E Session Day 5 Blog and the Tajar’s Birthday!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Wow!  It’s been a full day with lots going on at camp.  The day started beautifully and ended a little wet but the fun never stops here and activities go right on.  We’ve got lots of photos and some video that will be going up tomorrow so keep watching.  Today was the Tajar’s birthday and it started by him letting everyone in camp know that this was a special day.  As campers came back from their campouts last night the Tajar Folly was in evidence everywhere.  Those who didn’t camp out and just came down for breakfast instantly knew something was up.  There were coffee cups hanging in the trees, kayaks on the Green, tables in the dining room turned upside down, and a host of mischief that only the Tajar would do.  He even brought the soccer goal down and put it near the entrance to the Dining Room.  I’m sure he slept all day today after all that mischief and I’m sure he was at the Tajar Ball tonight just being himself and having fun.  Of course he’s in costume and no one can really figure out who he is because we’re all in costume.  We were scheduled to have our cookout outdoors tonight as we usually do but it rained just before and during dinner so everyone had to eat in the dining room.  We were able to hold the carnival outdoors and it was a lot of fun.  All kinds of booths were set up including: the Frisbee toss, one minute challenges, face painting, several eating stations including ice cream, popcorn and cookies, guess the M&M’s, Dice racing, Bingo, Fortune Telling, Penny Drop, Balloon Animals, and more.  Everyone crowded into the Lodge just at dark and another thunder shower came through.  We all enjoyed the extra few minutes to unwind.  Even in an 8 day session campers can get pretty tired.  I’ve talked about the full days we have and all that’s packed into them.

Wherever you look there’s a world of beautiful things being churned out in our Arts Arena.  Today the campers were marbleizing scarves and they were beautiful.  It’s an interesting process and one that takes a while to prepare.  No scarf is alike and can be so different from one with similar colors.  It’s all how the dye is manipulated.  We took some photos and video that should be up tomorrow.  GV Rescue took their skills to the river today to learn more about lifeguarding and how to react on moving water.  I was watching one of our staff teaching campers on the lake yesterday about rescuing a capsized small boat and it was impressive.  They learned how to throw ropes and other techniques as part of the reach, throw and go that is taught as part of the Jr. Lifeguard certification.  These guys are not quite ready for the “go” part but just by knowing about the “reach and throw” could one day save a life.  They also learned the proper way to swim in a river where you couldn’t see the bottom and say your boat went over or you maybe fell into a stream by mistake.  Many of these campers will one day be in a situation where they may rafting with the family or paddling on moving water and they will know the proper swim position if you turn over your boat. On our Mountainside trip yesterday we asked every paddling team to go out into the current and turn over their boat on purpose and learn how to self rescue.  It’s not as easy as it seems and there are do’s and don’ts that are good to learn.  Plain and simple; good skills to have whether you’re 6 or 60.

Top of Climb at “The Rock”

As the session winds down there were lot of folks glazing pottery at the pot shop.  Stu will be firing up the kilns tomorrow as soon as morning program is over.  Can’t wait to see how everything turns out.  Kayakers in Main Camp took a trip out today to the French Broad on the other side of Brevard.  It’s about a 2 ½ mile section that has one bigger rapid in it with lots of places to practice all the moves one needs to learn as you get into moving water.  The first rapid has a lot of current focused in one spot and there were several campers who went over in the process.  The process provides progress and everyone learned a great deal about moving water and how to react to it.  The key to all paddling is to learn to use the power of the water to your advantage.  You can never overpower it but you can learn to use its power.  I was able to capture some photos and video of our afternoon climbers up at “The Rock”.  Our rock is not a big rock but certainly big enough to climb on and understand that’s it’s different from tree climbing.  It’s about a 20 to 30 minute hike up there and very steep in some places.  The campers did a great job and were challenged as well.

We ended our day today with Tajar Ball where everyone came to dinner in costume.  It’s a grand affair and you can see the thought that some campers and staff put into their costumes.  Some bring them from home and others create from nothing to something very impressive.  The food is good; burgers and dogs and all the trimmings and the fun afterward just tops off the evening.

Mountainside and Riverside all returned from their adventures today and everyone was smiling especially after taking a shower.  I just finished meeting with all the Mountainside staff for a debrief on the session and ways to improve on what we do and recognize our strengths and weaknesses.  We’ve had a great summer in both programs as well as Main Camp and I wanted to convey that to them.  Tomorrow is our last full day of E Session and I’m looking forward to making the most of it.  Stay tuned!

Grant