E Session Closing Day Video and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Here’s some video from Sat. and we’ll be posting more video later today and our final news.  Enjoy!

 

What a great session we just completed today for those of you that picked up your children for E Session.  Thank you for sharing your children with us this past 8 days.  We’ve had a wonderful session and it was a great way to end our summer here at Gwynn Valley.  It was a perfect day for us and the weather turned out beautiful, just like the song we sing “Beautiful Day”.

“See the sun shining through the window, time to start a new day,

Can’t you hear the song birds singing, I gotta sing out loud and say,

That’s it’s a beautiful day for running in the sun,

it’s a beautiful day that’s just begun,

it’s a beautiful day to do what I wanna do, ah ah ah.

It’s a beautiful day just to be alive, a beautiful day so glad that I’ve got a beautiful day and I’d like to share it with you and you and you and you and you!”

 

Above you’ll also see video from last night’s campfire and also the closing day campfire.  Hope you enjoy.

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.

For those of you that have arrived home we hope that your child’s experience has captured all the magic of what camp can be.  We hope you will hear stories and songs as the weeks go by and camp becomes a great memory.  Placed in the hands of a mature staff a camper really gains a good bit from “playing outside which produces growing inside”.  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!

Grant

E Session Day 7 Video and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Here’s some video from yesterday.  Hope you enjoy!  More to come in the PM.

It’s been a wonderful last full day of Session E.  We were able to get a group out of camp this afternoon for a bit of climbing up into Pisgah.  These were our Main Camp climbers and a group of 10 left just after lunch and came back right at dinner.  Everyone is safe and sound in our cove and we just finished a long campfire for the closing of session E.  All activities ran this morning and we completed our last day of Discovery Activities where campers has signed up at the beginning of the week and worked to gain skills in many areas in the two hour long morning activity periods.  After lunch we held a long singing session in the Lodge, had many announcements and passed out a good bit of Lost and Found.  There were items from all parts of camp from water bottles to towels.  Please check the L & F box in the Lodge tomorrow before you take your camper home.

Lots of arts & crafts projects were completed today and many items were passed out throughout the day.  Those who have pottery will need to pick it up tomorrow morning as the kilns have been going all day long and will continue into the evening tonight.  Stu has been working overtime to get it all done.  I hope to put up some more video tomorrow,so keep checking the website over the next couple of days for more.  It was a busy day here and I had hoped to get some mountain biking up on the site but it will be there tomorrow.  I went with a couple of groups over to the Hunt Farm this morning to take some photos and video of them on the Hunt Farm trail.  The trail was just built over the winter and is the perfect trail for beginners to intermediates.  It has some hills, but is mostly rolling and meanders through the woods looking over the French Broad River.  We had two groups of GV Rescue go over to the river again today and it was perfect weather for it.  OLS (Outdoor Living Skills) completed their debris huts over the last couple of days and had a blast making them.  All the materials came from the forest and yes, just like Survivor Man, you can build one of these if you are caught out with no tent or shelter.

The Mud, Sweat and Gears Bikers!

One of the things we grow on the farm are gourds which can be made into all kinds of arts projects.  You’ll see some photos from those art endeavors.  It’s amazing what you can do with a little paint and your imagination.  Today was another day of Arborist climbing in our big Poplar trees just outside the office.  I love to walk out the office and see children hanging from the limbs of those big trees.  It takes some real effort to get up there and well worth it.  You do it all on your own and it’s balance, muscle, and a pinch of courage to go that high.  We’re doing some cool activities with children so young and hopefully teaching them to respect the trees by looking at them from a perspective other than just the ground up.  We’re stretching ourselves, building confidence and learning to reassure those around us who are trying the same activity.  I was looking at our photo of the Mountain Bikers earlier today coming back to Main camp.  These folks may have only ridden on neighborhood streets and certainly not on the uneven terrain we have at camp.  They have learned to ride our terrain, brake properly, shift those many gears and move around on and off the saddle to help them balance through changing landscapes.  I was so proud of them.

I was speaking with one of our Riverside Counselors today and we were discussing their final outdoor component, which was backpacking.  One of afternoons, while on the trip, they had the campers hike alone, meaning at least one counselor in the front and back at all times, while the campers spread out as they were hiking to have a solo experience.  How often are teenagers really alone with their thoughts in the natural environs of a National Forest.  It was a hot topic when they got off the trail and they loved it.  Solo time is good time in our fast paced world where we are almost constantly plugged in or with people.  It was a good experience for them to “experience themselves”.  We got a lot of photos from the four Mountainside groups and Riverside.  We should have them all up by the time morning rolls around.

It’s been a great week and we are sad to have it come to and end.  Tomorrow when you arrive, your children from E Session, will be waiting for you in the cabins.  At 10:30 there will be a cabin friendship circle where all can join in.  We do these each night and check in with campers to find out how their day has been.  It allows staff to see how the children are doing since they only see them at morning wake-up, bedtime and just before and after meals.  A lot happens in our day here at camp and it’s a good way to learn about the children’s experiences.  After the friendship circle, we welcome you to the Lodge at 11:00 for our E Session campfire.  Just after that we’ll be serving a special lunch for you and your family.  We hope you take this opportunity to visit with your children’s counselors and allow your campers to show you some special parts of their camp experience.  Have as a safe trip and see you in the morning.  Stay tuned!

Grant

E Session Day 5 Blog and the Tajar’s Birthday!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Wow!  It’s been a full day with lots going on at camp.  The day started beautifully and ended a little wet but the fun never stops here and activities go right on.  We’ve got lots of photos and some video that will be going up tomorrow so keep watching.  Today was the Tajar’s birthday and it started by him letting everyone in camp know that this was a special day.  As campers came back from their campouts last night the Tajar Folly was in evidence everywhere.  Those who didn’t camp out and just came down for breakfast instantly knew something was up.  There were coffee cups hanging in the trees, kayaks on the Green, tables in the dining room turned upside down, and a host of mischief that only the Tajar would do.  He even brought the soccer goal down and put it near the entrance to the Dining Room.  I’m sure he slept all day today after all that mischief and I’m sure he was at the Tajar Ball tonight just being himself and having fun.  Of course he’s in costume and no one can really figure out who he is because we’re all in costume.  We were scheduled to have our cookout outdoors tonight as we usually do but it rained just before and during dinner so everyone had to eat in the dining room.  We were able to hold the carnival outdoors and it was a lot of fun.  All kinds of booths were set up including: the Frisbee toss, one minute challenges, face painting, several eating stations including ice cream, popcorn and cookies, guess the M&M’s, Dice racing, Bingo, Fortune Telling, Penny Drop, Balloon Animals, and more.  Everyone crowded into the Lodge just at dark and another thunder shower came through.  We all enjoyed the extra few minutes to unwind.  Even in an 8 day session campers can get pretty tired.  I’ve talked about the full days we have and all that’s packed into them.

Wherever you look there’s a world of beautiful things being churned out in our Arts Arena.  Today the campers were marbleizing scarves and they were beautiful.  It’s an interesting process and one that takes a while to prepare.  No scarf is alike and can be so different from one with similar colors.  It’s all how the dye is manipulated.  We took some photos and video that should be up tomorrow.  GV Rescue took their skills to the river today to learn more about lifeguarding and how to react on moving water.  I was watching one of our staff teaching campers on the lake yesterday about rescuing a capsized small boat and it was impressive.  They learned how to throw ropes and other techniques as part of the reach, throw and go that is taught as part of the Jr. Lifeguard certification.  These guys are not quite ready for the “go” part but just by knowing about the “reach and throw” could one day save a life.  They also learned the proper way to swim in a river where you couldn’t see the bottom and say your boat went over or you maybe fell into a stream by mistake.  Many of these campers will one day be in a situation where they may rafting with the family or paddling on moving water and they will know the proper swim position if you turn over your boat. On our Mountainside trip yesterday we asked every paddling team to go out into the current and turn over their boat on purpose and learn how to self rescue.  It’s not as easy as it seems and there are do’s and don’ts that are good to learn.  Plain and simple; good skills to have whether you’re 6 or 60.

Top of Climb at “The Rock”

As the session winds down there were lot of folks glazing pottery at the pot shop.  Stu will be firing up the kilns tomorrow as soon as morning program is over.  Can’t wait to see how everything turns out.  Kayakers in Main Camp took a trip out today to the French Broad on the other side of Brevard.  It’s about a 2 ½ mile section that has one bigger rapid in it with lots of places to practice all the moves one needs to learn as you get into moving water.  The first rapid has a lot of current focused in one spot and there were several campers who went over in the process.  The process provides progress and everyone learned a great deal about moving water and how to react to it.  The key to all paddling is to learn to use the power of the water to your advantage.  You can never overpower it but you can learn to use its power.  I was able to capture some photos and video of our afternoon climbers up at “The Rock”.  Our rock is not a big rock but certainly big enough to climb on and understand that’s it’s different from tree climbing.  It’s about a 20 to 30 minute hike up there and very steep in some places.  The campers did a great job and were challenged as well.

We ended our day today with Tajar Ball where everyone came to dinner in costume.  It’s a grand affair and you can see the thought that some campers and staff put into their costumes.  Some bring them from home and others create from nothing to something very impressive.  The food is good; burgers and dogs and all the trimmings and the fun afterward just tops off the evening.

Mountainside and Riverside all returned from their adventures today and everyone was smiling especially after taking a shower.  I just finished meeting with all the Mountainside staff for a debrief on the session and ways to improve on what we do and recognize our strengths and weaknesses.  We’ve had a great summer in both programs as well as Main Camp and I wanted to convey that to them.  Tomorrow is our last full day of E Session and I’m looking forward to making the most of it.  Stay tuned!

Grant

No News Is Good News!

Dear Parents and Friends,

I’m sorry we didn’t get any video up today.  I just returned from a river trip with Mountainside and I’m just eating dinner at 9:30.  I’ll upload some video escapades from today’s paddling trip tomorrow.  I did have time to upload quite a few pictures taken today from the trip, so if you’re a Mountainside parent, go to the Aug. 11 page and check them out.  We had an excellent day.  You should be seeing more photos from Mountainside and Riverside as they both come in tomorrow.

Zippp pa dee do da!

I’m going to be brief on my news tonight but from all indications it was another great GV day here at camp.  I can’t believe we only have two days left in the session and actually for the summer.  Staff are sad that the summer is ending but knowing that we’ve had an outstanding summer is wonderful.

I’ll see you all here tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Grant

E Session Day 3 Video and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Here’s another short from yesterday and last night.  Hope you enjoy!

 

As you can see from the photos and video from yesterday, we barely scratched the surface of creek hiking.  We were just offering a teaser to our wonderful creek that flows through the middle of GV.  The photos you see today come from the rest of the creek hike but with a different group.  We only had a hour for yesterday’s foray into that part of camp.  It usually takes about 2 hours to creek hike to the the falls.  We went about half way yesterday and actually put on the creek a little farther down than we usually do.  The falls are so much fun because the pools are deep enough to really swim in. It’s an easy hike on the way back and you follow the trail all the way into camp.  It passes by several camp out shelters and follows one of our mountain bike trails at the beginning.  I sometimes have to pinch myself to realize that we have that kind of beauty on the property.  Coming back yesterday we found a fairy land that the web of life little folks (campers) had built several days ago.  We’ll try and get some pics of the village they put together.

Those who chose to stay a bit closer to camp today participated in a number of activities and with the good weather there was so much to do.  Basketeers (if that’s a word) were weaving beautiful baskets with Tamara at the helm.  She is one of our arts & crafts gurus here at camp and is responsible for many of the beautiful things that come home with your children.  Going to the Mill is like stepping back in time.  Our Mill was built and started in 1890.  All the work on the mill race was hand dug which carries the water from the creek to the mill.  It’s over a quarter of a mile and is just a narrow channel that carries creek water all the way to the mill.  The last 30 feet is made of wood and all the Hillsiders walk under each day to come down to Main Camp.  When you come to the Mill you encounter what life was like in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  We have toys at the mill that would have entertained children from that era and they are not even close to being a gameboy.  Catching fish, cooking over an open fire, making ice cream from the mill power, and milling itself all seem to overpower any urge to play on a small screen.  The simple joys of childhood then and now at the Mill.  From the raw corn you see in the photos comes grits, corn meal and tortilla flour and chicken feed.  There’s little wasted as it was many years ago.

In our morning sign-ups children who have taken kayaking have learned to know what it is like to be upside down in a kayak.  Not every child is comfortable with that.  Usually we figure that out pretty quickly as we ask them to learn to wet exit first without a spray skirt and then with a skirt.  For some it’s a challenge.  Others go on and learn to roll while they are at camp but it’s a small percentage.  We hope to do a short river trip with those who feel comfortable in the boat and have shown prowess on the lake.  We’re hoping to revise that program a bit next summer and maybe the whole paddling program.  Those in pottery today made baby animals.  They were feeling the pressure from those who go to the farm and visit with all the babies down there.  Actually they’re getting pretty big.  Pottery is a way to take home a baby animal.  Some of the campers were trying their luck on the wheel today.  It’s a skill that I’ve never been able to succeed in.  It takes a lot of practice.   Look for cabin photos that will be taken starting today.

Mountainside went out on their adventures yesterday and they’re into their second day of biking, paddling, backpacking, and climbing.  The bikers are at Dupont State Forest where there are over a 100 miles of mountain biking trails.  The climbers are in Linville Gorge and if you’ve never been there, it’s spectacular.  It’s vast and reminds me of a few places out west.  Paddlers were on the Green River today and will head to the Tuck tomorrow over near Dillsboro, NC.  The backpackers/pioneers are up in Pisgah around Graveyard Fields near Shining Rock Wilderness area and one of my favorite areas with vistas.  On a clear day you can see right down in our valley and all the way to Mt. Mitchell to the east and the Smokies to the west.  Riverside is backpacking as well and is not far from camp hiking on the Mountains to Sea trail.  There’s a lot going on at camp and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.  We’ll do our best to keep you posted.  Stay tuned!

Grant

E Session Day 2 Video and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Here a short video from the morning.  Hope you enjoy!  Click on link below.

Session E Day 2 from Gwynn Valley on Vimeo.

We were able to put up another video today and hope you enjoyed the action it provides.  It’s been another splendid day here and the weather has been some of the best we’ve had all summer.  Cool mornings and not too hot afternoons.  It’s supposed to be in the low 80’s by thurs.  It certainly makes everyone have more energy and there was no lack of it here today.  I went down to the farm this morning to capture some video as you saw and there lots of picking and feeding and generally just having a good time at the farm.  It’s the kind of place where one never gets bored because there’s so much to do and experience.  I wonder how many of you parents have ever tried to milk a cow.  It’s harder than it looks and hats off to those children who gave it a try.  Everybody loves the baby chicks but not everyone wants to milk Bernice the mama cow.  It takes dexterity and you have to just get in there and go for it.  Cows are bigger than you think and you’re pretty close when you’re milking.  I enjoyed my time down there but more enjoyed seeing all my campers having fun and learning about so many aspects of growing your own food and taking care of the animals.  I was listening to a couple of girls as they were digging potatoes, saying how they wanted to be farmers when they grew up.  These folks could be the next generation that really takes agriculture to the next level and is able to solve some of the food issues that our world and society are struggling with.  You go girls!

You’ll notice that we had our tree climbing going today, in the Hemlocks just outside our office.  We started that program many years ago and it has really grown.  Some children like climbing our 50 ft. tower and others like climbing our trees.  They are two different experiences and if you want something else, then we have arborist climbing.  It’s very different from the other two and equally as challenging . Tree and wall climbing require an active belayer who skillfully reins in the rope while you’re climbing and plays it out when you are coming down.  Arborist climbing requires the staff to hold the rope when you’re coming down but otherwise you’re self belayed.   In all three kinds of climbing everyone wears a harness and helmet.  In arborist climbing you actually ascend the rope itself using what is commonly called a Blake’s Hitch or glorified prussick knot.  The Blake’s Hitch grabs the rope you’re climbing and won’t let go as long as it’s under tension or you’re hanging on it.  When there’s no tension on it, it’s movable in an up or down direction.  As you move up the rope it grabs the rope and allows you to actually ascend as you would with mechanical ascenders.  It’s pretty cool and we’re one of the few camps that teaches it.  All knots are important and neatness in tying the knot is equally important.  After we’ve tied their knots and checked them and explain how the knot is tied we always tell our campers, “a not neat knot is a knot not needed”.  You might have to think about that one for a minute.

Climbing is not the only sport that requires physical and mental talents.  Archery can be challenging in so many ways.  Campers love it and almost every opportunity for archery is always full.  We use some recurved bows as well as some compound bows.  The compound bows allows the archer to hold the full pull position longer and provides for steadier shooting.  Lots of activities today centered on our appreciation of the outdoor world that surrounds us.  I noticed one photograph of our Web of Life teacher and several campers surrounded by a patch of ground pine or as I call it, Club Moss or Turkey’s Foot.  The real name is Lycopodium complanatum.  We don’t usually teach the Latin name and I like the common names because they are easier to remember.  Several groups went creek hiking today and I was actually with one of those groups and we tackled the Brookside Creek starting at Mountainside and hiking all the way to Outpost campsite.  When you hike our creek (Carson Creek) that runs through the middle of camp, you feel you could be right in the middle of Pisgah and you’re never more than about 10 to thirty minutes from the center of GV.  We went this afternoon with a small crew and had a blast.  We may try and get some video up tomorrow of the creek hike.  You’ll enjoy the pictures.

For after supper activities tonight there was a host of things to do.  I ran an activity called Turtle watching.  We took some of the left over supper of beef and potatoes and put three bags of it tied up and on strings.  We placed them in the lake and had hoped to catch a turtle.  Kids being who they are were pretty noisy and soon got bored waiting for the turtles.  Several of the girls began to rescue dragon flies that had gotten stuck between the dock flooring and the water.  They dangled string down to water level until the stranded dragon fly would climb aboard and they would slowly pull them out and set them free.  You will see some photos of this.  In our boredom and fascination with the dragon flies we forgot to watch one of the turtle bags and sure enough one of them had a feast while we weren’t looking.  It will take another time and more patient hunting to lure them out again.  There is always the magic of nature here at camp.  Stay tuned!

Grant

E Session Day 1 Video and More!

Parents & Friends,

Thought you might enjoy a video glimpse of our morning.   Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed the video that I put up earlier today.  It’s just a short of our morning in and around the main part of camp.  I literally just took a five minute jaunt around a small area.  So much happens at camp each day and it’s really hard to capture it all even with pictures and memories.  We’re trying to create camp DNA as I call or camp memories.  We just left the Lodge after seeing the rest of the cabin skits tonight.  They were wonderful as always and Jen, our photographer captured some good pics from the evening.  As we made our way toward the Gatehouse, Mountainside was out on the Gatehouse Green singing songs and watching the sunset.  Aching Legs had sprawled out on the grass as well  to take in view.  I captured a few pics of each group before I came into the office.  The days are noticeably shorter as the summer wanes and it’s especially cool tonight after our sunny, hot and bright day.

All activities were humming today with the beautiful weather.  There was no excuse not to have an excellent day at camp as we explored all parts of the property.  There were tubing trips to the French Broad and they land on our land just across the road.  Hikers were taking to our many trails in search of salamanders, bugs and creepy crawlers.  Others were learning how to build primitive shelters from just the debris one finds in the forest.  Creek hikes to our beautiful Connestee Falls, plus a strong group of mountain bikers this morning going through their drills and learning the attack position while tackling some obstacles and getting used to some uneven terrain.  Mountain biking has been very popular this year and we’ve really used our new trail across the road.  It’s over a mile and a half of single track riding with lots of roller coaster turns, twists and bumps.  It provides the novice to intermediate a chance to really stretch their cycling legs right here at GV.  Many of these campers we hope will improve their skills to later ride with our Mountainside crew.  Several of our Mountainsiders from last session rode just at a hundred miles at Dupont State Forest during their 4 days there.  That’s a lot of mountain miles.

Can you imagine being a baby farm animal at Gwynn Valley.  You get so much attention by the campers and it’s just a great place for animals and campers alike.  Those baby chicks today were cuddled and cooed over as the campers came and went to the farm.  The baby calves get three bottle feedings a day and two of those are from campers.  The piglets may squirm and squeal but they love to be loved; same with the goats.  Corn was picked today at the farm and I’m sure we’ll have fresh corn tomorrow at one of the meals.  We shucked corn right after lunch and everyone in Main Camp was there.  As tables finish up their meal, cleaned and wiped the table they either go to the Lodge or first to shuck corn if it’s there.  It doesn’t take 200 people long to shuck 500 ears of corn.  Our corn has some worms but we usually save the big ones and take them over to the pond for the fish to eat as part of the circle of life.  The shucks go back to the farm to be eating by the adult cows.  They love those shucks.

Climbing in the shade at the climbing wall was popular today.  Our wall is right next to the creek and it’s the perfect place to be on a hot sunny day when you feel like reaching for new heights and going for it.  We have three kinds of climbing at GV.  There’s the wall, arborist climbing and tree climbing.  Each is very different and we’ll talk about those maybe at a later date.  Rob, Avery and crew were there instructing and providing support through belaying as well as verbal encouragement.  It’s challenge by choice at camp.  We encourage you to reach the top, some do and some don’t.  We want you to give it several try’s and next time go a little farther or higher.  Miss Mary Gwynn, our founder, said children should be challenged every day.  It’s good for them to leave their comfort zones in the care of our mature staff.  Confidence, independence and sense of accomplishment play into so many of our camp activities.  Our values of simplicity, a non-competitive environment, acceptance and a close connection to the land still hold strong today.  Whether you’re trying to score a bull’s eye or trying to throw a pot on the wheel, you’re surrounded by friends and staff who are right there with you supporting you and encouraging you to try.  It’s ok if you don’t quite reach the top.  There’s always another day in the sun at GV.  Stay tuned!

Grant

Opening Day Session E!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It was a splendid day in the Valley.  Thank you for dropping off your children and I hope that all of you made it safely to your home or other destination.  We just finished dinner which was of course a child friendly meal of Macaroni and Cheese (super cheesy) vegis, grapes, and a giant cookie for each cabin.  I was lucky enough to sit with Cabin Echo as they had their first full meal in the dining room.  It’s always an experience to eat with the Echo boys and it’s one of my favorite things to do at camp.  They will have breakfast together again tomorrow morning and then we’ll all divide up and sit at different tables for the duration of E Session.  The boys at the table were excited that the cookie was served on a giant pizza pan.  That’s a pretty darn big cookie remarked one young man.  After several helping of the mac and cheese, I think several of them struggled to finish their cookie portion.  It’s hard to not finish when it’s chocolate chip and tastes delicious.

Our afternoon was full and activities started just after lunch which was from 12 – 1.  We all went to the Lodge to learn about Discovery activities, which the children signed up for today and then afternoon activities began as soon as everyone got back to their cabin to change.  Everyone had a swim assessment this afternoon to determine their swim level.  The Farm, Mill, Sports, Arts & Crafts, Pottery, Climbing, and Horses were among the afternoon activities that got things rolling here for the first day.  Sign-ups included the following: Farm/Mill, Horses, Archery, Canoeing, Climbing (3 different kinds), Shadow Tales, Martial Arts, Weaving, Fine Arts, GV Rescue, Web of Life, Marbling, Gourds, Mountain Biking, Pottery, Outdoor Living Skills, Aqua Games and Jackson Kayaks.  The campers will find out what activities they got out of their many choices.  The will have a chance to take 4 of the above choices in the morning every other day (2 each day) and then we’ll have sign-ups in the afternoon which will be different every day all week long.

Echo Boys Being Echo Boys! You gotta love it!

Tonight we held our first campfire and just finished the cabin introductory skits.  Each cabin puts on a skit and introduces the cabin to the whole camp.  About half of the cabins provided theirs tonight and the others are on tap for tomorrow.  They were excellent tonight.  All kinds of music and fun activities acted out and sung right on our own stage.  Everyone is back in their cabin tonight and will soon be off to sleep.  We have a tradition at Gwynn Valley, where a group of staff circulate first on Hillside then on the Brook and sing to each cabin to let them know it’s time for bed.  They’re called the serenader’s.   Speaking of campfires I went up to the top of Hillside tonight and joined Aching Legs and Raccoon boys for a real campfire.  One of the staff read from the Tajar Stories and we just chatted about our day.  It was a nice way to end the evening and I’m sure they’ve been serenaded by this time.

For those of you that have children for the 3 weeks of Mountainside and Riverside they’ve begun to prepare for their adventures and will be leaving on Tues. morning bright and early.  I hope to join at least one Mountainside group for a day this week.  It will either be the bikers or paddlers.  I’ll keep you posted.

We hope you enjoy the photos that will be going up on the web this week.  Between the photos and this daily blog we want to keep you informed on what your children are doing.  We can’t guarantee that we’ll get everyone’s photo but hope to while your children are here.  Thank you again for a smooth opening day and stay tuned!

Grant