Until We Meet Again in 2021

Dear Gwynn Valley Families, 

We want to thank you for your patience, support, and love over the past several months as we’ve all been trying to imagine how camp might fit in with this pandemic. As we get closer to summer, no words can express the sadness we feel as we announce the closure of all 2020 camp sessions, including Day Camp, as well as the 85th reunion. 

Knowing how much our campers and staff look forward to their time at Gwynn Valley, we considered all possible options for how camp might run this summer. In reviewing all of the information released by the state, the CDC, and the American Camp Association, and dialoguing with public health and medical professionals, we were struck by the multitude of ways that the camp experience would be limited. We ultimately felt that the quality of program and community experience that you know and love would be too greatly impacted by managing the health and safety risks associated with coronavirus. Camp is about community, friendships, and relationship building, and we do not want to sacrifice these core tenets that make camp the magical place it is. 

Allowing Space to Grieve and Hope

As the days lengthen and warm, we struggle to imagine not welcoming campers and staff to Gwynn Valley. It is incredibly sad for us to think about empty cabins, a vacant dining hall,  and quiet trails. We will miss you terribly this summer! We know you must be heartbroken as we are. 

Remember that the camp experience builds resilience, and this moment affords us opportunities for growth. We will come together again to celebrate the many special moments of camp in 2021, campfires, singing, fellowship, Tajar Ball, adventures, and more. This summer, we will continue to reach out to our families to help keep the spirit of Gwynn Valley alive in each of you. We hope your family will embrace the values of Gwynn Valley by getting outside, being kind to others, and celebrating the simple joys that can be found in each day. And until we meet again, may God continue to hold you in the palm of his hand.

Financial Logistics

We want to reassure our families whose sessions have closed that we are committed to working with you to either roll over tuition paid, provide a refund, or a combination of the two depending on what is best for your individual family. In conjunction with any of the refund options above, you may elect to allocate a portion of your refund or tuition rollover as a donation to the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donation is tax deductible. 

About Gwynn Valley Campship Foundation Donations

We believe strongly that camp should be made available to children across socio-economic lines. The Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, helps realize this value by providing scholarships to campers. In 2019, the Campership Foundation allocated $37,000 in scholarship funds, and an additional $100,000 of Gwynn Valley’s operational budget supported camper financial aid. This funding may be more important than ever for the 2021 summer, since we anticipate that the year ahead will bring financial hardship for many in our country. 

How Can We Help? 

We imagine you may have questions or may just want to say hi and talk. If so, please feel free to call or email us. We are holding each member of our Gwynn Valley community in our hearts. 

Our best to you and your family,

Anne and Grant (Owners and Directors)
Maggie (Director)

Tajar Tales with Andy

We hope that our wonderful camp community is faring well all across the globe.  Today we want to share a little treat that comes to us all the way from New Zealand.  Please enjoy this rendition of the Tajar Tale “A Noise in the Kitchen” read to you all by our very dear friend Andy Savage, who worked at GV for over twenty years!  Many of our staff and camper families will no doubt remember Andy, his wife Beth, and their two thespian daughters..  

We wish ya’ll a happy #tajarthursday … or a #follyfriday to those tuning in from New Zealand!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NpWdu7L8eFwqjr_zcrpizHSvob6d_FI1/view?usp=sharing

Somewhere South

At Gwynn Valley we LOVE celebrating local agriculture and honoring food cultures both locally and from our international staff around the world! For this reason, the Bullard family has loved watching Vivian Howard’s new show “Somewhere South” on PBS. Watching this series, we learned so much about other people and their food traditions across the Southeast. Each episode, Vivian takes viewers on a journey to learn more about how a particular regional food culture came to be and what makes the food so unique depending on what region she is in. If you’re looking for a family friendly show that celebrates the nuances of southern food culture, check out Somewhere South by PBS! You can find all 6 episodes of the first season here: 

https://www.pbs.org/show/somewhere-south/episodes/.

Green Sign Design Contest with Green Camps

Green Camps is hosting a contest where participants can design signs “that will inspire green behavior change”. As you know, sustainable living is very important to us at Gwynn Valley! How do we do this? Many of our campers, families, and staff are aware of our Farm to Table program which supplies 60% of the produce we consume and the fact that we recycle here at camp. Less widely known is that we heat 40% of the water used at camp through burning the wood that has fallen down on site; that our older program cabins are powered with car batteries, which limits the amount of electricity we use; and that we use low flow toilets and showers, which helps conserve water. Sustainability is a broad term that applies to many aspects of camp operations. 

If you feel inspired, please submit your own design before the contest ends on May 22 at 8pm! Be sure to tag Gwynn Valley! Contest rules and instructions to participate can all be found here: https://www.greencamps.org/signcontest/

Special thanks to Janey for submitting a design on behalf of Gwynn Valley already! 

Session Closure Announcement (A+B Sessions)

Closing our June Sessions

As we enter May, no words can express the sadness we feel as we announce the closure of our June sessions (June 6 – 26: Main Camp A+B, Mountainside MS1A+B, Riverside 1, and Young Leaders 1). Knowing how much all of us need camp right now, we explored many options to be able to open in June. After considering Governor Cooper’s three-phase reopening plan and dialoguing with numerous medical and camping professionals, we believe this difficult decision is the right one for our campers, staff, and community.  

Closing our June sessions was an extremely difficult decision to make, and we know you must be as heartbroken as we are. It is hard to imagine not greeting our staff in May and welcoming our first campers to Gwynn Valley on June 6. Canceling sessions has both an emotional and financial toll for camp, and we suspect many of you are facing hardships equal to or greater than ours. 

What about the rest of the summer? 

The State of North Carolina, the CDC, and the American Camp Association are working to release guidelines and recommendations for camps, which we hope to see in the next two weeks. These guidelines may or may not allow for the operation of camp later in the summer. As we all know, opening camp will depend on many factors relating to the pandemic. 

Our sincere hope is that the forthcoming guidelines will permit us to host at least a portion of our summer. We will continue to make decisions based on recommendations from the CDC and the NCDHHS, current information, and what we feel is best for our campers and staff.  If there are to be any further changes to 2020 summer sessions, we will let families know with as much notice as possible.

Staying Positive

The top scientists worldwide are working on treatments and a vaccine for coronavirus, and we are all doing our part to help decrease the spread of this illness. Although it feels far away right now, we will gather together in community again. One of the great life skills learned at camp is resilience, and this pandemic is giving us many opportunities to discover new ways to meet our mission. If you haven’t already, we hope you’ll celebrate the simple joy of singing camp songs by joining one of our virtual “singing in the lodge” sessions or participating in other online camp programs that will be offered this spring and summer. If there is a part of camp that you or your campers especially enjoy, let us know! We’ll see if there is a way to show or involve you remotely.

Financial Logistics

We want to reassure our families whose sessions just closed that we are committed to working with you to either roll over tuition paid, provide a refund, or a combination of the two depending on what is best for your individual family. 

In conjunction with any of the refund options above, you may elect to allocate a portion of your refund or tuition rollover as a donation to the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your donation is tax deductible.

About Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation Donations

We believe strongly that camp should be made available to children across socio-economic lines. The Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit, helps realize this value by providing scholarships to campers. In 2019, the Campership Foundation allocated $37,000 in scholarship funds, and an additional $100,000 of Gwynn Valley’s operational budget supported camper financial aid. This funding may be more important than ever for the 2021 summer, since we anticipate that the year ahead will bring financial hardship for many in our country.

How Can We Help?

We imagine you may have questions. If so, please feel free to call or email us. We appreciate your patience as we move through this process and thank you for your support. We are holding each member of our Gwynn Valley community in our hearts. 

Our best to you and your family,
Anne and Grant (Owners and Directors)
Maggie (Director)

White Rabbit

White Rabbit to our extended Gwynn Valley family! For those of you who don’t know, it is a tradition at camp to say “white rabbit” to others on the first of the month. This tradition is meant to bring good luck and seeing who can say it first each month is always a great source of amusement! While we don’t have white rabbits at camp, or at least, any who were kind enough to pose for a photo … however, we do have a white dog: Nala! As an added bonus, here are some scenic views around camp. Everything is so green and beautiful! We hope that these photos remind each of you to recognize the beauty that surrounds you wherever you are.