Common Ground gets down to earth

New officers of each Sisterhood are revealed in a ceremony we call “Common Ground”. How did that tradition begin?

Campers on one hill would strain to hear the names of their friends as they were called out on the other hill nearby, desperate to know the news of their own group, as well as the news on the other!

One summer, about 1976, if I recall correctly, heavy rain prevented campers from being able to ascend their Mountain Tops because of heavy rain. The ceremonies were delayed for just a day. But the weather didn’t cooperate; it rained the next night… and the next.

Desperate for the election outcomes to be known, the camp directors got creative: the hills may have been too muddy to climb, but why couldn’t the ceremony take place with both tribes around a single campfire?

If you can’t have two Tribe Hills, why not have a single “Tribe Ground”?

After all, everyone from both tribes were eager to hear the outcomes. No other secrets would be spilled. As so it was.

Thirty-five summers later, the shift took place from “tribes” to Sisterhoods. The spinoff of that is many new terminologies. Where we once had “tribe hills” we have Mountain Tops. What used to be “Braves O’ the Week” are now called Sisters O’ the Week. “Tribe Sisters” are now Camp Sisters.

And “Tribe Ground” is now–what else?–Common Ground! It does have a nice ring to it.

About the Author

Jane Ragsdale

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Jane Ragsdale (Mrs. Dick Howell) is the director of Heart O’ the Hills. She was a Heart camper and counselor, and served as program director from 1978-87. She has been one of the owners since 1976, and director since 1988.

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