E Session Day 2 Video and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Here a short video from the morning.  Hope you enjoy!  Click on link below.

Session E Day 2 from Gwynn Valley on Vimeo.

We were able to put up another video today and hope you enjoyed the action it provides.  It’s been another splendid day here and the weather has been some of the best we’ve had all summer.  Cool mornings and not too hot afternoons.  It’s supposed to be in the low 80’s by thurs.  It certainly makes everyone have more energy and there was no lack of it here today.  I went down to the farm this morning to capture some video as you saw and there lots of picking and feeding and generally just having a good time at the farm.  It’s the kind of place where one never gets bored because there’s so much to do and experience.  I wonder how many of you parents have ever tried to milk a cow.  It’s harder than it looks and hats off to those children who gave it a try.  Everybody loves the baby chicks but not everyone wants to milk Bernice the mama cow.  It takes dexterity and you have to just get in there and go for it.  Cows are bigger than you think and you’re pretty close when you’re milking.  I enjoyed my time down there but more enjoyed seeing all my campers having fun and learning about so many aspects of growing your own food and taking care of the animals.  I was listening to a couple of girls as they were digging potatoes, saying how they wanted to be farmers when they grew up.  These folks could be the next generation that really takes agriculture to the next level and is able to solve some of the food issues that our world and society are struggling with.  You go girls!

You’ll notice that we had our tree climbing going today, in the Hemlocks just outside our office.  We started that program many years ago and it has really grown.  Some children like climbing our 50 ft. tower and others like climbing our trees.  They are two different experiences and if you want something else, then we have arborist climbing.  It’s very different from the other two and equally as challenging . Tree and wall climbing require an active belayer who skillfully reins in the rope while you’re climbing and plays it out when you are coming down.  Arborist climbing requires the staff to hold the rope when you’re coming down but otherwise you’re self belayed.   In all three kinds of climbing everyone wears a harness and helmet.  In arborist climbing you actually ascend the rope itself using what is commonly called a Blake’s Hitch or glorified prussick knot.  The Blake’s Hitch grabs the rope you’re climbing and won’t let go as long as it’s under tension or you’re hanging on it.  When there’s no tension on it, it’s movable in an up or down direction.  As you move up the rope it grabs the rope and allows you to actually ascend as you would with mechanical ascenders.  It’s pretty cool and we’re one of the few camps that teaches it.  All knots are important and neatness in tying the knot is equally important.  After we’ve tied their knots and checked them and explain how the knot is tied we always tell our campers, “a not neat knot is a knot not needed”.  You might have to think about that one for a minute.

Climbing is not the only sport that requires physical and mental talents.  Archery can be challenging in so many ways.  Campers love it and almost every opportunity for archery is always full.  We use some recurved bows as well as some compound bows.  The compound bows allows the archer to hold the full pull position longer and provides for steadier shooting.  Lots of activities today centered on our appreciation of the outdoor world that surrounds us.  I noticed one photograph of our Web of Life teacher and several campers surrounded by a patch of ground pine or as I call it, Club Moss or Turkey’s Foot.  The real name is Lycopodium complanatum.  We don’t usually teach the Latin name and I like the common names because they are easier to remember.  Several groups went creek hiking today and I was actually with one of those groups and we tackled the Brookside Creek starting at Mountainside and hiking all the way to Outpost campsite.  When you hike our creek (Carson Creek) that runs through the middle of camp, you feel you could be right in the middle of Pisgah and you’re never more than about 10 to thirty minutes from the center of GV.  We went this afternoon with a small crew and had a blast.  We may try and get some video up tomorrow of the creek hike.  You’ll enjoy the pictures.

For after supper activities tonight there was a host of things to do.  I ran an activity called Turtle watching.  We took some of the left over supper of beef and potatoes and put three bags of it tied up and on strings.  We placed them in the lake and had hoped to catch a turtle.  Kids being who they are were pretty noisy and soon got bored waiting for the turtles.  Several of the girls began to rescue dragon flies that had gotten stuck between the dock flooring and the water.  They dangled string down to water level until the stranded dragon fly would climb aboard and they would slowly pull them out and set them free.  You will see some photos of this.  In our boredom and fascination with the dragon flies we forgot to watch one of the turtle bags and sure enough one of them had a feast while we weren’t looking.  It will take another time and more patient hunting to lure them out again.  There is always the magic of nature here at camp.  Stay tuned!