Summer Camp and Children’s Mental Health

Dear Parents and Friends,

On Friday I will be attending a workshop on Mental Health for Camp Leaders. The North Carolina Youth Camp Association is sponsoring this event by bringing in two speakers that will discuss these issues with camp owners and directors.  This is a topic that has received a fair amount of attention in our industry and the field of education at the national level in conversations and workshops over the past couple of years.

While summer camp is certainly not a cure all, we definitely know that it greatly benefits the overall mental health of children who attend.  Studies have proven the effects of playing in nature, being away from the “screen life”, collaborative living, positive role modeling, under-scheduling instead of over-scheduling, gaining resiliency and much more.  Each year we all see the effects of the complicated choices and lifestyles that children are exposed to.  Some of those choices pull them in directions that aren’t always what’s best for their own mental and physical well being.  Camp is a safe haven where they can thrive, guided by young adult role models through their camp journey and toward positive measurable outcomes (more on that in a later post here).Airstrip biking

The American Camp Association recently  published an article on Anxiety and the Importance of Play: An Interview with Shimi Kang, MD.  Just click on the title and you’ll be taken to the article.  After reading this, I think it’s something our parents would be interested in.  I hope you enjoy it and hope your new year is off to a great start.

Change and Transition Starting the Year Off!

Dear Campers, Parents and Friends,

Happy New Year to all of our Gwynn Valley families and friends! It seems that the New Year always brings change and sometimes transition. Andy Savage, who has been the Assistant Director of Staff and Program at Gwynn Valley for the past ten years, has turned in his resignation because Andy, Beth and their two young daughters, Maggie Grace and Ella, will be moving to New Zealand in early February. Andy’s last day in the office with us will be Jan. 31st. Andy and Beth’s new adventure is an exciting opportunity to be the first New Zealand distributors for a local company here in Brevard called Sylvan Sport. The company makes camping/outdoor/utility trailers that are easily pulled behind cars and trucks. As many of you know, Andy’s father and siblings all live in New Zealand, and they are all extremely excited about the move.

Ella, Andy, Beth & Maggie Grace

Ella, Andy, Beth & Maggie Grace

Andy was first hired by Howie and Betty Boyd in 1988 as a young international to fill a cabin counselor role. He joined the full time GV team 10 years ago and as many of you know, he has been a great asset to camp and touched many lives throughout his 27 summers at Gwynn Valley. He has been involved in almost every part of the program as well as being the expert liaison for international hiring. One of his strengths that we will miss, is his attention to staying in touch with many friends and staff of Gwynn Valley. I contend that he was “FACEBOOK” before Facebook was invented. He has excelled at traveling and meeting new and returning families on the road for us, interviewing and helping to train our wonderful staff, re-creating and promoting what we call our camp store, bringing the “FISH” Philosophy to camp, overseeing our waterfront programs for many years, and countless other duties.

We will miss his presence and positive energy as we enter into the New Year and the summer ahead. We know that he and Beth will seize this new career opportunity just as he has similarly helped to shape Gwynn Valley in his time here. Andy and Beth will be leaving some strong ties with camp but as we all know the world seems to shrink and we know that many GV friends and family will remain in contact with them. We wish them the best and may God hold them in the palm of His hand.

Grant, Anne, and the GV Team