Friendship Campfire and Closing of A

Dear Parents and Friends,

After another action-packed day at Gwynn Valley, camp is quiet again. We started the day with one last morning of sign up activities. Campers were able to choose from over 20 activities including making hemlock tea with Camping Skills & Nature, rock climbing at the tower, candle making at crafts, trail rides in horseback riding, archery with sports, making wands at blacksmithing (Harry Potter is still cool at camp!) and paddling around the lake on Stand-up-Paddle Boards…. among many others!

The activities are of course amazing, but in many ways they are just a lens for the real work that’s going on with our campers. It’s been a great session and the children have made lots of new friends, explored the world around them, and lived in our small intentional community that provides a nurturing backdrop.  As I circulate through camp each day I witness the magic that is played out by those who are experiencing new things for the first time. I’ve seen children turn from shy to talkative with our table family, show resilience in tackling new challenges, and push themselves in ways that help to raise the bar for future endeavors.  Camp is a stepping stone for life skills and building a sense of confidence in an outdoor world. All of this has happened without the aid of screens or other distractions. 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. It’s such a gift to watch them shine here at GV!

Tonight we enjoyed a performance by campers who participated in our Fine Arts Discovery. This session, campers worked on turning a classic camp song (Señor Don Gato) into a performance piece to share with all of camp. Everyone knows the song since it’s a favorite from Singing-in-the-Lodge, and it was so fun to see the story come to life. We ended the night with Friendship Campfire, where we recognize those campers who have attended camp for more than one year, especially those who have been here 4 years or more.  Fourth year campers receive a blanket from camp to remind them of their bunk and their cabin. Fifth-year campers get a plaque made of poplar to remind them of our connection to our trees and the land. In longer sessions, we often celebrate campers who have been here for 8 and 10 years as well. At the end of campfire, we celebrated by showing many of the pictures that you all have been viewing this week as well as a short video. Our camp photographers Liv, Jacob, and Charis have done a great job of capturing your children over the past 6 days.

Backing up a bit in the day, Mountainside left for their adventures this morning! They will remain off camp for two more days returning on Saturday. We can’t wait to hear more about their experiences mountain biking, rock climbing, backpacking, white water paddling, and practicing earth skills. If you have a camper in MS1A, you can rest easy knowing they’ll be having an amazing time playing in the sun! We’re grateful for the sunny weather we’ve had to round out this week.  

If you’re picking up an A session camper tomorrow, you’ll be able to go straight to the cabins when you arrive at camp.  At 10:30 there will be a Friendship Circle in your child’s cabin where they’ll share a bit more about their session. We’ll ring a bell at 11:00 for everyone to gather in the Lodge for our final campfire of the session.  After that you are welcome to stay and have a farm-fresh lunch with us around noon or just before. Safe travels!