Camp Is A Magical Place by Grant Bullard

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I hope you’ve all safely arrived either home or to your destination.  Opening day was great with cool nice weather and the campers all seem to be happy as clams.  Thank you all for the adjusted drop off procedures and your patience as we aim for a safe and healthy session.   One grandmother who dropped off several grandchildren today said that one of them stated, “Driving down the camp road makes all the bones in my body shake with excitement”.  What a feeling!  After parents departed everyone partook of a buffet lunch and then went to Discovery sign-ups just after, to choose their morning skill based activities. The skies stayed calm until everyone came in for dinner and then the rain came but departed quickly for us to have “after supper activities” and then some quality cabin time.  The first night we spend some extra time in “cabin friendship circles” to find out more about everyone in our cabins. Swim assessments took place at the pool and lake and afternoon activities came off without a hitch.  Campers were assigned activities this afternoon and went to the following: Tie Dye, Crafts, Swimming, Lake Fun, Fine Arts, Camping Skills and Nature, Sports, Archery, Climbing, Mill, Climbing, Horses, the Farm, Archery, Pottery and Lake Fun.  Many of our new campers got a chance to see camp as they traveled and learned the lay of the land here at GV.  Tomorrow morning they will begin their Discovery activities and we’re off to a roaring start.

 Mountainside got to know one another this afternoon and played many group games and icebreakers.  Their group of 50 campers will hold their own campfire tonight at the MS Shelter.  Tomorrow they begin their mini-adventures and will head out (some off property and some here) in 5 different directions.  Riversiders will hit the road tomorrow and head over to Rumbling Bald and then to Linville Gorge, both located in NC, to climb and will be back on Wed. of this week.  They are wasting no time in getting outdoors and learning the “ropes”.

Gwynn Valley has a great many returners each season and there are always new campers to our program.  Whether our campers are returning after many years or brand new, one of our goals here is developing stronger friendships.  For many obvious reasons, friendships are vital for children.  This is especially true this summer as we are coming out of the pandemic.  There is a direct connection between the quality and quantity of a child’s relationships and their cooperation, productivity, happiness, and success here at camp and at home.  Camp is a great place to reconnect with old friends and certainly make new ones.  As a director, I hear every year about campers who have bonded in our sessions and stay in touch and or visit with one another from distant cities.  Two weeks with us without social media, electronics, and video games can only be a good thing for our campers.

  And friendships happen for a reason because we create circles at camp to share in our camp relations.  Circles happen in the cabin, circles are at the table when we eat, and circles are made when we gather to teach and guide during activities.  Mountainside circles up before every meal under our grove of hemlock trees behind the Lodge and after circling, make their way into the dining room.   Camp really brings people together from different parts of our state, our country and even other countries.  We’ve all used the term “circle of friends” and it’s so true here at camp.  

As I write, our mountains are partially covered in clouds but ole Mr. Sol is trying to shine its way down in the west.  Our sunsets and the lighting and colors are spectacular on most nights.  The field just near the office is great viewing for sunset watching, impromptu free play, or just dreaming and catching fireflies.  We are blessed to have our location and be in the green garden of Pisgah.  Camp is a magical place.  Stay tuned!