Parents & Friends,
All activities were humming today with the beautiful weather. There was no excuse not to have an excellent day at camp as we explored all parts of the property. There were tubing trips to the French Broad and they land on our land just across the road. Hikers were taking to our many trails in search of salamanders, bugs and creepy crawlers. Others were learning how to build primitive shelters from just the debris one finds in the forest. Creek hikes to our beautiful Connestee Falls, plus a strong group of mountain bikers this morning going through their drills and learning the attack position while tackling some obstacles and getting used to some uneven terrain. Mountain biking has been very popular this year and we’ve really used our new trail across the road. It’s over a mile and a half of single track riding with lots of roller coaster turns, twists and bumps. It provides the novice to intermediate a chance to really stretch their cycling legs right here at GV. Many of these campers we hope will improve their skills to later ride with our Mountainside crew. Several of our Mountainsiders from last session rode just at a hundred miles at Dupont State Forest during their 4 days there. That’s a lot of mountain miles.
Can you imagine being a baby farm animal at Gwynn Valley. You get so much attention by the campers and it’s just a great place for animals and campers alike. Those baby chicks today were cuddled and cooed over as the campers came and went to the farm. The baby calves get three bottle feedings a day and two of those are from campers. The piglets may squirm and squeal but they love to be loved; same with the goats. Corn was picked today at the farm and I’m sure we’ll have fresh corn tomorrow at one of the meals. We shucked corn right after lunch and everyone in Main Camp was there. As tables finish up their meal, cleaned and wiped the table they either go to the Lodge or first to shuck corn if it’s there. It doesn’t take 200 people long to shuck 500 ears of corn. Our corn has some worms but we usually save the big ones and take them over to the pond for the fish to eat as part of the circle of life. The shucks go back to the farm to be eating by the adult cows. They love those shucks.
Climbing in the shade at the climbing wall was popular today. Our wall is right next to the creek and it’s the perfect place to be on a hot sunny day when you feel like reaching for new heights and going for it. We have three kinds of climbing at GV. There’s the wall, arborist climbing and tree climbing. Each is very different and we’ll talk about those maybe at a later date. Rob, Avery and crew were there instructing and providing support through belaying as well as verbal encouragement. It’s challenge by choice at camp. We encourage you to reach the top, some do and some don’t. We want you to give it several try’s and next time go a little farther or higher. Miss Mary Gwynn, our founder, said children should be challenged every day. It’s good for them to leave their comfort zones in the care of our mature staff. Confidence, independence and sense of accomplishment play into so many of our camp activities. Our values of simplicity, a non-competitive environment, acceptance and a close connection to the land still hold strong today. Whether you’re trying to score a bull’s eye or trying to throw a pot on the wheel, you’re surrounded by friends and staff who are right there with you supporting you and encouraging you to try. It’s ok if you don’t quite reach the top. There’s always another day in the sun at GV. Stay tuned!