Another Saturday Night and We’ve Got Camp

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a cooler day here after a hot one yesterday.  Sorry for not blogging, as I was on a day off.  Spending a day away from camp is like spending a week away in our regular lives.  So much goes on here each day and a good bit of energy is released.  If I could harness it we could solve all the world’s evergy issues.  Tonight Hillside came with me to the Lodge for a little dancing.  We performed, Circle Round the Zero, Going to Kentucky, If you Want to Dance, and a Virginia Reel.  We didn’t have time for a story but will at some point.  They were a lively group and full of some of that energy that I wish I could harness.

Riverside is back and I started the day off working with them on the lake to prepare them for their river component beginning on Monday.  I got to the lake early and was just about to get on the water when several campers from Main Camp begged me to go off the zip line with them before the Riverside campers arrived.  I had just put on my sunscreen but what the heck, I knew I would start the morning off in cooler fashion if I was wet so I jumped on that idea.  If you zip you have to do it spider man style which means that you pull your legs up with your back to the water like you’re upside down as you zip across the lake.  You literally ski in the water on your back.  Smaller campers go farther on the zip because they weigh less.  Bigger people like me plane out earlier.

Riversiders arrived and we spent about 2 hours working on strokes preparing for the river.  They too got wet because any instructor knows you can’t spend 2 hours of teaching without some breaks and a swim or two.  Everyone jumped out of their boat and the coolest way to get back in is the “Groucho Marx” which I learned many years ago.  You literally do a backward somersault into the boat from being in the water.  We’ll try and video it tomorrow when I’m working with them again and put it up on the web.  You’ll also see some pics from their climbing trip in Linville Gorge which was over last week.

There are some very cool things that go on in the Owl’s Nest where weaving takes place.  You should go by there when you pick your children up on closing day to see the array of looms and all the possibilities for weaving.  Next to the Owls Nest is our wonderful Mill where Cindy Kay takes you back in time to the 1890’s when the Mill was established on this property.  She has collected many of the artifacts that you would have found at a Mill from that era.  As you check out some of the pictures notice that there are some pics of children catching fish.  The circle of life happens at the Mill as we catch those fish.  They are caught and hooks are removed and we stun them so they dont’ suffer in the cooler of ice.  Some campers still have a hard time with this and it’s OK.  Camp does eat those fish and they do come back to us via the dining room.  Everyone wants to catch a fish but to have its life ended is another story.  It’s all in the way it’s done and discussed here and that’s where Cindy does such a good job.  Many children don’t know or think about our baby calves or where our beef comes from but again it’s that circle of life situation here at GV.  Those cows get a lot of wonderful attention all summer long from our campers and then after about 2-3 years here on the farm they come back and we get to enjoy them again.

Mountainside had sign-ups today but not with Main Camp.  They had a variety of things to do, one of which was tomahawk throwing.  Mark, one of our senior staff members and a teacher from Mayodan brought his tomahawks and target to camp to demo and let campers throw them.  It’s been a popular activity this summer and has filled everytime for sign-ups.

This afternoon I went on a kayaking (sit on tops) trip with girls from Rose Bay and Moey our lone boy camper, besides me and Taylor.  The girls and Moey did a great job and cruised down the river with no problems.  At the takeout we practiced our river swim technique and learned what it’s like and what to do if you turn over on any river and land in the water out of your boat.  Universally it’s feet up and pointed downstream and on your back.  When you get to calm shallow water you can stand up.  We also practiced our rope throwing like they’ve been doing in GV rescue which is our version of Junior Lifeguarding on our lake.  Today was yet another day when lots of learning, good fun and the simple joys of Gwynn Valley shine through.  Stay tuned! Tomorrow is Special Day!

Simple Joys!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another great day for D session at Gwynn Valley.  We just finished our campfire for Brookside campers , however many of them are camping out tonight at this hour and I’m sure are sitting around the campfire after a meal and some smores.  What is a campfire without smores.  I’m always amazed at the variety of ways in which campers “roast, toast or nuke” their marshmallows for the smore.  I haven’t concluded which is the favorite cooking method for this summer’s group.  Food is always an item of discussion at camp whether it’s the food in the dining room or the foods we don’t have at camp.  As you parents know GV is free of those junk foods that most of us at least try once in a while when no one is looking.  I myself have a thing for the spicy Doritos but go a whole summer without because we don’t have them here.  Even in the off season I partake in moderation.  Our food is really good at camp but there are picky eaters among our ranks.  Rest assured, that we will not let any child go hungry and if we can’t find something suitable at the meal we’ll wait till afterward and search the kitchen for something that the picky eater will eat.  This doesn’t happen often but it does occur.  We also live in an age where many children are allergic to certain foods.  The days of sitting a container of peanut butter on a serving table with bread for those that don’t want what is being served are long over.  I’m actually glad because I love peanut butter and would probably have it several times a week.  At any rate, we had pizza tonight at dinner along with salad and quartered oranges.  For dessert there were brownies.  Certainly this was a meal that most any camper could sink their teeth into.  But let’s go back to those oranges.  Did you know that you can take a simple orange quartered, eat the orange down to nothing but the skin and you have the beginning of an orthodontist’s nightmare.  With the care of a surgeon and a plain ole table knife you can create orange teeth that will make your mother howl that her daughter or son is changing into an alien (see photo at dinner tonight).  This is a skill that I learned many years ago working at camp and I always pass along whenever orange quarters are served.

There were some very nice scarves being made today at Yanderside, which is one of our Arts Arena areas.  Marbling was the design they were going for as you can see from several of the pictures.  Bikers from Main Camp are going out tomorrow to Dupont State Forest and I’ll know they will have a good time.  The Mountainside Bikers were over there today as well as the Mountainside Paddlers, who spent the day on larger than life Lake Julia.  Deep into Dupont is Julia the blue gem of water where the MS paddlers are learning their strokes and trying their luck with canoeing.  Pottery was all abuzz today as several campers tried their hand at throwing a pot on the electric wheels we have in the pot shop.  It’s harder than it looks and a skill that I’ve never been able to quite get a handle on.   Tree climbing continues to be a popular activity both in the realm of arborist climbing and regular old tree climbing at camp.  The view from the top is amazing as one camper noted about 60 feet up in one of our giant poplar’s.  We added two new climbs today and expanded our arborist climbing to another tree just in front of the gatehouse.  If you noticed a picture of your child tree climbing over the session be sure and have them show you the trees on closing day.  It’s a great activity.

Campfire tonight was Mountain Dancing, but we took it to the next level and invited Leo from Brazil and our camp baker, to show us the wonderful dance he taught during international day on Tues.  It was a great way to end the dance as we did so sweating profusely.  Then we lowered the lights and I read  the story of Jumping Mouse.  It’s a Native American tale of compassion, acceptance, faith, with some adventure thrown in.  Debbie played the piano as I read and her music really adds to one of my favorite stories to be read aloud.  Before Leo’s Brazilian dance, we danced to Going to Kentucky, Circle Round My Zero and Patty Cake Polka.  I think camp allows the children to drop their guard and really enjoy the childlike nature of these dances and not think about who you’re dancing with or how silly you might look, but just have fun.  Camp is all about saying “I can” as well as saying “I will”.  It’s a child’s world here at Gwynn Valley and we’re trying our best to keep these youngsters child like in their imaginations and getting them back to the simple joys!  Stay tuned!

Twilight Play and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s Twilight Play tonight here at camp.  There are quite a few cabins on cookouts and campouts tonight so a good many people didn’t make it to the dining room.  They will do their dining around the campfire.  It’s a good night to campout because we had a shower during signups that cooled things off for the evening.  Twilight Play is an extended after supper activity period.   It’s a great time to take part in some activities that you maybe haven’t participated in or want to spend a bit more time in.  There was soccer on A-field, a lot of Arts & Crafts going on, Lacrosse on the Green, Archery, Pottery, Mountain Biking (they just rode by my window), Kayaking, Climbing at the Wall, looking for the Tajar, a Creek Hike and several others that were listed.  On this evening we really don’t have a campfire and campers just spend a bit more time in their cabin before bedtime.  It’s good cabin bonding time for the new campers as well as the ones who are returners.

Mountainside had a day off from their routine today and spent some time doing Main Camp activities on their own.  They will be going out again tomorrow and Friday on mini-adventures and should go into the weekend with an idea of what activity among the four that they want to focus on.  They participated in a number of activities today, one of which is called slack lining.  It’s when you tie a piece of tubular webbing between two trees and get it tight enough to walk across.  It’s only a couple of feet off the ground but is very good for balance and the fine art of slack lining.  Many climbers use the skill as a way to improve their balance that transfers to the rock.  There are so many athletic endeavors that rise up from the outdoor skills that we rarely come in contact with in our traditional sports world.  As one who has seen the middle age years, I know how important it is to maintain your balance as you get older.  Riverside is still out in Linville Gorge dodging raindrops but getting some good climbing in.  If you’ve never been to Linville Gorge it’s spectacular and is a beautiful place to boot.  The climbing is perfect for our group and that combined with the ruggedness and beauty makes for a super trip.  They will all be returning on Friday.

Did you see the pictures of mask making?   They are coming along very nicely.  It’s a  better use for plaster paris here at camp.  You also notice a group of young Huck Finners who made a raft with Levi and Taylor.  Making a raft is not that easy and it takes some intricate tying to get it so it’s water worthy.  Then you have to be sure you have enough buoyancy to keep it afloat.  They did well on the construction but it didn’t quite float in the water as high as they wanted it to.  It went from building a raft to building a submarine.  In any event the task overall was fun especially when they christened it and set sail (well almost).  Just getting a chance to build something like that is what being a young boy is all about.  We hope to have some girls working on future rafts as well.  Gwynn Valley is an equal opportunity builder.  Stay tuned for more projects!

International Day- Brazil & Australia!

Dear Parents & Friends,

We’re getting a well timed shower just after the campers have left the Lodge from International Day which celebrated Australia and Brazil.  A great campfire tonight complete with slides, dancing, storytelling and music.  I love Tuesday’s at camp because we learn so much about the rest of the world.  Leon, who is from Brazil, worked with us last year and is one of our bakers in the kitchen.  He works in advertising back home and makes cakes on the side.  He led us all in a wonderful carnival dance that was so much fun.  When not in the kitchen he jumps into program quite a bit and helps out with various activities.  He came through another Brazilian staff member who was here for many years but couldn’t return this year.  Did you know that Rio is hosting the Olympics in 2016 as well as the 2014 World Cup! Exciting!

Jamie Lee, Alenta, and Jacob are all from Australia and helped us to celebrate the evening with lots of stories, many facts and good music.  Did you also know that Australia has 17 of the twenty most deadly snakes in the world, not to mention the Great White Shark and the Box Jellyfish.  I’m having second thoughts of visiting!  But never fear, Steve Erwin, came to the rescue of our crowd in the Lodge tonight and saved us all from the Emu’s, Wombat’s and Crocodiles that were pestering the crowd.  It was a fun evening and adds to the diversity of Gwynn Valley making for a great day.  There’s not many places where you can wake up in the US and come down the hill to breakfast and be greeted by G-day mate and be in an entirely different country.  Dinner tonight was a Bar Bee on the Green, Australian style.  Many thanks to the SIT’s for helping to serve during dinner.  They are a great group and very dedicated to camp life.  We’ll talk more about them at a later time.

We talked yesterday about our youngsters taking Life Guard Training.  Today we held a mock training exercise for our waterfront staff.  We do at least one of these each session and it’s meant to simulate an emergency at the waterfront.  It’s good training for our staff and keeps everyone including us and our med staff on our toes.  Speaking of water based activities, water polo has become a great activity this summer both as good exercise and helping to improve swim skills as well as a good way to beat the heat.  We have some polo nets on the side of the pool that work well and play in the deep end of the pool (only 5 feet) but enough to keep everyone moving and treading water.  Mountain Biking while not a cool sport does take our groups into the trees above camp on our trail that goes for over a mile into the forest on the east side of our property.  We’re working on another trail that may be ready soon that will be more friendly as far as the elevation change that’s located across the road.  It will be longer than the other trail and will incorporate a few more features that our original trail.  After a long ride, cooling off in the lake is well deserved.  Looks like Erin, our biking staff member will be taking a trip out of camp on Friday with Main Camp.  We hope to possibly get some video on that day if it’s not raining.  Speaking of exercise, Sophie the Dog provides plenty of exercise to those who are willing to chase her as she plays keep away with anything she can find.  Here lately it’s been a variety of balls from our sports cabinet.  We haven’t been able to teach her that the air should remain in the ball.  She’s only eight months old and slept through campfire tonight because of her full day of playing with campers.  She’s a yellow lab and is probably the most popular “counselor” here.  I’m sure you’ll be hearing and seeing more of her.  It’s been a full day and thanks for sending us such great kids.  Stay tuned!

Butterfly’s are free to fly!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s cooled off a bit after a brief shower this evening.  Our first full day of camp brought a host of new activities and campers joining in to make it a super first day.  The climbing wall was extremely busy this morning with Mountainside and Riverside there.  Riverside was working on their ground school to learn the basics and foundational skills needed as their trip to Linville Gorge begins tomorrow.  They’ll pull out of camp just after breakfast and should be climbing by noon if the weather holds for them.  Mountainside started their first day of mini-adventures and each camper will try out the four activities they’ll choose from for their final week.  We also had a group of bikers at Dupont, paddlers at Lake Julia and Pioneers across the road at the Hunt Farm.  Definitely a good day to be outdoors.

In Main Camp the action started off at the Farm where those baby calves eagerly await the arrival of campers that feed them each morning.  Corn, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers were all picked and we had that fresh corn for dinner tonight complete with baked chicken, rice, cole slaw, salad, and green beans.  Only the chicken and rice didn’t come from the Farm.  Archery has been a popular sport this summer and everyone wants to get a bulls eye.  We have also been doing some distance shooting over the past several days.  Archery as was done in middle ages trying to hit a target laid out on the ground farther away than our traditional distance.  Basketball got some play today and everyone out there got to shoot and make a difference.  At GV we believe in participation and that is where everyone wins.  Score doesn’t always matter but contributing does and we do a great job to make sure that everyone is learning in the process.

Learning to make a mask is a still activity where one has to have their face covered in plaster of paris with a breathing hole and then when it dries the fun part begins as to how you will decorate it.  Kayakers were learning what it’s like to be in unfamiliar surroundings as they learned how to wet exit by turning their boats upside down.  This is a prerequisite to the next level of learning how to paddle with your spray skirt on while on the lake and then the river.  There’s always that chance that you’ll turn over and one has to learn to wet exit or roll your boat back upright.  A few are learning how to roll but it takes time.  Speaking of safe waterfront activities, Jr. Life Guarding really teaches campers all about the aspects of knowing what to do if someone gets into trouble swimming.  It’s a good skill to learn and practice while in our setting.  Some cabins are already taking advantage of off-program time and it looks like some were out tubing on the mighty French Broad today.  It’s a lazy section of the river that is cool and much is shaded from the hot sun.

When we finish a meal in the dining room and have time before announcements each table usually try’s to play table games.  Looks like they were also checking all the “silly bands” that were on wrists at the table.   Your table group is another way to meet people from all over camp and have another group of friends that you get to know.  We sit together for a week and then change.  This morning as I was sitting at the table a young man from Echo walked by named Drew.  He had a butterfly on his nose and he walked out the door and the butterfly flew away.  As he walked back in, I asked him how he happened to have the butterfly on his nose.  He said it had been attached to the screen inside the dining room since he arrived yesterday and it looked like it wanted to get outside.  He stuck his finger up to the screen and it crawled onto his finger and after a while up his arm and then by the end of the meal onto his face.  At that point he slowly exited the building and yes, freedom at last.  He acted as though it was just an everyday thing to save that creature.  Compassion, acceptance, patience and a desire to make a difference.  These are all traits we can learn from this youngster.  We’re all learning here at camp! Stay tuned!

Opening Day Session D!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Opening Day was the best.  Beautiful weather, great kids and smooth arrivals.  Hope you all had a safe trip home.  As I write I’m sure most everyone is snuggled down in their camp beds after a very full day filled the anticipation of returning to camp or coming for the first time.  Gwynn Valley makes everyone feel welcome no matter your experience.  For dinner we had camper friendly mac and cheese, fruit, bean salad, watermelon, regular salad and fresh bread.  To top it off we had a giant cookie with their cabin name in written in icing.  After a full day of travel, arriving at camp and activities this afternoon, some of the children were literally falling asleep at the table.  It’s a full day here at camp.

You’ll notice there are a few pics of Riverside on the site tonight.  They will take off on Tues. so we’re trying to capture some photos before they hit the climbing adventure in Linville Gorge.  You’ll also see some photos of Mountainside from today’s goings on at camp.  They begin their mini-adventures tomorrow.  Lots of group games and initiatives today were happening for Riverside & Mountainside.  It’s a good way to help with bonding and the group dynamics aspect with both those programs.  What a great crew of campers in both programs and coupled with a great staff should make for a super session.    All Main Camp activities were running full steam ahead today complete with all the camp having their swim assessments.  It takes a while to get through all those but it’s worth it and allows us to determine which campers need some help with their strokes.  We also held skits after lunch to help campers decide what they wanted to take over the days ahead for their morning activities.  This too is very important because there is so much offered in the morning and in the afternoon.

Tonight we held the first night of Cabin Skits when every cabin introduces themselves to the whole camp through skits and songs.  They were original, fun and musical.  The last this evening was Raines Cove boys who played out the whole Star Wars theme in several acts.  It went on for a long time but well worth the time.  The special effects were almost as good as the real thing and the acting was superb.  We’ll finish up the skits at tomorrow night’s campfire.

As morning activities kick off tomorrow know that your children are learning and “living the dream” as one camper described it from last session.  Camp takes children to a new level of community life that even school and family can’t always imitate.  Campers have a chance to make choices and become independent in their life with us.  It creates a sense of confidence and self.  Camp also offers a sense of belonging to something that is greater than oneself where we still practice the GV values of simplicity, acceptance, and a strong connection to the natural world.  We’re looking forward to a session of the simple joys of childhood for the days ahead.  Stay tuned!

Closing Day C/C-2 Safe Travels!

Dear Parents & Friends,

As we wind down today I want to thank you for sharing your children with us this past session.  This is our 75th summer serving children at Gwynn Valley and the summer to the point has been terrific.  We will miss the joy that comes from our campers who have been here for several years as well as the new ones which just experienced their first year.  We’ve had a wonderful session and I hope it was evident as we held our closing for Session C/C-2 this morning.  It’s been a beautiful and hot day here and we couldn’t have asked for more.

Soon you will receive an evaluation via email, sent to you by the camp and we hope you will take the time to fill it out and send it back.  This provides us with feed back to help make our program better.  The eval will come through a service called Constant Contact.  They will not solicit you in any way and you get only one correspondence from them.  We use their services and design the form here at camp.  We appreciate you taking the time to help us keep Gwynn Valley an outstanding program.  On a similar note the North Carolina Youth Camp Association, of which we are a charter member, is working on an economic impact study done by NC State University.  The camping industry in NC is a big part of our economy in this part of the state and we’re trying to get a handle on how the industry affects other parts of the economy.  You may get a questionnaire that asks some questions about your days surrounding camp drop off and pick up.  We will use this information to further the educational values that camping creates as well as become a more powerful voice with our state and national legislators. Thank you for participating in this survey.

For those of you that want to experience Gwynn Valley after the season, we are celebrating our 75th reunion at the end of the summer the weekend of Aug. 20th.  If you want to attend 1 or all days, we would love to have you.  We’ll be doing a bike ride on Friday the 20th to benefit our campership program.  Come join me for a 25, 50 or 75 mile ride that day.  Cost for the ride will be $75 per person and all proceeds will go toward making camp affordable for children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend.  The terrain will be rolling with no severe climbs.  We hope you can join us.

Placed in the hands of a mature staff a camper really gains a good bit from “playing outside which produces growing inside”.  Camp is just that and creates what we call camp DNA or good memories filled with learning and gaining confidence.  From all of us, thanks again for a great session.  Wonderful children, great staff and the Simple Joys of Childhood at Gwynn Valley!  Hope to see you next year.

PS  I’m putting some video up either tonight or tomorrow.  Check it out from C Session Paddling Trip.


Session C/C-2 Coming to an End

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a full day at camp and unfortunately the last day of the session.  We just finished our evening campfire program which is always called Friendship Campfire on the last night of camp.  It’s been a great session and we celebrated that by showing many of the pictures that you all have been viewing over C and C-2 sessions.   Our camp photographer Natalie has done a great job with capturing your children at camp.  Be sure and thank her for the great pics that she has put up on the web site.  Most of all, Anne and I appreciate our staff who have cared for your children this session and made sure that their experience at Gwynn Valley was one that will bring about great memories of the good times we all had.

Tonight’s campfire offered up an array of talent.  Much music was shared by campers, staff and SIT’s.  We had guitar players as well as singers and dancers and even an encore performance by the Back Street Boys.

Backing up a bit in the day, we had the perfect weather day for camp.  Mid to high 80’s and a hint of breeze with some clouds and a little rain.  All activities were humming along and several groups left camp for day outings.  The Main Camp mountain bikers went to Pisgah for the morning and spent a little time swimming as part of their trip.  Kayakers were scheduled to go the Green River today but they were not releasing from the dam so we ended up on a section of the French Broad.  It rained very hard but everyone was already wet from lots of swimming where the confluence of the Davidson River meets the French Broad.  Main Camp climbers ventured up to Looking Glass Rock which is in the heart of the forest.

It’s been a great session and the children have made lots of new friends, explored the world around them, and learned that “I can” is much more powerful than “I can’t”.  Magic has happened in their time with us.  In an environment created just for them, they’ve learned  real life skills, developed self-esteem, and gained a sense of independence and community.  By playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, and becoming part of a camp family, they have created some memorable moments this week.

As you arrive tomorrow morning, we look forward to seeing you and hope you hear many good stories over the next few days from camp.  We love our longer sessions and would love to have them stay another week.   Gwynn Valley is 75 years old this summer and we hope to see everyone back again for another year of the simple joys of childhood.  Stay tuned!


Tajar Ball

Dear Parents & Friends,

Tonight we celebrated the Tajar’s Birthday with a cookout, games, hayrides and of course everyone in costume.  We all just left the Lodge from an evening of magic and a short play written by the campers about Merlin and his children who run into a heap of trouble as they travel throughout the land dispelling the evil forces of the dark side.  Of course in conclusion, a happy ending.  No Tajar Ball is complete without ice cream and all the trimmings.  The Tajar left us with a good bit of folly the night before by parking vehicles on the b-ball court, leaving kayak paddles all over the Green and generally just creating mischief throughout camp.  It’s a good thing he’s such a loveable creature, otherwise Mr. Camp Director would have to banish him from camp.

For those of you that read last night’s blog, I mentioned the bike trip from yesterday.  Pics are up tonight and just wanted to let you know that the young man with the red face was painted that way for UK day and he wore it all day. We met some folks on the trail that thought he was suffering from heat exhaustion or over exertion.

On this hot day several of the horses got a bath today which I’m sure felt good to them.  I can’t say enough things about our good horses at camp, ridden many times each day and by so many different people.  They are special creatures.  Hat’s off to the SIT’s who work at the stables and lead horses each day.  Now that’s a group that deserves recognition and lots of it.  They work very hard in the kitchen and in the stables every day.  Hopefully many of these young people will come back one day as staff.  This group of SIT’s are exceptional and thank them for all the work they do.

Some beautiful scarves were being made today in Arts & Crafts and I’ve seen quite a few of the campers wearing them around camp.  A&C’s is a highly underrated activity and many wonderful items come from our Arts Arena each day which includes the pottery shop.

Mountainside & Riverside returned from adventures today.  Everyone had stories to tell and I can’t wait to hear more tomorrow.   The Pioneers hiked twelve miles on their overnight camping trip up into Pisgah National Forest.  Climbers got rained out in Linville Gorge but they got two full days of climbing in at Rumbling Bald just east of Brevard.  The Bikers did some big mileage at Dupont and rode some trails that really surprised me during their 4 days there.  The paddlers spent a day on the Green, a day at the Camp Cup on the Nanty, and the last day on the Tuckasigee.  The Main Camp climbers are headed out to Looking Glass tomorrow, the Kayakers to the Green River and another group of bikers up into Pisgah.

End of the session is near and I hate to see this group of campers leave from C/C-2.  We’ve had a great session and created lots of good memories.  We hope to share more stories of camp with you tomorrow as our last full day of C/C-2 comes around.  Stay tuned!

UK Day!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been one heck of a day here at camp.  Today was UK day starting out with William Wallace’s crew (of Braveheart fame) running the English Lords out of Scotland by descending from the woods and taking the Green to declare their independence.  From there it was all uphill complete with an English breakfast, English lunch and English dinner.  Lunch was a picnic with the Queen herself and her husband Prince Phillip.  The Prince was wondering if this “Queen” stuff was going to go to Mrs. Camp Director’s head.  We shall see.  Prince Phillip was not properly dressed according to the Queen.  More on UK day latter.

The campers at Yanderside were making some beautiful scarves and marbled paper today while I was over there.  The technique they used is a drip method of color and then moving small needles through the paint to provide a unique design.  No one is the same and you can use a combination of colors and techniques to get the desired effect.  The Mill was also going strong this morning while I was there and campers were making Johnny Cakes and fishing but not having too much luck with the fishing end of it.  I speculate that it was just too hot for them to bite.

Showers came and went today but nothing stopped the GV program.  I went on a bike trip this afternoon with 6 boys from Main Camp to Dupont State Forest.  Those in attendance were Spencer PM, Scott RN, Owain SR, Max AL, Robert SR, John Charles RN, and Asher SR.  It was one of the best camp trips I’ve ever been on.  We parked at Lake Imaging and took Jim Branch trail up to the Gion Farm and the mountain bike play park.  Jim Branch is uphill the whole way but the ride back on Ridgeline was well worth it.  At the play park they have what’s called a pump track.  It’s a series of banked berms and bumps that you ride over and the idea is to pump your bike to generate perpetual motion so you don’t have to pedal.  The turns are quick and it’s in a very small area.  It’s very good for learning to shift your weight on your bike as well as responding to the ever changing  terrain of the track.  You pull up when you go up a berm and push down when you go down the back side.  They are only a foot or so high and the turns are all banked about the three feet high.  We paused briefly to talk with Mountainside while we were there and the boys went right back to it and we couldn’t pull them away.  Everyone improved and several boys dialed it in pretty quickly.  Usually they like to spend more time on the play park riding the skinny’s and the teter-toter but today it was the pump track.  The ride back to the van was all down hill like a roller coaster.  In all we rode about 5 miles.  Good Stuff.

Mountainside and Riverside come back tomorrow and we’re looking forward to seeing them.  I’m sure they will have some good stories to tell.

UK day continued tonight for campfire as many of the cabins got in on the show along with all of our UK staff.  The opening scene was from  Harry Potter where they were all in school learning about interesting facts from the UK.  It was quite informative.  Various figures from history appeared as did quite a few famous musical groups from the UK.  We ended with some Beatles music and scones and whipped cream as everyone left the Lodge.  Tomorrow is Tajar Ball and the play at campfire. Never a dull moment and simple joys of childhood abound.  Stay tuned!