Dear Parents & Friends,
We welcomed our new campers for C-2 today and got off to a rousing start to begin that session. For those of you that dropped off your children today, I hope that you’re safe and sound and at your destination. You were shown to your cabins today by our SIT’s. They are a hard working group of young people who have been at Gwynn Valley for many years. They work in the Kitchen and Stables and also live in cabins with campers. Those campers who are here for three weeks had signups this morning while the new campers were arriving. With half the camp, it was just a small intimate group to sign up this morning. As new campers arrived we were priming the pump for another great session. Right after lunch everyone signed up for Discovery activities. These are activities that take place every other day for a 3 day period. Campers have 2 activities in the AM on Mon., Wed., and Fri., and 2 more activities on Tues., Thurs., and Sat. The campers have many choices and as always the afternoons are for signup as well, when many different one time activities are offered. Both times of the day are lots of fun. The morning focuses mostly on skills and the afternoon, some skills and the experience of trying something new just for a short period of time. Following are the Discovery activities offered in the morning:
Farm/ Mill, Archery, Canoeing, Horseback Riding, Climbing (three kinds), Print Making, Gourd-eous Gourds, Mask Making, Soccer, Fine Arts Musical, Weaving, GV Rescue, Web of Life, Mountain Biking, Pottery, Outdoor Living Skills, Jackson Kayaks and Bracelets. Lots of choices and lots of things to do!
Rain held off all day and it looked threatening several times but never quite hit the ground. Last summer we had lots of rain but it’s been a great summer so far. Only a few storms and just the right amount of rain. We also have a new “vigilant eye” on camp this year which is our Thor Guard lightening detector system. It’s a system we installed back in March and has been worth its weight in in gold. On stormy afternoons several of us could be found hovering over our computers trying to predict the weather. Our Thor Guard system can detect storms 15 miles out and provides a camp wide warning when it’s time to get indoors and stay there until the storm clears our area. It measures the electromagnetic disruptions in the air which we see or hear as lightening. A series of 6 horns alerts the Main Camp and also sounds a clear signal when it’s safe to return to outdoor activities. It’s saved us time in programming and also eliminates the human error of trying to predict the weather from our computers. It doesn’t go off after campers go to bed or until about 8:00 in the morning. It does however alert us in sleep and quiet times with a strobe light that can be seen in the middle of camp.
We don’t waste any time getting things going on the first day of camp. We held to our usual schedule of a 1:00 lunch since we have campers from the C session here for 3 weeks. After sign-ups the new campers visited the Waterfront, Mill, Sports, WEB, OLS, Archery, Climbing, Tye Dye, Fine Arts, and Horses. We all received new table assignments tonight for dinner and I’m with a great group of campers and staff at table 13 (best table!).
I spent the afternoon with a few Mountainsider’s working on a new woodworking program we’re trying to get up and running. We’re using hand tools to make simple stools that the campers can take home with them. Camp has a lot of lumber than we salvage from trees and the tops of the stools are cherry and the bottom legs are red oak. The campers cut their stool tops with a one man cross cut saw from two inch slabs of wood and hew the stool legs with a draw knife by sitting on what’s called a shave horse. Sounds simple but the hard work is shaving the legs down. Most of the legs were completed today and now we have to drill the holes and finish working the wood by sanding and cleaning it up.
Mountainside continues their training days tomorrow and I’ll be heading out with their paddlers on the mighty FB not far from camp. Riverside will be going to section 9 of the French Broad tomorrow. I wish I could go. It’s one of my favorite river sections in NC and the southeast. I truly believe when Anne and I get out into program with our staff and campers we have a pulse on what’s going on at camp. It’s a chance to see the staff in action in range of activities from challenging situations to unstructured supervised free play. We really value our staff and appreciate the work they put with your children. The work they do is what makes camp. We have a great staff this year and I know that your children will feel the same. By getting involved in program and visiting activities we are able to see into the heart of our program. It brings me great joy to see a group of campers enthralled and focused on what’s going on in a particular activity. I know as you all go through photos you’re looking for your child and a happy face. We try to take some photos showing children really focused on the work and play they are participating in. As we go through the session, I hope you’ll get a glimpse of the work these young staff members are doing. Many of them have come from the camper ranks and have reached counselor nirvana. It is tough work but you already know that because you’re all parents! Stay tuned!