Memories: Lucia (Wicinski) Dominak
Lucia went to the first session of resident camp at Hilaka in 1966. There was no swimming pool and no dining hall.
She remembers spending most of her time cooking, cleaning, and gathering firewood. “We had to find kindling to start our charcoal fires for cooking. We weren’t allowed to use starter fluid. We did have paper covered in paraffin wax to help ignite the charcoals. It was the kindling that was sparse as the summer went on.” In later sessions, girls had to hike farther to look for some.
For each meal, two girls were assigned to pick up food supplies at Coach House. They carried it back in woven wood pack baskets. She remembers trying to make a recipe consisting of tomato soup and Bisquick dumplings. “It was a total flop. We couldn’t get the soup to boil on a charcoal fire so we fished the raw dough dumplings out and threw them away. We just ate the soup”.
She was camped at “Gypsy Trails”- later re-named Far Away Pines. The girls made gypsy head scarves out of bandanas and attached hoops "earrings" made of twine.
Memories include: “a killer hike” to Whipp’s Ledges and hearing the tanks testing at night. A few girls were chosen from each unit to sleep on one of the islands in jungle hammocks. There were nighttime brownie watches. “Once at night during a brownie watch some girls thought a man was entering their tent. They were screaming and the counselors and everybody else came running. It turned out to be a raccoon or skunk”
They swam in the lake which turned her white batching suit bottoms green. The girls were all warned that anyone who destroyed one of the water lillies would be fined $25.00.
After a week, her own mother did not recognize Lucia. “ my own mother passed me by in the parking lot on visitation day after the first week…I surmised it was as a combination of a tan and losing a few pounds. “
Lucia also camped with her troop on weekends during the school year. She remembers staying at Amity House and Kirby House. House. One weekend was a cleaning weekend at Amity to which a troop of Boy Scouts
from her hometown of Garfield Heights had been invited to help. The girls were cleaning the chandeliers, wiping down each individual crystal. The boys spent the weekend throwing each other in the lake!