Ice Cream Makes Any Day a Great Day!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It’s been another great day at camp.   With the good weather 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 to Connestee Falls to cool off and swim.  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.  There were beautiful scarves being made in Arts and Crafts this afternoon as I walked past coming from the upper reaches of camp.  They were out drying in the sun and were colorful and varied in design.  It was hard to leave the Mill area today because ice cream was being made by campers in the PM and it was the perfect way to spend a hot afternoon.  Cookie dough flavor was on tap today.  There will be a variety of flavors on hand for the upcoming Tajar Ball next week.   Our kayakers are getting ready for a river trip which will happen next week.  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 will be going off site for a trip, most likely to the French Broad which is in our backyard.  The end of the session we’ll have a trip to the Green River which is about an hour away and is a little bigger water.

Because of the weather, the waterfront was a popular place today.  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!  We’ll try and get some photos.  A new component to the lake this summer is the rope swing which has been fun.  We are working on having the Tension Traverse back up and running soon.  It’s 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.  I’m sure there will be a line to take a shot at the Traverse.

Remaining in the water world, we’re catching lots of fish down at the Mill.  We should be having a fish fry soon.  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).  Some campers are still wearing their Cleveland Cavaliers T-shirts and are still celebrating their big win earlier this week.  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.

The Riversiders came home today after 4 days of paddling.  They ended their paddling component on the Nantahala, a swift and cold river about two hours from here.  The year round temperature of the water hovers around 48 – 50 degrees.  They had a great day on the river hitting lots of eddies and playing in spots that welcome a boat to a surfable wave.  Everyone has showered and eaten and I’m sure they will sleep like tired puppies tonight.   We also welcomed a new batch of Mountainsider’s today and they had their intro skits tonight.  Tonight’s Main Camp campfire was dancing for Brookside and Tajar Tales for Hillside.  Brookside danced with Debbie playing the 88’s and me calling and ending our session with a Virginia Reel.

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 roommates you don’t always like — 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.  Stay tuned!

PS  We’ve just uploaded a short video for your enjoyment and should have another ready tomorrow. Look for it on the Campminder site where you see pictures.