Dear Parents & Friends,
More campouts tonight and the perfect night for it. I would love to be by the fire tonight and way off in the woods making smores and telling stories. We just finished our campfire and the Brook came into the Lodge and danced while the Hillsider’s went to the Gatehouse Green for stories, mostly Tajar Tales. In the Lodge we danced several dances starting with the “Hokey Pokey” and then progressed to “Goin to Kentucky”, “Patty Cake Polka”, and the “Virginia Reel”. We ended the evening outside on the cool grass reading from the Grandfather Tales. The Hillsider’s read some Tajar stories and if you don’t know who the Tajar is, well just settle in for a spell. Of all the animals in the forests and the lakes, there is none so curious as the Tajar. The Tajar lives in a very special place. He lives in an old tree somewhere near the camp. If you were to see the Tajar’s tree, it would look like all the other trees of the forest. But if you were to see the Tajar, you would know that he is something very special. The Tajar looks a little something like a tiger and something like a jaguar and something like a badger, but is different from all those animals. He would rather dance in the moonlight on a warm summer night than sleep in his tree. He might be sitting in a tree right now, listening to campers carrying on a conversation. And if he were, he would be so quiet you couldn’t hear him move. But if you were to look around and see the Tajar sitting high in the limbs of a nearby tree, he would certainly look most curious. You might think he looks a little like a tiger and something like a jaguar and something like a badger. But if you were look away, you wouldn’t be able to remember what the Tajar looks like. If you see him once you forget. If you see him twice you forget that you forgot and if you see him a third time he becomes your friend. He is a most curious animal but also a true friend.
Some campers went to the Rock today. If you’ve never been to “The Rock” at camp it’s the highest point of the property that you can see from. It’s not an easy hike but the view from the top is pretty spectacular. You can see all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mt. Pisgah. Cedar Rock, where we sometimes climb is also visible. The last scramble to the top is hand over hand rope climbing but safe enough to do without a helmet/harness and what is classified as a class 4 climb. It rooty, rocky and craggy, but fun. The actual rock itself is huge and is tucked away in the forest where you really can’t see it. It has two sides but campers rarely go to the other side. An arrowhead was found on the other side last summer and I’m sure it was a special place for the native peoples.
We had clear weather all day and activities were humming. You might notice pics of our Main Camp Bikers trying out their skills on the mountain bikes. We have games they participate in called the slow race, slalom, circle game and others. The slow race is to see how slow you can ride from point A to point B, usually not more than 15 or 20 feet. The object is to balance your bike and go sloooow. They also tried their hand at riding the tetter totter which is a form of a skinny. This is all bike lingo that you’ll just have to learn more about from your rider. Lots of riding of horses today as you can see from the pics. Horses are an all round favorite here at camp especially with the girls. I don’t know any young girls that don’t like horses. Climbing, soccer, weaving, feeding the animals at the farm and so much more was the order of the day today. Every day is another day of opportunity here at camp. So much goes on that it’s hard to keep up with. I sometimes asked children how their morning or afternoon was at camp and they’ll say great but they can’t always remember what they did. It’s a full day and sure beats sitting around at home in front of a screen.
The benefits to young people of a summer camp experience are many. Gwynn Valley is unique in that it offers campers a chance to experience activities not commonly found in other camps. The Farm and Mill are two and also our attention to a nurturing environment where each child can learn and grow under the guidance of a mature and caring staff. And not to forget that major benefit, the big “O”. Simply put, they are Opportunities. Opportunities not exclusive to camps but rather concentrated at camp, where under those caring counselors, campers can learn to become more independent, more confident, more self-aware, and more giving toward others. These are just some of the life lessons learned at camp. Every day at camp is another day of opportunity, as Dale says, our site manager and the guy in field with the hockey stick that greets you when you arrive. Every interaction, every activity taught, every new friend made, every chance to stretch and go beyond our cushy life and all in the haven of GV. We are having fun and the opportunities abound! Stay tuned!