An Almost Perfect Day!

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Yesterday evening, Hillside finished their day with stories about the Tajar acted out by their counselors.  Laughter and calls came from the camper peanut gallery as their counselors made death defying life leaps, covered themselves in eggs (not really), danced on all the camp mattresses, as well as in the moonlight, and made breakfast for the whole camp with the Tajar himself.  It’s a delight to see these children laugh and enjoy such a simple event to end their busy day.  One of our Tajar stories is called “A Perfect Day for the Tajar”.  We were pretty close to having one of those perfect days here at camp.  No rain  except for a slight sprinkle that lasted maybe 3 minutes.  The sun was in and out all morning and our peaks on the horizon yesterday evening were silhouetted behind a not so long ago setting sun.

Our Discoveries ended yesterday with campers gaining lots of new knowledge, experiences, and a chance to stretch themselves with the leadership of our activity heads and assistants. Children tried programs they wouldn’t experience at home and learned quickly in some cases that there was much to learn from a simple hike through the woods, or learning to center clay on a wheel.  A few maybe learned they didn’t like an activity and asked to try something different.  These experiences early on lead to sometimes life lessons as they grow and mature in camp life.  Sometimes camp sparks an interest that leads to a hobby, a special interest, or even a vocation.

It’s so important that we as parents offer our children a diverse world of experiences to help them figure out what works for them and what might not work as well.  It’s learning to say “I can” instead of going right to “I can’t”.  It could be an introduction to new foods, or simply feeling at ease around large animals, feeling the yucky lake bottom with your feet, being surrounded by our unlimited insect and small critter world here, or finally getting your cross bow stroke in a canoe that will put your boat right where you want it. 

In our screenless world here at camp we know it’s a big change for some campers.  Almost everything you can possibly think about is at your fingertips with a remote or a keyboard.  After watching the children watching skits tonight, I firmly believe that imagination from within helps to enhance creativity, curiosity and a yearning to learn, all done without summoning up Disney to make them laugh and to shout with glee at their silly counselors. What happens almost constantly at camp right at your feet is well worth the admission.  Tonight during a spirited volleyball game our older Mountainside Campers cordoned off the area where a lone little ringneck snake crawled gingerly past those who didn’t want to risk stepping on it.  Everyone was curious and wanted our 10 inch friend to safely pass. Most of these folks have been campers for several years or more and appreciate the value of seeing life through our outdoor lens.

 

As a grown-up I see this as a circular story as we transfer information to campers through teaching and being solid role models.  We hope they will want to come back for several years and maybe even join our staff ranks.  We also hope that some of these camp experiences become hobbies, life long appreciations, or as stated above, a vocation in teaching through a servant’s heart.  Also a part of this is making new friends.  As we go about our daily routines, you often hear the phrase, “just another one of those simple joys”.  That’s when I know we’re doing our job.  No screens, no fancy Hollywood special effects – just good ole life at Gwynn Valley! Priceless!