Happy Holidays and New “You Rock” Video!

Happy Holidays Everyone,

We hope your holiday preparations are going well and you and your family are looking forward to this wonderful part of the year. One of my goals for the end of the year is to really slow down and get the most of these days ahead. We do the same thing at camp sometimes. We get on a roll and everything is moving so fast that we suddenly realize that we need to apply the brakes. Camp moves at a fast pace and it’s hard to slow down a moving train. Children get tired and they need good rest and time to just recharge those batteries. When we do put the brakes on it’s rewarding to see how a bit of unstructured free-play and some rest can rejuvenate everyone and bring a sense of well-being to our home away from home. We all need this in our lives and it’s especially hard this time of year to slow that train down.

With the holiday season also comes the aspects of ceremony and tradition. We have a lot of tradition here at camp. Traditions of camp vary from events in the summer to cabin photos that campers receive in the winter. Several years ago a counselor, named Tyler Swain, produced a video for us called “You Rock”. It still stands as an iconic piece for us and is on our website. I can’t even remember when the video was created, but it was time for an updated version. We thought about trying to work with that same theme with new footage but you can’t always build on some things that are done so well the first time. We have created a new version with an short beginning similar to the last “You Rock”, but then it departs and speaks to 2014 and a glimpse of our magical summer past. Many thanks to my co-workers who critiqued my work and also Emery Ford who introduced me to the song used and added some footage from a piece she did this summer for Session B. We may or may not put this on our website but you can certainly view it on Vimeo as well as our Facebook page for Gwynn Valley. Here’s the link. http://vimeo.com/114361671

As another year comes to an end, I highlight the things for which I am grateful, but what are those things, really? In this season of thanks, I am grateful for my family who is there for each other, I have a nice home, income, an active life of activities, a system of positive beliefs and much more. At camp one of our values is simplicity and the older I get the more I want things to be simple. I’ve accumulated enough “stuff” in my life that I really don’t need much more, especially gadgets and outdoor toys. However, every now and then I do envy a new mountain bike or boat, but then I see my friend Robert Dye (one of our whitewater instructors who teaches at the local college) making his own sea kayak and that friends, is simplicity. I’m also grateful for the association I’ve had with the many families that come to camp and all the children that have attended Gwynn Valley. I also include the fact that I wake up each morning to another beautiful day in paradise to accomplish good things along with my fellow workers in keeping Gwynn Valley a great place for children to attend.

In this season of giving, the gift of a camp experience is different than adding more “stuff” to the accumulation pile. Camp is a great gift for a child and the camp experience is one that is not forgotten and does not come from a screen. It’s an active, hands on event that propels the camper to new heights of self worth, resilience and time away to grow on one’s own without parents.

So… enjoy the video link listed above and all it stands for. Give thanks, slow down and have a wonderful Holiday Season with those who surround you. Best to you and yours from all of us.