A Little Sun, A Little Rain!

Dear Parents and Friends,

We had a beautiful morning here at camp and the afternoon was filled with some showers.  Rain is fine at camp but we did have a little thunder going on.  With that rain came some bigger thunder and I’m sure your children will tell you about our Thorguard system here.  It’s a lightening detection system that we’ve had for about 5 years.  It really takes the guess work out of trying to predict the weather.  When Thor goes off (15 second major horn blast) we get indoors.  We wait until it clears and that is signaled by three five second blasts.  It’s much more accurate than me or my staff sitting in front of a computer watching radar which is about 10 minutes behind what we’re experiencing.  It’s actually saved us time in the long run and used throughout the US by the NFL, Little League of America, many golf courses, multiple colleges and universities and many camps.  Just another way to keep things tight and caring for your children.

I spent some time at horseback riding this morning watching Kerrie and her crew and your children atop the noble beasts of the ring.  Horses are big and I’ve never been a fan.  My wife has ridden all her life and we used to own several horses.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  I’m always amazed how just a little pressure with the knee or foot and flick of the reins can control the animal.  It takes confidence to ride and many of these children were gaining that today as they walked and trotted around the ring.  Those with less experience had a leader with them and those with more were amazing.   They were working on balance, heels down and getting your bottom off the saddle.  It was ok to hold to the reins and the horses mane as they balanced.  I never knew that horses couldn’t feel when their mane was being pulled on unlike our own hair.  At camp we’re learning every day.

I also spent some time with Camping Skills as they worked on fire building at one of our covered shelters.  It contains 4 little fire-rings that can accommodate three people each and each group built their own fire.  It was interesting to watch and help them with the delicate aspects of getting a fire going.  In the initial stages it is truly a delicate process and so much can play into whether it builds on itself or dies out.  Fuel too big, timing of the breath and where to blow, the right tinder and constantly feeding its tenuous nature play into success or failure.  The good news is that we learn and everyone gets a blaze going after a few try’s.

I hope that your children are enjoying the food.  We’ve had three super meals today starting with fresh made cinnamon buns and all the trimmings this morning.  At lunch was chili and baked potatoes with salad, cheese, sour cream and sautéed mushrooms you could add as a side.  One boy at my table was not too sure about the chili at the beginning of the meal and ate 5 helpings.  Another had never added sour cream to his chili and loved it.  We’re pushing boundaries here folks.  With that, one of my own children has always been a picky eater, so yes, there are some who struggle with our camp fare.  Most however, love it as I do and I feel like I’m eating out every meal.  I tell them, “you can’t buy food like this”!  Tonight we had baked herb chicken, orzo pasta, salad, fresh sautéed vegis from the garden and homemade rolls.

Good Form for Creek Hiking!

Another fun activity that happens often at camp is our creek hikes, mostly up Carson Creek which is the large creek that flows through the center of camp.  The creek water is cooler than our lake or pool and they step cautiously from rock to rock as the sunlight and shade provide a visual backdrop overhead.  All the while there’s the gentle and constant roar of the water gushing by them rolling and tumbling over rocks and boulders.  The creek runs the length of camp and is one of our treasures that has endless possibilities for exploration.  All of camp’s water sources feed into it from the tiniest springs to the bigger creeks and come from all directions on the property.  Hiking up the creek through the many waterfalls makes you feel as though you could be in deepest depths of Pisgah National Forest, but you’re just a few minutes from Main Camp.  Creek hiking is a staple here and everyone learns to keep three points of contact when walking upstream over the big slippery rocks.

Tonight was our third night for campouts and several cabins are out there settled in their sleeping bags or huddled around the fire listening to a story being read to them or enjoying a s’mores before a visit from the sandman.  After sleeping several nights in an open air cabin sleeping in a shelter is not too different.  Children who have never slept “outdoors” before should have a good first experience and not one that leaves them with some doubt about camping.  Those of us who live here and work here are used to the cacophony of crickets, frogs, peepers, and birds at night.  For the child that lives in an air conditioned quiet home it’s quite different.  Campers I think get used to those sounds and soon it becomes part of the background.  Rain on the cabin tin roofs is pleasant unless it’s a downpour and then it’s loud.  The weather looks good for sleeping tonight.  No rain and cooler.  Along with the sounds will be lightening bugs and we’ve seen a few already.  Mountainside was out on the Gatehouse Green tonight catching them and just having fun.

I think they are both enjoying this!

The week is beginning to fly by and it seems that the first couple of days went by very slowly and now everything is moving faster as the session progresses.  It’s hard to slow camp down but we do manage to do so.  Mealtime provides a relaxed time for good food and conversation at the table.  Conversations can range from what super power would you like to possess to what pets you have.  I like listening to children tell their own stories and watching their eyes light up in the process.  Another example of the simple joys at GV.  Stay tuned!