Capturing the Essence of Gwynn Valley

Dear Families & Friends,

Good evening from Gwynn Valley! Main Camp just finished playing a game that has everyone pursuing colors of the rainbow and the pot of gold at the end.  Six colors have to be gathered from the counselors wearing those colors. When a camper tags a designated ‘color of the rainbow’ that counselor has to paint a dab of paint on each cabin member’s arm. Sounds easy, right? But it’s not because the SITs are also running around in tye dye shirts and if they tag any member of your cabin the SITs will erase one of your colors and give you another in exchange.  And then there are the erasers, wearing white, who take all of your colors if they tag you!  There’s a whole lot of running around but you must stay with your cabin group and counselors.  For all their hard work there has to be a reward, so yes there is a pot of gold waiting at the end! RB, the Tajar Times editor, also happens to be a magician with a 30 minutes repertoire. The campers all gathered in the lodge after running around for a magic show that included all sorts of fun tricks making farm animals appear and disappear and objects move without being touched… The peals of laughter could be heard from across the green!

Earlier today we had some special visitors in camp. Gwynn Valley is filming a new promotional video due to release in the fall, and we have had a professional team come in throughout the summer to capture the essence of Gwynn Valley. Today we filmed some great action shots with kayakers, paddler boarders, and water mat players at the lake; archers shooting their arrows; campers playing with piglets at the farm; tadpole hunters with Web of Life; and Mountianside campers on the high ropes course. With so many fun things going on at camp every day, the good material is endless!! We had a slightly overcast day which was perfect for filming and everyone appreciated the slight drop in temperature.

As part of the filming, we also did a number of 1-on-1 interviews with campers ranging from 1st timers in Echo all the way up to SITs who have been here at GV for over a decade of summers. It was incredible to hear them describe their experiences at Gwynn Valley. Certain themes kept coming up which seem to be near to the heart of our mission. Almost everyone described the sense of community and belonging they feel here at camp. Many discussed the importance of distancing themselves from electronics and finding other ways to entertain themselves by DOING and CREATING. Of course, some of these admitted that they miss their iPads and game consoles, but they also agreed that time away was a good thing. A surprising number talked about Gwynn Valley was the place where they make their first real from of the opposite gender, which surprised me given that so many of our campers attend co-ed schools. Of course we also heard about the daily mantra of ‘doing something difficult everyday’ which Miss Mary embraced fully from day 1! We love seeing campers stretch their comfort zones and experience growth by doing new things while at GV.

Speaking of doing something difficult everyday, we were very glad to have our Riverside campers back from 4 days of climbing at Foster Falls. The group had a great time and campers told us all about their adventures in the woods. The biggest challenge for many was the 150 foot rappel, which is right next to a beautiful waterfall. Every RS camper successfully made it through, despite a few who are pretty nervous about heights. Their campers were proud of themselves and glad that they had pushed past their fears.

Tune in tomorrow to hear about more adventures!