Camp Bring Out the Best Version Of You!

Dear Parents & Friends,

As I write, children are pretty much like a pile of puppies in their cabin.  You’ve seen that scenario where they play all day and then suddenly they all collapse in a heap.  In this case they all have beds to collapse in and many are sound asleep by now.  You could see the content on many faces tonight at campfire and some were just about ready to drift off as we sang our last song.  Our first full day always is full and it was also a hot day.  Good for any and all activities here at camp.  We started the day sitting at breakfast with our cabin groups and then at lunch we were with our new tables.  It’s an adjustment because no one sits with their cabin counselor or cabin mates.  Twenty eight tables give us a chance to really mix it up.  The good news is everyone is aware of their own table by dinner and know names and where folks are from.  I had two boys at my table last session that were about 4 years apart in age and went to the same school in Charlotte but didn’t know one another.  It’s a small world.

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I spent most of the afternoon working over at the pool.  For years we heard the complaint that our pool was too cold to swim in unless it was a really hot day.  Over the winter I did a lot of research on warming pools.  We received some bids on heating our pool by means of solar hot water, geothermal heating, gas/propane and I finally decided on a pool cover.  Given our bend toward sustainability the solar and geothermal were logical choices but were cost prohibitive.  Given the fact that we only use the pool about 9 weeks made it just uneconomically feasible.  So, today we just finished laying out two 22 X 83 solar blankets that will keep the heat in overnight and then they’ll be removed in the morning just in time for swimming.  We’ll keep you posted on how this works but these covers can add as much as 10 degrees from overnight heat loss.

Discovery activities kicked off this morning and we also ended our Mountainside 1-A session this morning.  Campers left quite happy from 10 days of adventures and learning new skills under the guidance of our mountainside staff.  A few gypsies stayed over to attend the second 10 day session which starts on Wed.

After the closing campfire I spent the morning at the climbing wall shooting some video and pictures from the top.  It’s been a while since I’ve been on top of the 50’ tower and it offers a grand view of camp in that area.  Some kids scamper right up the sides and others meander and others just deal with going a few feet off the ground.  What makes us fearful of things like this and sets us up to feel uncomfortable in certain settings? I know there are many factors that play into this.  I will say that camp provides the chance for children to conquer some of their fears in a few of our programs.  That could be something as simple as reaching under a chicken to collect eggs or going off the zip line into the lake.  I think that camp is the perfect place to understand the concept of “challenge by choice” and that’s ok to feel uncomfortable about certain parts of camp and activities.  We encourage and provide second, third and more chances for success and we try and turn “I can’t” into “I can”.  Our goal is to safely allow children to leave their comfort zones – stepping out and then stepping back in.  And as I said above, it could be something as simple as moving to a new table where you don’t know a soul.  Camp is such a good proving ground for so many of life’s experiences that we’ll face as we get older. Our stepping stones of living, working and playing together here help to develop the whole child into what I think is the best versions of ourselves.  Camp really brings that out mainly because there’s little pressure and you have many chances to succeed and try new things.

Making it to the top of wall is a great achievement and learning the commands, knots, trusting your belayer and being willing to try again does bring out the best version of you.  Our camp T – shirts this year say “playing outside and growing inside”.  What could be better! Stay tuned!