Changing Seasons!

Getting some TLC at the Farm

As leaves begin to fall and our mountain weather changes for the arriving season, my thoughts turn to the land on which we host all the campers and staff each summer here at Gwynn Valley.  Our appreciation of the land goes deep throughout the program as we venture down to farm and dive into the history of a working Mill from the 1890’s.  It’s also the simple joy of just the land itself and some of the mysteries that capture our imaginations during the summer.  Over the last several days we’ve drained the camp lake to repair some of the swimming docks and the drain.  In the process we’ve had to relocate the fish and that was done yesterday.  One of those magical aspects of the lake is that you can’t always see the bottom especially in the thick of summer when the water is being stirred up by 200 campers and staff.  Once in a while we get a glimpse of the fish and “wildlife” that live in our little water world.  Big Mama is our grass carp that we put into the lake several years ago to eat the grass that was growing on the lake bottom.  At the time Big Mama was about 8 or 10 inches.  As you see from the picture she’s grown quite a bit and continues to do so.  She was rescued yesterday and

Big Mama - Grass Carp

taken to another lake until we can refill ours.  When we do see her at camp, it’s an event because of her size.  I regret that we didn’t weigh and measure her length but we were trying not to traumatize her in the transition.  She’s moves through the water like a submarine and glides along sometimes in the shallows so the boys and girls can see her in all her splendor.  She’s a docile vegetarian and is rarely spooked by any would be invader of the lake.  She usually swims quietly away to her deep secret place for sometimes several days before reappearing around early morning, rest hour or evening when campers are not in the lake.

I think all the camp animals are aware of our presence in the summer and I’m sure the nocturnal hours allow them to roam and walk in all the areas of our campus and surrounding woods.  As camp ended this year our deer slowly made their way back into camp and it almost looked like they were wondering, where is all the laughter and joy that was just here.  As camp transitions to the next season and we gaze out on the magic of our site, take some time to take a look at your own backyard and watch the changes that are occurring with the animals and plants.  Even though your yard is smaller, it’s a micro-cosm of our web of life and there are lots of mysteries out there just waiting to be explored.

We’ll be heading out on the road soon and looking forward to seeing many of you at our camp shows.  We’ll be bringing along a great new crop of GV popcorn and also a new video with footage from last summer that you might be starring in.  Join us at one of these shows and bring a friend.  Camp misses your presence and hopes to see you all again next summer.



Thanks for coming to camp campers and thank you parents, for sharing your children this summer.  We had a great summer here at camp and are looking forward to 2011 with great anticipation.  Applications are starting to roll in and don’t wait too late to get yours in before your session fills.  As the first leaves just start to show a bit of fall and the hot summer temps start to cool, we’re off and running getting ready for another fabulous year at Gwynn Valley Camp.  Boys and girls had a wonderful time this summer experiencing all the activities and perks of living the “simple joys of childhood” here at camp.  Just after the summer ended some of you were in attendance just two weeks ago when we celebrated our 75th year reunion here at camp.  Over 400 alumni, staff and friends came to celebrate the many years camp has been a beacon of light for children and the staff who mentor them.  Good food, fellowship and an array of typical Gwynn Valley activities helped to keep everyone thoroughly satisfied throughout the weekend.  Even though we received torrents of rain on Sat., activities went on and those who chose to escape the wet, relished in the chance to chat and share old stories of camp days.  We had folks from New Zealand, Australia, Holland, England, and Brazil who traveled abroad just to be a part of the celebration.  The festivities started on Sat. with a bike ride to benefit our Gwynn Valley Scholarship Fund.  Riders could choose from 25, 50 or 75 miles.  Most of the group held out for the under 50 mileage but a few hard cores rode the entire 75 miles to commemorate the 75 years.  No evening would be complete without a campfire on Sound of Music Hill where Craig Bannerman, Marion Boatwright, and Frank McConnell (staff alums) entertained us with music.  “RB” told a couple of Tajar Tales and Heather Gordon kept us organized for a great evening.

Saturday we ran activities all day long throughout camp plus a lot of singing in the Lodge led by Debbie at the 88’s.  That evening we held a square dance in the Lodge called by our own Jess Kauffman.  We had to erect a tent to seat another “dining room” on the b-ball court to accommodate everyone for meals.  It was a great Sat. which led into a great Sunday.  Sunday service that day saw many talents come forward and it was just like camp as we all showed our approval in the uplifting of waving hands.  After lunch everyone departed sharing emails, addresses and good bye’s hoping that camp will certainly be around for another 75 years.

Friends and Twins


Over the next weeks we will be getting ready to hit the recruitment trail.  We have a new video for you to see and please bring a friend.  There’s also a new “You Rock” video on the web site that has been updated with footage from this summer.  It’s a short of what camp is all about.  Projects for the next year are under way and we’re all counting the days until the simple joys abound here at Gwynn Valley.