Happy New Year!

Countdown to Camp!

We are so excited because there are only 160 days until camp begins!  The new year brings a renewed sense of pushing that camp train toward its destination set for June 8, 2012.  We hope you’re on board. We will be out on the road in the weeks ahead to bring you our message about Gwynn Valley, the best camp ever for boys and girls ages 5-14.  Anne, Andy and I will be hitting the promotional trail so we hope to see you at a local camp gathering.  Check our travel schedule on the News Page and see when we might be in your area.

Many projects have been going on this fall and we’ll be able to reveal some of those in the near future.  We hope to bring some of that news to you via video in the weeks ahead.  You’ll see first hand what’s going on here at camp as we get ready for another fantastic season.  We’re also in the midst of hiring staff and at this point have over 90 people who have signed on for 2012.  Gwynn Valley has a large staff and we usually hire between 150 and 180 people for the summer.  Not all of them are here at the same time because of other work and school commitments.  Usually our team numbers about 110 including support staff.  This number includes our kitchen crew which is also large because it takes quite a few people to prepare such great, fresh meals and to bring our food from the farm to table.  If you know of an exceptional young man or woman who is keen on working with children, please have them contact us at mail@gwynnvalley.com or andy@gwynnvalley.com to receive information about staff positions.

While we’re getting ready for camp we hope you are as well.  I want to call your attention to a book coming out soon that talks about the value of a camp experience and being away from mom and dad.  I first learned about Michael G. Thompson after he published a book called Raising Cain – Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys.   It’s a great read about what boys need, what they are not getting, and is an excellent resource for parents.  Michael has written several other books about children.  He’s a nationally known speaker and his latest book is called Homesick and Happy: How Time Away from Parents Can Help a Child Grow.  It doesn’t hit the shelves until later this spring but is available for pre-order.  Here’s just a clip from the book, “If the single most important thing about camp is that a child’s parents are not there, that is still only part of the story.  Camp is also not school.  That simple fact can produce an extraordinary change in the climate of a child’s day, and therefore his or her emotional life .  Good things, certainly different things, happen for children when they are relieved  of the pressure of judgment, comparison, evaluation and striving that are an inevitable part of the school day.”

Mountainside Bikers at Dupont's Bridal Veil Falls

I’m excited to read about Michael’s observations and his take on how camps can benefit children. We at Gwynn Valley see children grow in so many ways while at camp.  We have children who experience some homesickness and get over it and we have children who may struggle a little more but overcome these feelings after a few days.  We do know that 99.9% of those who experience homesickness come out on the other side much stronger for their experience and can use that experience in so many other aspects of life and growing up.  So… we hope you are reading this and getting ready for another camp experience or reading this and thinking about sending your child to camp for their first camp experience.  Either way, we know that your child will benefit from a summer camp experience at Gwynn Valley.  Hope to see you this summer!  Stay Tuned!

HOLIDAY GREETINGS!

Dear Campers, Parents & Friends,

Even though it’s a fairly warm day here at camp, true winter has been with us for a while.  Leaves have been gathered, hydrangea’s have been trimmed and many projects have been started in preparation for the coming summer.  We here at camp hope that you and your family are doing well during this festive and special time of year.  We’ve been fortunate to connect with many of our campers and families on our camp promotion trips up until Thanksgiving.  Those will resume again as the new year begins so look for us in a city or area near you.  We’ll be showing our new video,  which premiered in the fall.  Just this past week we went live with the video on the camp website.  If you haven’t had time to check it out, do so.  You might see someone you know.  There are also other videos from the summer if you click on the “You Rock” video at the bottom right side of the page.  Once it plays you find a few more scenes from our super 2011 summer.

Staffing is going very well and at this point we have over 85 of our outstanding staff from last summer who have committed for the summer of 2012.  We’ve been interviewing some new folks who will round out the excellent staff ranks for the summer.  If you know of a wonderful  young man or woman who is keen on working with children please send them our way.  You can never have too many good staff.

As many of you know one of Gwynn Valley’s values is simplicity.  With all the hustle and bustle of this time of year, don’t forget to stop and give thanks for all that we have, for family, for friends, for faith, for good health and for places like Gwynn Valley.  Anne and recently placed a metal sign above our doorway in the kitchen leading into our family room that is just the word “Believe”.  There are all kinds of magnetic additions you can add to it depending on the season.  It’s inspirational for our family in so many ways.  Just remember to start that “Believing” process by believing in yourself.  I think that Gwynn Valley provides children the simple act of believing in themselves and going forward to gain other life building skills that camp teaches.

At every camp closing our staff sings the song “The Irish Blessing”.  It’s a great way to end our sessions and I think the words speak for themselves.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be ever at your back.
May the sunshine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again.
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May the peace of the season touch your lives in simple ways!