Great Day to be on the Waterfront


It’s been another great day at camp although hotter than usual.  We thought we might get some rain or a storm but it passed us by. Even though it was hot, we hit the trails at GV going in all directions by foot, hoof and bike.  Campers from all over camp traversed our many trails as well as walked the creeks and hiked many paths.  Our 400 acres are full of wonder and beauty.  No matter where you go on the property you will find something that is interesting.  A keen eye and sometimes silent footsteps take you even closer to the miracles of nature around us.  I met our mountain bikers this afternoon on the long trail above camp which can be hiked, run, horse ridden or mountain biked.  It’s suitable for all four.  Camping Skills and Nature took a two hour hike to The Rock this afternoon where the view was spectacular. There was beautiful marbling being done in Arts and Crafts this morning along with weaving, pottery, and knitting.  Our kayakers had fun on the lake today which was a great place to be on a hot day.  You’ll see two kinds of kayaks at GV.  The sit-on-tops are easy to paddle and maintain a straight line with little effort and even the smallest camper can paddle them.  The whitewater kayaks are hard to keep in a straight line and if you turn over you have to either roll it back up or wet exit which is what they are working on now.   Those who feel comfortable with their wet exits and have learned to handle their boats on the lake may be going off site for a trip, most likely to the French Broad which is in our backyard.

On these warm days, the waterfront and pool have been popular places.  There is someone almost always on the zip line when the waterfront is open.  It’s a great ride and everyone’s challenge is to perform a Spiderman (hanging upside down) while zipping.  Harder than it looks!  Other popular components at the lake this summer are the rope swing and the tension traverse which is just a few inches over the water and you walk the cable holding on to a long rope that is attached to the top of the rope swing.   The farther out you get the more difficult it is and very few campers or staff have made it all the way to the opposite bank.

Soccer and archery rounded out the morning on the sports pitch.  There’s at least one soccer game every day at camp and more often there’s more than one.  After all it is the world’s #1 sport (behind ACC Basketball).  Pottery, while not a sport, does take a fair amount of coordination.  I’ve been in camping a long time and haven’t yet been able to master the proper throwing of a pot on the wheel. I suppose it takes practice just like everything else. That being said there were lots of pinch pots and slab pots being made today, which is what I need to stick to.

Our Riverside group  came home today after 4 days of paddling.  They had a successful adventure with 2 days on the lower Green River and 2 days paddling the Tuckasegee. They had a great day on the river hitting lots of eddies and playing in different spots.  Everyone had showered and eaten by dinner and I’m sure they will sleep like tired puppies tonight.  We also welcomed a new batch of Mountainsider’s today and they had an afternoon and evening of get acquainted games and challenges.

At camp, some kids practice sports, some practice instruments, and some practice their belly flops.  One thing that ALL campers practice is independence!  Gwynn Valley provides a nurturing and safe environment for kids to face challenges on their own, and that can be incredibly constructive to a child’s character, resilience and grit.  Author and psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, put it this way: “I think camp is the best emotional preparation for a successful college experience, because you practice being on your own, keeping track of your clothes; you practice living in a community and getting along with challenging roommates — all of the skills you need for true independence.”

When campers can draw upon an experience of overcoming a challenge on their own, it gives them a positive memory to draw from when facing future obstacles; say, preparing for that really big math test or interviewing for that first job.  Camp provides a world of good, each and every day here at GV.