10 Years of Ultimate REC! and Wild Pizza
When the idea was first put on the table to take WinShape Camps for Girls somewhere outside of the beautiful Mountain Campus of Berry College, it was revolutionary. For 25 years, WinShape Camps for Girls had only been known as one thing and seen through the context of one lens. The idea to launch a new camp at Young Harris College was about to change all of that. Not only was launching Young Harris a change of scenery, but it was also WinShape Camps first camp location that would be exclusively a one-week experience.
“It was just exciting to think we were going to get to be able to make something that had never been done at WinShape Camps,” says former Camper Care Manager Mary Ann Rountree.
Little did the team at the time know that WinShape Camps for Girls would one day host twice as many campers in a single summer than its predecessor, Mt. Berry.
Check out this announcement video first shared in January 2011
When the team was first assembled and visited the campus of Young Harris led by Director Trudy Cathy White, many of them were reminded of the story of the first time Truett and Jeannette Cathy visited Mt. Berry. It was on that visit that Jeanette told Truett she felt like she was standing on Holy Ground. Young Harris provided the opportunity to experience Holy Ground in a different zip code for the WinShape Camps team.
A change of scenery inspired innovation. “We just started dreaming up all these different elements of what this [new experience] could look like,” says former Activities Team Lead Haley Hand. It was in these moments that the team created a new schedule that allowed for off-campus adventures and Clubs that campers would be a part of for life. Camp at Young Harris also introduced the idea of camp names to a WinShape experience for the first time which has now become a part of our camp culture at several locations. Getting outside the box of what WinShape Camps was known for allowing for growth and creative expression that we had never seen before.
“I remember a day when we were in the auditorium and we only needed a few rows of seats,” says former Program Coordinator Lauren Bennett, “but we looked at the whole auditorium and thought that one day it would be full at Friday Family Fun Day.”
This dream would be [almost] fully realized in 2019 when we came close to maxing out our capacity in large group spaces.
Trudy’s Big Surprise
Today, we celebrate that we’ve now seen TEN summers of life-changing, memory-making awesomeness at Young Harris. TEN summers of Bumbline, Skocean, and Royalum. TEN summers of Wild Pizza. TEN summers of parties at Time Square. While it was a milestone delayed slightly by our in-person cancellation in 2020, we made sure to celebrate BIG TIME while the girls were at camp this past summer (2021).
As we were interviewing former team members and campers, they continually were talking about the leadership that was such a significant part of launching Young Harris. We quickly recognized as we were celebrating 10 years at Young Harris, we couldn’t do so without acknowledging the leadership brought to the team by the Director at the time, Trudy Cathy White. To celebrate the impact that Trudy had on WinShape Camps, we brought her in to share her side of the Young Harris story. However, we also had a little surprise for Trudy. Check it out:
Watch as we give Trudy a big surprise to say thank you!
The Future Is Bright at Young Harris
The truth is, we’re just getting started at WinShape Camps for Girls at Young Harris! Delayed just a little by COVID-19, we’re set to actually max out our space at Young Harris sometime in the next few years by serving over 2200 campers in a single summer.
“For me, the hope is that Young Harris is constantly multiplying and growing,” says Lauren Bennett.
Take a deep dive into the history of launching WinShape Camps for Girls at Young Harris.
The truth is Young Harris has already started doing that in many ways. WinShape Camps for Girls at Young Harris cleared a path for WinShape Camps for Boys to expand their camp opportunities to a one-week camp at Truett McConnell University, and our one-week camp for high school girls at Cohutta Springs. It was the first try at taking WinShape Camps off the campus of Berry College, but it definitely won’t be the last.
Happy 10th birthday WinShape Camps for Girls at Young Harris! We look forward to many years to come!