A Virtual Visit to the Farm at Gwynn Valley

We hope you are finding ways to enjoy your summer. We really miss all of our campers and we know you miss us too. Here’s a little video about our farm program, highlighting some of our animals. We hope you enjoy this little virtual visit to the farm!

Summer Leadership Staff show appreciation for GV team in parody of “Firework”

We just received the most incredible gift, and we just can’t keep this to ourselves! Summer leadership staff from the last decade came together across continents to surprise us with a music video reminding us that our connection to camp – and each other – endures even through this unusual summer. At camp, we seek out creative ways to show gratitude and appreciation for our staff and community members, but this one really takes the cake! Get yourself a tissue and prepare for your heart to burst!

Tajar Tales with Andy

We hope that our wonderful camp community is faring well all across the globe.  Today we want to share a little treat that comes to us all the way from New Zealand.  Please enjoy this rendition of the Tajar Tale “A Noise in the Kitchen” read to you all by our very dear friend Andy Savage, who worked at GV for over twenty years!  Many of our staff and camper families will no doubt remember Andy, his wife Beth, and their two thespian daughters..  

We wish ya’ll a happy #tajarthursday … or a #follyfriday to those tuning in from New Zealand!


Somewhere South

At Gwynn Valley we LOVE celebrating local agriculture and honoring food cultures both locally and from our international staff around the world! For this reason, the Bullard family has loved watching Vivian Howard’s new show “Somewhere South” on PBS. Watching this series, we learned so much about other people and their food traditions across the Southeast. Each episode, Vivian takes viewers on a journey to learn more about how a particular regional food culture came to be and what makes the food so unique depending on what region she is in. If you’re looking for a family friendly show that celebrates the nuances of southern food culture, check out Somewhere South by PBS! You can find all 6 episodes of the first season here: 


Green Sign Design Contest with Green Camps

Green Camps is hosting a contest where participants can design signs “that will inspire green behavior change”. As you know, sustainable living is very important to us at Gwynn Valley! How do we do this? Many of our campers, families, and staff are aware of our Farm to Table program which supplies 60% of the produce we consume and the fact that we recycle here at camp. Less widely known is that we heat 40% of the water used at camp through burning the wood that has fallen down on site; that our older program cabins are powered with car batteries, which limits the amount of electricity we use; and that we use low flow toilets and showers, which helps conserve water. Sustainability is a broad term that applies to many aspects of camp operations. 

If you feel inspired, please submit your own design before the contest ends on May 22 at 8pm! Be sure to tag Gwynn Valley! Contest rules and instructions to participate can all be found here: https://www.greencamps.org/signcontest/

Special thanks to Janey for submitting a design on behalf of Gwynn Valley already! 

White Rabbit

White Rabbit to our extended Gwynn Valley family! For those of you who don’t know, it is a tradition at camp to say “white rabbit” to others on the first of the month. This tradition is meant to bring good luck and seeing who can say it first each month is always a great source of amusement! While we don’t have white rabbits at camp, or at least, any who were kind enough to pose for a photo … however, we do have a white dog: Nala! As an added bonus, here are some scenic views around camp. Everything is so green and beautiful! We hope that these photos remind each of you to recognize the beauty that surrounds you wherever you are.

Singing in the Lodge 3

Thank you for everyone who called and videoed in to our third virtual Singing in the Lodge! It was so exciting seeing campers, staff, and alumni, especially those who wore costumes. Here is a link where you can find our video and sing along at home to some new songs and some classics: https://vimeo.com/414040878. We hope to see you all next time.

Tajar Tales with Daniel and Lauren

Today we are sharing two Tajar Tales read to you by our friends Lauren and Daniel who have worked at Gwynn Valley for many years and grew up as campers here before that. You might recognize them as the 2019 Head Counselors of Hillside and Brookside.

For those who haven’t met the Tajar, well he’s a little hard to pin down…. “The Tajar looks a little something like a tiger and something like a jaguar and something like a badger, but he is different from all those animals. The Tajar is a very nice fellow. He is always willing to listen to a story or help carry firewood or do anything you ask. But every now and then something strange happens. When the moon is just right and the wind blows very slightly through the trees, the Tajar can become full of folly!”

These stories were written by Rick Brown, who worked at Gwynn Valley for many years, and they’re published in a book of stories in conjunction with the American Camp Association. This collection of stories is called The Tajar Tales!

Farm Friday and Baby Calves

Happy Friday everyone! Our maintenance team has been hard at work mowing grass, taking care of cabin repairs, building benches for our dining room, and much much more around camp. Last week they got another task added onto their long list of things to do to get ready for the summer. Can anyone guess what it could be? If you guessed calves, you got it right! We got our first round of calves. So now our Farm is really feeling like it’s almost ready for summer. We’ve got the tunnel house full of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil, and chives and fields with rows of carrots, potatoes, sweet corn, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. The calves are being fed three times a day to make them big and strong. 

When we started the Farm program we wanted to use it as an additional tool to help educate our campers and even our staff about where their food comes from and sustainability, while also giving them the opportunity to play with some baby animals. Besides, who can say no to some baby calves that suck on your fingers, or some goat yoga? What are your favorite things about the Farm? Do any of you have a garden at home? What sort of plants are you planning on having this summer?

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day from GV! Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day, celebrated April 22, 1970. Spending time immersed in the natural world is part of what makes Gwynn Valley so special; we hope that everyone can find a moment to appreciate the natural world today!

Stargazing is a quintessential summer camp experience. The same way that a sunrise or a mountain top view can bring a sense of awe and wonder, looking up at the stars or watching a meteor shower can instantly remind us of the beauty and value of the natural world around us.

Did you know we have a space enthusiast on our year round team? Zeke studied astrophysics at UNC Chapel Hill and loves to share his knowledge with any keen learners. Zeke told us that the Lyrid meteor shower peaked this morning. Viewing conditions were ideal because the moon is currently in it’s “New” phase, making it easier to see faint objects in the night sky. If you’re curious to try out star gazing at home, the new moon phase means ideal conditions for that too! Below are some easy to use resources for appreciating Earth’s beautiful night sky.

Wondering where the best dark-sky view spot is near you? This map shows the level of light pollution across the US.

Want to know which constellations are viewable at a given time/date? Stellarium can take a little fiddling around with but is a great tool.

See what photo the Hubble Space Telescope took on your birthday!

Have you been following our Camp Connections updates in the time of quarantine? Check out this section of the blog for great resources and fun activities that families and kids can do while at home!