Giving Tuesday!

Please consider a donation to the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation.

“As I write to you, I cannot find adequate words to say what is in my heart. I love my kids the way all mothers do. I feel inadequate not being able to give them the experiences that can enrich and change lives. Just when I thought that their lives would be a replica of mine—here comes Gwynn Valley offering my children a different look at life. For this exposure, for this kindness, for all the marvelous experiences you have given my children, I send you my eternal and heartfelt gratitude.”

Sheila – single mother of three

Dear friends,

Looking Ahead

As we start to wind down 2020, we can’t help but get excited about the 2021 summer and having our campers back at Gwynn Valley! After a very difficult and challenging year, children and teenagers need camp more than ever. Like us, they need the connection to the natural world and each other. The Gwynn Valley team continues to read and learn about the best ways to run camp during this pandemic and to plan for the summer. Camp may look and be a little different this year, but we will continue to celebrate the simple joys of childhood. Our core values of acceptance, simplicity, a non-competitive program, and an appreciation of the natural world remain the same. We learned so much from running family camp this past summer and continue to expand upon the knowledge we gained and to plan for the 2021 summer. 

Part of that planning is to work with our families who apply for financial assistance so that their children can experience the incredible gift of camp. We are truly grateful for the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation, the leadership provided by its Board, and the scholarships they grant. 

Donations from 2020 tuition refunds

To those families who chose to donate to the Foundation this summer as we processed tuition refunds, we offer a heartfelt thank you. We had over 100 families make donations increasing the endowment by over $32,000. These gifts will help scholarship campers into perpetuity beginning in 2021. 

Every dollar makes a difference

As we celebrate giving Tuesday, we hope you will consider a gift to the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation. Every dollar makes a difference. Beginning with Miss Mary Gwynn’s vision in 1935, Gwynn Valley Camp has been bringing children and staff together from all backgrounds and experiences. This included children from families who did not have the financial resources to afford a Gwynn Valley experience. Howie and Betty Boyd took that vision to a new level when they established the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation in 1997. 

The Foundation includes a fund that grows as a result of generous gifts from alumni, parents and friends. The fund is invested and the interest it generates is used to enable families with restricted resources to send their children to camp.  

This year, as we celebrate our 86th year, our goal is to continue to grow the endowment. We want to make camp a reality for more children and we invite you to be part of that effort. 

Making a Donation

We hope you will consider making a tax-deductible donation to the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation. To donate online, go to https://gwynnvalley.com/who-we-are/foundation/ and click on the orange “GV Campership Online Donation” button or you can send a check. If donating to one of the individual scholarships listed below, there is a place to indicate this when you donate online or please note it on your check. Checks should be made out to the Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation and mailed to the camp address.

If you have experienced the joy and love of Gwynn Valley-please share it with others! 

Many thanks, 

The Gwynn Valley Campership Foundation Board

  • Ginger Boyd Van Valkenburgh (Chair)
  • Robin Rose
  • Bob Persky
  • Jann Graham
  • Margaret Taylor 

Memorial Scholarships:

  • Mary W. Gwynn 
  • Mrs. Price Gwynn (Gammie) 
  • Robert Bruce Gwynn 
  • Rosemary Gwynn 
  • Mary Lou Gwynn 
  • Howie and Betty Boyd
  • Jason Bostic
  • Charles Prosser
  • Patsy Reynolds
  • Margaret Savage
  • Gray Taylor
  • Josh Williams

Scholarships in honor of individuals:

  • James (Jim) Gwynn
  • Dale Robertson, Susie Woodall, Lillie Ware, and Lucille Roberts
  • Sharon Garrett and Kay Moran
  • Lenore Kempfer

A Leap of Faith

In 1998, Grant and I put our newly built house on the market, sent our paperwork to Vietnam for our second adoption, and took a huge leap of faith taking over the leadership and stewardship of Gwynn Valley. It was a daunting and exciting year as we moved into this calling. We are so thankful for all of the connections, simple joys, and friendships we have experienced for the past 23 years.  It’s an amazing gift to have the opportunity to watch so many children grow up and return to camp as staff members, to watch them carry the torch, and spread the values they learned at GV out into the world. We have such talented staff and they will continue to do good work and touch lives everywhere they go. They continue to give me hope for our future. 

During such a difficult year, the GV team and I have decided to focus on some of the silver linings, to hold on to hope, and to work hard to make 2021 one of the best summers yet. We continue to read and learn about the best ways to run camp during this pandemic, to meet about protocols and policies for COVID-19, to plan for changes to our program such as living in family groups (your cabin), having a neighborhood for several cabins to be able to choose activities (while social distancing), or to gather for an outdoor campfire in smaller numbers. We learned so much from running family camp this past summer and continue to expand upon the knowledge we gained, and to plan for the 2021 summer. It is hard to know where we will be by the end of May next year, but we will continue to work hard, learn, and plan in order to be ready. 

An important part of being ready means hiring great staff. We are thankful for all the returning and new people who are applying and interviewing during crunch time at school, and who are excited to work at Gwynn Valley next summer. We are grateful for our medical staff who are committed to coming and working to keep us healthy as well as for the work they have done all year trying to adjust to the many changes they have had to implement. As Dr. David said in a zoom meeting this spring, “the only constant right now is change”. We have all endured a lot in 2020. My heart goes out to all of those who have been working on the frontlines whether in hospitals or grocery stores, those whose businesses have been impacted, those who are trying to balance work and virtual learning, and most of all to those whose loved ones have been ill. 

We need camp more than ever! As we plan, prepare, work on changes, and dream about Gwynn Valley, we hope you will take a minute to enjoy this video depicting a day in the life at camp. Our videography team from 2019, Liv and Jacob, put it together and we have been waiting for the right moment to share it with you. Sit back, breathe, enjoy the video, and remember to look for the silver linings. Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith.