Happy 4th of July !?

Dear Parents & Friends,

Happy 4th of July (even though it’s the 6th).  Our day started out quite chilly with the temperature at 59 degrees and a cool morning.  Good sleeping weather.  We celebrated all day long and it’s not over yet.  I’m taking a break just after campfire tonight to write to you all out there at home or wherever you may find yourself.  It’s been a celebratory day starting with a visit from Paul Revere riding on horseback to wake camp up and proclaiming that the British were coming and coming they were, right on the heels of Paul.  As we waited for breakfast to start there was a good bit of American music from John Phillip Sousa to Aretha Franklin.  While we waited George Washington crossed the Delaware River and meet President Obama on its banks.  They both strode toward the entrance to the Dining Room and declared this to be a great day in America and so it began.  Breakfast was red, white and blue and everyone was decorated from this special day.  After breakfast Uncle Sam held a dance party on the Green and then we were off to activities.  At lunch we sang patriotic songs and to top things off held a pie eating contest.  Dinner tonight was good ole American pizza and salad, corn on the cob and apple pie.

In a show of support to our country our campers from the Mill ground over 60 pounds of whole wheat flour that had been donated to our local Bread of Life.  That food will go toward feeding many hungry people in our small mountain town.  Mountainside held their mini-adventures again today and you’ll see photos from the biking adventure that were taken in Dupont State Forest around Bridal Veil Falls.  These falls were in the film “Last of the Mohicans” and a beautiful place to be.  There was a parade of goats from the farm on The Green today during change over for activities.  Speaking of the farm those baby calves are getting lots of attention as you can see from the pics.  I helped a bit at Mountain Biking today with Main camp and worked a little one on one with a young man who made great strides in riding a bike.  It’s a lot different riding here at camp on uneven ground after you’ve been riding on paved surfaces.

After supper everyone went to the hill just next to the Gatehouse for campfire which was America’s Got Talent.  Judges for the  show were Betsy Ross, Frank Sinatra, and Abe Lincoln.  Definitely a diverse group and certainly representing a good piece of the American History Pie.   Cabins and staff participated in the show and we had visits from lots of other musical celebrities this evening.  The bell just rang and it’s time to assemble at the lake for fireworks so I’m off and will see you all tomorrow.  Stay tuned!


A GV Kind of Day!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It was a splendid first day here at camp today.  Perfect weather, great campers, good food and a great start to C/C-1 session.  Normally, Mountainside and Riverside are hard to capture since they are so mobile.  We found both programs at the Climbing Wall today, one starting their mini-adventure and Riverside getting ready for their climbing adventure starting tomorrow morning and heading to Linville Gorge for 4 days of climbing.  Mountainside was also captured on the lake today warming up for their first moving water trip which happened this afternoon.  More on that later.  You’ll also see some cabin photos of Mountainside and as a whole group.  More mini-adventures tomorrow and over the next several days.

The lake was a cool place today in more ways than one.  Lots of swimming and swim lessons at the pool and lake were the order of the day.  With the warm weather and sunny skies, no one really complains about the cool water in the lake and pool.  The kayakers were out on the lake today working on their strokes and getting ready for a river trip.  The youngsters with rescue tubes were practicing their life saving skills with one another in our junior life saving activity.  You can never start training those water front staff too young.  Zip line got some action as a favorite activity.

You might notice a picture of a young man from 7th Heaven named Davis who found a perfect arrowhead today just outside his cabin.  This is a very neat find but not unusual here at camp.  This is the second arrowhead found this summer on the site.  Some points found through the years have been dated back as far as 3000 years.  Davis was just walking back to his cabin and wasn’t really looking for anything and picked up this “rock” to just toss it.  He took a second glance and low and behold there it was in his hand and just off the edge of the trail.  No telling how long it had just been sitting there.  Campers and staff have walked that same path thousands of times and he just happened to spy this rock he wanted to pick up and toss.  Speaking of more “finds”, the 4 leaf Clover Club was out after supper tonight looking for them on the Green.  One evening last summer they found forty four  4 leaf clovers.  Amazing!

I took a short river trip with Mountainside today and it’s fun to watch the transition from lake to moving water.  The learning curve was pretty steep but they did well and we had time to learn our river swimming technique at the end of the day.  Hopefully some of these folks will choose paddling for their adventure.  Tonight we finished up cabin skits and tomorrow we celebrate the 4th of July American style.  The staff are practicing some songs in the Gate House Living Room as I write.  Should be a fun day complete with visits from some famous people.  Stay tuned!

C-1/C Opening Day & July 4th

Dear Parents & Friends,

Thanks so much for such a smooth opening day and Happy 4th.  We hope that you’re safe at home or at least in a place of choice where you can rest and relax.  Beautiful weather this morning and afternoon as your children began their camp experience.   After lunch today program got off to a good start and everyone jumped in with both feet.  If you view the photos from today you’ll see lots of arrival shots.  It’s an important day and hope that your arrival was a good one.  We do our best to have you focus on your child and have your luggage and camp gear at the cabin soon after arrival.   We apologize for the long line at the Health Care Center and will work on that for the future.  Camp shots today include signups and several scenes from the Lodge  as campers decided their program preferences.  There was a good deal of action at the Farm today as campers made their first visit to that area.  Our Team Maintenance crew were also putting up hay which we grow right here at camp.  The boys baled and stored almost 700 bales today.  There was also cow milking, chicken chasing and much more at the farm.  It’s an active animal filled part of camp.  Those baby goats go to highest point as you can see from the pictures.  What young animal doesn’t like all that attention.  Good thing we have these children here to provide nurturing for all the babies at camp.  It’s almost as though we’re all growing up together.

You might not see photos of camp’s favorite game which is played mostly when we’re waiting to go into the Dining Room.  It’s called “Knockout” and utilizes the basketball goal.  You have two balls and everyone shoots from behind the foul line.  If you make your shot you go to the back of the line.  If you don’t you keep shooting from anywhere on the court until you sink a basket.  If the player behind you sinks hers before you can make yours then you’re out.  It is a competitive game but many people play and every age wins.  It basically comes down to 2 players in the end.  You can start with as many as 40 or 50 players.  Kids love it and so do staff.  75% of the time a camper wins.  It’s played so often that no one remembers who won the last game.  We are a non competitive camp but I feel we do a great job when children do compete with one another.  We honor participation and good sportsmanship and de-emphasize winning.  There were parachute games on the Green and the 4 leaf clover club that found 10 on their last outing.  Gwynn Valley must be at the end of a rainbow or have Leprechauns about. Or maybe it’s because of the Tajar;  our own wee fellow that swings by his tail and does death defying life leaps from tree to tree.  That’s the tip of the iceberg with the Tajar and you’ll learn more later.

The smiles were plentiful in the riding ring this afternoon.  Pottery magic of the day with creative hands  molding clay into many shapes.  That part of camp is whirlwind of activity including Arts & Crafts and the Mill.  Smoke was billowing over the fire at the Mill so something was cooking there. Climbers were also climbing on the wall and there was World Cup soccer in Sports today at the field.  Great dinner tonight with macaroni and cheese, salad, bread, beans and corn and to top it off – giant cookies.  I sat at one table that literally couldn’t eat the whole cookie.  All homemade and a good bit of our evening  meal was from our farm.

Skits were tonight at campfire.  Six cabins got on stage tonight and 13 cabins will provide the entertainment tomorrow night. Parents, we will be celebrating July 4th on Tues.  That’s usually a day when the honor the international aspects of GV but it’s going to be our National Day that day.  Stay tuned!

Session B last full day

Dear Parents & Friends,

What a day we had today.  Great last day of Session B.  I can hardly believe it’s over.  Just finished campfire with some great songs by staff and campers.  We have some very talented people here and it was in evidence tonight as we shared with one another at friendship campfire.  Debbie always ends our campfire with “Sheep May Safely Graze”, a beautiful song that you will hear tomorrow if you stay for our campfire at 11:00.

We had several trips out of camp today including Kayakers, Mountain Bikers and Hikers.  All had a good deal of fun and came back tuckered out but revived with steak at lunch and pizza at dinner.  Traditionally the last afternoon at camp, everyone goes swimming at the pool.  It’s a time when the  med staff makes sure that campers don’t go home with any unattended bug bites, scrapes or scratches.  We want to be sure that your child comes home healthy and happy.  Expect them to be tired.  One youngster at my table tonight said she slept for almost 2 days when she returned from camp last year.  Even though they go to bed at a reasonable hour each night, they put in long days here at camp and are sometimes falling asleep at campfire as was the case with some of our Echo boys tonight.

You’ll see a few pics from “The Rock” as Rosebay girls made their way up the high vantage point on the property.  It’s a steep short hike but worth the view.  It’s a nice morning walk if you want some exercise or just a quiet place to contemplate.  I love going to the other side where few campers go to check out the ant lions.  If you’ve never seen an ant lion they are pretty incredible little critters.  I don’t know where they fall in the insect world but they are pretty ferocious.  They build cone shaped cylinders that trap other insects and they lay in the bottom of their hole and wait for an unsuspecting insect to fall in and they grab them.  They camouflage themselves by burrowing near the surface of the hole and are totally undetectable.  Sometimes you can trip them to the surface by placing a small twig near them and they will spring out thinking it’s prey.  We live in critter heaven if you’re into that sort of thing.  Someone is always finding something interesting from the natural world.  We are a haven for beetles, bugs, salamanders, crawfish, moths, caterpillars and frogs.  There are a pair of nesting red shouldered hawks in the tree where we do Arborist climbing.  You can hear them crying out each morning.  Our land is special and really adds to the program.  It’s yet another aspect of GV that opens up a whole new world for the children who love to explore.

Arrive in time to attend morning friendship circle in your child’s cabin at 10:30 and our total camp campfire is at 11:00.  Riverside and Mountainside will have their campfires at 10:30  After that you are welcome to dine with us and then continue walking around or head home.  In any case we hope that your child has had a great time and we look forward to seeing you tomorrow morning.  Safe travels and stay tuned!