Campouts Tonight and WEB/OLS Campfire

Dear Parents & Friends,

We’re still having some problems with the e-camp software and weren’t able to load all the pics tonight.  Hopefully we’ll get this worked out in the next day or two.  Bear with us.  I just returned from taking the Mountainside Bikers a spare bike.  They were having some mechanical issues with one of the bikes so it gave me an opportunity to get over to see them.  They are doing well and were just finishing dinner and getting ready to start a fire when I arrived.  They’ve ridden some of my favorite trails over the past day and a half and were only slightly delayed by rain this morning for an hour or so.  It rained at camp as well but no thunder or lightening.  Dupont State Forest is an excellent place to ride with over a hundred miles of trails.  It’s close to camp depending on what entrance you take but no more than 10 miles at the farthest point.  There are a variety of trails that work for beginners through advanced riders.  Erin and I are taking the Main Camp Bikers to Dupont tomorrow and will be riding the famous Ridge Line Trail – the most fun trail in the park.  We’ll keep you posted.

Tonight at campfire the theme was OLS and WEB which I missed because I was visiting the bikers. It’s always a fun campfire complete with music, stories and a skit or two.  John and Emily head up the campfire and set the stage which is held on the Gatehouse Green.  One famous camp skit that always occurs is the Bandana (Banana) skit.  Two staff show campers how to use a bandana and one of the staff is thinking that he means a banana.  It’s always funny no manner who does it.  The final blow is when after a long day of working you wipe your face with the bandana (banana), wring it out and wipe again.  Of course the campers love it when the staff member squeezes the banana turning it into mush and then wiping their face with it.

Many of our campers are camping out tonight and it’s a beautiful night here.  There are some storms off to the east which are providing some good light shows but nothing threatening the campouts.  There are 12 campout shelters at camp and some have a variety of amenities such as running water (a creek next to your campsite), easy to find firewood, and others offer you an exquisite view, while others are just around the corner from Main Camp like Hidden Stall which has running water, close to camp but no view.  It’s kind of like renting a cottage for the night. You get to choose where you want to go unless it’s already taken.  All shelter are built up off the ground and three sided with a roof and a campfire circle.  After all one needs a place to cook dinner and breakfast.

Our three week session is in its last week and we’ve really enjoyed having a good many of the children for that period of time.  You really get to know them in that length of time and they certainly get into a groove in the three week sessions.  I know many children and parents don’t want to commit for that long but I do love those long sessions.  You see some real progress with campers and it allows them to truly dive into camp activities in a big way.  Given our age group of focusing on younger children at Gwynn Valley we’re quite happy to have your children for any length of time.  We appreciate you sharing them with us during the summer and hope they return home full of camp memories that will last a lifetime.  Stay tuned!

Special Day – Carnival!

Dear Parents & Friends,

As you’ve probably seen on the web site, we’re experiencing upload problems with the e-camp software.  For several days it’s been acting up and we were unable to load photos from today.  We’ll keep trying through the evening because we’ve got some great shots from the day.  Today was “special day” at camp and the theme was Carnival.  We awoke a half hour late this morning so breakfast wasn’t until 9:00; a fine hour for sleepy heads.  While many slept, Mountainside and Riverside got off on their adventures.  Riverside is hiking the Appalachian Trail around the Max Patch area toward Hot Springs NC.  Mountainside Bikers are at Dupont State Forest, Climbers at Linville Gorge, Pioneers camping on the banks of the French Broad and backpacking tomorrow in Pisgah, and Paddlers ran the Green today and head to the Nantahala tomorrow.

The Carnival had so many events today it was hard to choose.  There was Surfing the Ladder or the Fidget Ladder, Ring the Bell Strongman, The Human Tractor Pull, Face Painting, Sponge Toss at the Counselors, Guess the M&M’s and Starbursts, Fortune Telling, Soccer/Football Shootout, Coconut Toss, Tin Can Throw, Bingo, Penny Drop, Frisbee Toss, Frisbee Golf and tons of food including, cookies , icy pops, popcorn and lemonade.  Everything was located on the athletic field so campers could move about at their own pace and go to any event they wanted.  There was never a dull moment and everyone had a great time.  One little guy at my table who has been here several years said, “I had so much fun today and I’m so tired”.  That’s the best kind of tired in my mind.

This afternoon we had an extended rest hour and everyone really needed it.  We thought we were going to have to spend the afternoon indoors because of rain and thunder but all the storms gingerly skirted around us with just a bit of rain. The afternoon provided broken sunshine with a chance for the camp to go swimming or play games, whatever their choice.  After dinner many cabin photos were taken which will be sent to campers just after the new year.  Our SIT’s were on a night out so we couldn’t shoot all the cabin photos, but have the whole week to get those cabins that missed tonight.  After dinner we held our Sunday Service in the Lodge and there was a theme of God’s Colors.  Many campers and staff shared thoughts and music and we ended with the sun setting as we walked backed to our Hill and Brook cabins.  What a great day here at camp and what a great camp perched here in the Conesstee Cove of Carson Creek which flows the length of camp.  It’s a magical place and magic happens each and everyday.  One little girl in Shady Grove lost a tooth last night and it was too late to secure the magical silver dollar to place under her pillow so the tooth fairy left a note on her bed that said. “My wand alerted me to the fact that you had lost a tooth.  I’m so happy for you but by the time I got to Gwynn Valley I was all out of coins.  Please be patient and I will visit tonight for sure.  I’ll carry extra for the long trip to camp.”  Magic happens all the time and yes parents, the tooth fairy does come to camp.  Stay tuned!

Not just another Saturday!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a beautiful day here at Gwynn Valley with a little thunder but no rain to speak of.  Program went on all day long with no delays.  I was on a day off yesterday and that’s why there was no blog.  My son’s birthday was also yesterday so it was a special day.  Natalie our photographer was on a day off today so we took fewer pictures than usual.  I know many of you search daily for glimpses of your children here at camp and I can assure you that we will keep the pics flowing throughout next week.  Tomorrow is “special day” here at camp and festivities are planned at this hour.  Lots of fun and good things for children to do.

I did spend a little time walking around this morning and got to see a lot of great things happening in activities.  The mill was abuzz with lots of different things happening.  There was a small group of campers on the inside of mill shelling corn and getting it ready to go through the milling process.  Most of the shelling was being done by hand.  That process takes a while as it must have when the mill first opened in the 1890’s.  There’s still a portion of the building that remains from those days but a good bit of it has been rebuilt.  You also notice there was a bit of automation that was in evidence with some of our old machinery.  One young boy and girl are shelling corn with a hand crank sheller.  When the cob has lost all its kernels the empty cob is spit back out on the other side and deposited automatically in a box. Ladies and gentlemen, that was progress in “them” days.  Our mill still runs off of power from the water and yes, you can adjust the flow as was done today when the campers and staff started milling.  Mind you that’s not such an automated process but done simply by hand by covering the mill race exit hole which places more water in the race.   While all this technology was happening, there was a group outside that was cooking over an open fire.  Johnnie Cakes were the fare of the morning, consisting of eggs, corn meal, honey and a little shortening.  Corn meal cakes are always a hit with a little added honey.

Across the alleyway was pottery finishing off their pots they had made and were getting ready to add faces to.  I love pottery but just don’t get to sit long enough to take part in it.  These folks had all made coil pots of various sizes and shapes and were going to add facial features to them in today’s activity.  There’s a good bit of creative spirit in the pot shop and is the perfect place to let your hands create what your mind is thinking.  Clay can take so many shapes and themes and it’s always fun to see children’s interpretations in their clay modeling.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

At the lake this morning Josh and Joe were having campers wet exit their kayaks with their spray skirts on.  When you only weigh 60 lbs you have to pull your spray skirt to get it off and not panic when you go over in your boat.  One of boys in our intermediate group learned to roll his kayak yesterday which is pretty darn good.  Being underwater, upside down and feeling for that grab loop to wet exit is a skill that a camper must have before they go on a river trip.  If you’re not comfortable in that situation then a kayak is probably not for you.  It’s a confidence building exercise and also building trust with your counselor that he or she will be right there and help you if you do turn over.  Everyone turns over at some point and the lake is a good place to start.

While at kayaking I noticed that Sophie the dog was lounging on the water mat at the lake.  The only drawback to that is she likes to chew on things and started chewing on the mat.  The campers do love her and miss their pets back home.  Can you imagine being a dog at a summer camp.  It must be very cool!

This afternoon I went with Erin and the Mountain Bikers on a ride around camp and eventually up to the trail that goes to the top of our property.  The climb is not easy and yes several had to walk but the ride down is a blast and well worth the effort up.  You’ll see some pics from the descent which everyone really enjoyed.  Erin is doing a fantastic job teaching these campers all the aspects of mountain biking starting off with simple braking technique to shifting gears and riding off the saddle.  This is a skill that every biker needs to have; keeping their peddles equal and parallel to the ground.  You get up off the saddle and rely on your legs and balance to shift your weight over the bike depending on the terrain.  Good Stuff!  We had the beginner group riding some new and challenging terrain by the end of session.

Rounding out the day was Talent Show tonight.  It was a blast with about 22 different acts.  I thought we were going to have continue it tomorrow night because it was getting so late.  Everyone loved it and the acts ranged in some many areas from stand up comedy to broadway musicals.  Max, Brain, CJ and Matt stole everyone’s heart with their song, including a couple of guitar solos.  One camper sang one of my favorite Jackson Brown songs and another sang a Bob Dylan song.  Thank you parents  for turning your children on to a wide variety of music.  Camp is a great place to express yourself through so many different mediums.  Thanks to so many who shared their talent tonight.  Stay tuned!

Twilight Play and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another glorious day here at camp with clear skies and warm temps.  Tonight is Twilight Play when after supper activities are extended into the evening.  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, 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 here for three weeks.

We’ve got some tired puppies on Mountainside this evening.  They just completed their second training day in the adventure activity of their choice.  I went with the paddlers this afternoon on the French Broad and warmed them up to the effects of moving water.  We only had one boat that didn’t turn over.  Self rescue is an important skill to learn in the process and everyone was able to do that today.  It’s also about taking care of oneself and making good decisions when parents aren’t there and in doing so, learning and gaining confidence with each small or sometimes large step.   We worked a two mile section of the river and ran one rapid twice by walking our boats back up.  We also took some time for swimming and you’ll see some pics from that part of the trip.  They did well and everyone thought the two miles felt more like 10.  I must say that I’m a bit tuckered out tonight.  The sun and water really take it out of you.  We started out on the lake this morning and then ventured to the river after a picnic lunch.  The leap from flat water paddling on the lake is quite large and everyone did a great job on their first attempts at paddling in current.  In any good river program you don’t just run the river and you’re done.  We spend lots of time practicing at certain places on the river doing ferries, S turns, and peel-outs.  The true art of the sport has to involve these aspects not only for the learning process but more importantly to navigate safely in moving water.  We’ll raise the bar even higher with these campers on Sunday when they head out on their adventures.   Even our younger campers who just paddle the sit-on-tops on our lake gain a good bit of confidence as they maneuver and learn the aspects of two blades and feeling comfortable enough to turn over and self rescue to get the boat back upright.  Other MS groups were out as well but I haven’t heard how they fared today.  It had to be great given our weather.

In Main camp everything was going full tilt from the pictures I saw this evening.  When you leave on a trip you miss so much and it’s hard to get a recap of the day’s events.  Fishing at the Mill always is a treat.  The fishing is almost guaranteed and we keep the fish for later and feed the whole camp with what’s been caught.  That’s a great meal that day complete with cole slaw, corn bread and the fish all grown or caught here at GV.

We teach a lot of hard skills here at camp and it allows children to act on their own when jumping in to try new things.  You can be as proficient as you want to be given the staff that are willing to work with you.  Day in day out history is made with children literally reaching greater heights and leaving their comfort zones and trusting themselves and the staff who hold them on “belay”.  We as staff guide and teach without doing it for them.  When I work in many programs children say I can’t and I always say “you can” with some help.  I believe we’re all teachers here and can you think of a better place to learn.  We give children a solid foundation of skills, providing a trust factor in the form of good counseling along with a nurturing atmosphere  and allow them to go beyond their own expectations.  The hard skills and people skills transfer to life skills and to real rock, real rivers, beautiful hiking and biking trails that lead to life-long hobbies and a greater appreciation of the natural world around us. Stay tuned!

C-2 Opening and C Continues!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Thanks for such a smooth opening day for C-2 Session.  The weather was perfect and everyone at this hour is visiting with the sandman.  Serenade was a couple of hours ago and that’s a time when our staff go around to each cabin to let them know it’s time for lights out by singing.  The songs are lullaby in nature and meant to ease the sprite soul into sleep.  No blaring voices or counselors yelling to be quiet.  It’s been a tradition at GV since its beginning in 1935.  Traditions are good and ceremony is especially good for children.  We live in such a fast paced society that it’s good to slow down and get back to the simple joys as we call them here at camp.

The bikers in Main Camp today had a great session both hours.  They toured camp and then went across the road to the Hunt Farm for a more challenging experience.  Climbers were all over the trees today as new campers arrived.  I had several people comment that it was pretty exciting to arrive and see a camper 50 feet in the air in a tree.  We didn’t plan that, it just happened, but it is good timing.  The tree folks moved to the Arborist tree this afternoon learning quickly that it’s harder than it looks and takes a good deal of arm strength and determination.

I walked around to most activities today including swim assessments for the new arrivals.  Notice we don’t call them swim tests.  That sounds too much like school and this is summer vacation for kids.  It was a hot day so any waterfront activity was a bonus.  Both morning and afternoon activities went off without a hitch and as the day ended the activities wound down to refuel with dinner (burritos with all the trimmings).  After dinner we held after supper activities.  I lead a group of 12 campers on a creek  hike to look for salamanders and crawfish.  It was a little dark under the trees as we searched for critters.  We found quite a few in a short time and got so caught up in it that the bell for campfire rang before we knew it.  We all agreed to come back when the sun was higher and we could spot creek creatures better.

Intro skits were tonight and the new arrivals got to have their 5 minutes of fame on the GV stage.  You’ll notice some pics from those skits and hopefully you saw your child in those.  Riverside returns tomorrow and Mountainside continues their training days.  I’ll be with the MS paddlers tomorrow on the river.  Stay tuned for more!

C-1 Closes, C Continues

Dear Parents & Friends,

Thanks so much for such a smooth closing today and hope everyone is safe at home or well on their way to another adventure.  We enjoyed having your children over the last 10 days and will look forward to having them back next year.  Look for a survey to come your way in the weeks ahead via email.  We also want to let you know that we’re hosting our 75th reunion weekend on Aug. 20th just after the summer.  On Friday of that weekend  there will be a 25, 50 and 75 mile bike ride to promote the Gwynn Valley Campership program.  We’d love to have you join us and for more details please go to our web site and click on Alumni.

For those that are staying over in C, they just finished a big bowl of ice cream and settled down in the Lodge to  watch “Night at the Museum 2”.  This is always a fun night at camp because it’s the only time we show a movie.  Everyone is curled up with their sleeping bag and pillow complete with jammies on, ready to head to bed after the flick.  Today was a busy day for the Main Camp Kayakers.  They headed to section 00.1 of the French Broad for their first taste of whitewater.  It’s the perfect day for beginners and the river level was just right.  We took some video and hope to have that up tomorrow or the next day.  Everyone did a super job and we had fun swimming as well as boating.  At one point the Davidson River runs into the French Broad and it’s a good place to swim.  The water is clear and cold coming out of the Forest.  The campers were very enthusiastic and really went for it.  Those who went on the trip were: Scott RN, Allie CC, Brian SR, Noah SR, Gaby BR, & Max AL.  We only had a couple of flips but it felt good and it was a hot day.  I hope to get a few pics up from the trip as well.

Elsewhere on the camp scene, Lacrosse was a favorite on the A-field.  We’re playing non contact and just working on passing skills so it’s a different game without the pads.  More running and maneuvering to avoid the players around you.  It seems more and more campers are playing the game and that’s why we bought sticks this year.  What girl doesn’t like horses?  Our GV horses are gentle and just got shoed today.  That happens twice a summer and I think some of the campers got to watch that take place.  And… did you see the leaf print scarves that were being made in Arts & Crafts.  Talent looms in our cove.

Tomorrow we will welcome another group of campers to our community.  We are looking forward to having them and hope that C-2 is a great session equal to C-1.  Stay tuned!

Last Day of C-1!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Our time is fleeting and as we just ended campfire I really hate to see this session come to an end.  We will miss the campers who have been here for the last 10 days.  Yesterday was such a busy day that I didn’t have time to write.  Some days are like that as you all know.  We did get pictures up and hope you enjoyed those.  Yesterday was “Special Day” at camp, even though everyday is a special day.  The overall theme of the day was Roald Dahl day and all his many stories and writings.  Willy Wonka was our master of ceremonies for the day and campers participated in a variety of events similar to those in some Dahl’s works.  There were wet and dry events, dream events, art events, and thoughtful events.  At he end of the day we showed the World Cup.  I showed the semis a few days ago and we had a small following.  Last night well over half of the campers attended complete with a huge cheering section and chants that you would find in the European Leagues.  We even had a horn like they were blowing in South Africa.  Most everyone was rooting for Netherlands since one of our staff hails from there.  I was impressed by the enthusiasm and attention the campers paid to the game.  Good Stuff!

Tonight at campfire we held the drama production “Where Dreams Come From” written by campers.  It was a great evening with two one act plays dwelling on the theme of dreams.  Good music, dance and fun.

You will also find many cabin photos from the weekend.  Most of the campers were in their whites because of our Sunday Service theme, which was “God’s Everyday Miracles”.  I wasn’t there but heard it was great.  I was on the lake working with Riverside getting them ready for their river experience that started today.  I just got a text from the instructor who is working with them and said “Good Day! Kids A+”.  John is a friend of mine who teaches at Brevard College and is a certified paddling instructor.  He’s a great guy and since I can’t be there, I can’t think of a better person to have on the trip.  He worked with our program last summer and the kids loved him.  I’m sure this group will as well.

If you’ve ever been to “The Rock” at camp you would have remembered it.  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.  The view this morning was foggy and rainy but still a good view.  Sophie, our dog went with the campers to the top.  At 8 months, she is maturing nicely at camp and seems to think she’s one of the campers and going on hikes, swimming and playing soccer.  The problem is she wants to pop all of the balls.  We had to make an announcement today to campers regarding sports equipment and Sophie.  She loves any kind of ball and will make it unusable in a matter of minutes.

Even though it rained up until lunch, we were still able to hold activities outside.  I worked at the climbing wall this morning with Avery and had two groups of 6 each over a two hour period that climbed their hearts content.  We’ve lowered our climbing age this year and it seems that a good many of our younger campers have taken to the sky.  Rain didn’t stall a group of Main Camp Mountain Bikers today as they headed out this morning for a ride in Pisgah.  They parked at the Fish Hatchery and rode up the old Cove Creek Rd. to the camping area where there is a miniature sliding rock.  With the rain the water was a bit too high to slide and the trip home was all downhill.  Erin and Levi led the trip and we had a table for them when they returned just after lunch.  Waiting for those appetites were noodles, beef stir fry, fresh bread, corn and watermelon.  The last afternoon of a session is always Pillowcase Day when everyone leaving camp goes to the pool.  It’s actually a good time for the camp medical team to do skin checks and make sure everyone is in good health before they leave.

Mountainside is spending the night at the Hunt Farm and had a cookout there tonight.  The Pioneer group held a special event today which we’ll share with you a little later.  We’ll see many of you tomorrow and hope you have safe travels as we end C-1.  Stay tuned!

C/C-1 First Week

Dear Parents & Friends,

If you didn’t see a blog up last night it was because Anne and I had time off.  Mr. and Mrs. Camp Director need a bit of time off once in a while too.  We were back in the saddle again today to a full day of sunshine and clear weather.  What little rain feel yesterday fell mainly to the north of us in downtown Brevard.  It looks pretty clear the next few days but hopefully we’ll get some rain next week.  After the first full week of camp you can tell that children are getting a little tired in the evening.  We held a dance tonight for Hillside and they were very active during the dance and once we sat in our cabin groups you could just tell that it was time for bed and see the melting in their beds by the time they reached the cabin.  They danced the Blue Bird Song, Going to Kentucky and the Paddy Cake Polka.  I was tempted to call a Virginia Reel but not tonight.  We’ll have a bit of sleep-in tomorrow morning (wake up bell at 8:30 and breakfast at 9:00).  Tomorrow is “Special Day” and we’ll have to see what’s in store for the day.  Tomorrow night we’ll show the finals of the World Cup.  I think most of the campers who want to see it are pulling for the Netherlands.  We’ve been playing a good bit of soccer here at camp.  There was another big game this afternoon when I passed by the soccer field.

With the weather a bit cooler today it was a good day to try the Tri-Trail-Challenge.  I thought this up last summer but was never able to get it organized.  In the afternoon we have a two hour program period of time that can be one two hour or two one hours.  I thought we could take a group of interested campers to walk, jog, run to the Wall property, come back to Main Camp, walk, jog, run to the Rock, come back to Main Camp and finally walk , jog, run to Conesstee Falls and back.  OLS John and Web of Life Emily took 7 campers and pulled it off.  They were:  Noah – SR, Max – SR, Jake – SR, Sloan – DW, Lily –  DW, Ben – AL, and Emily – BR.  Noah, Max and Ben did it in 1 hour and 38 minutes.  There’s some big elevation changes and at the top of two of the trails there’s a hand over hand rope you have to use.  These camper wer the first in the History of GV to take on this challenge.  We’ll have to measure the distance they walked and ran but I’m pretty sure it was around 4 miles and maybe 2000‘ of elevation change.

You’ll find some pics from the Riverside adventure in Linville Gorge.  They returned on Thurs. and had a great time.  Beautiful weather and good climbing conditions.  Baby chicks on the loose and in the grass was happening today at the farm.  They’re so little and fluffy.  Our baby animals here at camp get lots of attention and probably grow up thinking that the campers are their parents.  We’ve also got a couple of nests of barn swallows that are living just above the campers head in the chicken coop.  Their babies will soon be leaving the nest.  After our campers leave the GV nest they will receive a cabin photo which we began taking this past week.  You’ll see a few of these that were taken today.  Look for those in the winter time when camp is far from your mind. Coming up on Monday is our play production.  I was listening to them practicing today in the Lodge.  Stay tuned!

Thursday Means Twilight Play!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another warm sunny day here at camp filled by active children and staff.  Mountainside was back on their mini-adventures today with MS campers going in 4 different directions to get a feel for the 4 adventures they will be able to choose from.  Riverside returns tomorrow from Linville Gorge where they’ve been climbing for 4 days.  I’m sure it’s been hot there.  We’ve heard there have record temps broken all around us but at least it’s still cool here in the mornings and evenings.  Perfect swimming weather but we do need some rain for boating.  We have some in the forecast for the next several days but only a 30-40% chance.  We could also use some rain for the farm even though we have a well at the farm we could utilize.  Dale, our site manager put in a well last year as a back-up in case we had another dry summer.  He’s actually got a windmill he was hoping to put up at some point this summer to actually pump the water from the well to the garden so we don’t have to rely on electricity.

You may have seen the pics from our Arborist climbing program.  It’s a very cool part of our rock climbing program that campers love.  You actually ascend the rope using the same kind of rope you’re climbing by utilizing a Blakes Hitch.  It’s a knot that grabs the rope and does not loosen its grip when it’s under tension.  Campers tie safety knots as they ascend the rope and as the come back down they untie them.  It’s a great way for campers to feel like they have a sense of independence even though the staff have them in a Fireman’s Belay on the ground.  It takes a fair amount of coordination to ascend because you’re using your arms and legs and moving very slowly.  They do make mechanical ascenders but this is what’s used by Arborists to ascend trees they don’t want to spike.

We utilized our rest hour today to watch some of the World Cup semis.  I was going to show Holland and Uruguay but one of my children taped over the match.  Instead we watched Germany and Spain.  There was only one goal so it wasn’t as exciting as the other game.  Since rest hour is only about an hour we had to fast forward a good bit but enjoyed seeing some of the highlights.  I had about 35 boys and a couple of girls who were in the group.  We’ll probably show the finals later Sunday.  I know this is not in keeping with our GV low tech philosophy but it’s the World Cup.  Soccer is a great game for participation because there are so many “touches” and it is not a hand eye coordination game which dominates other sports.  I owe a lot to soccer because it helped me get my start in camping many years ago.

Twilight play was tonight, which means that we had an extended time for after supper activities.  It’s a very cool time of the day to run around and not be so hot.  There were a number of activities that were going on in all areas of camp.  World Cup Soccer on the soccer field, Capture the Flag on the Brookside portion of camp (which drew about 30 players to play on the two teams), Name Tags, Candle Making, Kayaking on the Lake, Basketball, Frisbee Golf,  Pottery, Milling, and a couple of other Arts & Crafts projects.  It’s like having a fifth activity period added to the day.   There’s always room for more play.  Good thing we don’t have a camp in Alaska; we’d never go to bed.  Stay tuned!

Sunny and Beautiful!

Dear Parents & Friends,

We were a little tired this morning after staying up a bit later last night to watch fireworks and man, they were good.  Hats off to Team Maintenance for their splendid pyro-techniques display.  It was a great day following another great day here at GV.  The waterfront has been a most popular place with the warm sunny weather we’ve been having.  Water polo was a favorite this morning at the pool and lots of campers got a chance to play.  One of our staff members plays for her school and was teaching this morning.  It can be a tiring game and is good for swimming skills and just treading water.  Swimming always makes me very hungry and for lunch we had spaghetti.  Delicious! More world cup soccer today during sports and then a big game was held after dinner tonight.  I didn’t make it up there but know there was enough to fill two teams.  Because our climbing tower is shaded most of the day we get a lot of campers to sign on for climbing.  It’s also right next to the creek and is a bit cooler because of that.  And… then there is the GV tie dye.  It’s been a few years since I’ve worn a tie dye t-shirt.  I guess I’ve already been there done that.  The campers sure do like making them and they really have created some nice patterns through the years.  They were also making totem faces at the pot shop which should be displayed in the days ahead.

Digging for potatoes at the farm always feels like you’re digging for pure gold.  It’s so satisfying to dig those potatoes right out of the dirt and right into the bucket.  I must say that our kitchen staff will not have to peel all those potatoes.  We have a device at camp that peels them with a flick of a switch and a little water thrown in.  The device also peels carrots.  It’s pretty handy to have around.  Mountainside went to the farm this evening to get their farm fix.  We always hear from campers who make the transition from Main Camp to Mountainside that they miss the farm.  Well… they spent a couple of hours down there tonight helping out and doing the farm basics which is always worthwhile.  Among the eight cabins that were camping out tonight was Peter Pan as you see from the pics.  They were at Hidden Stall which is a great spot because you have the creek and a nice area to camp out.  Other cabins were scattered throughout the property and we’ll see them upon their return in the morning.

After supper activities was pure GV tonight.  Several campers were playing jump rope (an ageless game) and others were playing “what’s the time Mr. Wolf” and great tag game that has been around about as long a Gwynn Valley.  There was also the semis of the world cup on the soccer pitch as mentioned above.  Looks like in this case Germany won since we have a German staff member.  Ahh..the simple joys of a rope, playing tag, and a soccer ball.  Just being outdoors all day long makes such a difference in children’s lives.  Gwynn Valley is enriching the lives of children promoting physical activity and encouraging healthy lifestyles.  We’re also teaching environmental stewardship with an emphasis on a greater appreciation of the outdoors.  We’re equipping young with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills they need to be stewards of the environment today and green leaders of tomorrow.  We’re also helping them to overcome challenges and obstacles and to believe in their talents and their own prospects for success.  The Gwynn Valley experience is an accumulation of moments and activities that build a foundation for the future.  Camp is a wonderful place and we’re just here “living the dream” as one youngster put.  Stay tuned!