International Day – Russia, Germany, Holland

Dear Parents & Friends,

I’ve spent the whole day with Mountainside Paddlers today with the exception of meals.  What a pleasure it’s been.  This morning I worked with the group on the lake getting them ready for their adventure coming up next week.  This afternoon we ran a section of the French Broad that has just the right amount of challenge for these fledglings.  They did a good job even though several boats turned over.  Sometimes that’s what it takes to take that learning curve to the next level.  We got a late start this afternoon because of rain and it was just a local heavy shower and less than a mile from camp it wasn’t even raining.  It’s good for the garden.

Today was International Day celebrating the countries of Germany, Russia, and Holland.  The food was very good all day long and especially at dinner complete with Schnitzel, boiled potatoes, carrots and peas, fruit salad and the biggest pieces of German Chocolate Cake you can imagine.  Some folks couldn’t even finish theirs.  I felt like I could roll out the dining room tonight.  Luckily we had an active day on the river swimming in some cold water to burn lots of calories.  A replica of the Berlin Wall was set up outside the dining room and after supper children were able to add graffiti to the wall.  Hansel & Gretel was performed by campers and staff during the evening campfire as well as songs and music from each of the three countries.  We even did a Russian Folk Dance and learned a good bit about the vast land that Russia occupies.

Other river activities today found GV Rescue down at our section of the French Broad demonstrating river swimming and rescue techniques.  This is valuable info for young people who may find themselves in a precarious situation at some point.  You might save a life as well as your own.    Besides rescue in the water you might notice some pics from our swimming instruction classes that go on at the pool.  We teach swimming each day and work with children who are not that comfortable in the water.  We learn about their comfort level on the first day of camp when they all come by the pool for swim assessment.  It gives us an idea of their level and also where we should start in improving those swim skills.  It took some swimming to get the clay off of those bodies today.  Children love to cover themselves with clay, run around camp and then  jump  in the lake (not in the pool thank you very much).  I know that people pay big bucks for clay treatment in some spas but you can certainly do it at camp and act silly in the process.  Again it’s one of those simple joys that we always come back to here at Gwynn Valley.  Stay tuned!

Cloudy with a Chance of Spaghetti!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Some days are just so busy that you don’t have time to turn around.  Yesterday was one of those days and I apologize for not getting a blog up.  We had a very exciting day for Special Day yesterday.  It was a Disney theme and gathered aspects from many great Disney movies and characters like, Nemo, Woody and Buzz Light Year, Cinderella, Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and Tinderbell and many others.  Children went to different stations and participated in all kinds of challenges pertaining to the different themes around the camp.  We also took many of our cabin photos and you’ll find a good many of those from last night’s pics.

It was a cloudy day here today but cooler temps wise.  Everyone was enjoying the break from the heat we’ve been having.  We just ended campfire this evening and the camper performed a Musical based on the “BFG” .  BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant.  The children did a fabulous job and I’m sure will be able to sing you many of the songs that Debbie wrote for the Gwynn Valley adaptation.  Many of you have had your children read this book or perhaps read it to them.  It’s a Roald Dahl classic.  Debbie, our camp musician, takes a story line like this and writes the music and words for the small productions here at camp.  Through the years she’s written quite a few songs that we sing everyday here at camp, such as Automobile, I Am Alive, It’s a Circle and others.  She’s a real gift to camp and has been here for over 30 years.  Be sure and say hi on closing day if you stay for the all camp campfire.  As I write the children are over in the dining room enjoying the fruits of the production with some GV cake for their special occasion.

Indian Bead work got some attention today at the Arts Arena.  Beading is such a time consuming craft because you’re working with so many small things.  Small threads and small beads laid down in an intricate fashion that the campers design.  It’s meticulous work, excellent for fine motor skills and good for those future brain surgeons and aspiring artists.  The campers in Main Camp are flocking to tree climbing and climbing in general this summer.  Anytime we hold Arborist Climbing, Tree Climbing or Wall Climbing we have a full house.  I would think that about every camper in camp that wants to climb has done so.  We put up two new Arborist climbs right next to Playhouse Cabin.  You might see some of Mountainsiders participating in this activity on closing day.  They tend to join some Main Camp activities on days when we open and close.

Archery is another one of those popular activities that Mark has done such a great job with this year.  He’s one of our Leadership Staff with a lot of experience in camping and brought our Archery to a new level at camp.  That program has run very smooth.  Corn and more corn and you would think that we would grow weary of eating fresh corn on the cob but we don’t.  It’s so fresh and so good and everyone in camp gets a hand in the process from picking to shucking and finally the best part, eating!  Eating is always fun and we’ve really been eating well.  Tonight we had pork chops and today for lunch spaghetti.  It takes lot of fuel to propel all these young campers as we bike, run, jump, create, swim, hike, paddle, climb and dream.  Dreams do come true at camp just as Walt Disney said many years ago.

Those aspiring to take their skills to the next level are getting set to go on several out of camp trips this week.  Mountainside and Riversider’s are not the only ones that get to explore the land around GV.  Bikers, Climbers and Paddlers are all going out this week.  We hope to capture some scenes from these trips and pass them on to you.  Stay tuned!