Entries by Maggie Howe

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Joyful surprises at Family Camp 2020

Dear Gwynn Valley Campers, Parents, and Friends,  2020 was the first summer in Gwynn Valley’s 85 years that we did not host a traditional camp program. We really missed our campers and staff and all the JOY that normally fills our valley and makes summer feel like summer! As you know – every challenge brings […]


Climb to new heights!

When you think about getting outside of your comfort zone at camp, climbing is often the first thing people think of. Getting 50 feet off the ground makes most people feel a little nervous, which is honestly probably a good thing when you think about it! Even if you know intellectually that we have safety […]


Mountain Biking is good for the body and soul!

As we settle into new school routines (and navigate all the challenges that come with school in the midst of a pandemic!), we want to share this reminder of camp. If your lives are like ours, we bet most of you are spending hours and hours each week in front of screens for virtual school, […]


Registration is Open for Gwynn Valley Family Camp 2020!

We are excited to offer a new way to experience the magic and wonder of Gwynn Valley Camp as a family! Although guidelines, restrictions, and recommendations  by the CDC, ACA, NCDHHS, and our county would have limited our ability to operate our traditional summer camp program while fulfilling our mission, we do feel we can […]

Family Camp – Basic Information

Dates and rates Family camp at Gwynn Valley will run for six sessions this summer from June 28-August 6. These camps are being offered as an all-inclusive, 5-day, 4-night experience (running from Sunday through Thursday) for a maximum of thirteen families per week. The cost is $650 per person, with a minimum price per family […]

COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines

To promote the health and safety of families and staff, please read this section thoroughly and contact our office with any questions you may have. Your well-being is very important to us. You are required to review our health and safety  recommendations below before arriving at Gwynn Valley Camp. We have taken reasonable additional measures […]

Family Camp FAQs

Will there be child care? Unfortunately, no. In an effort to promote the health and safety of everyone involved, children must be accompanied by at least one adult from their family at all times. Can I bring pets? No. The logistics and dynamics of life at camp make it impractical for Gwynn Valley to host […]

Registration Information

How do I register my family for camp?! APPLY ONLINE: Please complete the online application. Once submitted, you will receive an email to confirm that your application was received.  PHONE CALL WITH CAMP: We will call you within 3 business days to confirm your place in the desired session and discuss payment options. ENROLLMENT CONFIRMATION: Once […]

Homeschooling Resources

How are our families doing with homeschooling efforts? As the resolve to keep up with school curriculum wanes, this is an ideal time to help your children engage in some self-directed learning or passion projects. Allowing your child some time each day to explore activities and hobbies that they are enthusiastic about will help cultivate […]

Keep Moving!

Are you feeling a little stir-crazy? Ideally, you have sidewalks or walking paths near your house where you can be active OUTSIDE (while still practicing social distancing!), but going outside for a walk or a bike ride may not be an option for everyone everyday. If you’re stuck inside and need to burn some energy… […]

Mary Gwynn: Female Leader, Visionary, and Pioneer

In honor of Women’s history month, we want to share an article about our fearless leader, Miss Mary Gwynn, who founded Gwynn Valley as a single woman back in 1935. She was a pioneer on so many fronts. Her values and vision 85 years ago remain the foundation of our camp culture and program today. […]

Virtual Singing in the Lodge

Thanks for joining us for Virtual Singing in the Lodge today! In this time of physical isolation and uncertainty, it was powerful and heartwarming to gather together in (virtual) community. We had current campers and staff as well as alumni from many decades! It was so incredible to see everyone calling in from all over […]

Virtual Learning Resource

This week, Gov. Roy Cooper extended North Carolina school closures to May 15th, and many other states have made similar decisions. During this window of ‘virtual learning’ we want to share resources to help newly promoted teaching assistants (aka parents who are at home with their children!) with some resources to help keep your home-stays […]


Free to be you and me

Dear GV families and friends,  The blue skies were totally uninterrupted today at Gwynn Valley, which was a reflection of our day overall – perfect weather, happy campers, and smooth sailing in camp! On day six of E session, campers are well into their discoveries, making progress and developing skills in the areas they’ve selected […]


Celebrating sunshine and friends from afar!

God aften Gwynn Valley families and friends!  Every Tuesday throughout the summer, campers and staff celebrate a country or group of countries represented by members of our community. The 40 or so international staff members who are hired each year through the J-1 Visa are actually here on a cultural exchange program – not a […]


A magical GV day wraps up with Twilight Play

Dear Parents and Friends, I’m not sure how your day was back home, but here at camp… Today was practically perfect in every way! From weather to food to activities, many of the campers I spoke to said today was THE best day yet of the session!  The weather was gorgeous with a cool morning […]


Sunny days and sad goodbyes!

Dear Parents, Family, and Friends, It’s hard to believe that we are already at the closing night of C session! Here at camp the days are long, but the weeks are short. To be honest, the years are short as well. For many of the campers we recognized this evening at Friendship Campfire, I can […]


Adventures at GV, away from camp, and on the stage!

Dear Parents & Friends, Somehow I find myself settling into the peace and quiet of another cool mountain evening here at Gwynn Valley. What a full day we’ve had!   Our first news item of note today was saying goodbye to our Mountainside campers and staff after breakfast. Five adventure groups headed out in separate directions […]


We’re all superheroes here at GV!

Dear Families and Friends, Today was an incredibly special day at Gwynn Valley… it was our very first Special Day of the summer! Specials Days happen on Sundays during the two and three week sessions. During these unique programming days, cabin groups spend the day together exploring new activities and games that are only offered […]


Gorgeous day at GV for an ACA Accreditation Visit!

Today was another perfect Gwynn Valley day! It was one of those mid-session days when everything feels ‘in the groove.’ Children and staff are feeling comfortable with the rhythm of camp; skill progression is evident everywhere as campers are halfway through their morning discoveries; and friendships in cabins and table families are really starting to […]


Friendship Campfire and Closing of A

Dear Parents and Friends, After another action-packed day at Gwynn Valley, camp is quiet again. We started the day with one last morning of sign up activities. Campers were able to choose from over 20 activities including making hemlock tea with Camping Skills & Nature, rock climbing at the tower, candle making at crafts, trail […]

Welcome home Mountainside + Riverside!

Dear Families and Friends, Here we are at the end of another wonderful day at Gwynn Valley! One of the biggest landmarks for today is the return of six different adventure groups who have been away from camp since Monday morning. From Mountainside, the Backpackers, Climbers, Paddlers, Bikers, and Earth Skills Crew all returned home […]

Soaking up sunshine, playing hard, and eating well!

Dear Gwynn Valley Friends and Families, I’m not sure what the weather was like where you’re reading, but today at camp it was gorgeous. The blue skies and sunshine were just right for all the fun things we love to do outside! The waterfront was very popular at sign ups this afternoon with a tubing […]

The perfect day at Gwynn Valley!

Dear Gwynn Valley Parents and Friends, Today was another perfect camp day! Campers continued to build skills and learn more deeply about their Discovery activities this morning on our 2nd A-day. As I walked around camp, I saw progress on many crafts in process like pottery vessels and needlepoint projects. Kevin has been working on […]

Horton hatches an egg (among other joys!)

Dear Camper Families and Friends, Today was one of those perfect camp days where the sun was shining all day long and every where you looked campers were having fun and learning alongside their friends! Mountainside and Riverside are both in camp for a few days, so our dining hall feels full and our community […]

Wind chimes, rainbows, unicorns and lots of fun!

Dear Parents & Friends, I heard a brand new sound a camp today and it was beautiful! I wish I had a recording to share with you. At the end of morning discoveries, ringing out over the sounds of chatter and footsteps and laughter and the turning Mill Wheel, the musical clinking of delicate metal […]

Celebrating Poland and Ireland!

Greetings from Gwynn Valley! Every Tuesday we celebrate a different country or group of countries, and this week is no exception! International days involve sharing culture, food, language, and traditions from our international friends. Last week was UK today, which included staff representatives from England, Scotland, and Wales. Today we celebrated the Republic of Ireland […]

Adventures Ahead for Mountainside and Riverside!

Greetings from Gwynn Valley, We’ve had another gorgeous day at Gwynn Valley, which wrapped up with one the most beautiful sunsets yet of the summer! As I watched the sky turn pink this evening, I’m reminded of all the simple joys that make up a day at camp. From laughter around the dinner table to […]

Camp Community reunited to celebrate New Zealand & South Africa!

Dear Parents and Friends, Today was a very special day at Gwynn Valley. We celebrated the countries of New Zealand and South Africa all day long by eating their national dishes, enjoying skits before meals, singing national anthems, and of course having our whole evening program devoted to children’s stories, dances, and songs from these countries. Our […]

Golden Days of Summer

Dear Parents and Friends, Today was a perfect summer day! Although the weather was cloudy for some of the day, we managed to avoid major rain outside of meal times and rest hour, allowing all activities to continue as normal. As we near the end of our first week of D session, it really feels like […]

A Special Day inspired by Dr. Seuss!

Dear Parents & Friends, Every Sunday at camp, when it’s not an opening day, is “Special Day” and today was truly  special!  The theme today was Dr. Seuss. Campers moved around camp participating in different activity stations with their cabin groups. Each station was inspired by a different book and brought to life by our counselors. […]

Hummingbirds, Cake & Appalachian Entertainment!

Dear Parents and Friends, Every day at Gwynn Valley is truly an adventure. When you wake up in the morning, you have an idea about where the day will take you, but you never really know what will unfold as the hours roll on. Today, was one of those days full of magical surprises. At the […]

Gold Rush at Gwynn Valley!

Dear Parents and Friends, Today was truly a golden day of summer! After the recent rain, we enjoyed every moment of gorgeous sunshine that we were lucky to receive at Gwynn Valley today. Aside from a few sprinkles this evening, we have had sunshine all day long. With Riverside still in camp preparing for their next trip […]

The Tajar’s Birthday!

Today happens to be a very special day at Gwynn Valley. It’s the Tajar’s birthday! No one knows for sure how old the Tajar is, but he has been around Gwynn Valley for a long, long time. For those of you who haven’t heard about him yet… The Tajar is part tiger, part jaguar, and […]

Plenty of Sunshine & Adventure Return!

Dear Parents & Friends, What a gorgeous day here at Gwynn Valley! We started with some rain, but the clouds parted late this morning and the sun has been shining ever since. It has been a bit wet this week, so a sunny day like today was well appreciated around camp. Several cabin groups took advantage of the clear […]

Everyday at Gwynn Valley feels like the Weekend

Dear Camper Families and Friends, It was another beautiful, sunny day here at Gwynn Valley! The weather has been really warm, which makes for great swimming. We caught the edge of a thunderstorm this afternoon just after rest hour, but after about 5 minutes of rain, the sun returned to it’s throne in the sky […]

Servant Leadership

Dear Families & Friends, It has been another sunny, gorgeous day here at Gwynn Valley! Campers were busy outside today making the most of every ray of sunshine. This morning marked the 3rd session of A day discoveries, which means that campers have now visited those areas for 3 mornings this week. Returning to an activity […]

Happy Birthday Tajar!

Dear Camper Families & Friends, Today happens to be a very special day at Gwynn Valley. It’s the Tajar’s birthday! No one knows for sure how old the Tajar is, but he has been around Gwynn Valley for a long, long time. The Tajar is part tiger, part jaguar, and part badger. The Tajar is […]

New Gwynn Valley Video!

Dear Camper Families & Friends, Greetings from Gwynn Valley! Fall is nipping at our heels, and the cool evenings are causing the leaves around camp to turn yellow and red. Soon the mountains around us will be blazing with color. Though this time of year is beautiful and peaceful, we miss having a full camp. Many camper and […]

Feliz dia de Mexico, Nicaragua y Honduras!

Dear Parents and Families, Today was another sunny, beautiful, and action packed day! The day started early for our cabin groups returning from last night’s camp outs. All 10 cabin groups returned before the wake up bell to put away their dirty dishes and replace the smell of campfire-smoke-scented hair with sweet shampoo smells. Breakfast was abuzz […]

Capturing the Essence of Gwynn Valley

Dear Families & Friends, Good evening from Gwynn Valley! Main Camp just finished playing a game that has everyone pursuing colors of the rainbow and the pot of gold at the end.  Six colors have to be gathered from the counselors wearing those colors. When a camper tags a designated ‘color of the rainbow’ that counselor has […]

Another Day of Opportunity

Dear Gwynn Valley Familes and Friends, We are happy to report that our dining hall was full again this morning! All 11 cook out and camp out groups from last night made it back to downtown GV in time for breakfast this morning. Breakfast was abuzz with tales of fire building, s’more making, star gazing, and […]

Twilight Play, after playing all day!

Dear Camper Families and Friends, We had a beautiful and hot summer day here at Gwynn Valley! In the morning temperatures stayed temperate as campers enjoyed their second A day of Morning Discoveries. In the afternoon, it was perfect weather for swimming and the waterfront was a popular spot for afternoon sign ups. Campers were out having […]

Adventure Leads to Personal Growth

Dear Gwynn Valley Families and Friends, Here we are at the end of another beautiful and action packed day at Gwynn Valley! Main Camp is getting into a rhythm again as C2 campers settle into the flow of camp. We are into our second A day of discoveries, which means that campers went to their A […]

Cool Summer Day in the Mountains

Dear Gwynn Valley Camper Families and Friends, Here at Gwynn Valley we are at the end of another busy and beautiful day. Yesterday evening’s light drizzle continued into the morning and early afternoon. We had light rain on and off until mid-afternoon, but the rain did not stop any activities! All program areas were in full swing […]

Happy Canada and South Africa Day!

Dear Camper Families and Friends, Following our tradition of International Tuesdays, today we celebrated our campers and staff from Canada and South Africa through song, activities, food, and a whole campfire devoted to those countries. Once again, our kitchen team knocked it out of the park with an incredible trio of meals. For breakfast we had Canadian […]

Adventure Awaits!

Dear Camper Families and Friends, The weather was absolutely perfect today. Everyone was grateful for the sunshine and slightly cooler temperatures that we experienced. It was still hot enough to swim, but not as warm as it has been for the last few days. Today marks a definitive half way point in B session; just before lunch we finished up  […]

The Tajar’s Birthday!

Dear Parents and Friends, Today is a very special day at Gwynn Valley. We had three birthdays at camp today: 1 camper from Brookside who turned 11, 1 counselor from Hillside who turned 24, and 1 Tajar who turned…well we’re not exactly sure how old the Tajar is. With 5 birthdays a summer it’s easy to […]

Sun Showers Bring Beautiful Flowers!

Dear Parents and Friends, Here we are at the end of the first full day of E Session, and what an exciting day it has been! As one of our shorter sessions, E session is full of first time campers and today was full of firsts! At 8:30 this morning, we enjoyed our first breakfast together in […]

Sunny Skies & GV Hunger Games

Dear Parents and Friends, We have had a beautiful and action packed day here in the Valley! The weather was sunny and warm even as the wake-up bell rang at 8AM, and it stayed that way until we all watched the sun set on the gatehouse green at the end of our Web/OLS campfire….but more […]

What a talented bunch of campers!

Dear Parents and Friends, Here we are at the end of another fabulous day at Gwynn Valley! The day started off overcast in cool, creating the perfect setting for a breakfast of oatmeal (complete with brown sugar, cinnamon and golden raisins), hard boiled farm eggs, fruit, and cereal. After breakfast, the sun started to peak […]

Homegrown Tomatoes & Carrot Cake

Dear Parents and Families, Today we began a new round of morning discoveries with our C & C2 campers. Campers were so excited after breakfast as they found out what their schedule will look like for the next six mornings. Morning discoveries are organized into A & B days and campers rotate through activities of their choice 3 times […]

Last Day of C1: Chose your own adventure

Dear Parents and Friends, I like to think that every day at camp holds the promise and opportunity for adventure, but today was truly full to the brim with great adventures. When talking about adventure, I think people often jump to the idea of outdoor adventure, exploration, physical challenges, etc. Up on Mountainside we actually call […]

Settling into C session: friendship & free play!

Dear parents & friends, It was another warm day here at Gwynn Valley. The sun and warm weather made water activities very popular. Today waterfront put on free swim at the lake and pool, zip line, traverse line, sit on top kayaks, white water kayaks, swimming through “seaweed” at the pool, water sliding, creek hiking, and […]

It was the sunniest of days and the rainiest of days…

Dear Camper Families & Friends, Time sure does fly here at Gwynn Valley… It’s heard to believe that we are at the end of another action packed day! Our sunny morning began with some breakfast burritos: spinach tortillas, scrambled eggs, black beans, potatoes, and fruit plus a cereal bar for those who prefer a simple breakfast. […]

First full day at Gwynn Valley is full of SUN!

Dear Parents and Friends, What a full day we have had here at Gwynn Valley! The day seemed to last forever and pass before our eyes in a second all at the same time. We packed the last 14 hours full of laughter, new experiences, and joyful moments that will become memories in the minds […]

Summer is in full bloom at GV!

Today was another later summer success! It was a beautiful, sunny, warm day. Best of all, the hydrangeas lining the path by the lake and the Green have finally reached full bloom status! These iconic GV flowers are always an end-of-summer treat; they make downtown GV an even more cheerful place! Lots of other flowers […]

Adventure for all!

Good evening from Gwynn Valley! It seems we had found ourselves at the end of another wonderful, magical day here at camp full of discovery, adventure, and joy. So many things happen here in the course of a day that it is hard to write short blog posts like this one. I don’t think I’ll […]

Campouts Galore & Twilight Play

Dear Gwynn Valley Families & Friends, Today started with a misty mountain morning here at Gwynn Valley! The fog sat beautifully on top of the lake and the mountains surrounding our valley, making for a scenic morning as campers left their cabins and lined up for breakfast. Most of the mist burned off as we […]

Sunny Day and Twilight Play

Dear Parents and Friends, Here we are at the end of another wonderful day at Gwynn Valley! After all the rain we experienced over the last couple of days, we are very pleased to have been graced with a cloudy (but dry!) morning and a few beautiful hours of sunshine this afternoon. We did not […]