A Fantastic Fourth of July!

Dear Friends and Families, 

Happy 4th of July! What an incredible day we had celebrating Independence Day with the whole of camp. We were woken this morning not by the bell, but by several of our counselors on horseback, shouting traditional Cherokee greetings! As all of the cabins excitedly went down to meet for breakfast, we circled the lake and heard a Cherokee creation story about the land that Gwynn Valley is on. Our story involved several animals and was reenacted by our counselors on the water mat. It certainly made for an educational and entertaining morning. 


A special part of any international day we have at camp is the food we get to try, our kitchen does their best to recreate traditional dishes, and today’s meals were no exception. For breakfast, we enjoyed bacon, cheese, berries, yogurt, granola, and homemade grits which had been ground at our Grist Mill! A classic and delicious southern American breakfast. 


After breakfast we enjoyed a dance party on the Green with all of camp, it was a fabulous start to the day and made everyone even more excited for a big morning of discoveries, mini-adventures, and more! 
Before lunch, we enjoyed a parade of famous Americans! We were visited by stars such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and several other celebrities. The campers cheered them on as the stars made their way through the crowds! It’s amazing how many of these celebrities resembled our staff!


For lunch, we visited Philadelphia and enjoyed some Philly Cheese Steaks, tater tots, and green beans from our farm. There were many seconds and thirds asked for by our campers, definitely a favorite lunch so far! The afternoon was filled with fun activities, lots of laughter, and plenty of sunshine. As Main Camp enjoyed sign-ups, we welcomed our Riversiders back from their four-day climbing adventure! The dining hall felt full having every cabin group around to join in on the fun and celebrations of the 4th.


Mountainside spent an afternoon on their final day of mini-adventures. Once these campers have been assigned an adventure, they will have several training days where they will get to gain skills and challenge themselves on their chosen adventures. 


As dinnertime neared, we were gifted a few rain showers which cooled off the temperatures from the warm day. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of BBQ chicken, mac n cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, and corn from the farm. Thanks to our amazing kitchen crew, we even had a special dessert of homemade cupcakes! It was a delicious meal that left everyone full and happy. 


After dinner, we were entertained by several of our campers and counselors during our campfire. The campfire showed off the greatest hits of the US and informed us about our national monuments, national parks, and even a few favorite dances such as the Cotton Eyed Joe (taught to us by a few of our campers). It was an incredibly fun evening for everyone! 
It wouldn’t be the 4th of July without fireworks! After dinner and campfire, our campers went back to their cabins to change into PJs, enjoy a friendship circle, and get ready for bed. When it finally was getting dark, campers and counselors made their way to sit around the lake with flashlights in hand. Our Maintenance Crew put on an incredible fireworks display across the lake which lit up the sky and left the whole camp amazed. Hearing the oohs and ahhs of campers, and seeing faces light up with excitement was a highlight of the day. 


It has really been an amazing day at camp. Thank you for sharing your campers with us so that they can help to make these amazing memories!