A Day of Firsts!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It’s been another great day at camp.  The day was only interrupted by a short thunder shower during lunch and then it was off to rest hour and a fun day of activities. A new group for Mountainside came in this morning and they quickly had their swim assessments and then started their team building exercises in the afternoon. Tomorrow they will start their mini adventures and before you know it, off on adventures.

Lots of fun and firsts today. Campers at my table started talking about doing things for the first time at camp and almost everyone at our table group had a first today. There was everything from a bull’s-eye in archery to weaving on a loom for the first time. We broke out our fly rods for the first time this summer. I bought some fly rods back in the winter with the intent of starting a fly fishing program here at camp. These rods came through an organization called Trout Unlimited and they offer rods and reels for campers at a great price. It’s good promotion for them and of course they are hoping that young people join their ranks, which includes protecting streams and water quality in our country. Mack, who teaches OLS (Outdoor Living Skills) is a fly fisherman and was able to sign up 9 campers today for their first lesson. I’ve never really fly fished before so I’m still learning and I quickly realized how quick children can pick up basic skills. Mack started them off on dry land teaching how to hold the rod and casting methods. About half the time was spent trying to land your fly inside a hula hoop. Of course the test came at the lake when everyone got to wet a line and it was quite successful. Everyone in the group caught a fish. Now before you get too excited you have to realize these are bream and most aren’t that big. You may be able to see that in the pictures we took today while fishing. Some of these bream are the size of a large smartphone. Our original intent was not to actually catch trout in our small pond below the mill but to catch bream in our lake. We’ve been trying to grow our population over the past year and we’re slowly getting there. Bream put up a good little fight as you will see in the video I’m loading as I write. You’ll see the pole bend quite a bit and see that it was exciting for this camper to catch the largest of the day.

Jess and friends making fern headbands

Jess and friends making fern headbands

So, this was a first at camp and it was pure fun for those that fished with our new fly rods. It is a sophisticated sport and of course you can spend thousands of dollars on gear but what a great way to be introduced into a new sport and without all the trappings while catching fish that are fun to fish for. What is fun for us as children sometimes turns into life-long hobbies or pursuits. We hope this is true with all our skills and activities that we teach at camp. Many children will leave camp with an interest in something that will grow as they mature and perhaps become a hobby or vocation. And hopefully they will teach that skill to another person. We need more good teachers in the world and we also need those who want to learn. We presently have a camp full of learners as well as many good teachers. Campers are like sponges whether it’s figuring out a riddle at the table or learning how to bend it like Beckham. I teach in the summer and I learn a great deal from the campers and staff. It’s a nice relationship and one we sometimes refer to as servant leadership. We serve and we lead by example and walking our talk and presenting ourselves as role models for children and one another. Our returning staff really help to educate our new staff in the ways of GV.

It’s been a productive day and one can never guess what comes out of our busy days here at camp. The rewards are snapshots of prized moments that only we are privy to and I think it should be that way. Story telling is an age old art and I encourage you to ask your campers about their experiences here at camp when they come home. We can take pictures and videos and I can write to bring further description but hearing it first hand from your child is priceless. Stay tuned as we create more stories and firsts.