Dear Campers, Parents, and Friends,
One of my favorite times of the year is approaching this week- Thanksgiving and then the Holiday’s for many different faiths just after that. We here at Gwynn Valley have so much to be thankful for as we roll into this busy season. Enrollment has been very strong this year and staff hiring is going well as we prepare for another great summer here at camp. Our building project is progressing nicely (see pics). Anne and I were on the site today meeting with builders and architects to go over details during the construction process. It’s exciting to envision what the next few months hold as our dreams are created right before our eyes.
It’s also been very dry weather here and forest fire precautions are at an all time high. It has been good for building purposes but not so good for our normally rain forest environment. We haven’t had a good rain here in over a month and a half. Fires are just to the south of us near the NC/SC border and have been contained to some extent. We could use about an inch and a half of rainfall to turn this situation around. Living where we do, I’m optimistic that rains will come and all will be well.
With Thanksgiving just a day away and Black Friday just after, I’m proud that many stores have chosen to close their doors for the day of Thanksgiving and have urged their employees to get together with family and friends. We believe that family and friends mean a great deal and that our employees deserve time off to rest, re-energize, and reflect on the spirit of the season. Last year REI, the outdoor retailer, was closed on Black Friday encouraging everyone to Get Outdoors! We whole heartedly agree.
We find that more and more of our campers come to camp with less and less connection with nature. While National Parks visits were higher than they’ve ever been last year, the demographics are not what you might think. It’s the greying generation who are visiting, camping, hiking, and soaking up our brilliant natural resources. The parks belong to us all but only some are using them. Seventy one percent of millennials said they would be “very uncomfortable” on a one week vacation without connectivity.
To make a long story short, we encourage you and your family to get outside this weekend at some point. Go for a hike, ride bikes together, have a picnic if the weather is good, because any time spent outdoors with loved ones is good. Nature does us a world of good and affects everything from stress hormones to heart rate to brain waves to protein markers and indicates that when we spend time in green space, there is something profound going on. Research has shown that being outdoors helps lower the incidence of a host of ailments including, anxiety, depression, diabetes, asthma, and migraines. Outside environs also help those of us with ADD and ADHD. When we engage outdoors we stimulate areas of our brains responsible for problem solving, critical thinking, decision making, and creative thinking. We gain curiosity and a sense of balance between our technological world and our natural world.
So… get outdoors over the next few days and spend quality time with family and friends. We live in and around beautiful places and don’t forget to give thanks for that also!
PS In the past I’ve posted some videos by Danny MacAskill who is a mountain biker of exceptional skills. If you or your family mountain bikes, or if you don’t , it’s fun to watch. Danny is a Scotsman and the video showcases some of Scotland’s natural beauty. Click on the link below to view Danny MacAskill’s Wee Day Out!