Foundations of Learning while having FUN!

Dear Parents and Friends,

We did get the needed rain last night and it came while the children were sleeping.  No major thunder storms in the night, just mild rumblings and a good steady rain for several hours.  It’s been very dry and hot and this morning you can tell that the weather has broken.  I hope the same is true for you all wherever you may be living in the heat.  Today we began our activities and children started their Discovery activities in the AM.  So if I have soccer first hour and biking second hour, I take those on Mon., Wed., and Fri.  If I have horses first hour and pottery second hour I take those on Tues., Thurs., and Sat.   Then in the afternoons I have a free choice of 2 one hour activities or 1 two hour activity and that changes each day.  Progressive skills in the morning and skills and variety in the afternoon.  Then of course there’s the after supper activity time when all kinds of activities are available for about 45 minutes.  Pick-up ball games to basic crafts and the like.  Tonight lots of campers chose Thunderball and volleyball.  Games on Green drew a crowd as well as crafts on the wall, looking for 4 leaf clovers and soccer.  With 210 campers you need a good amount of activities available.  Thunderball is new this year but we did play some last year indoors.  This year we’ve built an outdoor court and there’s always at least 25 to 30 campers playing of all ages.  The game was brought over from Israel and is played in many camps up north.  I learned about it at a conference a couple of years ago.  It’s a form of dodge ball but you can’t actually throw the ball at someone.  You have to hit the ball with your hand and it can only tag someone from the knee down.  If you hit someone above the knee the person who hit the ball is out.  If you’re tagged below the knee by a legal hit you’re out.  If the ball sails over the court which is just over a yard tall you’re out.  It’s fast paced and integrity plays a major role in admitting that you’ve been tagged. Size and age have little to do with it but quickness and reflexes do.  We get down to three people in the ring and the game starts over.  In most programs it’s called GA-GA but we wanted a different name and we’ve slightly modified the rules for younger campers.  It’s been a hit this year.

As we started program today it was interesting to go around to many programs and see them get off the ground with the foundations of the program.  I think most people who sign up for biking think that they’re just going to hop on the bike and ride off.  We go through a battery of fitting the bike and helmet and making sure that you practice shifting and understand cadence.  There are so many games that can challenge the child just on short grass to give you an idea of their riding ability.  You quickly learn what sort of terrain they can handle and whether or not they can ride single track.  Single track trails are rarely more than 3 ft. wide and take some skill to navigate when there are small roots, inclines and the occasional rock to ride over or dodge.  Guidelines and foundational teaching is so important throughout camp and the water front provides info for the campers as to where they can dive in the lake and when and where they need to wear a PFD.  Progression of teaching and building on foundations of safety, skills and fun make for good programs.  Kayaking, Marshall Arts, Weaving, GV rescue, Fishing at the Mill, and many others started their day with the importance of foundational learning.

Today I worked with Riversider’s on the lake and preparing them for their canoeing component which starts next week.  Many had experience but we needed to go back to those basics to start anew and not get into bad paddling habits.  Paddling at the ripe age of 13 and 14 should be a dance on the water and finesse instead of power.  One can never really be stronger than moving water but only figure out best how to harness it’s strength to your advantage.  Even on the flat water of the lake that is in evidence.  They made great progress today and it was a joy to work with them.  They’re off to Linville Gorge for climbing tomorrow.

I made a reference to Spider Man last night talking about our Zip Line.  The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) has released “The Amazing Spider-Man™” lessons and exercise guides. Designed by NASPE for children and youth ages 6-11 and 12-14, the free online lessons are posted on NASPE’s Web site and are perfect for our program.  It helps the campers get the nationally recommended 60+ minutes of physical activity every day while having fun. In addition, children and youth will have an opportunity to earn a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+).  PALA has chosen “Spidie” as their poster rep in conjunction with the release of the upcoming Spider Man Movie.  We are easily getting those 60+ minutes of activity but we can benefit from some of the activities that the site has to offer.  It also helps us to sleep better each night because we’ve had a full day of activity.  I can think of no better way to assure a restful night.  Working at camp certainly does that for me.  We hope you will sleep well knowing that your children are in good hands and are enjoying the simple joys of childhood here at GV.  Stay tuned!