A Spectacular Start to Summer

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The morning light always shines brighter on Opening Day at Gwynn Valley Camp as counselors wake in anticipation for a cabin full of laughter, new friendships and many pairs of shoes on the porch. The birds help greet the day as Nala and staff ready this graceful ground for eager campers with their family and friends in tow, excited to see their home for the next 10 days. The first day of camp brings a new yet familiar environment to campers; replace your sound machine with our waterwheel whirling and swap technology for outdoor enrichment. 


Opening Day keeps campers busy & nourished. Hillside and Brookside sample the many program areas, Mountainside plays games on the green, Riverside packs for their first climbing adventure in Tennessee, Young Leaders bond on the Gatehouse Green and swim assessments for all! Activities on Hillside included pottery, kayaking, tie dying while Brookside biked through camp, climbed the tower and rode on horseback. Mountainside chose which Mini Adventures they would try before choosing their 3 day Adventure in the back country either white water kayaking/canoeing, flat water canoeing, backpacking, climbing or biking. Riverside packed for their first adventure to climb Foster Falls this week. Young Leaders learned about dining hall etiquette, food safety and table setting. 


Children are the integral piece of what makes this place light up. Like bee’s buzzing near the hydrangeas, campers teem with excitement to connect to the natural world, each other and their true self. This land brings a sense of simplicity and security that instills a sense of wonder for children, cultivating comfort in challenges and trying new things. Compassion and creativity fill the Lodge the first night of camp where we learn about all the different places people come from and the skilled Program Leaders who will guide and nurture campers in their activities. 


As the first sun of camp sets on Gwynn Valley, I’m reminded how this place comes alive with sounds and sensations when campers arrive. The bell chimes on schedule moving campers through their day and evening at camp. The Mill turns emanating force used by campers to grind and grist, a physical representation of moving forward diligently. Sweet songs fill the air by way of voices, insects, frogs by the lake and Debbie’s piano. There is a feeling of wholeness in the valley, with bunks filled and bellies full. 


To end with a favored saying; be kind, be curious and be you! 


PS Thank you Mary Kathryn for a wonderful first blog of the summer.  For you parents, “MK” has over 15 years of experiencing GV firsthand. We welcome her back from a hiatus at camp and look forward to more of her journalistic endeavors that provide all the flavor of camp and insights for parents and friends. Write On!  – Grant