A Warm and Sunny Day Brings Out the Best at Camp

Dear Parents & Friends,

If you missed my blog last night it was because I was on a day off.  We’ll be around the rest of the session so expect to keep informed on life at camp.  There is so much that happens each and every day here that I sometimes hate to miss any part of camp but truthfully I need to recharge my batteries every few weeks.  Today was no exception.  We had a beautiful day here and a small respite from the heat while we were singing after lunch.  The afternoon cooled down from a short shower and the temps the rest of this week and next week look much lower.  Shade is not a premium here at camp but one of my most favorite shade activities is Arborist Climbing which happened all day long on our two wonderful Grandfather Poplar trees just in front of the office.  We started this activity about 7 years ago and it took off immediately as a crowd pleaser for campers.  There’s a certain feeling about ascending the rope that you don’t get when you climb the wall, a rock or climb in the limbs of one of our Hemlock trees.  It’s a freedom that you’re not attached to anything but literally free swaying in the breeze like the tree itself.  Arborist climbing has become very popular around the country and several universities have created programs that parallel their academic courses.  Two of those are Cornell and Georgia State University.

At Shady Grove (one of our arts areas) today, campers were putting the finishing touches on their woven bags they were making.  Weaving has been a staple at camp for many years and the campers and staff have come up with some amazing designs and beautiful pieces from our looms.  Most of these campers are making bags with a strap that they can put things in much like a handbag.  There is nothing better than making something all by yourself and then completing that task by putting some nice finishing touches on it.

I had two tours for perspective campers today and both tours went by the Mill.  They were grinding corn for grits and cornmeal (we had cornbread for dinner tonight), fishing, and the most fun of all making ice cream.  The water power also churns two big ice cream freezers and folks were making chocolate ice cream today.  I didn’t get a sample because I went by during the early stages but I’m sure there will be some for the Tajar Ball coming up next week.  Walking into the mill is like stepping back in history to the 1890’s when it was originally built.  Several summers ago one of our staff found a penny from 1980 just under the surface of the ground at the Mill campfire ring which we use every day.  There is a lot of history on this land including that of the native people who’ve been here over 3000 years according to some of the points (arrowheads) we have found.

Not as primitive as arrowheads but interesting none the less are sling shots which came about around 1860.  Several years ago I contacted the Daisy (BB Company) about getting BB guns for camp.  They sent me their catalogue and in there I discovered they made these great wrist rockets or sling shots and so there the story begins.  We only shoot targets and don’t use anything but the rocks we find on the ground.  The campers love it and it fills up every time we offer it as an activity.

Graduation from GV Rescue convened today at the river on our property.  The French Broad was a cool place to be to finish off their skills with lifesaving.  Everyone got into the act and there were multiple saves as participants saved one another during the morning.  It’s a great skill to have that dates back to the day when some of us took life saving and learned the Reach, Throw, Row or Go technique.  It’s a bit more sophisticated and simplified now and we keep it that way for our younger campers.  Carrots, cucumbers, corn, and potato bugs were the hot items at the farm today.  Several baby chicks were in process of hatching while I was down there.  The farm is a veritable world of discovery each and every day.

Camp is a nurturing place for boy and calf.

For the third day in a row campers went on a creek hike, one because it’s so much fun and two, it can’t be beat as far as coolness and shade.  Ending on a high note each time and swimming at Connestee Falls is a bonus as well.  Speaking of water, campers are getting ready for an out of camp kayaking trip tomorrow with Hunter and Mike.  They’ll be taking on a pretty frisky section of the French Broad which will test their mettle and stretch their paddling comfort zone.  Mary Gwynn always felt that we should do something difficult every day.  We still live by those words here at GV.  Stay tuned!