Good Food, Good Fun!

Dear Camper Families & Friends,

Time flies when you’re having fun here at Gwynn Valley.  It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of another action packed day!  Our day beamed sunny and bright and the afternoon brought some much needed rain to cool things off.  We are well into our Discovery activities and those will be winding up on Sat.  Next week we should be hosting some trips off camp with various groups including Mountainside and Riverside.  This morning marked our second out of three days of Morning Activities on Main Camp, so activity groups were like a well oiled machine as each group worked through their program specific curriculum.

Our kitchen is knocking it out.  Along with our fresh food that comes from the farm we have a great kitchen staff that turns that raw food into something very special each meal.  Tonight we had soft and hard taco shells with homemade guacamole and all the trimmings.  If that wasn’t enough our chef Megan whipped up Tres Leche for dessert.  You can’t buy food like we have here.  Our Mill helps out too and churns ice cream for events like the upcoming Tajar Ball next week.  The Mill was built in 1890 and it utilizes the water power to make ice cream among other food items.  It’s some of the best around.  We buy our milk and butter locally from a nearby dairy who also sells us our ice cream mix.  Most modern milk is homogenized, however ours is not. Homogenization is a process whereby all the fat molecules are mechanically forced to be the same size. (With homogenized milk, the cream doesn’t separate to the top and is dispersed throughout.) During homogenization the original fat globule membrane is lost and a new one is formed that incorporates a much greater portion of casein and whey proteins, potentially leading to milk related allergies. I’ve only done a little reading on this and I’m sure some of you have researched this a lot more.  Our milk tastes so much better this year and it’s just over 3% and you have to shake it when you open it.

Several days ago we apprehended a baby snapping turtle in the lake and today we set him/her free again but a bit farther from camp.  Many children had a chance to view this prehistoric like creature.  They can get quite large and ferocious looking but they are very timid around people and swim the other way unless they are caught on land.  Our little cove has an abundance of creatures and going out with the Web of Life crew is a treat because we always find something new and different each day.  We’ve been collecting Japanese beetles that are sitting calmly on our ferns in the “Forget Me Not Stream” that runs underneath the Lodge.  Yes, there is a stream that starts on the other side of the building and eventually runs into the lake.  It used to be the water fountain for camp.  There were cups you dipped in a small reservoir and drank directly from the spring where it came out of the ground.  Of course all that has changed and we’ll not see those practices again.

Our adventure programs had a very successful day as well: Mountainside campers enjoyed their first full day at GV to include two sets of mini-adventures. Mini-adventures mark the time where campers rotate through and sample each of the four adventure options: climbing, biking, paddling, and pioneering, so that they can make a better decision about which adventure they want to do for their 2 day trip later in the session. Mountainside held their infamous Dutch Auction tonight at their Lodge and I’m sure there was lots of laughter.  Riverside returned from their four day paddling trip where they took on the Green and the Tuckaseegee Rivers.  Riversiders were all smiles as they recounted their triumphs and challenges from their four days in the field. Now they have a few days back at camp to prepare for their next and final adventure: backpacking!

These young folks are developing some skills and working toward some great outcomes.  You’ll be hearing more about outcomes soon.  This year Gwynn Valley and about 20 other camps collaborated with Clemson University to conduct a comprehensive evaluation or our camp programs and to better understand your perspective as parents.  In addition to learning about your child’s camp experience, we also want to gain a greater insight into how parents today are making decisions for their children.  We hope that information will help us continually improve our camp programs and services.  So..Stay Tuned!