Final Full Day of D Session

Dear Parents & Friends,

A bright and sunny day here at camp for our last full day of D.  Clouds and thunder threatened several times but it didn’t rain.  I was on the river with Mountainside most of the day and returned to camp about 3:00 today.  Upon returning I headed over to the pool because the final day of camp always means pillow case day.  That’s when all campers come to the pool to swim, they bring their pillowcases and they get a quick check by the camp doctor and nurses while they’re waiting to swim.  You might ask what the pillowcase is for. .. well it’s a floatation device.  You don’t say… and how does that work.  First you wet it and then fill it up with air by twirling it round and round and then twist the end and there you have.  You wouldn’t believe how long it stays inflated and will hold up an adult.  So next time you’re out in the middle of a body of water and all you have is a pillowcase then you’ll know how to save yourself or a friend.  It’s actually a survival technique that you can use with most simple clothing.

I saw lots of happy campers this afternoon and evening.  Everyone enjoyed our traditional pizza dinner which is always on the last night of camp.  Pizza for 320 people is a feat.  Hat’s off to our kitchen staff.  They’ve done a great job all summer long and the food here is non-comparable.  My time with Mountainside today was spent on a section of the French Broad that borders the Biltmore Estate.  Our water levels were not that high but we learned a lot about some of the river dynamics they will face on their adventure.  Paddling can be tough when you have to work with a partner and each person carries an equal amount of responsibility for boat handling.  It’s good for teamwork and communication.  Much improvement was made today and I hope that continues into their adventure next week.

Tonight we had our Friendship Campfire with several members of the staff and many campers contributing.  Tonight’s campfire offered up an array of talent.  Much music was shared by campers, staff and SIT’s.  It’s been a great session and we celebrated that by showing many of the pictures that you all have been viewing over C and C-2 sessions.   Our camp photographer Casey has done a great job with capturing your children at camp.  Be sure and thank her for the great pics that she has put up on the web site.

Tonight at campfire I was amazed by how pop culture is so prevalent in our campers.  At our final gathering for D three different songs were sung by campers either solo or in a group.  They were all Taylor Swift songs.  Almost all the campers knew the words especially the girls and while it was cute and everyone was singing, some of the lyrics didn’t seem to fit the ages of campers who were singing.  I have always encouraged campers to get up and have the confidence to perform and sing in these situations because I feel we should have a place where they feel comfortable to do this.  I’m also glad that Gwynn Valley exists to promote those “simple joys” of childhood that keep children young at heart while at camp.  We thank you for supporting our program.   Anne and I appreciate our staff who have cared for your children this session and made sure that their experience at Gwynn Valley was one that will bring about great memories of the good times we all had.

It’s been a great session and the children have made lots of new friends, explored the world around them, and learned that “I can” is much more powerful than “I can’t”.  Magic has happened in their time with us.  In an environment created just for them, they’ve learned real life skills, developed self-esteem, and gained a sense of independence and community.  By playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, and becoming part of a camp family, they have created some memorable moments this week.

As you arrive tomorrow morning, we look forward to seeing you and hope you hear many good stories over the next few days from camp.  We wish they could another week.   Gwynn Valley is 75 years old this summer and we hope to see everyone back again for another year of the simple joys of childhood.  I’ll be checking in tomorrow with new pictures and some final words for D session.  Stay tuned!