Dear Parents and Friends,
I’m not sure how your day was back home, but here at camp… Today was practically perfect in every way! From weather to food to activities, many of the campers I spoke to said today was THE best day yet of the session!
The weather was gorgeous with a cool morning and blue, sunny skies all day. There were lots of sweatshirts this morning to combat the morning chill, but by the time activities rolled around all the mist had burned off and the strong sun was enticing campers to jump in the lake! We’ll have another cool evening tonight with temperatures dipping down into the upper 50s. Don’t worry parents – we’ve reminded campers (and counselors!) to pull out sleeping bags and gather extra blankets to put on beds, ensuring that campers wake up tomorrow morning feeling cozy and refreshed after a good night’s sleep in our natural mountain air conditioning!
Unlike the weather, we do have a bit more control over our food choices through menu planning and an amazing kitchen staff! Today our kitchen team was spot-on in both their planning and delivery; campers at my table told me that the food today was their favorite so far. We had bagels, sausage, eggs, cereal, and fruit for breakfast; followed by stir fry, edamame, rice, and cut apples for lunch; and finally sloppy joes, cowboy fries, broccoli, and salad for dinner. Coconut cream pie was the cherry on top to round out our day of delicious eating. Meal times at camp are so important for nourishment of the body but also the soul. Meals are served family style with an assigned ‘table family’ eating together 3 meals a day for a week or so at a time. This tradition offers our community members a moment to slow down and focus on conversation and connection through shared food. This practice is as old as humanity, but in our busy world today we don’t always have or make time to eat slowly in the company of others. I realize it’s impractical to spend so much time eating this way outside of the summer-camp bubble, so I relish the opportunity to be present with campers and fellow staff in this precious and important daily ritual.
Activities were smooth today as well with happy campers everywhere you look. Campers are a few days into their morning discoveries, so walking around camp this morning you could really see the progress they’ve been making on crafts projects or fine arts performances or preparing for a kayaking river trip. The wide array of choices for sign ups this afternoon offered a fresh opportunity to try something new or go back to a beloved activity. The farm has been exceptionally popular lately with all the recent baby animal arrivals. Baby goats, piglets, ducklings, calves, and chicks are pretty hard to beat, and with 14+ animals born in the last week there’s a big pull to head down to the farm each afternoon and meet our new friends!
After dinner tonight, Main Camp campers who weren’t camping out participated in Twilight Play. Twilight Play is a loooooong version of After Supper Activities, with a dozen activities offered for a 75 – 90 minute activity period right after dinner. Activities tonight included free play at the lake, advanced archery with compound bows, bracelet making in Shady Grove, a sunset hike to the rock, candle making at Messy Crafts, the tower swing at the Challenge Course, and many more. Camper favorites of the night were wiffle ball (universally seen as a big hit!) with over 25 campers, and a popcorn bar at the Mill that included savory spices and sweet toppings for campers to make unique popcorn flavor combinations. At ‘Popcorn & Stories’ campers sat around the fire listening to and telling stories while enjoying their one-of-a-kind popcorn flavor concoctions. One camper told me: ‘It was better than going to the movies!’
Up on Mountainside, the middle schoolers were really getting back to the simple joys of camp with a classic campfire evening. All 50 campers gathered around the fire ring up on the Mountainside Green for an evening of singing, story telling, and even a few magic tricks by Kevin. Campers laughed and sang until the fireflies came out, telling them it was time to get some rest. Tomorrow will be the final day of Mini-Adventures for Mountainside. By tomorrow evening, each camper will have tried all five adventure activities (biking, climbing, canoeing, hiking, and earth skills) and will be ready to make a decision about which adventure they want to pursue for their four-day trip later this session.
Riverside continues to enjoy good weather on their climbing trip in Foster Falls, TN. We look forward to having them back at camp tomorrow evening and hearing more about their trip! Young Leaders will also be going on an adventure tomorrow for a day of rafting on Section 3 of the Chattooga River.
The fun never stops here at camp! Tune in tomorrow for more news from this little oasis in the NC mountains.