Big Days Behind and Ahead!

Dear Parents & Friends,

First of all let me apologize for the lack of pictures on the internet over the past many days. We’ve had a glitch in our system and didn’t know it until yesterday and we’re working hard toward getting everything up asap. Our internet was also down and out most of the day yesterday and our connection to our internet provider has been spotty at best. We are sorry but these things do happen and in our rural setting a limb on a wire is a small problem can affect many users.

I’m back on the blog scene tonight after yesterday and didn’t write on Sunday night because we host our “staff rec” for all our staff. After Vespers on Sunday we put the campers to bed and one staff member can leave the cabin and after an hour they switch so both can enjoy some free time and good food with fellow staff members. We also showed the world cup match with the US and Portugal (a shortened version).

Lots to report since that time starting with a GV “Special Day” on Sunday. The theme was the World Cup from Brazil. Camper cabins could choose the station they wanted to go to including hydrotherapy at the lake or Brazilian coast, flag making to cheer on your favorite team, soccer skills clinic to get ready for the big game, face painting and an Amazon Rain Forest Tour complete with jungle birds (our SIT’S), and other delightful stations. After lunch and a long rest hour we had a giant soccer tournament and of course all games ended in a tie. Much fun was had in Brazil and playing in the World Cup. If you were not a soccer player there were a number of other games you could try your hand at during the cup games. Everyone had something to do. We ended the day with Sunday Vespers and a camp wide campfire.

Sunday was also the day that Mountainside and Riverside headed out on their adventures. They are all out until tomorrow evening and doing well. Climbers are at Cedar Rock, paddlers ran the French Broad today, backpackers made their way along the area bordering Shining Rock Wilderness and bikers hit the trails of Dupont State Forest. Riverside is presently hiking on the AT near Roan Mountain. All will return tomorrow afternoon just in time for Tajar Ball.

Today was a brilliant one with only a short shower during rest hour and some great activities going on today both in and out of camp. OLS and Web of Life went for a hike up in Pisgah and had a great time swimming at a place called Whale Back on the Davidson River to finish up their day. The Kayakers were also out on the Upper French Broad for their first whitewater action. According to Mike, Joy, and Lucca they all did a great job and no one flipped over. That’s unusual in those little sports car like boats. Everyone had a great time and learned a lot about transitioning from flat water to whitewater. We’ll have two more trips out on Thurs. with Main Camp Bikers and Climbers out in the Forest for a day trip. The big news of the day was that today was our second International Day celebrating the countries of France, Russia, and Germany. Meggan, Serge, and Lucca started the day off singing all their national anthems and each meal featured foods from their country. I think I liked the French breakfast the best. Campfire tonight was a celebration of songs, stories, and skits from each country.

The other big news today besides our news in the Tajar Times was that we were re-accredited by the ACA (American Camp Association) today and were visited by two accreditation visitors (camp directors) who poured over all of our paperwork before coming and then spent most of the day observing our programs, visiting cabins, our kitchen and health center to make sure we’re meeting the standards set down by the ACA. There are close to 350 individual standards that cover Site & Food, Transportation, Health & Wellness, Operational Management, Human Resources, Program Development, Aquatics, and Trip and Travel. They look into every nook and cranny of our organization via paper and in person. We have to provide written and verbal evidence in meeting the standards. Tucked in among all of the above sections are Mandatory Standards that you cannot miss. Miss one and you’re not re-accredited. Camps are up for re-accreditation every three years. The Main purpose of the ACA accreditation program is to educate camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, particularly those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff. The standards establish guidelines for implementing policies, procedures, and practices. The camp, then, is responsible for implementing and ensuring policies are followed. This is a voluntary compliance and one we gladly take on to make camp a better place for campers and staff alike. We usually do quite well on this but this is the first time we’ve ever had a perfect score. Our staff did a super job of meeting our expectations and going beyond on this day. After submitting mountains of paperwork throughout the winter and spring it was time to walk the talk and put to work everything we stand for. While I’m always a bit nervous about the visit, I know it is a great exercise in creating the best possible place for children and we always grow and learn from the preparation that goes into the visits.

I’m a happy camp director tonight and I think we’ve got some happy campers that will be winding down their session in a few days. Stay tuned for more news!