Farm Campfire and a Beautiful Day!

Dear Parents and Families,

It was a hot and sunny day here today and we began with clear blue skies without our usual morning fog that sets into the French Broad Valley on normal days.  No rain came until dinner time and lasted through the meal and was gone by the time after supper activities started.  With our clear cool morning we had some local videographers here to shoot aerial views of our dining room and kitchen complex.  It was the perfect morning and the kids loved watching the drone work its magic.  The same crew came back this evening to video our evening meal and capture the new facility from the inside.  We love our new building and it’s really added to camp in so many ways.   Today was our second day of Discovery and campers were talking about their activities from the morning.  There is so much going on it’s hard to choose what to do next sometimes.  This choice system is great for children because many have not had the chance to chart their own day and make decisions like, what will I do for my Discoveries and what will I choose just for today.  And this goes on for 10 days or 3 weeks.  It’s nice to have that freedom and also in this environment where you try out things with your friends or focus on a theme like adventure, crafts, nature, farm/mill, sports, theater, or all of the above.  For a child it’s like having the world as your oyster.

I think children/campers gain so much independence, confidence, resilience and a desire to succeed by coming to camp.  Children need to learn in different ways and not just in traditional class rooms.  Learning math skills is very important and learning to paddle a boat with partner rates high on the “emotional intelligence quotient” that camp provides.  The community life of camp is hard to beat.  Spending time away from video games, social media and television help them to make personal connections with others and engage in new environments.   I feel that the outcomes from summer camp greatly enhance your academic life on the traditional school end.    Recent studies found that the average child between the ages of 8-18 spends 45 hours a week interacting with electronic media.  Being outdoors and breathing in fresh air during activities makes people feel great. It cleanses their lungs and improves blood circulation throughout the body, resulting in increased energy levels and an overall euphoric feeling for a “natural high.” And then there’s the exercise factor! Physical activity builds self-esteem and motivation at every age.  An outdoors camp lets children reconnect with nature. The exposure to new habitats and creatures encourages children’s instinctive fascination with science and nature and opens up their world to new ways of thinking about the world around them.  Camps get children out in the field and out of their comfort zone, exposing them to new experiences they may never have dreamed of and perhaps spark a new interest that lasts beyond their week(s) at camp.

Riverside was here all day and will be packing up soon to leave on Sunday for their last component of backpacking.  They’ve been paddling on the Green, Tuckaseegee, and Nantahala Rivers this week. We are thrilled to have Riverside with us for a few days before they take to the mountains.  Another added bonus of our new facility is that Riverside gets to eat with us whenever they are in camp.  That’s also true of Day Camp, who used to eat at the Brookside Shelter.  Now they join us for lunch and have the Pavilion to themselves.  Mountainsider’s also had a homecoming of sorts at dinner. Today was their second MS Training Day, so bikers, paddlers, pioneers, and climbers spent all day out of camp training for their Adventures which will begin on Sunday as well! I think having such an active day made our dinner of chicken, rice, garden fresh salad, garden broccoli and cornbread even better.  By the way the chicken tonight was courtesy of the farm.  We raise chickens before campers arrive and have them prepared for summer eating.  Our summer chickens mostly lay eggs for baby chicks.

The farm is cranking this time of year.  It’s been so busy, that I forgot to tell you about the birth of baby piglets that happened just over a week ago.  I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures.  Note the pic in this article from the farm that has campers collecting corn from the corn crib.  That corn meal will be the cornbread we will have next week.  C Session harvest by campers includes sweet corn, potatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, more corn, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, blueberries, and more corn. There are also many baby animals requiring love, attention, and possibly a bottle feeding with each camper visit: piglets, goat kids, and calves. Campfire tonight was the annual Farm Campfire and all its characters and carrot cake was served up.  Farmer Dale told some stories and clogged, the Needle Nose Vise Grips played several songs and there was a corn eating contest.  It was an evening of farm fun and laughs with campers and staff participating on all levels.

I’m a believer in camp and I thank you for sharing your children with us.  While we grow vegetables at the farm, we also are helping your children grow into many ways through all the opportunities that camp offers.  We hope you see that growth and outcomes when they return home.  Stay tuned!