The Spirit of Camp and Election Day!


Dear Parents, Campers and Friends,

We are winding down from probably the most beautiful time of the year (my opinion only) here at camp.  Most of the leaves have fallen and the weather has been brilliant over the past several weeks.  We actually need some rain, but that I’m sure will come.  We’ve had successful home shows on our annual promotional tour, with some yet to occur over the next couple of weeks.  Anne, Maggie, Andy,  and I have enjoyed seeing our camp families on the road and meeting new ones as we travel about the southeast and beyond.  Enrollment is strong and staff hiring is going well.  Our building project is right on schedule with walls and framework beginning in a couple of weeks.  Most of the time since camp ended has been devoted to building a strong foundation for this project and we all know how important strong foundations are in our buildings and our lives.

I communicate this news to you on Election Day, which is and should be a day to celebrate our freedom to choose candidates to represent us on many levels of government and also relish in the fact that we are so fortunate to live in a democracy.   With this backdrop of beauty, progress, and the privilege to exercise our right to vote, I have been disappointed by the way many campaigns have taken a darker path to reach their goals.  For the past many weeks Anne and I have been the recipients of mail, email, social media, phone calls and seen way too many derogatory commercials by candidates trying to vie for our vote.  The mudslinging and fearmongering has reached an all-time high.

Through all this, I think of our children who are witnessing this unnecessary back and forth dialogue that literally shakes the foundations of our lives.  And then I think of camp.  Camp is a place where children and adults come from all walks of life to gather together to learn, live, work and have fun with one another.  Camp is where we teach one another to lay our personal differences aside and enjoy the time we have with old friends and new ones in this beautiful place.   One of our camp values, created by Mary Gwynn, is acceptance. Camp has always been and always will be a “no put down zone”.  No matter who you are or where you come from you will be lifted up and given a chance to experience life in a positive and forgiving setting.  We are not perfect and we know that.  At Gwynn Valley we do our best to create an atmosphere of civility and respect for those who enter our gates.

Let’s utilize this camp spirit as we move forward after this week.  Let us hope and pray for peace and unity in our country no matter who is chosen from the balloting.  It is time to adopt a humble spirit to cross the boundaries and barriers that have polarized our lives for the past many months.  Let us go forth to rekindle a spirit of moving forward together, on common ground.  We must keep those foundations strong for those who are just beginning their lives.  We should mentor and guide these children and young people in the spirit of good citizenship and kindness for all man and woman kind.  We look forward to having your children join us this coming summer here at Gwynn Valley.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”  Nelson Henderson

Exciting Times Here in the Valley!

Dear Gwynn Valley Friends,

These are exciting times here in the Valley.  Registration has opened for our 2017 season for campers and staff.  After some time off, we’re all back in the office and ready for some great changes coming to camp starting this fall.  As we all know, camp has a long history and many children and adults have come through the doors of Gwynn Valley in the last 81 years.  As we celebrate another great summer and our past, we also must look to envision our future.  We recognize our strengths in working with young people and partnering with parents to create great experiences for children and teens.  In order to offer quality programs we must keep our site up to date and viable as well.  

Many of you know that we are in the process of razing our Dining Room/Kitchen/Upper Dwellings building.  The Upper Dwellings building has occupied our site since the early 1900’s when Camp Connestee for Girls was in operation.  Since that time many additions and renovations have been added to that existing structure.  It has housed everyone from Miss Mary Gwynn to members of the leadership team over the years.  The downstairs has also acted as a “staff living room/counselor lounge”.  In the past 30 plus years, the building has expanded and more renovations, rooflines and facilities have been added.  Last year we began to take a look at our dining room and its aging roof that has been leaking and needed to be replaced.  Dale and his staff and professional contractors have re-roofed and patched it for years.  Due to the low pitch and ceiling height, the dining room has been very warm. The kitchen, where our wonderful food is prepared each day also was a hot environment in which to work and has shown its age and space limitations in recent times.  

Through discussions with architects and contractors it became evident that any work would be fruitless in trying to tie into existing rooflines and structures.  The age and structural integrity of the existing buildings was not going to support a new renovation.  Building code, as it relates to living structures that are attached to kitchens have also changed and the two require a great deal of work to make them safe for all parties involved.  At that point, it became evident that a total remake of the site was needed.  “Livability and workability” are concepts we embraced as we began to look to the future.  We wanted the design of the new building to be enduring, economically vibrant, efficient, functional, aesthetically pleasing and a comfortable place to add to the quality of life here at camp.  With these things in mind we began to move forward in the project for the new center of “downtown GV”.  The project will encompass our dining room, kitchen, program office, a covered outdoor pavilion with a fireplace and a staff living room.  Living quarters from the upper dwellings will be built in another location.  

It’s never easy to give up something that carries so many memories and has been at the center of camp for so long.  Change does not always come easy and we’ve heard many people express their sentiments about the project.  Camp’s site and buildings have been updated a lot in 20 years.  It is time to redesign this facility to work better with our numbers and our program.  The new design will bring so many good things to the table in the next chapter of Gwynn Valley.  Creating a new building also means creating a design that blends into our rustic setting. This will be an important part of the process as we make our way into the construction phase. Sustainability has always been an important part of our philosophy and we are working with electricians, lighting experts, plumbers and builders to utilize every means we can to save energy.  Post and beam rafters will accentuate the inside of the Dining Room and adjacent pavilion that will reach toward our waterfront.  The pavilion will offer a safe space for bad weather as well as a great meeting spot for evening programs and special times.  Final drawings and designs are beautiful.  This opportunity will also allow us to put our overhead power line underground that has spanned the Green for many years.  While we’ve lost a few trees, planting new ones will give us a chance to strategically place them where we need shade as well as open up our view to the Blue Ridge off to the West and North of camp.  Pathways will remain similar to what they are now and gathering areas for meals will be similar to what they have been in the past.  Downtown GV will be virtually the same, with a welcoming doorway for planning program and to partake of the wonderful food that has been a tradition at Gwynn Valley.    

While exciting things are taking place just down the path, we’re also working on revamping our website.  Look for some great new ways to view Gwynn Valley on your computer, tablet and phone.  

In October and November, we will be out on the road promoting camp, seeing our alumni and meeting prospective families.  Look for a gathering near you and bring a friend.  We’re excited about camp and the changes for 2017.   Stay tuned for updates and pictures from our project.

Lets Not Stereotype Girls… We All Get Scared!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Recently I was sent a New York Times article by one of our camp parents entitled “Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute To Be Scared”.  Caroline Paul, who wrote the piece, was one of the first women to join the San Francisco Fire Department.  I can relate to this because I run a coed camp and my father was a career fireman who eventually made Chief of the City Fire Department.  I can remember when he began hiring women firefighters into the department and how much flack he caught from those who felt women couldn’t perform or wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of the job of entering burning buildings.  This was way back in the 70’s.  Needless to say I learned very early that women and girls are up to the task.  I coached a couple of soccer teams after college and had two girls on my middle school age team who went to the ball as bravely as any boy and most of the time they were outsized.  I vividly remember visiting a friend of mine who worked for Outward Bound several years later and going climbing with her in Linville Gorge.  I had been climbing for several years and was a fair lead climber (first up placing gear).  I could not for the life of me make this scary overhang move about half way up the climb and had trouble committing to placing the gear and holding on with one hand.  I was scared.  I backed off and was lowered to the ground and Mary scampered up and blew through it like a butterfly.  Grace, skill, and lack of fear were part of her topping out on the climb that day and belaying me through the crux that I couldn’t do.


I love having women teaching and being program leaders in our adventure programs. It helps young girls understand that they can do anything they set their minds to and young boys understand that gender should not limit what a person can accomplish. The role modeling provided in these situations sends all the right messages that girls pick up from female mentors.

This is nothing short of good solid support for the road ahead and debunking the myths surrounding “timid and scared girls”.  The author of the article talks about a study that states “Girls may be less likely than boys to try challenging physical activities, which are important for developing new skills.  The study points to an uncomfortable truth that we think our daughters are more fragile, both physically and emotionally, than our sons.”  Not true in my world of camp.  Yes, it is true most girls are more emotionally based and that’s a positive because they communicate better from an early age.  Guys mostly just hold it in and are not willing to verbalize like the girls.

A healthy and respectful sense of fear is good for all of us.  At camp we deal with fear in a way that leads to respect, systems, communication, confidence and grit.  We talk about this in staff training in the context of “perceived risk” vs “actual risk”.  The perceived risk is what the camper sees and it’s the actual risk we’re most concerned about.  In designing program we leave the perceived risk to their discernment and control the actual risk.  We do everything in our power to provide proper instruction, the right equipment and practice in an appropriately progressive way to enable most campers to move forward in a “scary” situation.  The bonus here is they will have multiple chances to try again and hopefully succeed.  Failure is a whole other topic we could talk about here, but let’s get back to our campers.


Camp is a great place to instill the aspects of making the best people. We are equal opportunity dispensers of fun and fear in all the right ways.  Girls have all the same opportunities right alongside their male counterparts and I see this daily here at Gwynn Valley.  It is our obligation to assist campers with making good choices whether it’s on the rock or in cabin/program interactions.   Learning how to communicate about these aspects of navigating life’s challenges and risks are also a part of our work.   At camp, being scared is not gender based.  Our boys and girls need to experience camp participating and learning from one another.  As one camper states in our video “We’re not going to live our lives separate with regard to gender.”  We use the same terms for boys and girls when we think of bravery, grit and resilience as well as compassion when fear does exist.  These are some very big buzzwords in growing young people into healthy and mentally strong adults.  As stated above, we are equal opportunity dispensers of providing the right values to grow in the Gwynn Valley garden of life.

To check out the article from the Times click on this link:      

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Happy Presidents’ Day and hope all is well where you are.  In my last news update on our website, I mentioned that our leadership staff, Andy, Maggie, Barbara, Anne and I were headed to the American Camping Association’s National Conference, held in Atlanta last week.  We had a wonderful time soaking up information and networking with other camp directors from all over the US.  There were over 150 sessions offered to attendees and we divided and conquered for those three and a half days.  The overall content of the sessions were great and each carries some valuable information for us as we head toward our summer season.  There were also three keynote speakers that had their own message on the value of the work that camp is doing with children in our country.


On the drive home we shared much information and will be meeting in the days ahead to bring together the information we harvested from those fruitful and fun days.  Leadership was a major theme throughout our time there and is appropriate on this Presidents’ Day to remind ourselves of the awesome responsibility we hold in guiding the lives of so many children while they are at camp.  It’s a joy and privilege to be a part of Gwynn Valley.  John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”. We really enjoy the chance to learn more about the work we do and we look forward to leading our staff and children into the best possible summer ever here at camp.

Making Camp Better!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Tomorrow Feb. 9th, several of us on our leadership team head out to the American Camp Association’s National Conference in Atlanta, GA.  It is 4 days of sessions, speakers, other camp directors and middle management staff all together for the purpose of creating the best possible camping experience for children.  We try and attend this conference every year because it is full of quality education, social and issue based sessions, a lot of networking, and is a boost to everyone’s professional development. Creativity abounds and the sharing of ideas flow freely as we immerse ourselves in the world of enriching children’s lives through camp.

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The key to this, as Anne says, is to come home and really implement much of that wisdom that we’ve soaked up.  It’s so easy to just keep doing the things we’ve been doing for years and it takes more work to implement change.  The theme for this year’s conference is “Envision”.  The world is changing fast and “Camping” has changed a great deal since I got involved many moons ago.   Summer camp is actually  much better for the child than it’s ever been.  We know a whole lot more about child development and what makes children tick.  And children do tick differently in the camp environs.  It’s a proven fact.  Add some great programming to that and the learning and fun begins.

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And while change and vision are good, some aspects don’t change like the values that make Gwynn Valley a great place to spend a session of camp.  Technology has crept into how we run camp but it stops at the office door and does not interfere with gaining a greater sense of self through relationship building in a nature focused environment.  Through the years we’ve added new programs like mountain biking, ropes courses, stand up paddle boarding, more sophisticated arts and so on.  The essence of all these is learning through doing and gaining confidence and resilience in our human powered environment.  We empower children to seize opportunities, to make new friends and try new things independent of parents.  Children at camp learn to create their own fun without the aid of electronics and sometimes with the simplest objects they can collect.  We do a great job of teaching camp skills as well as real life skills.  Where the real growth comes is when they are working with one another in a cooperative relationship and building trust and competence in communication, acceptance and a greater appreciation of the simple joys of childhood.  Of course all this is done under the guidance of a great staff.  As Maggie says, “The camp environment creates the best version of ourselves”.

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Life moves fast and our value of simplicity speaks large in slowing us down to learn where our food comes from and how much work it takes to get those potatoes out of the ground and to the table.  When you get your hands dirty and find those balls of carbohydrates just below the surface, food takes on a whole different perspective.  How many children will ever get a chance to feed a baby calf or milk a mother cow.  That whole circle of life theme can be found every day at our farm.

Camp does children a world of good and we aim to fill our cups this week and bring back more of the good for Gwynn Valley.  Stay tuned!

Nature and Camp – The Right Medicine!

I was probably in high school or college when I realized that I had ADD. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s we were kids that had somewhat mild behavior issues (which explains the “Unsatisfactory” and “Needs Improvement” on my report card in my elementary grade years). I don’t think I was hyperactive but had a really hard time listening and focusing. Testing was difficult and any distraction or noise during those times just about drove me crazy. Outdoor sports were parts of life that I looked forward to. When I got into outdoor adventure activities in my late teens and early 20’s I realized how much more focused I was when I was in nature and performing some tasks that really required my full attention. I loved climbing because you had to be right there all the time and I realized that I could focus and keep my attention span for more than a few minutes.

Recently two articles (see link below) on nature and our brains and children with ADD/ADHD were written by a woman named Florence Williams. One appeared in National Geographic and the other in Outside Magazine. The article in Outside specifically targeted teens with ADD/ADHD and how an outdoor program called SOAR has had a great deal of success in working with these groups (mostly boys) and how they met with that success. SOAR just happens to be in our backyard right up the mountain from Gwynn Valley. What’s worked for them is shifting the whole academic year outdoors, where they alternate two weeks in their basecamp (rural and wooded) and then two weeks in the field. Their executive director states, “We’re not reinventing the wheel—we threw out the wheel.” They’ve found that outdoor pursuits like climbing, backpacking and paddling were a magic fit for their students. Ms. Williams states, “If you look at the symptoms of ADHD, maybe they’re not really symptoms anymore if you get in the right profession or the right ecological niche. We learned some of this by looking at extreme athletes, who found that niche.” The traditional classroom is probably not the place for these kids.


For these and all children, camp is such a respite from those classrooms where great things can and do happen, but it’s nature and the outdoors that we need so much. We need nature for the reasons above and to get us away from those screens that occupy so much of our time. You know the statistics and I won’t go there. Camp promotes exercise and fitness and studies consistently show that aerobic activity targets the same attentional networks that ADHD medication does.

In Ms. Williams Nat Geo article, “This is Your Brain on Nature”, she discusses how scientists are looking at how nature affects our brains and bodies. ”Everything from stress hormones to heart rate to brain waves to protein markers—indicate that when we spend time in green space, there is something profound going on. In 2009 a team of Dutch researchers found a lower incidence of 15 diseases—including depression, anxiety, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and migraines—in people who lived within about a half mile of green space.” What researchers suspect is that nature works by lowering stress. Just a simple view from a window can make a huge difference.


One Stanford researcher says “Nature may influence how you allocate your attention and whether or not you focus on negative emotions.” Somewhere in our DNA we still have that connection to nature. Spending more time outdoors might be the antidote for our modern lifestyle and that distant connection to our primitive self.

I think camp is certainly much more than the antidote. When kids engage at camp, they stimulate the areas of their brain responsible for problem solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and creative thinking. They learn to cooperate living and working together and solving problems together. They gain resilience, perseverance, curiosity, self-control, and more! I urge you to read these two articles and get out there yourself and with your own children to enjoy the green space around you.

GV Campers at Cyclo-cross Nationals!

We sometimes say that “camp is a human powered event”.  I see that every day in the summer, as our campers move, jog, bike, climb, use their hands, hike, run, swim, paddle and of course use their brain to combine with all of these movements.  Camp is also a place that is an open door to many activities that we either don’t have a chance to do at home or have the time.  Camp can introduce and propel us into activities and hobbies that we can participate in for years.

This past week Asheville, NC and the Biltmore Estate hosted the National Cyclo-cross Championships.  If you’re new to the sport it’s kind of like a bicycle steeplechase.  Riders ride, run, cross over short barriers, go up steps and all kind of steep terrain up and down.  Bikes are similar to road bikes with slightly wider knobby tires and drop bars found on road bikes.  I volunteered a couple of days for the races and thoroughly enjoyed watching the riders, friends, parents and fans cheer on their favorites.  I did say parents because riders as young as 9 years old were out there to ride and compete on a national level.  Nationals also included men and women up to 80, so it’s not a young person’s sport.

I ran into Alex and Madalyn Green, both GV campers at the race and they were both racing.  Alex was interested in bikes before coming to camp and our mountain biking program perked his interest even more.   Alex and Madalyn were campers at GV for 5 years.  For the past couple of summers he’s been racing bikes and also gotten in cyclo-cross.  In talking with Alex and his parents he thoroughly enjoyed his time learning the trails around camp and surrounding Brevard.  I didn’t get to see Madalyn, because she was racing when I took the pic below.  Madalyn just started racing and is looking ahead in this new endeavor.  You go girl!  Out of a field of 77, Alex came in 22nd.  Keep in mind this is National’s and not some local race.  Congrats to him for a strong showing.


It’s great to see how campers flourish and take skills to the next level.  Camp is an outlet to learn new skills and push the envelope and comfort zone in a safe and fun way.  It introduces you to different and new environments that are not familiar or like home.  It stretches us physically mentally, emotionally and provides guidance by staff who act as parents while at camp.  And it’s human powered, getting us out there in the great environment of our surrounding forests and fields.  It’s playing outside and growing inside here at Gwynn Valley.  I’ll leave you with this quote, “Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving forward. “

Unscheduled Free Time – A Great Gift to Give a Child!

As the holidays roll into town in the next few days, I’ve seen the need for the scheduled to be unscheduled in my own family.  My two college age children are home catching up with friends, going to movies, sleeping late and taking advantage of their short lived unscheduled lives.  My guess is that you as parents are seeing the same thing in your school aged children as they get a break from their routines.  This time of year chances are you are feeling the effects of the frantic pace we live in.  My own mom says how things are different and we’re (my family) all so busy and involved in so much.

According to a national study released by the University of Michigan, kids today have half as much free time as they did 30 years ago.  Does the overscheduled child gain from this?  According to the study from a brain development standpoint, some feel it is quite the opposite.  When kids engage in unstructured play, they stimulate the areas of their brain responsible for problem solving, critical thinking, decision-making, and creative thinking.  It is the empty hours that children learn to become self-reliant and responsible, which are critical life skills.  By over-scheduling our children, we are depriving them of something very special: just being a kid or as we call it at camp; “the simple joys of childhood”.

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Here at camp we think kids need time to recharge after a couple of hours of activities (that they choose on their own).  Before lunch there’s 45 minutes to wind down before eating.  After lunch there’s rest hour which can be spent daydreaming, reading, writing home (we do our best mom and dad), or playing quiet games in the cabin.  Not too many children sleep during this time.  It’s hard enough to keep them in their cabins.  Then there’s two more hours of activity and thirty minutes of free time before dinner.  After dinner is our most unstructured time at camp where you can choose any number of activities and those being more in the spirit of unstructured free play.  You may choose to burn some calories in a soccer game that may turn into kickball or a short hike may stop at a creek and its shoes off and feet in.  Listening to stories at lakeside might turn into cloud gazing and the child’s mind drifts in and out of the day’s events and life at camp.  Sitting with your friends on the Green Wall next to the Mill is wind down time.  Time to chat and listen to the sounds of the mountain song evening.

This holiday break we’re in is a great opportunity to retool our schedules and our priorities, slow down and set aside time for our children to just be kids.  Here are six ways to inspire us.

Get off the Frenzy Train – This is a great time of year to reflect on what our family priorities are and give thanks for time together.

Be the Role Model – Carve out time to turn off your cell phone, don’t check your email while waiting for the movie to start and just be with the fam.

Un-plan – Start to think about ways to unscheduled and reschedule with unstructured activities

Schedule Unstructured Family Time – And keep it sacred on that one day a week where you all watch a movie together or play a game of monopoly.

Tune Out “I’m Bored” – With children and teens this will happen.  Let them figure it out on their own and try not to cave to screen time.

Screen Free – Hold out as long as you can because he’s the only one in his class without a cell phone.  Be intentional about screens in your child’s life.  Whatever requires a cord or charger probably doesn’t inspire creativity or problem solving.

And Last But Not Least “Get Outside” –  I loved it this year when the major outdoor retailer REI didn’t open for Black Friday.  Their message was to get outdoors.  Get your family outside and do something together fun in a new outdoor place.  Take a picnic with some treats and just going to a local creek or stream and throwing rocks is part of the simple joys.  Outdoor play stimulates the brain and senses even more and you’ll have quality time with your crew.

As our Holiday card said.  Let there be Peace!  Here’s hoping you have the best Holly Days ahead and Happy New Year to one and all!

Inclusive Sports at GV – I Like It!

I just read a short blog about Inclusive Sports on the American Camp Association’s website and thought of our own values here at camp as it relates to inclusive or non competitive activities.  I like that term “inclusive” and we use that term a lot here at Gwynn Valley.  As we all know almost every turn in life carries some competitive overtones to it.  On the sports field and other venues, we refer to this concept at camp as a GV tie with no winners or losers.  Our emphasis and purpose in the GV tie is that we acknowledge our growth in the activity and no one comes away as being defeated, feeling failure, deflated, unsuccessful, non athletic etc.  Most children who play know the score at the end of the game.  Our role as staff and mentors is to de-escalate the winner – loser aspect and promote the fair play and skills learned by those on both sides and what a great game it was.

In our camp world where several age groups play together, you also have to consider that some campers are physically more gifted with size, strength, and age.  We’ve all heard the adage playing up and becoming better because of playing with those more gifted than you. As a young athlete growing up I used to love to play with the bigger guys and learned a lot from them and in some cases improved my own play by trying to play at their level.  Most times this was not so successful and sometimes when it was, it gave me confidence to try new things, move to another level and feel more confident.    A couple of good passes in soccer or basketball can result in a score and you don’t have to be the one to score to receive the accolades that go with it.  Any good coach or mentor realizes the assist is as key as the goal itself and it has to start somewhere.  Stephen Curry of the NBA Warriors, is a phenomenal shooter but he is also great at feeding assists to those who score.  That assist can also come in the form of support of a cabin mate who is up on the ropes course and feeling nervous. Thursday Morning Activities 114

Team play is crucial here at camp.  I believe the camp experience is a stepping stone and link in the chain of life.  You’ll play for a team one day; a work team, a project team, a surgical team, and you’ve got to become a team player.  Camp teaches you to live in a cabin as a team, eat at the table as a team, share food as a team after hiking 10 miles with a backpack through the rain, and carry those boats to load on the trailer after an exhilarating and hard day on the river.  Phil Jackson, NBA coach once said, “The strength of the team is each individual member.  The strength of each member is the team”.

Children learn in so many different ways and some of them learn by observance, watching a touch on the soccer ball, a behind the back dribble, or just keeping your heels down when trying to smear your climbing shoe on steep piece of rock.  “We learn to predict (think about) our movements before we execute them (move) so that we control them better (Flanagan, Vetter, Johansson, & Wolpert, 2003). This ability suggests that all motor activity is preceded by quick thought processes that set goals, analyze variables, predict outcomes, and execute movements.” Pulling this off requires widespread connections to all sensory areas and culminates in the brain’s cerebellum, which controls balance, movement and coordination.  Maybe I can do that and viola, it’s copied, practiced and improved on.  Others have to have that coach or counselor to help them through those steps and again practice until confident on their own.  And some may never get to that skill set, so we have to figure out what skills that child does have.  One camper may be able to climb like a monkey on the wall but is deathly afraid of heights 20 feet off the ground.  Another camper may flail on the wall but slowly makes it to the top.  They both have much to learn and through trial and error, they can see one another gaining more skills as they try for new levels of achievement each time.

Fri MA 146The good news is that movement and athletic endeavors are good for mind, body and soul.  People who exercise have far more cortical mass than those who don’t. Simple biology supports an obvious link between movement and learning. Oxygen is essential for brain function, and enhanced blood flow increases the amount of oxygen transported to the brain. Physical activity is a reliable way to increase blood flow, and hence oxygen, to the brain.  We all benefit from play!

Camp is a great place where failure or feeling like a loser most always leads to success because we can try again and again.  Gwynn Valley is a trusting environment where we achieve growth in our activities under the guidance of a mature and caring staff.  That is what we do best with a constant eye on those playing on the fields or out in the field. We make sure that camp includes all levels of fair play and in the end we all win.  Inclusive – I like that word.

Grant Sails Into Wilmington!


Dear GV Families and Friends,

I was in Wilmington, NC last night for a show hosted by the Jean and Connor Keller and their three daughters, Callie, Jeannie and Diana. The girls invited friends and classmates, and we had a great turn out. Everyone enjoyed talking about camp and viewing our new video and video highlights from 2015!  In true Gwynn Valley style, all the children took home a piece of the farm in the form of popcorn grown on site.We raise the corn during the late summer and it was harvested about a month ago. It was a great evening in a great NC city with a lot of history.

I’ll be in Winston Salem tonight and hope to folks there!