A Stepping Stone to Amazing Things


Beyond the Summer: Gwynn Valley Staff Updates is a series of blog posts to help share the stories of our amazing staff when they’re not here at Gwynn Valley. This blog celebrates the professional and personal successes of our staff and tells the stories of the journeys along the way. In some cases, their time at Gwynn Valley sets the path, sending our staff on travels to visit places they wouldn’t have had the connection or courage to visit before or on career paths they didn’t yet know were their calling. In other cases, the experience as a Gwynn Valley staff member offers enrichment, helping hone their teamwork and communication skills as they move on to a predetermined field. For all staff, Gwynn Valley is a special place and we want to celebrate the stories of the exceptional people who make the summer experience possible for our campers.

By Chayil Johnson

“My name is Chayil A. Johnson. I attended Gwynn Valley Camp during the summers of 2016 and 2017. I was first hired as a cook when I was 19, after finishing my sophomore year of culinary / entrepreneurship school at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. I was then rehired for my second summer in 2017 as a shift manager in the kitchen. My time at Gwynn Valley gave me more than I could have ever asked for. It helped me to increase my communication skills, further developed my work ethic and ability to lead, while also strengthening my ability to efficiently connect and collaborate with my peers (especially those that are different than myself).

Since my time at GV, I have graduated Johnson & Wales with my associates in Culinary arts and my Bachelors in Food service Entrepreneurship. I started working at a local Charlotte restaurant, The Asbury, right after I graduated in February of 2018. I started as a line cook, worked my way up to a lead-line cook in 4 months, and as of November of 2018, have been promoted to sous-chef. Along with my kitchen job, I am also a board member of a local, Charlotte non-profit organization called “Faith, Hope, and Love”, where for the last 4 years, I have assisted in the mentorship and after-school tutoring help of inner-city Charlotte youth. 

I can thank GV for a lot of my success. GV gave me tools that will continue to help me in the journey of my career to eventually become a culinary educator for youth. GV has connected me with so many wonderful people that will be friends for life. I can’t thank Gwynn Valley, the GV year round team, and the larger GV community for the people I’ve been introduced to, the principles that have been instilled in me, and the ability to always look for the fun, innocence, and love in any aspect of work I will ever be in. Who knows, GV may have not have seen the last of me.”

To read more stories about our staff, go to the Staff Updates page. If you have a story to share, please email katie@gwynnvalley.com.