2013 Opening Day – Session A

Dear Parents and Friends,

Thank you for a great opening day of our 2013 season.  Even though we had a few showers, the rain did not dampen spirits at camp.  I hope all of you have arrived safely at home or your next destination.  Campers arrived throughout the morning and everyone had a buffet lunch starting at noon.  After that everyone went to the Lodge to sing a bit and then learn about all the exciting program opportunities.  Counselors provided and skits and then there was time to sign everyone up.  Campers chose 8 activities and will get 4 of those for the session just for morning Discovery time.  In the afternoon they will choose 2 one hour activities each day or one two hour activity.  So…. Skills in the morning and variety in afternoon.  What could be better?

All cabins had their swim assessments today.  We call them swim assessments instead of swim tests because the word test reminds us of school and we’re on SUMMER VACATION AT GWYNN VALLEY!!!  Mountainside starts their mini-adventures tomorrow as they take on skills from Pioneering, Climbing, Mountain-Biking, and Paddling.  Riverside starts their Climbing adventure on Monday.  They were out on the Gatehouse Green this afternoon working on some initiatives and group bonding.  They’ll spend time on the lake with me tomorrow to prepare them for the second outdoor component, which is paddling.

I just returned from campfire, where half of the cabins were presenting their introduction skit for the session.  We’ll see the other half of camp tomorrow night.  I had dinner with Chesnut Hollow boys tonight and boy did they put some mac & cheese away.  Along with the entrée was salad, fresh broccoli and cauliflower from the garden, and mandarin orange fruit.  For dessert we had a giant cookie served on a huge pizza pan.  Of course it was chocolate chip!

As we start the summer I told I urged my staff  to take on the mantle of being parents – something we discussed all last week during staff training.  Camp gives children the gift of well being – a sense of belonging and is a stepping stone to so many other great experiences before them in life.  Their contribution to these children is immeasurable and they will have a great deal of influence in the camper’s short camp life.  They are participating in the art of giving and serving, as well as shaping lives.  Staff have a great deal of power and they should embrace that power with firm gentleness.  It’s a big job and one that carries a great deal of responsibility.  With this email you will see a picture of some campers playing with hoola hoops for an after supper activity.  Along with them is my climbing director, a 6’5” guy who normally is scaling thin hand and foot holds to teach our campers the art of moving over rock.  I think that pic speaks to the nature of the type of person we hire.  He’s all about adventure as part of the work but he’s also all about being a role model and participant in leading our youngest campers in an activity that is not his area of expertise.  But maybe it is, because the social tools of camp are most always the important ones.  Living in a cabin, sharing, developing a voice, resilience and learning that you’re part of something much greater than yourself are just a few thing we hope children come away with here at GV.

Thank you for sharing your children with us.  Ah, the simple joys of Gwynn Valley. Our human powered environment is well on its way to another great summer here at camp.  Our 78th summer to be exact and we’re so proud to have you be a part of it.  Stay tuned!Day 1 A

PS  We have a fill in photographer today and Ashley our regular photo person is stuck in traffic out of Atlanta.  She had some commitments with her school teaching job today and is the one that will be taking and posting pictures this session.  We may not have pictures up until tomorrow morning.