Camp is a Magical Place

Parents and Friends,

Our first full day at camp was pretty darn good.  We had a wee bit of rain just during lunch and it was over before the end of sign-ups and allowed a rain free rest hour and afternoon.  Having a tin roof on your cabin is different than home where you rarely hear the rain unless the windows are open.  We hear the rain from all sides in our screened cabins and the metal roof accentuates the sound. Sleeping in an open air cabin has so many advantages.  Many of our campers live in air conditioned homes this time of year and the evening and early morning sounds take some getting used to.  You really hear the birds start their symphony way before the sun comes up and light spills into the cabin long before the wakeup bell sounds.  It’s a simple existence but is an important part of camp.  Right there you’ve covered two of Gwynn Valley’s values: Simplicity and an Appreciation of the Natural World.

Today was our first full day of program so the morning consisted of Discovery Activities that engage the camper in 4 different activities of building skills.  The afternoon activities provide different signup opportunities each day and campers sign up each day for a range of 1 or 2 hour activities.  In some cases you can go back to similar activities in the afternoon that provide more fun and practice in something you might have participated in that morning.

Today was also the day when we learn which table we’re assigned to.  Everyone has a new table after 3 meals with your cabin on the first day and breakfast today. At lunch, you sit with folks that you don’t know and get to know counselors who are not in your cabin.  The ages are varied as well so it’s like a large family at the table.  It takes a meal or two to learn everyone’s name but soon we’re working together and having good conversation.  The table is one of my favorite places in camp because GV has very good food and you really get to know the folks you sit with.  There were two boys at my table that go to the same school in the same hometown but didn’t know one another.  Their grade spread was wide so it made sense.  It was fun to hear that conversation take place.
One young man at our table lost a tooth today and yes, the Tooth Fairy does come to Gwynn Valley.  I gave him a plastic bag to save it in and he turned it over to his counselor for safe keeping until tonight.  The Gwynn Valley Tooth Fairy may not be as generous as the one at home, but does make an appearance and leaves a deposit under the pillow.

Camp is a magical place where we really live and exist just for children.  It’s a child’s world and one where you become the very best version of yourself.  I think that goes for staff also.  After several days of camp our adult lives take on a whole new meaning.  While camp is certainly busy, it moves at a slower, more consistent place.  Sometimes slow and consistent really keeps us on track and is great for all involved.  Camp is that kid “happy place” where you don’t have to worry about anything except why can’t I take all the activities each and every day.  We as adults talk about “there’s not enough hours in the day to sometimes get all the work done” and at camp there’s not enough hours in the day to enjoy all the fun.  It’s that place where children can make their own decisions, set and achieve goals, try new things, understand a sense of belonging to a group larger than oneself (cabin, activity & table), develop grit, resilience, confidence and all under the guidance of some very cool counselors you will hear about when your camper returns home.  We call it the Simple Joys here at GV.  Stay tuned!