SAPPHIRE, N.C. — The summer of 2020 was dull for just about everyone. As the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most of the world was coping with mask mandates, social distancing, and more restrictions placed in the name of safety. For many camps, that meant their cabins and woods weren't filled with cheers and laughter with visitors spending weeks with them to build campfires and friendships.
More than a year later, Camp Merrie-Woode in the mountains of western North Carolina is one of the camps welcoming back their campers. The all-girls camp in Sapphire announced on May 26 their summer staff had arrived, and on June 1 the first campers started to arrive.
A day before the campers came back, however, they were singing a very happy tune that could inspire ardent Disney fans.
The camp posted their own take on "For The First Time In Forever" from the animated movie "Frozen". The lyrics in this lip dub were changed up to fit the camp's vibe; while the character of Anna in the movie sang about her excitement of welcoming subjects into the castle for older sister Elsa's coronation as queen of Arendelle, the camp counselors sang about their excitement just to see campers again. In one lyric, a counselor roams a theater stage, singing "all year I've roamed this empty stage, why have a castle with no plays". Another jubilantly sings "the cabins are all waiting to welcome campers home" as she sweeps the steps and spins into a lively dance.
The song and dance continue in true camp fashion: kayaking counselors on Fairfield Lake dip into the water, another stuffs her face with s'mores, and counselors remind us we don't need our cell phones to enjoy the great outdoors. Closer to the song's conclusion, Merrie-Woode's gates open again, as masked counselors skip and run out excitedly. But perhaps the message of the song, and the reason for the summer season in 2021, is best summed up in the first chorus: "For the first time in forever, we won't be alone."