Australia Day at Camp!

Dear Parents & Friends,

G’day Mates and today was Australia here at good ole GV.  The whole day was mixed with good food, visits by the Man From Snowy River, The Wiggles and a wonderful evening campfire that included many campers dancing, singing and being in skits.  Our international staff did a great job giving us a first-hand look at so many aspects of their country which lasted all day long.  The food was also a highlight as we tried several unique Ozzie treats.  Least liked was probably Vegemite, which is very salty paste that one has to develop a taste or perhaps like it instantly.

Every Tuesday is International Day here at Camp so we get to know a lot about the countries that many of our staff and children come from over the summer.  It’s a great way to learn about a country’s customs, food, songs, stories and general facts.  I think it’s also a great addition to our program to have someone in your cabin who may speak a different language, has a strong accent or doesn’t come from our own country.  Camp is the kind of place that brings people together.  It’s an even playing field for campers and staff alike.  Our staff grows very close after working together for over 10 weeks.  Campers do the same and some camp friends stay friends the rest of their lives.

Our Ozzie friends started us off this morning by reading a short from The Man From Snowy River.  We heard more stories at campfire tonight and lot of other entertainment.

Campers were on their B Day of Discovery this morning and taking two brand new activities.  I wonder how many folks were trying out things they have never done before. Our cool morning started a bit foggy/cloudy and then the sun popped out.  I headed to the farm where they were just beginning to feed the baby calves.  Many of us are really hungry at breakfast because it’s the longest time between meals.  Well, these calves are the same way.  They are ready for those giant bottles of formula mixed with milk.  It doesn’t take long to drain about 2 liters.  Their instinct, even with the bottle, is to punch mother’s milk pouch, so you’d better be standing to the side because this happens frequently during the process.  From there it was into the cornfield where we picked over the remaining ears of 15 rows of corn.  There were about 12 children and each one picked about 25 ears of corn. Within just a few minutes we had 300 ears of silver queen, which was shucked by everyone after lunch today.  The farm is a magical place where people, animals, and food create a pretty cool part of the circle of life.

Coming back from the farm, I dropped by the pot shop where they were taking “slip” (used clay) and putting it in a blender to liquefy it.  You then use concrete dye to color it and pour it in a mold; wait a few minutes and pour it back out.  You repeat this with several colors and out comes what they call rainbow pottery.  I didn’t get to see the finished product but I’m sure it will be very cool.  Just next door in Yanderside, the campers were marbling paper to put on their keepsake boxes.

From there it was onto Dancing Dreams where Camping Skills & Nature were learning to build fires in the damp morning conditions.  Building a fire is not always easy and some of these youngsters were trying for the first time.  Each group had a small fire starter (a small bit of wax rolled in newsprint), to spur that flame on.  When it rains about every other day, it’s hard to find dry wood.  We did get our share of rain today but the good news was that the thunder only thundered a bit during dinner so we were all cozy and partaking of some great GV food.

All in all, it was a rainy day especially in the afternoon but we went right on with activities.  You only get wet skin deep at camp and rest assured we do encourage raincoats.  Today a couple of showers crept up on us so I for one was caught out in the sprinkles.  Camp can sometimes be unpredictable and we always have a backup plan.  We are spontaneous and creative with our program and the adjustments to our schedule and day.

Life at camp comes with lots of alternatives and many choices abound.  Camp is a place where youngsters can make their own choices in the context of a structure that is safe and appropriate for their growing bodies and minds.  Camp can stretch us and yet bring us right back to our comfort zones.  I think this breeds successful outcomes and allows children the chance to make good choices and be accountable for themselves.  Resilience, independence, confidence and an appreciation for those around them are just a few of the stepping stones reached at camp.  Today was the start of our Camp Kindness Day and tonight staff is reading stories about acts of kindness to their campers.  We can never offer up to much Kindness to one another.  Stay tuned!