Parents and Friends,
We have some catching up to do and it’s been a wonderful day, starting with a little Tajar Folly or Foolery. Our ever-present Tajar left his mark by leaving our Downtown GV a little bit in disarray this morning. There were boats on the Green, paddles spelling out his name, inner tubes scattered about, tables moved to the pavilion, and teacups hanging in the trees. He’s just being the Tajar and getting ready for his birthday party which was tonight. More on that later.
Riverside returned to camp today after four days of climbing at Foster Falls in Tenn. They came back looking rugged and rocky and cleaned up pretty well later on in the day. The crew had an excellent time as they scaled the many walls around Foster Falls. Camp is so much fun here but I think anytime we go off site for adventure, it stretches us and we develop a crust or should I say patina that glows with confidence and resilience. They will be heading out again in a few days on their paddling adventure.
Mountainside will be leaving tomorrow and going in many directions, 5 to be exact. Bikers will head to Dupont State Forest where over a hundred miles await their rolling thunder. Paddlers will ply the waters of the Lower Green River near Saluda. Climbers will ascend into Pisgah to take on Looking Glass Rock. The Backpackers are headed to Panthertown Valley, a beautiful part of Nantahala National Forest between here and Highlands. Our Earth Skills crew will tame the wild forests nearby Dupont and have Eden under their feet. Today was packing day, food checks and general fun at the lake. They will be returning to camp on Sat. afternoon.
As for Main Camp and all the wonderful children there, we held our last morning Discovery sessions today and had sign-ups this afternoon. It was a great day with a short shower just before dinner. Campers are feeling the end is near and for some, it has been the right amount of time. For others, we are leaving them hungry for more next year. Each year is so different from my perspective. Our goal is to provide better experiences each year and while it may seem impossible, it is dynamic in a successful way. Change and growth are good and it’s difficult to accurately measure. My method is talking to campers and watching their interactions from day to day. For campers, there are many places to grow and experience camp life, starting in their cabin, at the table, and in their program areas which are numerous. Each day you are with different campers and staff and it makes for a broad experience. I think the great takeaway or outcome from this is building relationships. While we spend a lot of time having fun and participating in the program, we tend to not pay homage to the day to day aspects of living and participating in a small family like communities. Communication, collaborative learning, trust, support, a sense of belonging, sharing and getting to know total strangers are just a few areas where campers grow. Seven days is short, but it does make an impact.
We saw that tonight as we celebrated the Tajar’s Birthday at Tajar Ball on the Athletic Field. Everyone came in costume and we held our traditional cookout on the Green where all campers and staff assembled for the feast of burgers and dogs with assorted trimmings. From there it was off to the carnival to participate in a number of games, dessert, and challenges. There was everything from Face Painting to Hay Rides, and Soccer Shootouts to Water Slides. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m tired and will sleep very well tonight.
Life at camp goes way too quickly and sessions fly by even faster. We try to slow things down here and live the simple joys. Stay tuned for another great day at GV!