Dear Parents and Friends,
It’s been a busy day here and a very fun one. We celebrated the Tajar’s birthday a bit earlier because we’ve been trying to keep tabs on the weather this summer and it seemed that most of our Tajar celebrations have been rained on. We decided this morning to reschedule and it’s so easy at camp because we work in such a spontaneous atmosphere. We’re constantly arranging and rearranging based on weather. It’s been one of those summers but we’ve weathered it (no pun intended). Believe it or not today was the first day that we’ve allowed a group of tubers to go on the French Broad since mid June. The river only yesterday receded to a level that I thought was safe. We scheduled a trip today and had about 10 campers sign up for it. I went along in a canoe to check it out for myself to see if we were ready for the river and the river was ready for us. Everyone had a wonderful time and by the end of the trip all the campers were hanging on to my boat. We were singing and laughing most of the way down. The run is only a couple of miles long and just about three miles driving time. When we get to the Gwynn Valley takeout, we walk our tubes and gear back to camp. We got back just before Tajar Ball dinner which consisted of burgers and dogs with all the trimmings plus watermelon. At the Ball there was ice cream, GV popcorn, and snow cones. There’s no lack of food around here.
This morning I was able to go out with our Main Camp mountain bikers as they rode herd on the Dupont State Forest trails. We had a couple of boys from Echo and Chipmunk Hut and the rest of the campers both male and female came from the Brookside age group. Hopefully I got some good GoPro video today. We began at Fawn Lake and took on Airstrip Trail, Shelter Rock Trail, Barn Trail –spent some time at Bridal Veil Falls- where the Hunger Games and Last of the Mohicans were filmed. The river there was pumping and everyone enjoyed eating a snack before we pedaled on. From there it was Conservation Road, Pitch Pine Trail and back to Buck Forest. I rode back to the van and met them on the other side of the park just after the falls visit. Dupont is such a beautiful place and it has so much to offer. We use it a good bit and actually bike there for 4 days during the Mountainside adventure. Our RS and MS paddlers stay nearby at Holmes State Forest which backs up to Dupont. There are over a hundred miles of trails there and many beautiful waterfalls. It would be a good spot to stop by as you drop off or pick up some year. The campers did a great job navigating all the hills, rocks and roots. Cass who runs our program has a protocol for going down trails and each rider lets the one behind him or her know what’s coming up on the trail. They ride about 7 to 10 seconds apart and after several rides at camp you kind of know where you are in the line. There is always a counselor in the front and one in the back and sometimes one in the middle. This makes for a much safer and enjoyable experience for the camper and the staff.
While I was out of camp for most of the day there were many things going on in program. The weavers took their work off the looms and were tying knots and getting ready to wrap up their projects. Campers were glazing pots in anticipation of what color or shade of color the glaze might turn out. The felters completed their projects and some were hanging just outside the dining room to show off. With the sun beating down all day long, the farm was a great place to be. I would say that our farm animals are the luckiest on earth because of all the attention they get. The baby goats love to hop up on the backs of campers and campers love it as well. Those campers that took diving with Matt held a contest today and it went very well. 12 campers showed up to strut their stuff learned from the diving class. Matt is really good and makes just jumping off the dock look spectacular. Of course in children’s eyes counselors are pretty spectacular all the time. We really emphasize to our staff how important their role is in the lives of children. They are like sponges, sometimes hanging on every word. Hiring good staff is the heart of what we do. We can have the best facility or I can be the best director but my staff makes it all happen. Many of our staff are old campers and those that aren’t are equally valued. We need a fresh look at the program each summer and enjoy bringing in new staff to help rev up our program with a fresh eye and creative ways to teach and provide for your childrenCamp creates great memories and is an important part of children’s lives. We thank you for sending us your children and the chance to broaden their lives with the simple joys of childhood here at Gwynn Valley. Stay tuned!