Butterfly’s are free to fly!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s cooled off a bit after a brief shower this evening.  Our first full day of camp brought a host of new activities and campers joining in to make it a super first day.  The climbing wall was extremely busy this morning with Mountainside and Riverside there.  Riverside was working on their ground school to learn the basics and foundational skills needed as their trip to Linville Gorge begins tomorrow.  They’ll pull out of camp just after breakfast and should be climbing by noon if the weather holds for them.  Mountainside started their first day of mini-adventures and each camper will try out the four activities they’ll choose from for their final week.  We also had a group of bikers at Dupont, paddlers at Lake Julia and Pioneers across the road at the Hunt Farm.  Definitely a good day to be outdoors.

In Main Camp the action started off at the Farm where those baby calves eagerly await the arrival of campers that feed them each morning.  Corn, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers were all picked and we had that fresh corn for dinner tonight complete with baked chicken, rice, cole slaw, salad, and green beans.  Only the chicken and rice didn’t come from the Farm.  Archery has been a popular sport this summer and everyone wants to get a bulls eye.  We have also been doing some distance shooting over the past several days.  Archery as was done in middle ages trying to hit a target laid out on the ground farther away than our traditional distance.  Basketball got some play today and everyone out there got to shoot and make a difference.  At GV we believe in participation and that is where everyone wins.  Score doesn’t always matter but contributing does and we do a great job to make sure that everyone is learning in the process.

Learning to make a mask is a still activity where one has to have their face covered in plaster of paris with a breathing hole and then when it dries the fun part begins as to how you will decorate it.  Kayakers were learning what it’s like to be in unfamiliar surroundings as they learned how to wet exit by turning their boats upside down.  This is a prerequisite to the next level of learning how to paddle with your spray skirt on while on the lake and then the river.  There’s always that chance that you’ll turn over and one has to learn to wet exit or roll your boat back upright.  A few are learning how to roll but it takes time.  Speaking of safe waterfront activities, Jr. Life Guarding really teaches campers all about the aspects of knowing what to do if someone gets into trouble swimming.  It’s a good skill to learn and practice while in our setting.  Some cabins are already taking advantage of off-program time and it looks like some were out tubing on the mighty French Broad today.  It’s a lazy section of the river that is cool and much is shaded from the hot sun.

When we finish a meal in the dining room and have time before announcements each table usually try’s to play table games.  Looks like they were also checking all the “silly bands” that were on wrists at the table.   Your table group is another way to meet people from all over camp and have another group of friends that you get to know.  We sit together for a week and then change.  This morning as I was sitting at the table a young man from Echo walked by named Drew.  He had a butterfly on his nose and he walked out the door and the butterfly flew away.  As he walked back in, I asked him how he happened to have the butterfly on his nose.  He said it had been attached to the screen inside the dining room since he arrived yesterday and it looked like it wanted to get outside.  He stuck his finger up to the screen and it crawled onto his finger and after a while up his arm and then by the end of the meal onto his face.  At that point he slowly exited the building and yes, freedom at last.  He acted as though it was just an everyday thing to save that creature.  Compassion, acceptance, patience and a desire to make a difference.  These are all traits we can learn from this youngster.  We’re all learning here at camp! Stay tuned!