In 1998, Grant and I put our newly built house on the market, sent our paperwork to Vietnam for our second adoption, and took a huge leap of faith taking over the leadership and stewardship of Gwynn Valley. It was a daunting and exciting year as we moved into this calling. We are so thankful for all of the connections, simple joys, and friendships we have experienced for the past 23 years. It’s an amazing gift to have the opportunity to watch so many children grow up and return to camp as staff members, to watch them carry the torch, and spread the values they learned at GV out into the world. We have such talented staff and they will continue to do good work and touch lives everywhere they go. They continue to give me hope for our future.
During such a difficult year, the GV team and I have decided to focus on some of the silver linings, to hold on to hope, and to work hard to make 2021 one of the best summers yet. We continue to read and learn about the best ways to run camp during this pandemic, to meet about protocols and policies for COVID-19, to plan for changes to our program such as living in family groups (your cabin), having a neighborhood for several cabins to be able to choose activities (while social distancing), or to gather for an outdoor campfire in smaller numbers. We learned so much from running family camp this past summer and continue to expand upon the knowledge we gained, and to plan for the 2021 summer. It is hard to know where we will be by the end of May next year, but we will continue to work hard, learn, and plan in order to be ready.
An important part of being ready means hiring great staff. We are thankful for all the returning and new people who are applying and interviewing during crunch time at school, and who are excited to work at Gwynn Valley next summer. We are grateful for our medical staff who are committed to coming and working to keep us healthy as well as for the work they have done all year trying to adjust to the many changes they have had to implement. As Dr. David said in a zoom meeting this spring, “the only constant right now is change”. We have all endured a lot in 2020. My heart goes out to all of those who have been working on the frontlines whether in hospitals or grocery stores, those whose businesses have been impacted, those who are trying to balance work and virtual learning, and most of all to those whose loved ones have been ill.
We need camp more than ever! As we plan, prepare, work on changes, and dream about Gwynn Valley, we hope you will take a minute to enjoy this video depicting a day in the life at camp. Our videography team from 2019, Liv and Jacob, put it together and we have been waiting for the right moment to share it with you. Sit back, breathe, enjoy the video, and remember to look for the silver linings. Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith.