Sunny Skies & GV Hunger Games

Dear Parents and Friends,

We have had a beautiful and action packed day here in the Valley! The weather was sunny and warm even as the wake-up bell rang at 8AM, and it stayed that way until we all watched the sun set on the gatehouse green at the end of our Web/OLS campfire….but more on that later. At breakfast, we filled our bellies with a hearty spread of scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon, and English muffins which many combined to make sandwiches. For those who prefer lighter fare, we always have cereal on offer in the mornings and today we also had sliced watermelon and grapes on the side.

After breakfast, we began the last morning of A-Day Discoveries on Main Camp. For campers, this means a day of wrapping up projects and polishing skills in half of the discoveries they have chosen for the session. For some program areas, the lesson is totally wrapped up today. For example, weavers took their finished projects off the loom and tied them off; divers completed their last lesson; the water polo crew played their final game; creek hikers went for their last walk in the water. For others, there are opportunities to continue the experience. Those who are part of the Musical, Dance and Mask Making discoveries will share their hard work with the rest of camp next Monday evening at the Fine Arts campfire. For those who are in outdoor adventure activity discoveries such as biking, climbing, white water kayaks, outdoor living skills, and web of life, there will be off camp trip opportunities all next week.

For lunch today we enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches, salad, sliced apples, and a hearty vegetable stew, which made for excellent grilled cheese dipping. The good weather continued after lunch allowing for many excellent sign ups. Sports organized “brain games” which required campers to incorporate both mental strategy and physical strength to succeed. Waterfront activities were also very popular thanks to the sunny skies. Kayaks were out on the water, zip & traverse line were open, the pool was packed, and tubers were out on the French Broad river. The mill was busy making food for later on in the session: grits, corn meal and ice cream were all in production today. Horseback riders went for a trail ride around camp, and the farm was busy harvesting veggies and loving on those new baby piglets!  Now that some of the camper ceramics have had a few days to dry out, Hannah’s glazing sign up this afternoon was also a very popular one. We’ll have to wait a for the kiln to finish firing in a few days to see how all the projects turned out!

Mountainside had a busy day in camp as well. This morning they played Border Patrol, which is an elaborate variation on capture the flag in which half the campers (the secret agents)  run notes from cabin to cabin (country to country). Meanwhile, the other half of the campers (the border patrol) are running around trying to intercept messages and confiscate passports. It may not sound exciting to you, but without fail campers mark Border Patrol  as one of their favorite memories on Mountainside. This afternoon, Mountainside ran their own special signups which included yoga, wood burning name tags, white water kayaks, creek water hot chocolate (a fun way to learn about water purification), and fire building. For campfire tonight, Jess K. called a dance in the mountainside shelter. This is one of my favorite evening programs, because you can see the hesitation and self-consciousness typically carried by preteens dissipate as they follow Jess’s instructions and laugh through an deviations from the prescribed plan.

Tonight’s campfire on Main Camp was put on by Web of Life and Outdoor Living Skills. The night was loosely based on the Hunger Games. Every cabin was chosen as “tribute” and sets of cabins were paired up together and given a clue to set them on their way. The whole evening was a scavenger hunt that took groups all over camp to learn various lessons such as shelter building, bear bagging, fire lighting, snares, back boarding, going to the bathroom in the woods, and identifying animal tracks. Staff who were hiding around camp to teach these skills got really into their characters and their hiding places, and the kids loved running around camp following the clues given out along the way. It was a very creative way to get campers excited to learn about these topics. At the end of the evening we all gathered together on the gatehouse green to share what we had learned and watch the beginning of a beautiful sunset. Many cabins stayed out on the green to do an outdoor friendship circle or just enjoy the intense color show put on by mother nature.

And now that the sun has set, it’s time for us all to shut our eyes and dream of what tomorrow might hold!