A Cooler Day and Wonderful Evening!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Our day was sunny, bright and warm and with our shade, water activities and fun quotient it was a terrific day here at GV.   Tonight was Tajar Tales for Hillside  and s’mores night for those Brooksider’s.  We also had a giant picnic on the Green that everyone attended.  Our kitchen staff has worked all summer long and made unbelievable food so they all got together tonight away from camp and enjoyed some comradery outside of the workplace.  The Sloppy Joe’s today at lunch were over the top good.   We’re into the meat of our session now after having our second full day of Discovery activities.  At our table I asked who experienced something brand new today and most responded to that with: creek hiking, wet exit in a kayak with a skirt on, tree climbing, weaving on the looms, etc.  I also asked what they were most looking forward to in the week ahead: their campout, rock climbing trip out of camp, Tajar ball, tie-dye, and more.  There is always something to look forward to at camp.  Each cabin usually keeps a calendar of events so the children know what’s coming up in camp.  There’s a good bit on our schedule each day and every day has a significant event for someone or sometimes for everyone.  Tomorrow night is Twilight Play which everyone loves.

On my travels today, I stopped by the Bong Tree to see Tie Dye.  There were a plethora of colors being used.  I do not own a Tie Dyed shirt from Gwynn Valley.  I always tell my staff that I wore Tie Dye in the early 70’s.  I get some puzzled looks.  On the sports scene, one choice among many that campers had was the overall camp favorite of Thunderball.  We started playing Thunderball about 7 years ago here at camp.  It’s a game that came over from Israel and is a form of dodge ball with the exception that you don’t actually pick the ball up and throw it.  You slap it with your hand or fist and try to get others out by hitting their legs from the knees down.  Some camps call it GAGA.  Sometimes I think there are campers that would play all day long and never tire of this game.  Of course our other most popular game here is soccer.  There’s rarely a day that goes by where there’s not a bit of fotball that’s played. Archery is another sport at camp that’s very popular.  Our sports crew have done a good job of teaching it this year.  It’s like Thunderball in its appeal to children.  Another crowd pleaser is 9 Square in the Air.  Most all of us have played 4 Square.  9 in the Air is I think more fun and somewhat different.  I learned about 9 Square at a national conference and played for a couple of hours inside a hotel ball room with all adults.  It’s fast moving fun for all ages.

On the waterfront, our stand up paddle boards came out today and we attached a Go Pro camera to several of them.  I’m hoping the footage turned out well.   There’s always some new activities at camp and there has to be.  Last summer we taught Blacksmithing for just one session and this summer it has been offered every session but A.  I think the most wonderful new aspect to camp is our Dining Room and Kitchen that was built over the winter.  For most of you, you know it’s a vast improvement from previous years.  For new campers it may be difficult to understand the old building vs. the new.

Old Dining Room and Upper Dwellings

As stated above, there is always something new for campers every day.  It’s akin to going to your favorite candy store and picking just what candy you want to sample today.  This candy is actually good for you and makes you smarter, stronger, more agile, eager, resilient, and most of all it’s fun.  You also get to share with your friends.   Our outdoor play is mostly structured and it’s so much fun to play outdoors all day, sleep under the stars as many cabins are doing this evening and even eat outside for our picnic.  It’s just good for the body and soul.

Outdoor play increases attention span. Often children who have difficulty with pen and paper tasks or sitting still for long periods of times are significantly more successful after time spent outside. Outdoor play is imaginative. Because there are no labels, no pre-conceived ideas and fewer rules, children must create the world around them. In this type of play, children use their imagination in ways they don’t when playing inside. We’re playing outside and growing inside here at Gwynn Valley! Stay tuned!