Dear Parents & Friends,
Another great day at GV! I must be the luckiest man in the world. We are having so much fun this session and I get to witness most of it. I was just at the Lodge shooting some video of Mountain Dancing. About half of Main Camp was there and the other half was camping out tonight. We’ve been lucky with the weather this week. Both our campout nights were sunny and clear. We may get a few showers tomorrow but this week has been great. I was able to swing by 4 cabins that were camping tonight. I visited Playhouse, Chipmunk Hut, Peter Pan and Seventh Heaven. They were all at different campout shelters and all were in the process of cooking dinner over an open fire. Smores were also on everyone’s menu and then sitting around the campfire and enjoying the night sky, crickets, music and stories. The girls in Peter Pan were working on a play and I was able to see the first act. Playhouse girls were already in their PJ’s and enjoying dinner and working on smores. Seventh Heaven was across the road and had finished dinner and the boys were out on the field at Day Camp playing soccer. The view from there is spectacular and one can see all the way to Parkway, just over 6000’. Chipmunk Hut was just beginning to down their dinner and one young man was just starting to read aloud the second Harry Potter book with a different voice for each character. The boys were quite attentive despite the fact they were quite hungry.
I took a few hours off last night and took a trip out to Dupont State Forest to check on our Mountain Bikers. It was a good excuse to bike to their campsite and get a ride in for myself. They were having some trouble with their cook stove and I wanted to check on it. All it needed was a little lube on the pump and they were ready to roll. They had been cooking over an open fire and were riding some great trails in Dupont. Tomorrow I will be going out with Mountainside Paddlers and doing some video boating as we say. Good excuse to get to the river, as well as see how the troops are doing. Head Counselor Josiah was out with the Pioneers on Wed. Riversider’s are out on the trail and will be coming home tomorrow.
In Main Camp today we had what we call our second round of “open houses”. This is where a team member (director/head counselor) and activity leader goes into a cabin to meet with just the campers. Cabin counselors are not there and the purpose is obvious; to check on the cabin to see how the staff are doing and how the campers are getting along with one another. I went to Sunrise today and visited with Primavera yesterday. Both cabins gave their counselors high marks and everything is going very well. As I told the boys in Sunrise, life at camp starts in the cabin and works its way outward into program. You belong to many different groups at camp and the most important group is your cabin group. It’s important that a cooperative living environment exists and that everyone including the staff is pulling their weight. Most cabins this week have gone “off program” as we call it where they do something together as a cabin unit. It’s good for cabin bonding and getting to know one another better. Sometimes you end up in activities with your cabin buds, but most often not.
This afternoon I was able to get up in one of our Hemlock trees that we use for climbing. I shot some video and still from the 50’ feet in the air perspective. I love being up in the tree and seeing the campers make their way toward the top and high five the top of the tree climb. If the weather holds tomorrow our climbers will venture over to our Arborists Trees where a whole different type of climbing will take place. We don’t actually climb the tree via the limbs but ascend a rope using certain knots to inch our way up the rope. This is how many big wall climbers move up and down on climbs like those in Yosemite, but they are using mechanical ascenders and we’re using arborist knots to get up into the trees.
Our days are full as you can see and as one young man put it at the end of one of the dances tonight, “Whew, I’m tired”. On cue we settled everyone down, read them a couple of Tajar Tales and sent everyone off to end another great day at camp. The simple joys of childhood reign here at Gwynn Valley. We are having a great time in Session E and there’s more to come. Tomorrow evening is Tajar Ball which you will hear all about. We’ll do our best to keep you posted. Stay tuned!