ago as did Country Living Magazine. Miss Fannie Holt, one of our founders, was the originator of this idea in the summer of 1933. She shared this program idea while visiting friends in Washington, DC, in November of that same year. The Washington Post wrote an article on Miss Fannie and her Christmas celebration in their November 13, 1933, edition.
Traditions also evolve over time. They can be as simple as French Toast, bacon, and strawberries for our closing day breakfast. Some require more logistics, like cabin adventure nights. I have had the privilege of introducing two traditions during my tenure that have great significance to our campers: 5-year blankets and 10-year pendants. After last week’s 13 blankets, I was so surprised to award 11 ten-year pendants. We know our girls are loyal, but I never cease to be amazed at how loyal. Three of the pendants went to members of our Aide leadership group. These girls have just finished the 10th grade, so they have been with me since the 1st grade…every single summer. The other 8 pendants went to staff members, 5 of whom are children of alumnae.
The longevity in our campers means so much to me and to Keystone, particularly as the campers become counselors and are able to provide the same experience to today’s camper that they received. For me, the privilege of watching these girls grow up and knowing the impact Keystone has had on them is profound. Many of my girls use their Keystone experiences in their college entrance essays. Once a Keystone Girl, always a Keystone Girl!