Dear Parents and Friends,
Day two of Session dawned bright, cool and beautiful and our temps were chilly this morning about 8:00. 52 degrees registered on the thermometer here in our office. Campers and staff wore their sweatshirts to breakfast and by 10:00 and the start of activities, everyone was peeling layers and enjoying the sun drenched morning. I went to farm in time to see campers feeding the baby calves, gathering eggs, cuddling the new borne goats and even mama goat to feed the babies by bottle. The also visited Big Mama Pig and held many of the baby chicks before heading out into the vast garden ocean of fresh produce. I left just before the harvest and continued onto horse back riding where young people were trusting their balance and their horse and learning to trot and canter. For those who don’t know horse lingo, that means an easy gallop. The origin of the word comes from the short for Canterbury, or to ride like that of the Canterbury pilgrims.
From there I went to the lake watching our young kayakers go through their first wet exit drill, turning upside down in the kayak and bobbing to the surface. Being upside down, disoriented and surrounded by water in a lake can be a challenge. All came through with flying colors and will continue with strokes and familiarity with being in the Porche of boats. Pushing ones limits is always a good thing in a controlled environment. Children look at some activities with a view of “perceived” risk and we’ve done our homework to take the “actual” risk out of the equation.
All of this is helpful in the developmental needs of children. Going away to camp give children the opportunity to test limits, forge new relationships, gain independence, solve problems and develop a strong sense of self. While we are no substitute for parents, I do believe camp is uniquely suited to meet many of the needs to build on the framework of making the best children into the best adults.
Much if not most of this is due to our staff. They are the uniqueness I refer to above and the ones who care for your children 24/7. Most of you may be wondering what to expect of your camper’s counselors. It’s an important question as we care for your most prized possession. We are only as good as our staff and one of our goals is to partner with you. I can be the best director in campville, have the finest facility and program, but if I don’t hire the best staff to guide and nurture the campers, I have failed. Good camp counseling provides the same values that you expect at home. It’s packaged a little bit different and comes with more than just two parents who become the new cool parents that all kids really want. That’s not to take anything away from you all. The camp “parents” are talented, they’re fun, patient, kind and energetic. Over the next week or so I will share with you what makes a “great” camp counselor. I’ll start with these two:
They are consistent disciplinarians. This is certainly not their easiest task. They know the guidelines at camp and know they will be challenged by campers. This consistency will help mold campers ideas of what is fair and just and they will see this daily, whether choosing teams for a game or delving out jobs for cabin cleanup. Both cabin counselors will be together on what is appropriate so there’s no “good cop/bad cop”.
The “Golden Rule” reigns at camp. Treating campers with kindness and patience will show compassion. In turn their behavior as a counselor, will cause campers to treat others in the same fashion. Politeness and manners in our culture are important when so many people interact on a daily basis. Less and less our culture communicates person to person with one another, so it’s important that building relationships is key in our camp life. Camp is a great place to extend the hand of civilized behavior with one another and again it pays forward.
As I think about the months ahead and the fact that we have an upcoming election in Nov., maybe we should require all those running for office to attend several weeks of camp where you’re not the center of attention and you don’t have any more pull than that person in the bunk sleeping above you. My hope is that many of our young people who attend GV are learning how to live in an ever changing and challenging world. The principles of camp combined with good counseling and partnering with good parenting can go a long way in our times. Stay tuned!