Hot Wonderful Day With a Few Scattered Birthdays!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Wow!  It’s been such an exciting day around camp.  Sometimes at the table you’ll ask campers what they did that day and they’ll have trouble remembering because there’s so much going on.  If they can’t remember, I’ll just ask, “well did you have a good day”, and the answer is yes!  Today was no exception with all activities running strong.  We had a brief shower just after rest hour today but otherwise a hot sunny day here at camp.  I spent some of my morning at the farm where campers  gathered eggs, listened to the heartbeat of baby chicks, bottle fed the young calves, visited and hung out with our baby piglets, and pulled fresh carrots out of the ground.  We’ve had a lot rain this summer so our carrots are not as big as usual but they are tasty.  I’m sure we’ll see some on the table tonight at dinner.  Did you know that female chicks are called pullets until they’re about a year old and that’s when they start to lay eggs.  And… did you know that while a chicken’s egg may seem solid, it actually contains about 8,000 pores large enough for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  Our farm is amazing and you learn so much while you’re down there.  It was hot at the farm this morning but everyone really enjoyed our time with the animals and the farm crew.  There was even time to soak your hot feet in the creek before we left.

This afternoon I went out with our WEB of Life crew to find the elusive Salamander, the Pisgah Giant.  This is a little known species lives just on the GV property and they are very rare.  We hiked up past Pioneer 2 (one of our campout shelters) and dove into the underbrush and then found Tajar Creek which flows into the Hillside Creek.  This area is also called Shelter Rock.  When you take a lot of children into a creek you have to hike upstream if you expect to see anything.  Any critter who has a brain will flee at the slightest pounding of 20 feet stomping up a creek bed.  It takes a keen eye to spot the Pisgah Giant but amazingly we did.  It also takes about two seconds for them to figure out they better find a better hiding spot and just as I was about the make the grab it slithered off under a wet embankment.  I felt around but it was long gone.  It was a baby of the Giant but nonetheless generated minor hysteria amongst the group.  They were ready to lift every rock in the creek bed to find another specimen. We were running out of time so we bushwacked back to the trail and ran back to make changeover and dinner.

Dinner tonight was chicken pot pie, fresh salad from our garden, fruit and bread.  I have Eloise sitting at my table who had a 9th birthday today and we celebrated all day at the table.  She got a cake tonight for dinner and shared it with her cabin.  It’s fun having your birthday at camp, because so many people help you celebrate.  Everyone in the dining room sings our special birthday song to the person and it’s tailored to the birthday person only.  It was brought to camp many years ago by a story teller named Richard Chase who wrote The Jack Tales and The Grandfather Tales.  There were a total of three birthdays at camp today.  Amazing!!

After supper activities is a time when children can pursue any activity that is offered and usually there are at least 15.  I went to watch and participate in hula hooping and learned it’s a fine performance art these days.  We have some staff who are very good at it and can do some amazing tricks.  There was also “Thunderball”, Nuke Em, Frisbee, Games on the Green, Stories on the Porch, Songs with Debbie, and a host of others.  It’s a loosely unstructured freeplay time when there is supervision but it’s not too programed.  Children can run at will, play tag and enjoy just being a child.  Some prefer games and a little competition to round out their day and others just want to exhale and do something to relax and enjoy the company of friends and counselors.  It’s one of my favorite times of the day other than early morning.  I love to watch the Hilltop cabins come running across the Green in the morning for a GV breakfast.

Tonight we had Tajar Tales in the Lodge, read by Rick Brown who actually wrote the book over 25 years ago.  This is the addendum to the original stories and much better.  He does a great job of reading these tales that he wrote and perfectly places the inflections at the proper time of the story.   We dismissed Hillside campers and the Brook stayed on for Mountain Dancing with Jess and Debbie.  Sasha, a Russian Folk Dance, Going to Kentucky and the BlueBird Song were performed by all the Brookside campers.  A full day indeed and we will all sleep well!  Goodnight and stay tuned!