The Cedar Trees Are Missing?

A couple days ago, I headed south to our old Girl Scout camp for a staff alumni event. We were able to walk (or drive) around the camp, meet up with old friends, and join the campfire. We were even invited to sing or perform – which is a whole other story, believe me!

It was different, for sure. I mean, mostly the camp itself looked the same:

The office, Guest House, Staff House – including the exact same furniture from at least 25 years ago and, I understand, even the linoleum! The rec porch had more books than bicycles, and a montage of staff pictures from “back when” were on display. Most of the roads are now paved, almost into each unit, and parking has sure expanded – the rec porch meadow is almost all a parking lot, although at least it’s gravel and not pavement.

Wohl looked the same, from the outside, and Wohl Meadow was unchanged – still had the campfire in about the same spot, although they built up a mound of dirt for it. And we still had to sing “Rise Up, O Flame” a few times before the fire actually got going!

And no more latrines…now they have “ETs”, complete with decks (huh?) and storm shelters (okay, now THAT part maybe isn’t a bad idea except, of course, kind of weird?).

We were told that Conestoga was “condemned” but they do still use it for the occasional overnight; it’s pretty overgrown, and where the firepit used to be is now more parking. Sheesh, whatever happened to hauling all your gear in by actually walking?

And I guess that’s the point of this post.

By far the worst thing we all discovered this week was the apparently AWOL camp song: “Cedar Trees.”

Now, I personally know that “Cedar Trees” was the camp song since 1972; I’m sure some readers can attest that it goes back further, although in 1927 when Cedarledge opened they had a different one. But this week, when we were ready for the campfire closing song, they announced that we’d sing “Green Trees.” Okay, cedar trees ARE green, but…what about “Cedar Trees?” The camp isn’t called “Greenledge,” is it?!

Well, anyway, they let us sing “Cedar Trees” after the rest of the closing, all of us old folks, and they DID do Taps with the Indian signs. Whew! And they got it right, too.

And, in addition, the unit songs are missing. Someone said that she thought those were written down and lying around “somewhere”, but she wasn’t sure. I can understand maybe the kids not knowing them because, after all, this was just a few days into the session, but didn’t we learn our unit songs right away and practice them for the campfire?

That’s okay. Some of us provided an impromptu concert of all the unit songs right after the campfire…a few people stopped and stared, probably because we were so awesome and all, right? Yeah, right!


12 comments on “The Cedar Trees Are Missing?

  1. Jessica says:

    I honestly didn’t even know Cedarledge HAD a song until I was a CIT 2 and my lifeguard live in whose mom was an “oldie” taught it and some other “classics” to my CIT group. I love the song. And I heard you all singing the CIT Song and I taught that every year to my girls as they graduated because it was tradition that the graduating CITs sing it at 2nd session closing before they joined all of us formers for Green Trees and Taps. The “On My Honor” thing is actually a brand new “tradition” — they just started it last summer. I think it’s neat to introduce new traditions, though it makes me wonder why others have to fade away.

    On the note of the unit songs, I think those have fallen by the wayside as the units have gotten less and less program specific. Timber, Tanda, and Kiamecia have all remained horse units for the most part but they no longer do the Ahwenasa Indian cermonies (which is SUCH a bummer because those sound SO COOL), the Glen isn’t a bike unit anymore, etc. With the exception of CIT, WIT, horses, and RIT, the units all change their programs multiple times throughout the summer.

    THanks for the post! I know I’ll be just as defensive when I’m 20 years out (and not 3) from my time at camp. =)


    • Well, it’s not so much defensive – although it may sound like that, it wasn’t my intention – as it is a bit of disappointment. And see, there’s another – Kia wasn’t really a riding unit except on a few occasions when there was overflow. I noticed in “A Girl Scout Summer” that it mentioned riding units would probably ride once a week, or something like that, and I thought “sheesh, ONCE a week?” Back then, the regular units rode twice a week, and the riding units did so every day!

      Maybe they should think about how some of the changes themselves lowered attendance, ya know? Instead of trying to be all things to all kids….

      And yes, the IC falling by the wayside is a SERIOUS bummer! Ah, we were all so very, very cool, lol! The “On My Honor” tradition is great, but seriously, GREEN Trees?? I’m still really confused on that one! And I’m also curious as to when Cedar Trees came about – seems like I remember, when on staff, the old ladies – you know, “old”, even older than we who were there on Tuesday, lol – came out and someone mentioned it…like the year they started using it but I just can’t quite remember….


  2. Jessica says:

    Totally get your point about the changes. It’s a very fine line that they have to tread. And unfortunately sometimes they don’t always make the right one. =(

    I know when I worked there the riding units were split into 3 groups and you didn’t ride every third day (or on Sundays). So you’d have one day riding lesson at upper, one day riding lesson at lower, and a dry lesson. I think. I never lived in/was a counselor in a riding unit. And I wasn’t a horsey camper. I always took my night off/me time when my CITs went to the barn (though that had more to do with avoiding an old knee injury on that hill than the horses themselves).


  3. R says:

    I’d really like the words and tune for the Cedarledge song and the unit songs! Before they are lost completely, we need to preserve them. Help, please. Thanks


    • The cedar trees are calling
      And whispering a tune;
      For it’s nature’s peaceful lovesong
      To the winds they gently croon.

      The emerald hills are fading
      And the sunset’s glowing gold,
      And the whippoorwills are calling
      As the moon is growing bold.

      Farewell, we take memories
      That years cannot fade.
      Our Cedarledge friendship,
      Our promise remade.


  4. Margie White (Boots) says:

    My home in the woods, Ahwenasa
    Ahwenasa, adahe.
    The great spirit watches o’re us,
    as the sun sets nigh our tepee.
    As the sun sets nigh our tepee
    Ahwenasa adahede, adahede
    Ahwenasa waluhele, waluhele
    Tsungane, tsungane
    My home in the woods Ahwenasa
    Ahwenasa, adahe
    Ahwenasa adahe

    These spellings are phonetic.
    Translation to Cherokee (as I learned them)
    Ahwenasa – my home
    Adahe – in the woods
    Waluhele – beautiful place
    Tsungane – excels all others

    I know words to other unit songs & the CIT song, but I get parts to verses mixed.


  5. I remember talking to a counselor who was about four years older than myself. She told me that there used to be a different Cedarledge camp song. Apparently it was some kind of cheer. A lot of people wanted a different type of someone, perhaps one that could be used to close at campfire. So a group of C I T’s wrote a new one, which is now the “traditional” song. I believe the song “The Cedar Trees are Calling” is probably from the early 1960s.


  6. Ann says:

    I was a counselor at Cedarledge this past summer, and we definitely sang the Cedar Trees song after every camp song, before taps. The staff would hold hands and make a circle around the children to sing. This song will always be in my heart, as a tradition I’ve grown fond of.
    In addition, I was also in a riding unit (Kia) where the girls either had a dry or riding lesson every day. Unfortunately, 1 weeks units don’t get to ride, simply because there isn’t any time.
    Anyways, the point I was trying to make was we still keep some traditions. It makes me feel a part of this wonderful staff family.


    • Certainly there are some traditions that remain – and, since my original post two years ago, and a few conversations with current staff, Cedar Trees is now being sung and mostly the correct way… 🙂


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