We sometimes say that “camp is a human powered event”. I see that every day in the summer, as our campers move, jog, bike, climb, use their hands, hike, run, swim, paddle and of course use their brain to combine with all of these movements. Camp is also a place that is an open door to many activities that we either don’t have a chance to do at home or have the time. Camp can introduce and propel us into activities and hobbies that we can participate in for years.
This past week Asheville, NC and the Biltmore Estate hosted the National Cyclo-cross Championships. If you’re new to the sport it’s kind of like a bicycle steeplechase. Riders ride, run, cross over short barriers, go up steps and all kind of steep terrain up and down. Bikes are similar to road bikes with slightly wider knobby tires and drop bars found on road bikes. I volunteered a couple of days for the races and thoroughly enjoyed watching the riders, friends, parents and fans cheer on their favorites. I did say parents because riders as young as 9 years old were out there to ride and compete on a national level. Nationals also included men and women up to 80, so it’s not a young person’s sport.
I ran into Alex and Madalyn Green, both GV campers at the race and they were both racing. Alex was interested in bikes before coming to camp and our mountain biking program perked his interest even more. Alex and Madalyn were campers at GV for 5 years. For the past couple of summers he’s been racing bikes and also gotten in cyclo-cross. In talking with Alex and his parents he thoroughly enjoyed his time learning the trails around camp and surrounding Brevard. I didn’t get to see Madalyn, because she was racing when I took the pic below. Madalyn just started racing and is looking ahead in this new endeavor. You go girl! Out of a field of 77, Alex came in 22nd. Keep in mind this is National’s and not some local race. Congrats to him for a strong showing.
It’s great to see how campers flourish and take skills to the next level. Camp is an outlet to learn new skills and push the envelope and comfort zone in a safe and fun way. It introduces you to different and new environments that are not familiar or like home. It stretches us physically mentally, emotionally and provides guidance by staff who act as parents while at camp. And it’s human powered, getting us out there in the great environment of our surrounding forests and fields. It’s playing outside and growing inside here at Gwynn Valley. I’ll leave you with this quote, “Life is like riding a bicycle; to keep your balance you must keep moving forward. “