Everyday at Gwynn Valley feels like the Weekend

Dear Camper Families and Friends,

It was another beautiful, sunny day here at Gwynn Valley! The weather has been really warm, which makes for great swimming. We caught the edge of a thunderstorm this afternoon just after rest hour, but after about 5 minutes of rain, the sun returned to it’s throne in the sky above Gwynn Valley. We eat well every day, but the food today was exceptional. For breakfast we enjoyed scratch-made zucchini bread, fresh melon, yogurt, sausage, and cereal. At lunch we had baked potatoes, chili, broccoli, and all the best potato toppings. At dinner enjoyed BBQ that was smoked in our smoker (Lucile) for over 24 hours, coleslaw, butter beans, cornbread, and corn. To top it all off we finished dinner with some delicious banana pudding!

Today marks a definitive half way point in D session; just before lunch we finished up  our last Morning Discoveries! At the start of the session, each camper chooses 4 activities to return to 3 times over the course of the 1st week of camp. This repetition allows campers to get involved in more intricate projects like weaving a table runner or throwing, trimming, and glazing a piece of pottery. This structure also allows for more targeted skill development and a progression of skills over multiple sessions in areas such as mountain biking or stand up paddle boards. Though our discoveries are over, we will continue to see the fruits of those classes over the next week. Our musical cast will perform their original work on Monday evening. Our adventure activities (Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking and Camping Skills & Nature) will go on off camp trips to the Lower Green and French Broad Rivers, DuPont State Park and Pisgah National Forest on Monday, Tuesday & Thursday of next week. Sign ups this afternoon were abuzz with sessions for those who are interested in participating in next week’s off camp trips. More on those next week as the trips unfold…

Mountainside went on their last Mini-Adventure today. As of this evening, all 40 mountainsiders have had the opportunity to sample all of the trip options (white water canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and pioneering). Tomorrow, the Mountainside campers will submit their preference forms and the magical sorting machine (also known as the Mountainside Head Counselor and Logsitics Team) will sort everyone’s preferences and adventure placements will bee announced on Monday. Everyone is excited to meet their fellow adventurers! During the 3rd week of MS3, which overlaps with Main Camp’s E session, Mountainside campers will head their separate ways for 4 days and 3 nights of wilderness fun.

Riverside is also back in camp! We love having our elusive Riversiders in camp for a few days. It is so fun for our younger campers to catch a glimpse of these adventurous campers in between days spent out of camp. Riverside campers enjoyed a morning of playing Thicket, which helps them develop their skills of observation in a natural setting. This afternoon, Riverside spent a few hours canoeing on the lake in preparation for the 4 day trip they will be taking next week. Monday will mark the first of four days canoeing on the Lower Green, French Broad, Tuckaseegee and Nanatahala Rivers.

This evening we had lots of little evening programs all over camp. Hillside cabins went to the lodge for Mountain Dancing with Debbie followed by a few Tajar Tales to wind down the evening. Brookside met up with Mountainside for our Mountainside Visit. This is an opportunity for Brookside campers to learn about all the myths and mysteries of the Mountainside program. What do your cabins look like? What are mini-adventures? Where is the Moutainside Lodge exactly? What happens if you’re not a very good biker? Who is Proud Mary?  All this and more plus lots of games and songs around the campfire up on the Mountainside Green. It was a fun evening for both the Brooksiders who learned about a new program and the Mountainsiders who stepped into the role of leader and teacher. Riverside enjoyed a little taste of main camp; they made ceramic creations in the Pot Shop.

Watching the sunset over the blue ridge mountains this evening was a reminder that we are truly living a charmed life here at Gwynn Valley. We work hard, but when you have as much fun at work as we do, every day sort of feels like the weekend. There were many adventures today and many more to come over the following days, but for now the serenaders have finished their rounds and the lightning bugs are telling me that it’s time for bed at Gwynn Valley.