Last Full Day of C-1 Brings Lots of Sunshine!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Our last full day for C-1 Session was a good one.  The big news today at lunch was that our first corn came in and everyone helped shuck close to 500 ears just after lunch.  It took all of about 8 minutes (many hands make light work).  Many children have been involved with the farm since they got here and if your child is leaving tomorrow be sure to visit the farm and see the baby piglets and visit with our staff there.  This session campers have fed calves, milked Bessie the cow, gathered eggs, picked all kinds of fresh vegetables, dug potatoes, mothered baby chicks, visited with mama pig and her babies and played in the goat pen with the “kids” there.  No matter the weather the animals must be cared for and fed and crops must be harvested.  The farm life goes on and one has to think how hard some farmers work.  We have an army that helps out down at the farm.  Thanks to the children harvesting and feeding, we can afford extra time to teach and talk about all the aspects of living on a farm and working the land.  You can’t just go on vacation and not milk the cow for a week.  My uncle was a dairy farmer and it truly was one of the most demanding lifestyles I’ve ever witnessed.  He loved it and was very good at what he did.  Our farm crew is great and each day they lead us in bearing the fruits of our labor.

Our Main Camp climbers went out to Looking Glass Rock today and climbed around the Nose area and scaled some climbs that we called the “Apron of the Nose”.   The campers did a great job as they scaled this part of Pisgah.  You get fantastic views of the national forest once you get about halfway up and above the trees.  We also have a new climbing tree at camp that Dylan and put up over the past week.  It’s behind the Lodge and at present we have 4 climbing trees and two Arborist trees with a total of 9 climbs on them.

To beat the heat of our first sunny day in a while, the zip line, pool and lake were in full action today.  Everyone flocked to the water for a refreshing dip.  No matter the heat and weather, there’s always a game of Knockout and Thunderball going on at the B-ball court.  It’s an everyday favorite and one where the girls take on the boys and win about half the time.

Earlier in the morning I had stopped by the Mill to see what was going on there.  Some campers were fishing and 5 fish were caught by one young man.  Campers were also making corn husk dolls, which was a two hour sign up.  It’s a delicate process and I don’t know if Erin got any shots of the crew making them but they were fantastic.  This would have been how girls would have acquired dolls in the era that the Mill was built.  After dinner we had after supper activities and lacrosse was going on the soccer field along with Thunderball , basketball, and a wide assortment of games and things to do.  Unstructured play during this time is also important for our campers to have.  This is supervised play but it gives them a chance to run around, roll in the grass, play tag and go for the simple joys of just being a child.

At campfire tonight, Anne and I took some time to honor those who have attended camp for a long time.  We had our blanket ceremony for those who have attended camp for 4 years.   After the brief ceremony our drama/dance group performed a dance and play they had written with Debbie’s help.  Sophie, Lindsay and Louisa have done a great job with the group and it turned out to be a superb performance.  Camp creates memories or as I call it “camp DNA”. Whether it’s your first play or your first fish caught or topping out on a rock climb in Pisgah, Gwynn Valley is all about the “simple joys” of childhood and we celebrate that each and every day.

Tomorrow when you arrive your children from C-1 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 visit a while and maybe walk around camp to see the some of the activity areas.  Thank you for sharing your children and hope to see you next year.  Stay tuned!

Special Day and More!

Dear Parents and Friends,

I’ll be brief tonight because it’s been a full day and we have staff rec soon.  We just completed our fireworks display that have been postponed since the 4th.  Everyone had a great time and Team Maintenance did a great job as usual.  Everyone was on one side of the Lake and they shot the fireworks from the other side of the lake and also down in the Gatehouse field.

Our day had some mix of sunshine today and clouds rolling through but no rain.  It threatened a couple of times and little thunder but nothing to keep us from going through with our Sunday Special Day Activities.  Sunday wake-up is always a little bit later and we had PJ’s and Pancakes.  Special Day started just after breakfast with a short break to get proper clothes on for the day.  Captain Hook had stolen the Treasure and it was up to the campers to get it back by completing the challenges and find the clues which eventually lead to the hidden treasure.  There were 10 stations with challenges and some stations had several challenges going on.  There was the Blind String Maze, the Obstacle Course, Thunderball Dome (staff vs campers and campers won), Minute Challenges, Fishing Line Tangle Challenge, Blindfold Scavenger Hunt, Panning for Gold, Rubber Ducky Slingshot (Hungry Hippos), Lake Obstacle Course, and Structure Building Challenge.

It was full day accented by good GV food at meals and a little longer rest hour.  After a full week the later breakfast and longer rest hour was good for many campers and staff alike.  We fit a lot in each day and I think everyone sleeps pretty soundly at the end of the day.

After dinner we took a few cabin photos and then held our Sunday evening Vespers service where “God’s Creation” was the theme.  Many campers sang or performed and several staff wrote some nice things to contribute.  Tomorrow is a new week for our C campers and our C-1 campers will say good bye the next day.  It’s been great week despite the wet conditions.

Riverside leaves on their paddling component tomorrow and will tackle the Lower Green River near Saluda, NC.  Main Camp will have a few trips out tomorrow and we hope to have another great weather day in the process.  It has been a truly “special day” and many thanks to the staff for creating such a wonderful day.  I’m off to staff rec, a time where we honor the work the staff do by providing them some down time along with good food and social time which they deserve.  They come in two shifts so that there’s always a counselor in the cabin.  No cabin is left unattended.  Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

Bridges, Piglets, Pudding and More!

Dear Parents and Friends,

If you missed the Blog last night or this morning, it was because I was on a day off.  So.. we have some catching up to do.  The weather, which has been the big story at camp, had mellowed in the past couple of days.  Very little rain yesterday until dinner time and just sprinkles today mixed with sun which was wonderful.  Last night it rained a good bit from about 3 AM on and cleared in time for breakfast.  Everyone has been a trooper about the weather.  After a while you don’t really notice that everything is damp.  I went to one of our campout shelters tonight to help get a fire going for one of the cabins who were camping out.  I’m pretty good at getting a fire started and I must admit it was challenging.  Eventually everyone was warm, fed and loaded up on smores.  Speaking of food we didn’t need any more dessert at dinner tonight, which was scrumptious.  Ravioli, salad, fresh broccoli, garlic bread and chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream and strawberries.  When many cabins are camping out there’s more space in the dining room and usually fewer people at the table.  We had dessert for 11 and only six people sat at the table.  We ate until no one could eat anymore pudding.  One camper said she can’t eat any more chocolate for a long time (we’ll see how long that lasts).

Our camp photographer is on a day off so pics tomorrow might not be loaded until very late tomorrow night.  Tomorrow is “Special Day” at camp and it’s a secret at this point.  Matt has many things in store from minute challenges to special clues that will take us to faraway destinations.  We’ll fill you in on the details tomorrow night.

Since fire building is such a big deal in this wet weather the campers have been learning that skill in OLS.  With the weather finally clearing a bit yesterday, everyone was encouraged to learn to build their own little fire.  I think next week they’ll tackle hobo stoves which are fun and easy to make.   Today OLS was engineering a bridge over “Forget Me Not Stream”, which comes out from under the Lodge and empties into the lake.  That stream, in the ole days, began at a spring head which is still there and was the camp water fountain.  There was a deep pool with several communal cups that everyone drank out of.  Those were the days before health laws – obviously.  Those working on the bridge today found a giant orange salamander while working.  It was a Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber).  http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_nc/salamanders/Pserub/Pse_rub.html   Check out the link to view this specimen.  I’ve found them in my front yard under moist leaf duff, but never in a stream in moving water.  We promptly sent him on his way to another part of the stream so no one would step on him or her.  The bridge they built was made of bamboo and would carry the weight of a camper to cross over the stream.  It was all built with lashing and no hardware.  Hats off to our scouts in the group and those staff who have those skills.

Sometimes it seems all we do is eat and we harvest a lot of that good food we eat at the farm.  I went down to the farm today to check on our baby piglets that were born a day before the session started.  I was hoping the birth would be after the campers arrived but it was the Saturday before.  There are 4 little piggies and boy are they growing fast.  After visiting with the newborns, the group fed the calves and then started picking blueberries.  We have a bumper crop this year because of all the moisture and I expect blackberries will be the same around camp.  These are planted bushes at the farm and it’s very tempting not to eat your fill while picking.

Climbing our big Arborist trees was back to normal with better weather today.  It’s one of my camp favorites and we have two giant poplars that the campers can climb.  Unlike climbing in the hemlocks the campers ascend the rope using a special knot called a Blake’s Hitch.  Look it up on the web and see how it’s used in tree climbing.

Monday our Main Camp campers will be venturing out on trips, climbing, paddling kayaks and hiking.  Mountain bikers went out today to Dupont State Forest and may go out again on Monday.  Riverside leaves for their paddling component on Monday and Mountainside starts their training days on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I spent about an hour working with Riverside today on the lake and will spend another session with them tomorrow to refine their strokes before hitting moving water.  They are a great group and I would love to get out with them this coming week.  We’ll see … so stay tuned!

Sunny Day and Twilight Play

Dear Parents and Friends,

Here we are at the end of another wonderful day at Gwynn Valley! After all the rain we experienced over the last couple of days, we are very pleased to have been graced with a cloudy (but dry!) morning and a few beautiful hours of sunshine this afternoon. We did not waste a minute of  “dry” today as we got all of our outdoor activities back into full swing! Climbers were seen in the trees practicing their arbortist ascent techniques. Horseback riders and mountain bikers were seen riding trails all over camp. Campers were also swimming, zipping down the zip-line, kayaking and lounging in the sun by the lake. Campers down at the farm were able to harvest veggies and play with all the baby animals (goats, chicks AND piglets!). OLS was seen building a flag pole out of bamboo —  I can’t wait to see a flag flying from the top! All of our indoor activities (tie-dye, candle making, pottery, weaving, corn grinding, etc.) carried on as usual but with doors flung open to greet the sunshine.

Our adventure programs were active around camp today as well. The Riverside crew came back from their most recent adventure all smiles. They spent the last few days in Foster Falls, TN where they were able to rock climb even in the rain thanks to some protective rocks that kept the cliff face dry. They will spend the next few days at camp before heading out again on Monday for their paddling adventure. Mountainside campers spent the day mountain biking on the camp trails, climbing and learning to belay on the tower, paddling canoes on the lake, and hiking in Pisgah Forest. Today was their 4th of 4 “Mini-Adventures” so at this point they have tried all possible adventure activities. Mountainside campers will be placed into Adventure Groups Sunday evening and will start training next week!

Today was also the closing day of our 4th week of Day Camp. Our 30 wonderful day campers proudly wore the tie-dye shirts they made this week and sang all the new camp songs they learned for parents when they were picked up for the last time this afternoon. We will miss this lively bunch, but we look forward to welcoming the next day camp crew on Sunday.

Sometimes it amazes me to think about all the different program areas and activities that are able to take place simultaneously here at camp. Day Camp, Main Camp, Mountainside and Riverside all work in tandem to create not only unique opportunities for each camper but also the incredible synergy that makes Gwynn Valley the special place that it is.

For all you food lovers — you should know that the kitchen really outdid themselves today. Breakfast was delicious and warm, which was welcome with our cool, cloudy morning. We had oatmeal, brown sugar, raisins, scrambled eggs, bagels, cream cheese and fresh fruit. For lunch we had tomato soup and turkey or tuna salad sandwiches along with orange slices, salad from the farm and kettle chips. For dinner we had pork chops with caramel apples, farm cabbage, farm salad, wild rice and crescent rolls. Everything was delicious and we saw lots of happy faces and full bellies walking out of the dining hall after each meal.

We finished up the day with a special evening program for Main Camp. Tonight after dinner, campers were able to do an extended after supper activity instead of going into the Lodge for campfire like we normally do.  Many activities were offered including kayaking and walking across the traverse line down at the lake; creating puppet plays in the lodge; doing the tower swing up at the climbing wall; going for an extended trail ride on horses or mountain bikes; candle making; sunset archery; a rousing game of Gold Rush; and much, much more… Mountainside and Riverside also had a special evening program tonight with Dr. Terry. Once each summer Dr. Terry leads a “Survival Campfire” which is world-famous at GV and is always eagerly anticipated by both staff and campers.

The secret serenaders have already made their way around to all 24 cabins, leaving camp a quiet place. All 200 campers are now sleeping peacefully in their bunks, resting up for all the adventures that tomorrow will bring. I guess it’s time for us to turn out the lights here in the office too!

No Rain Could Soak Our Country’s Party and Pride!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Happy 4th of July!!  I’m sure that many of you are watching the weather over Gwynn Valley the past couple of day and yes, most pictures taken outdoors have our campers and staff in their raincoats.  We’ve had what I consider unprecedented rain the past 24 plus hours.  The moisture that has been pulled out of Gulf has continued its march through the WNC mountains.  Despite all that, we’ve had a great 4th of July today and it’s not over.  Note that some of your children are growing web feet and are starting to quack a bit.  We just left the Lodge after a wonderful evening campfire that celebrated so many aspects of our American History and of course it’s pop culture.  The staff and campers put together some great acts and we had many famous people throughout the day share time in celebration of our country’s birthday.

Just as we were about to go into breakfast this morning the Mayflower and its occupants landed on the rocky shoreline of GV and were greeted by a friendly band of our native people.  They lead us to the dining room where we raised the flag and sang the national anthem.  It was a red, white and blue breakfast (blueberries, strawberries, and bananas) on French Toast.  Activities this morning were on as scheduled and those that needed the great outdoors had to adapt to weather conditions.  The climbers from Main Camp and Mountainside utilized the Lodge to teach knots and belay technique.  We formed an indoor Thunderball arena in the Lodge and it was actually pretty close to the real court outside.  Basketball and some other outdoor sports went as planned as did many of our waterfront activities.  The lake water felt warm today compared to the rain so everyone didn’t mind the swimming.  When they got out there was a huge fire in Lodge waiting for  them to warm by.  The paddlers wore spray jackets throughout the morning and stayed really warm.  All of our arts and crafts activities were cozy in their shelters and it was business as usual.

Just before lunch Houston Mission Control set up shop on the very wet moonscape of the Green and we had a reenactment of Apollo 11 landing on the Moon in 1969.  It was funny as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced along the squishy  surface of camp.  On each table at lunch there were interesting facts about our 50 states and everyone was swapping states to see how much we could digest along with our food.  There was also a piece of paper with highlights from each decade since 1900.  We had a delicious lunch today of BBQ chicken, baked beans, salad, cole slaw, sautéed vegis, and cornbread from the Mill.  To top it off there was peach cobbler.  The afternoon was a different story as the rain persisted and got more tenacious, so many of our outdoor activities other than waterfront had to forego being outside.  We finally relented and decided to bring everyone into the Lodge for a movie.  It was a good call with hard rain that came later while everyone was indoors.  Sometimes it’s just nice to sit by the fire and relax or chillax as the campers say.  We were supposed to have a picnic dinner but the dining room worked fine for our burgers and dogs.  After dinner while the rain held we took some cabin photos and then assembled in the Lodge for a good ole fashioned baseball game.  Beyonce sang the National Anthem and Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter threw out the first pitch.  He’s a look alike that lives in Primavera.

Many acts followed between innings and stars and starlets (your campers) took the stage one after the other to sing and dance.  No American celebration is complete without a boy band visit and of course the Back Street Boys were flown in to sizzle the stage.  I’m always amazed how kids pick up music from their parents.  We had a discussion at the table today about some of the music that they’ve heard from listening to your music :  Fleetwood Mac, Beatles, The Stones, Moody Blues, and others.  Pop Culture is such a part of children’s lives.  We just have to keep it appropriate.  I think we did a good job of that while throwing in a lot of history along the way.

Camp has to be spontaneous and we had to do a lot of shifting today.  We’re going to save our Fireworks for another night in the session but everything else went off as planned today with a few minor tweaks.  We’re hoping for dryer weather ahead and some sun.  Riverside returned home just a few moments ago and it seems their climbing was somewhat soggy.  They will rest a couple of days and then take advantage of some of the full rivers in our area.  Stay tuned and stay dry!

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring, and It’s Anything But Boring!

Dear Parent and Friends,

We’ve just wound down from our OLS Web of Life Campfire and it was the perfect night to get everyone into the Lodge, build a big fire in the fireplace, tell a few stories, sing a few songs and cozy up.  It has rained most of the day and even though it was wet, most programs were able to carry on.  The exception was late this afternoon when we got a little thunder and lightning.  Our creeks are all flowing swiftly and our local rivers were too high for tubing or even boating.  Mountainside had a day off today between mini adventures and held some sign-ups for campers which resembled aspects of Main Camp activities.  They enjoyed the change in programming and will continue their mini’s tomorrow.  Riverside returns on Friday from their climbing adventure in TN.

Bikers were able to bike this morning but stayed close to the Main Camp gravel and dirt trails.  It was a bit too muddy to venture out on any single track.  The horses loved the cooling rain and carried many campers throughout the day amid the gentle drizzle.  OLS took time to offer a little first aid training this morning as evidenced by the splinting that they learned.  They also were learning how to use a compass and did some simple drills with map and compass.  Those who weren’t satisfied by water falling from the sky snorkeled their way around the lake surprising a number of critters in the water and managed a complete circumnavigation of the waterfront – a feat that I don’t think has been done before.  The Mill continues to churn out ice cream of every conceivable flavor and we’ll sample it in the days ahead.  Of course those making it get a sample right after a batch is done.  Last session they made over 100 quarts of ice cream at the Mill.

There are so many activities available at camp and so many talents that children can realize once they’re here.  Everyone has talents–some obvious, some hidden. At camp, it’s easy to see who the athletes are, somewhat harder to see who the artists are, and almost impossible to see who the intellectuals are.  Because enhanced self-esteem is a cornerstone outcome of most camp programs, it is worth thinking about how our program identifies, cultivates, and showcases talents of all types.

Self-esteem, after all, is grounded in feelings of competence. And feeling good about at least one thing is essential for authentic happiness.

Most camps heavily emphasize physical prowess, whether it be traditional athletic events or adventure sports like paddling, climbing, biking etc.  We’re a non competitive program so we downplay this as much as possible.  We encourage the camper to better oneself and not at the expense of others.  I think some aspects of camp help to level the playing with non-traditional games and sports.  We also encourage activities that shine the spotlight on musicality, intellectual creativity, and artistic abilities.

The idea is to give every child a chance to improve skills they already have, develop competence in emerging skills, and (of course) sample a few things they have never tried before.

To accomplish this range, we as a staff have to think outside the box of the tired old talent show. Sure, it’s fun to see who is double-jointed and who can play the harmonica with their nose, but the real interest is in activities that require some skill, such as group mural painting, camper choirs, and short-story competitions.  We’re always trying to give thought to how we might juice up our existing program with some non-traditional activities that nurture talents and self-esteem in new and meaningful ways.

Our hope is that we’ll be helping campers cultivate the one talent set that we all come to camp for: interpersonal skills. We might even awaken a hidden desire in some of our campers to step up and join our staff when they are old enough.  And that friend’s is another great outcome.  Stay tuned!

 

A Surprising Weather Day!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It was a surprising weather day here at camp and one that we enjoyed rain free.  Our forecast was rain all day and it didn’t live up to the prediction.  We had 10 cabins camping out tonight so we were keeping our fingers crossed that they could get a fire going and get off to sleep.  As I sit writing I see patches of blue with some clouds rolling in.  It rained throughout last night but ended around 7:30 this morning.  Rain at camp is hard to distinguish from the many creeks we have if you’re living in a cabin nearby one.  The water is soothing as it runs (rather loudly) downstream in all directions.  Rainfall in our area is at an all-time high so the creeks, streams and rivers have been full all spring and summer so far.  I went with a group of our life guards down to the river today on the other side of the road to help with some in-service training on moving and swift water rescue.  The river was too high for campers and we postponed all tubing today after last night’s rain.  As LGT’s, they’re going over skills they learned during their course or updating skills they learned earlier from another course.  We used throw ropes based on the old standards of reach, row, throw and go, which no longer applies and has been replaced by newer standards in the curriculum. We had a good time learning and realizing how powerful moving water can be.

Safety was a hot topic this morning in Outdoor Living Skills, as Catherine got the campers to prioritize what they needed to take on a trip and how important each object was.  I got there just as she was dumping many camping items out of a large bag and the campers had to choose which ones were the most important to them if they were in the woods camping.  After choosing they set off to put the items to work hands on.  Camp is all about hands on.  Our crafts instructors are always reaching over the top to guide hands in the creative process.  Even our farm staff are involved in showing campers how to break off an ear of corn, pick beans, broccoli, and the most dangerous of all—gather eggs without mother hen giving you a peck.  Children want to do things on their own.  I always find it enlightening to allow children to build their own fires.  We provide the directions, show them the type of wood to gather, how to place it effectively and how to light it.  Building an easy quick fire is a learning process that takes practice.  I wonder how many of you have read the book “Outliers: The Story of Success”, where the author talks about the number of hours it takes to master a skill.  We’re not shooting for those numbers, but we are trying to have the campers feel comfortable in trying new things and hopefully succeeding with proper instruction.  Camp is also a place where you can fail and it’s ok.  Everyone is not good at everything and there’s lots of support to move have another try and move forward.

Camp too is a place where “look don’t touch” is not practiced, unless there is a safety issue like picking up a snake or critter, or perhaps touching poison ivy or putting something in your mouth from the forest.  We want children to touch and feel the textures and look closely at our natural world.  It’s ok to catch a frog or tadpole or perhaps a salamander.  We always let them go right back to their environs and try not to disturb their world.  Some of these are budding scientists and we don’t want to squash their interest.  Yesterday as I was working on some things just back of the Lodge our young scientists from the WEB of LIFE found a fungus nearby that I had never seen before.  It was growing under our hemlocks and was almost totally camouflaged by the fallen needles and small cones.  It must be because of the wetness we’ve been experiencing.  I will try and take a photo and get it online.  Maybe someone can offer some advice.

Batik and our crafts were on in process of making some beautiful things as I took a touring family around camp.  We have four arts areas that churn out the camp goods day and in day out.  We hope you’ll see the finished evidence of some of these crafts.

Campfire just ended with a good ole mountain dancing session.  Mostly Brookside and a couple of Hillside cabins attended.  There’s only a couple of days before the 4th and everyone is getting pretty excited.  I think we’ll have some famous visitors from our past and most likely we’ll experience some special moments in our nation’s history.  Stay tuned!

 

Sunny Day – Evening Showers!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Today we began our activities and children started their Discovery activities in the AM.  Each campers has 4 activities they take in the morning.  In the afternoons you have a free choice of 2 one hour activities or 1 two hour activity and that changes each day.  Progressive skills in the morning and skills and variety in the afternoon.  Then of course there’s the after supper activity time when all kinds of activities are available for about 45 minutes.  Pick-up ball games to basic crafts and the like.  Tonight we were rained out of after supper activities.  We went to the Lodge for campfire and finished off our cabin skits and then sent folks home a bit early.

As we started program today it was interesting to go around to many programs and see them get off the ground with the foundations of the program.  I think most people who sign up for biking think that they’re just going to hop on the bike and ride off.  We go through a battery of fitting the bike and helmet and making sure that you practice shifting and understand cadence.  There are so many games that can challenge the child just on short grass to give you an idea of their riding ability.  You quickly learn what sort of terrain they can handle and whether or not they can ride single track.  Single track trails are rarely more than 3 ft. wide and take some skill to navigate when there are small roots, inclines and the occasional rock to ride over or dodge.  Sometimes children aren’t used to shifting gears on the bikes and one has to multi-task to stay balanced, monitor your brakes and shift when needed.  Guidelines and foundational teaching is so important throughout camp and even the waterfront provides info for the campers as to where they can dive in the lake and when and where they need to wear a PFD.  Progression of teaching and building on foundations of safety, skills and fun make for good programs.  Kayaking, Weaving, GV rescue, Fishing at the Mill, and many others started their day with the importance of foundational learning.

Today I worked with Riversider’s on the lake and preparing them for their canoeing component which starts next week.  Many had experience but we needed to go back to those basics to start anew and not get into bad paddling habits.  Paddling at the ripe age of 13 and 14 should be a dance on the water and finesse instead of power.  One can never really be stronger than moving water but only figure out best how to harness its strength to your advantage.  Even on the flat water of the lake that is in evidence.  They made great progress today and it was a joy to work with them.  They’re off to Foster Falls tomorrow for their climbing component.

We’re also working on adding another climbing tree at camp just behind the lodge.  It’s a nice hemlock that is healthy and would make a good alternative to the three trees we’ve used for years and years.  Climbing is a popular activity at camp.  I remember when we introduced more climbing at camp.  We started with tree climbing and then added some climbs to the Rock which is located on the upper reaches of the property.  One of our old staff members brought Arborist climbing to camp about 7 years ago and that’s been a very popular part of the program.  It seems that over half of the campers give climbing a try each year and some really excel in all aspects of getting off the ground.

I watched a tie-dye session with the boys from Raines Cove today.  It was interesting to see them choose their patterns and go about the dying their shirts.  They were after the most colorful and wild shirts and several chose the fireworks pattern – getting ready for the upcoming holiday.  I saw Rosebay leaving to go on a Creek Hike and they looked like they were going to enjoy an escape from the warm temps into the creek and up the mountain toward Connestee Falls.  We are so lucky to have so much water on our land.  It feeds our lake, runs our Mill, and puts us to sleep.  Tonight it’s running pretty high because of the rain this evening.  Clouds have settled in the valley and even though the sun is down our days at camp are long.  After a long day in activities, I’m sure that many of the children are settling into a deep slumber.  Stay tuned to see what tomorrow brings!