Many Benefits to Camp!

Dear Parents and Families,

Today we began a new round of morning discoveries with our C & C2 campers. Campers were excited as they found out what their schedule will look like for the next six mornings. Morning discoveries are organized into A & B days and campers rotate through activities of their choice 3 times each with the same group each time to develop skills in specific areas. Morning discoveries offer a great opportunity for campers to focus on areas of interest and develop targeted skills or finish a more intricate project than an afternoon sign up would allow.

It was hot here today but beautiful and sunny with no rain in sight.  It’s looks like we’re having a dry summer compared to previous years.  Our first good chance of rain is Monday.  With the hot temps the lake and pool were quite popular.

Dinner marked a joyous homecoming for our Riverside crew who just returned from 4 days of white water canoeing. Since they left camp on Monday, these 12 campers and 4 staff have been camping and paddling on the Green, Tuckaseegee, and Nantahala Rivers. We are thrilled to have Riverside with us for a few days before they head out backpacking on Sunday! Mountainsiders also had a homecoming of sorts at dinner. Today was a MS Training Day, so bikers, paddlers, pioneers, and climbers spent all day out of camp training for their Adventures which will begin on Sunday as well! I think having such an active day made our dinner of BBQ chicken, potatoes, salad, peas and carrots from the farm and corn bread from the Mill even better.

The farm is really in ‘full-bloom’ during C session and I just heard that Mama Pig is going into labor.  We’ll keep you posted.  Just this week campers have harvested sweet corn, potatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, more corn, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, blueberries, and more corn. There are also many baby animals requiring love, attention, and possibly a bottle feeding with each camper visit: chicks, goat kids, and calves. Piglets will be next on the list.  Our farm staff is putting on campfire tomorrow night to honor this incredible program area.  As Audrey Hepburn said “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Well, we’ve got quite a garden at GV so I believe we’ll have another great day at camp tomorrow!

I was out with Mountainside paddlers all day today and we ran the lower Green River.  They learned a good deal about water dynamics and what makes an eddy and how rocks can disguise themselves into pillows and what is a downstream V and an upstream V.  Lots to remember for this bunch but they are getting it.  I think paddling is the toughest adventure skill to learn, because you’re with a partner and you’re learning a skill that is not easy.  You’re not tethered to a rope and you have another dynamic of the water pushing you where you usually don’t want to go.  They will make big gains over the days ahead.

There’s been talk for several years of summer learning loss from an academic standpoint and some critics want to do away with traditional summer vacations.  I strongly disagree, obviously from a business standpoint, but also children need to learn in different ways and not just academics.  I feel that the outcomes from summer camp greatly enhance your academic life on the other end.  Just getting children away from screens is a positive.  Recent studies found that the average child between the ages of 8-18 spends 45 hours a week interacting with electronic media.  Spending time away from video games, social media and television help them to make personal connections with others and engage with the outside world.  Being outdoors and breathing in fresh air during activities makes people feel great. It cleanses their lungs and improves blood circulation throughout the body, resulting in increased energy levels and an overall euphoric feeling for a “natural high.” And there’s the exercise factor. Physical activity builds self-esteem and motivation at every age.  An outdoors camp lets children reconnect with nature. The exposure to new habitats and creatures encourages children’s instinctive fascination with science and nature and opens up their world to new ways of thinking about the world around them.  Camps get children out in the field and out of their comfort zone, exposing them to new experiences they may never have dreamed of and perhaps spark a new interest that lasts beyond their week(s) at camp.

I’m a believer in camp and I thank you for sharing your children with us.  We hope you see that growth when they return home.  Stay tuned!

Opening Day C-2 Was Perfecto!

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 about 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, Standup Paddle Boards, Horseback Riding, Climbing (three kinds), Print Making, Candles, Mask Making, Soccer, Fine Arts Musical, Weaving, GV Rescue, Web of Life, Mountain Biking, Pottery, Weaving, Paper and Material Marbling, Outdoor Living Skills, Jackson Kayaks and All Star Sports. Lots of choices and lots of things to do!

It was a beautiful day to open C-2 and we sailed through the afternoon with bright sunny weather.  It was warm but we have ways of staying “cool”.  For those rare times we have thunder storms, camp has a “vigilant eye on the sky” which is our Thor Guard Lightening detector system. It’s a system we installed before last summer and has been worth its weight in in gold. In the past when thunderstorms came rolling in 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 everyone on property 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 woodworking program we’re 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 white pine and the 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 we just started gluing the legs on to stool tops.  Next will be finishing and sanding.

Mountainside continues their training days tomorrow and I’ll be heading out with their paddlers to the Green River. 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 a range of activities from challenging situations to unstructured supervised free play. We really value our staff and appreciate the work they put in 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!

Life Is Good At GV!

Dear Parents & Friends,

As our C-1 session campers left today we still have Mountainside participating in their training day and getting ready for adventures next week.  They chose their adventures a couple of nights ago and each group is using this time to prepare and work on skills.  The MS group will all head out on Sunday as will Riverside on their next outdoor component.  Riverside is out paddling this week and ran the Tuckaseegee today and should be on the Nantahala tomorrow and then on to Section 9 of the French Broad.  It’s one of my favorite sections of river in NC.   We can’t wait to hear the stories from their adventures and look forward to having them back in camp.  I spent part of the morning and all afternoon with Mountainside paddlers.  They had their first taste of moving water today on the upper French Broad and I will be out again with them on Thurs. afternoon as we raise the bar on their skills.

Creek hikes and tubing were the order of the day for some of our waterfront activities.   A creek hike is a fun exercise and today was no exception.  Our creek is spectacular as you ascend to the upper reaches of our property.  You feel like you’re out the middle of the national forest but you’re only just few hundred yards from camp.  We always take a lifeguard on the trip even though the pools are barely 4 feet in most places.  Along on any trip is a radio (or cell phone if farther away), a first aid kit, an epi pen and staff qualified in first aid and CPR.

For those of you that still have children in camp, tonight is special.  We have ice cream on the Green and show a movie in the Lodge.  Tonight’s presentation is “Despicable Me 2”.  I’ve not seen it, but hear it’s pretty good.  It should be an early night and then up in the morning regular time and off to activities.  We held regular activities for those children today and will do the same tomorrow.

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! For those with children in our C Session stay tuned for the latest news and hope you’re having as much fun as we are.

Last Full Day of C-1 and More to Come!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Sorry for not putting up a blog last night but it was a full day and we hold our weekly “staff rec” on Sunday nights.  This is when all staff are in camp and counselors take about an hour and we meet for food and social time.  One half of the crew comes and participates while the other half minds the cabins.  We switch and everyone gets to join the fun.  Last night it was ice cream sundaes.

Yesterday was full day at camp especially after staying up late the night before for July 4th fireworks.  Special Day on Sunday means  we don’t have regular program.  We sleep in half an hour later and have breakfast a little later.  It’s an all day affair which started during breakfast.  Dr. Funkiller showed up during announcements and took over the surprise that was in store for the campers and escaped out the back door of the kitchen.  Little did he know that Gwynn Valley has contacts world- wide and since it was so close to the 4th, we sent a message to Capt. America.  He of course responded and brought many other super hero’s to capture Dr. Funkiller.  The morning was spent training to become a super hero with all kinds of challenges and then the real fun began after lunch when we started the search for Funkiller.  Much to our dismay Funkiller captured the local weatherman and changed our local weather to rain and we had to cancel midway through our search.  We of course resumed today and yes Funkiller was not only captured but pommeled by hundreds of water balloons.  His kind will never set foot on GV soil again was said as he slithered back into the woods.

Monday was a regular day at camp this morning and the afternoon brought those C-1 cabins to the pool for pillowcase day and packing later.  The rest of camp had signups and there were also several trips out of camp today.  Climbers, Kayakers and Mountain Bikers all took trips out of camp today and had a blast.  Climbers went into Pisgah, Kayakers paddled the upper French Broad and our Bikers went into Dupont for some spectacular single track.

Those piglets at the farm still haven’t made an appearance and today was the predicted day.  It’s going to be anytime.  Tiffany, who works at the Farm, said that mama pig was ready to have them and she’s really slowed down in the past few days.  Piglets haven’t been seen but the food coming from the farm has kept us well fed and full of energy.  The food coming from our kitchen has been spectacular all summer.  Tonight we had “Sloppy Joes” for dinner on the best home made whole wheat buns you will ever have.  Campers were just eating the buns by themselves they were so tasty.  For dessert we had some sort of cupcakes that were so good you could taste them before you ate them.  Two campers at my table made cup cake sandwiches, which I’d never done.  You take the cupcake and cut off the bottom and place that on the top and it’s like a cupcake sandwich.  I learn something from these guys every day.

Tonight was Friendship Campfire and our C-1 Thespians put on two one act plays.  Anne and I gave out blankets and plaques for those campers who were here for 4 & 5 years at camp.  It always fun to have those stand who have been here longer and some reaching their 10th to 15th year (staff members by now).  There were a few tears shed as we ended our campfire and said goodbye to those whom you will be picking up tomorrow.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this past 10 days.  We’ve had a wonderful session and hope to see all of these children back again next summer.  Soon you will receive an evaluation sent to you by the camp and Clemson University.  We’re participating in a summer outcomes study that will provide valuable information and meaning to the work we do.  I’m on the North Carolina Youth Camps Board and we’re an organization that has done research on economic impact here in our region as well as lobbying hard to keep our summers for camp as well as keep up to date on legislation that affects our industry.  I sincerely hope you will take the time to respond to this valuable tool.  This provides us with feed back to help make our program better.  We appreciate you taking the time to help us keep Gwynn Valley an outstanding program.

Looking forward to seeing you C-1 parents tomorrow.  Safe travels and thanks for being a part of our program.  Stay tuned!

Happy 4th of July!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Happy 4th of July to one and all and we just wound down for the day at the Lake with our traditional Fireworks and it was a great American Day here at Gwynn Valley.  Our day began with the French sailing into New York Harbor loaded down with their gift to us – The Statue of Liberty.  This was no ordinary statue as it came to life and came ashore and walked among the boys and girls greeting one and all in many tongues.  Our great gift from France is an icon of freedom and the United States as well as a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.  Once Miss Liberty reached the steps of the dining room she read from the inscription that is located at her base.

Our whole day was filled with visits from Americans in history; Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Annie Oakley (of Oakley sun glasses fame? asked one camper), Johnny Appleseed, George and Martha Washington, Beyonce, Janis Joplin (who? asked another camper), Ryan Secrest, Paula Dean, Taylor Swift, Ben Franklin, Pocahontas, Sacajawea, Barack and Michelle,  Dorothy and companions and the Wizard, Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Frank Sinatra, Katie Perry and I’m sure I forgot a few.  I need to speak with Mrs. Camp Director about our budget because I think we just blew it by having all these guests.  At one point during festive times at lunch, our thoughts turned to the brave men and women who defend our freedom. One of our staff members, Austin, an ex-marine reserve recruit held a moment of silence for our service men and women.  All the children really got into it and then at the end lots of cheering.  It was a special moment.

We celebrated our diversity this morning with Breakfast Burritos which were delicious.  Both morning and afternoon we danced on the Green to the music of America and had a wonderful lunch on the B-ball court of hot dogs, great BBQ fixed by Chef Oliver and all the trimmings.  Tonight’s dinner was to die for which was Thanksgiving at Camp.  The only thing that was lacking were the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, which we couldn’t fit into the budget.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, gravy, fresh beans, a plum sauce that topped everything except the 30+ apple pies the kitchen baked with real apples and homemade crust and of course a la mode.

After supper we had our traditional after supper activities and then it was off to the Lodge to meet history and destiny and many of the characters from above.  Of course the weather held for us today and this evening during fireworks.  Rain gathered and came and went early this morning before Breakfast and the day turned cool and breezy until late afternoon when the sun peaked out.  I filmed in the lake this afternoon with a GoPro at water level trying to capture some of the Riversider’s preparing for their next adventure – paddling.  Regular activities went as usual all day today but of course the 4th festivities dominated our thoughts.  It’s been a great day at camp and one many will remember for a long time.  We are so blessed by what we have here and I’m very thankful for the chance to host your children at Gwynn Valley.  I think everyone had a great day and we look forward to what tomorrow brings.  Stay tuned!

Dancing the Night Away! Go Hillsider’s!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Sometimes that weather man and weather channel just miss the boat and thank goodness.  It rained before dawn this morning and our forecast called for rain most of the day.  Well.. it did not happen and we had fits and sprinkles on two occasions and that was about it.  I stopped my Mountainsider’s this morning as they were leaving to go out of camp on their last mini day and warned them about impending storms, but it never materialized.  They were going to areas where they could easily take shelter or have a van available.  So it was another cool and sun in sun out kind of day.  The weather certainly did not match the mood of camp.  The cool temps and little rain had all activities going strong.  The climbers, who are probably the most susceptible to weather and rain ran arborist climbing all morning and then both arborist and tree climbing this afternoon.  It gave many children the chance to get off the ground and see life in the trees as the birds and squirrels do.  It’s a whole different world up there and to know that you got there by yourself under your own power is an accomplishment.  I think out of the two types of climbing probably arborist climbing is the most physical. It requires a good bit of arms and legs to get you off the ground and up into the foliage.

I went down to the farm this morning to check to see how big mama pig is doing.  Everyone in C-1 is hoping she’ll have her babies this weekend but Farmer Jacob says it’s going to be a few more days.  We’ll see and keep you in the loop.  Seems like everywhere I go I pass a group of campers who are biking around one of the many trails here at camp.  Our biking program has taken off in the last few years and it’s been great fun for our Main Camp group as well as our Mountainsider’s.  We added another little skills course over the Spring which is fairly level with a few obstacles and the occasional root and rock here and there.  In all there’s probably about three miles of single track fun between Main Camp and our property across the road.  We have a number of children who have never ridden on trails and I feel it makes them more skilled riders at home and hopefully safer in that street and curb environment.  They learn to handle the bike, shift their weight, use their arms and legs as shock absorbers and of course peddle efficiently using the many gears we have on our bikes.  As in any of our programs, safety is numero uno and we teach the campers to perform a safety check on the bike before each ride.  They do this as a group and counselors are watching each one go through the checklist.  Who knows, this kind of skill could really pay off at home.

Mountainside invited Brookside up to their “side” tonight to talk about the MS program and answer questions about their days and activities.  Many of our Brooksider’s will be eligible in the next couple of years and some may choose to stay in Main Camp but others will choose MS.  It’s the perfect program for the age of the children and provides them just the right amount of comradery, challenge and responsibility for that adolescent age.  We were having a discussion at the table tonight about the MS program as well as getting older (6th, 7th & 8th grades).  That’s their kind of older and mine… that’s another story.  Have you parents seen the movie “Inside Out”.  It’s the new Pixar production that gets into the mind and emotions of an 11 year old girl and takes those emotions and brings them to life in her mind.  I’ve only seen the previews but I can tell you that the movie setting is happening every day here at camp…. and it’s happening with boys as well.  This is a good and natural thing and that’s why I feel our MS program is so good for those campers who are in the midst of adolescence.

While all that adolescence was going on tonight, our Hillsider’s were in the Lodge with me and Debbie having a grand ole time Mountain Dancing.  It was pure fun with lots of moving feet, clapping hands, swinging partners and dancing many kinds of dances and play party games.  You’d be surprised how much fun you can fit into about 40 minutes of music and dancing.  As a camper, you’re coming off dinner, which was delicious and then going to after supper programs and then dancing for 40 minutes.  We were burning some calories.  The NFL would be proud of us encouraging children to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.  I think we take the ESPY award home for the amount of exercise we get here at camp.  Camp just does children a world of good in so many ways.  Stay Tuned and Happy 4th of July!!

 

PS  We’re all pulling for the US Women’s team in the World Cup.  Since it’s a late game on Sunday we’ll tape it and play it back to the crowd during rest hour on Monday.  Go team!

Cool Summer Day in the Mountains

Dear Gwynn Valley Camper Families and Friends,

Here at Gwynn Valley we are at the end of another busy and beautiful day. Yesterday evening’s light drizzle continued into the morning and early afternoon. We had light rain on and off until mid-afternoon, but the rain did not stop any activities! All program areas were in full swing and campers stayed warm and dry with rain jackets and ponchos. On day 5 of the session, we are really in the swing of things so today felt like an easy day for both campers and staff.

Today was our second day of Open Houses, which is when we have leadership staff and program leaders visit cabin groups in their camp homes (the cabins) while cabin counselors take a 30 minute break to refresh themselves or prepare for program. For one of my Open Houses today, I went to Peter Pan with Josh Goleby, who often goes by Goldstar. The campers ‘formally’ requested that we arrive in ‘formal attire’… so of course we happily obliged and picked out ball gowns from the costume room. During Open House, the visitors ask campers about camp life, cabin life, and their counselors. This gives campers the opportunity to discuss matters of concern with adults who are not directly involved in cabin life. It also gives us lots of a great ideas about how to make Gwynn Valley better. One of my favorite questions to ask is “What is one thing you would never change about Gwynn Valley and one thing you thing we could change to make Gwynn Valley better?” Sometimes we hear suggested changes such as “Make the pool warmer!” or “Serve dessert every day!” Today one Peter Pan girl replied, “I would never change how nice all the campers and counselors are to each other and I would make Gwynn Valley sessions last longer – maybe 5 or 6 weeks!”  Hearing things like this let’s me know that kids are LOVING CAMP!

Speaking of desserts… we did have key lime cheesecake for dessert this evening! Our kitchen team continues to serve creative, crowd pleasing meals 3 times each day. For breakfast we had homemade & whole wheat cranberry scones, hard boiled eggs, sausage, fruit, cereal, and milk/OJ/water. For lunch we had english muffin pizzas in quite a few varieties (chicken, pepperoni, veggie and cheese), fresh green salad from the farm, corn on the cob from the farm, fruit, and sky juice! For dinner we had paella (which many campers tried for the first time an enjoyed!) along with roasted farm veggies and another green farm salad. And… of course the key lime cheesecake.

This evening for campfire we had Twilight Play, which is an extended program period after dinner. We offered up a number of activities including mountain biking, hike to the rock, horseback riding, archery, candles, popcorn making at the mill, pottery, sunset swim at the lake, and many more. Campers often ask to keep playing as we wrap up after supper activities, so it’s a real treat for them to keep on playing for another 30 – 40 minutes. We wrapped up around 8:30PM, about when our evening program normally finishes in the lodge.

In the world of Older Programs… Riverside returned from 4 days in Foster Falls, TN. They encountered a little rain as well, but still managed to climb every day and loved swimming in the pool at the base of the falls. They were glad for warm showers back at camp this evening and they are looking forward to a few days on camp before they head out paddling on Monday. Mountainside groups went on their 3rd of 4 Mini-Adventures. Two groups were off camp paddling and pioneering in Dupont State Park while the other two groups climbed and mountain biked her on property. This evening the Mountainsiders were enthralled by an annual C1 treat: Survival Campfire with Dr. Terry Hassler! Our C1 doctor is a veteran, former boy scout leader, and avid outdoors man who puts on a special evening program for Mountainside every summer. The kids and staff love this special visit from Dr. Hassler!

 

Tomorrow is another day of opportunity, and tonight we have an opportunity to be well rested for tomorrow! Goodnight Gwynn Valley friends near and far!

Today is Wednesday and What a Day We’ve Had!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another great day at Gwynn Valley and we’re just experiencing a little rain during after supper activities.  I’m on duty today so I didn’t get to as many programs as I wanted.  On duty means that you carry a radio all day long and into the night.  You attend all activity changeovers and you are available for tours (2 today), preside and announce at all meals and run singing and announcements after lunch.  You also put camp to sleep and make sure lights are out and everything is closed down at 12 midnight.  That’s our camp curfew and SIT’s are in their cabins by 11:00.  Despite that, I did check in with Mill, Pottery, Yanderside (A&C’s), Horses, Sports, Bong Tree and Climbing.  I know that a couple of Mountainside cabins were up on the ropes course today and experiencing life out of their normal comfort zones.  There’s a good bit of support that happens from the group when up high in the trees.

Two Mountainside cabins went to the Farm after dinner tonight and two MS cabins were there last night.  Seven cabins are camping out tonight so we had quite a few missing from the dining room dinner table.  Usually when a cabin camps out they also cook out.  It’s not an elaborate cookout but tasty none the less and certainly there’s always s’mores. What would a campout be without them!  When Anne and first came to GV, chocolate had been eliminated from the s’mores recipe.  One of our first acts was to reinstate chocolate back into the recipe.  Yes, it might hype the occasional camper but it’s definitely worth it.

Something you may hear about when your child gets home is that a Super Chicken ran through the dining room this morning.  It stopped grabbed the mic out of a counselor’s hand, sang the Super Chicken Song and took off for the far door.  As you might guess this was staged, however no counselor is admitting they saw anything.  We were all frozen (maybe because we’re adults) as soon as Super Chicken entered the room.  (It’s kind of like not hearing the jingle bell if you’ve ever seen the Polar Express.  Even though all my children are grown, we always squeeze it in during the holiday season.)  Back to the chicken, …we were supposed to freeze and react with no knowledge of seeing anything like a chicken in the dining room.   It’s just fun, the campers love it and they can’t believe or understand that we don’t see what they are seeing.

Hillside is delving into some imaginative realms tonight listening to Tajar Tales while Brookside is going Mountain Dancing.  Imagination is a big part of camp and imagination creates happy stories that your child can relish in while here and also at home.  We become hero’s in some ways that we can’t at home, we rise to the top of heap, we see that “I can” is much stronger than “I can’t”.  “Imagination can be more powerful than you think”, says parenting expert and psychologist, Dr. Randy Cale.  “It allows you visualize life situations and act them out mentally to decide what the best course of action is. With guidance, children can use their imagination to help them solve just about any problem. They can prepare for just about any situation and gain remarkable confidence. And the really cool part here is that each and every time that they practice, their beliefs and their skills grows stronger.”

Brookside had a great time Mountain Dancing tonight to Debbie’s music and calling of Hokey Pokey, Going to Kentucky, Paddy Cake Polka, Sasha (Russian Folk Dance) and the Virginia Reel.  Debbie’s hands were smoking by the end of the evening.  Many of these dances are mixers where boys and girls dance together for just a short time.  Obviously we’re not trying to attract the opposite sexes but we do want youngsters to feel ok about dancing together and holding hands and the like.  It’s downright comical to see boys avoiding any contact in a dance when you have to clap hands, elbow swing one another and promenade.  Most girls are good with this and comply with what the dance narrates, but the boys are exiting that highway every chance they get.  It’s also about making new friends while here.  You make friends in your cabin group, table group and activity group and even at Mountain Dancing.  Camp was made for friendship.  Some camp friendships last a lifetime.  Camp just does kids a world of good and we’re so glad they are here.  Stay tuned!