C-2 First Day of Discovery and Rain Free

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a day without rain here, if you can believe it.  I haven’t been counting the days but it didn’t rain today.  Even though programs have gone on, people were relieved not to have to wear their raincoat and be damp today.  We were damp for all the right reasons at GV today – swimming, boating, sweating and just having fun with no rain.  I’ve been talking about our wet summer over the past couple of weeks and it seems that records have been broken everywhere.  Our Riversider’s were scheduled to run the Nantahala today but water levels went back up after heavy rain in that area overnight so we ended up back at the Green today.  They had a great time and again we’re usually searching for water this time of year instead of having too much.

Main Camp did love the sunshine today and everyone was out and about.  I took time this afternoon to visit with the Mill.  The Mill is well over 100 years old having been established in 1890.  It’s a bustling center for milling, cooking, pioneer crafts, and of course fishing.  They were catching so many fish they had to stop because the kitchen has a quota on cleaning them in the evening.  I was helping one of our staff with just taking them off the hook and getting them in the cooler.  At one point we had about 6 fish flopping around on the ground.  She and I gathered the campers up and took them to dig more worms for future fishing.  One of the bonuses of having a lot of rain lately is our soil is very moist and is producing a bumper crop of worms.  In ten minutes we collected over 125 worms with 6 people.  Some of these were so big they might be mistaken for small snakes.  The fish over the next couple of days will love it.

As I was going to the Mill today there was Jamie with Web of Life gathered around the nearby rock wall.  One of the kids has loosened a rock on the wall and underneath it was a mother lizard with about 8 pencil eraser size eggs that she was curled around.  I think it was a 5 stripe skink.  I’ve included a picture that I found on the web.  I don’t think Erin, our camp photographer saw this but it was pretty unusual.  I  have never seen eggs from that type lizard.  They were brown and had tiny spots on them.  Many children were able to see this and mother lizard was just wrapped around her eggs, probably terrified that the giants were going to do them harm.  Our camp environs are prolific with these kinds of sightings and finds.  Each day as we roam the woods and streams someone finds a treasure that they don’t see in Charlotte or Atlanta or Savannah.  The natural history of our area abounds and there’s something interesting everywhere you turn.

5 lined skink

5 lined skink

Like anything in our lives some children are drawn to these things and of course some are repulsed by them.  Our hope is that we get those that fear our woods to understand how the web of life fits together and how it’s a very intricate web that connects so many things to one another.  We want to teach them a healthy respect for the natural settings that camp exists in.  We don’t want them to necessarily pick up and examine the critters at will, but to understand that each has a place and most of them are harmless.  We do take time to discuss the critters that should be left alone and not handled in any way.  That also goes for plants and certainly mushrooms, which are abundant in these wet times we’ve had.  Campers are inquisitive and it’s hard to not share these remarkable finds and at the same time guard their future in the ecosystem.  When 10 campers make a find like this, it’s not long before 50 campers know about it and want to see it.  It’s a balance as is true in many aspects of life.

I also spent some time at the climbing wall and ropes course this afternoon and watched as Laurel Wood from Mountainside challenged themselves on the ropes course.  It’s easy for some and hard for others and the most important thing is that all the girls were supporting one another from the ground or as they went through the components of the course.  You start by entering the taco net which carries you half way up the tower onto a large platform and then proceed to the Catwalk, to the  Jitter Steps , on the Grapevine  and you exit the course with a giant pendulum swing where you free fall for about 7 to 10 feet before you begin the arc into the swing itself.  It really gets your heart pumping as you lean off the chair size ledge and coax yourself from there into space and into the giant swing of screams and whoops.  It’s fun to watch and see the campers learn that this can be a great metaphor for tackling tough situations as they get older.  Commitment, determination, support from others, confidence are just some of the words that come up in this situation.  It’s just good stuff.

I spoke too soon about the rain.  It’s just beginning to drizzle outside but it looks like it will skirt us on the southeast.  We should awake to a beautiful day tomorrow.  More great program at GV.  Stay tuned!