Gwynn Valley – What a great place to be!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It’s been a most pleasant day here at camp.  The weather was perfect and just the right temps here at camp.  Everyone had a productive first full day and campers started their Discovery activities today.  The waterfront was a very busy place starting early in the morning, right up until dinner.  Campers zipped, swam, learned new strokes, played on the water mat, paddled, and rolled their kayaks.  It was a wet and wild day at the waterfront and the perfect day to be there.

I spent some of the morning at the climbing wall watching some playhouse girls and others tackle the wall.  Dylan and Tom our instructors were doing a great job with the young crowd who was there for their first activity this morning.  We’ve added some new high ropes elements to our wall that extend out and we’ve cut a few windows in the side of the wall so it’s easy for me to access those climbing up toward me.  You’ll see some pictures of campers in today’s photos.  I also shot some video and hope to get that up soon.  Those of you that have been to camp before know that we have a cabin called Shady Grove.  Well, we’ve turned Shady Grove into an Arts Building and it now houses 10 wonderful looms that you may see pictures of from today.  Some really beautiful weaving designs have come from those looms already in our first session and campers are beginning to plan their patterns as B Session gets underway.  Visit our Shady Grove cabin at closing and have a look around.  It’s a beautiful cabin and beautiful things are born there.

Fishing at the mill pond netted some results today as some campers caught their very first trout.  I’m sure we’ll catch enough fish this session to have a full GV meal; trout from the pond, cornbread from the Mill and cole slaw from the farm.  Can’t wait for that meal.

Part of the fun of camp is truly getting back to basics in our unplugged world that we refer to as the simple joys.  It’s all around us here at GV and we only have to take it by the hand and sometimes step out of our comfort zone for a short time to experience what we can only imagine.  Or…take it by the reins and see if you can negotiate the turns required for weaving your horse in and out of the cones.  Special relationships with animals and getting close to them is a wonderland experience for many of our campers.  Your children may have only fed the family dog or cat and haven’t experienced the hungry calf that think they’re its mother as they inch closer with the giant bottle full of calf formula.  And then there’s always milking a goat or cow and the dexterity it takes to get that milk to hit the bottom of that bucket.  All this and more is part of playing outside, growing inside and learning by doing here at Gwynn Valley.  We’re playing, learning and growing every day and I’m always amazed at the satisfaction and wide eyed wonder coming from all those little faces.  I’m a lucky guy, along with my staff.

On a older note, we ended our Mountainside 1-A Session today and will get our new campers in on Wed.  Riverside is out on their second day of climbing at Cedar Rock and the weather looks good for the day ahead.  They’re improving their skills each day and gaining confidence.

Camp is a unique experience.  At camp, a random collection of children and young people, who are initially strangers, are placed together to live, learn, work and play for a period of time under the guidance and example of the counselors and directors– most often in a natural setting and almost always away from home and parents.  This random collection evolves into a cooperative community as the individuals grow together.  This growth is evident as each camper becomes more helpful, patient, respectful, caring, tolerant, capable, confident, independent and skilled.  Gwynn Valley, what a great place to be.  Stay tuned!

Mountainside Pioneers on Black Balsam and That Much Closer to Heaven