Imagination at Camp – Powerful!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It was an almost perfect day here at camp with great weather, a short shower during lunch and everyone enjoying the best that GV has to offer.  Some Brookside cabins went up to Mountainside tonight to see what that program is all about.  Mountainside is for those finishing 6th, 7th and 8th grade and who better to tell the story than the campers themselves.  It’s an honest and informative visit for Brooksider’s who are of age to attend next year or possibly the next.

Several cabins were also camping out tonight and it’s been dry enough to get a fire going easily.  Last week and the week before there was some wet wood and fires for cooking on campouts were a challenge.  It’s not an elaborate cookout but tasty none the less and certainly there’s always s’mores. What would a campout be without them!  When Anne and I first came to GV, chocolate had been eliminated from the s’mores recipe.  One of our first acts was to reinstate chocolate back into the recipe.  Yes, it might hype the occasional camper but it’s definitely worth it.

I spent a good portion of the morning with Riverside and working with them on the lake to ready their skills for the river starting Sunday.  They did pretty well and seemed to catch quite a bit of information for the first day.  We ended with some games where everyone got wet in and out of the boat and I introduced a move called the “Groucho Marx”.  Don’t ask me about the name but I learned it many years ago.  You exit the boat and leave your partner either in the boat of outside on the opposite side to hold it steady for your re-entry.  I know this might sound confusing, but you place the back of your head against the side of the canoe and have your arms on the rails or the gunwales like you’re holding on to a chin-up bar.  You go under still holding on to the boat and place your forehead on the bottom of the boat while rolling and tucking backwards into a backward somersault that lands you in the boat.  One you get it, you got it.  I’m not as good as I used to be but I can still pull it off.  Ask your Riversider about it.  Maybe we’ll get a photo series.

Most of Hillside was with me and Debbie tonight at Mountain Dancing in the Lodge.  Hillside boys were learning how to swing gently and not have their partner bouncing off any Lodge Walls.  You’ve gotta love their enthusiasm.  Of course all that changes when their next partner in a mixer dance is a girl.  You’re lucky if the boy is willing to take hands and usually only at the girls coaxing.  It’s a dance in itself and one that plays out each time when we dance.  We certainly don’t want to rush that developmental stage.  Our focus is about inclusivity and making new friends instead of exclusive relationships.  We make friends in our cabin groups, table groups and activity groups and even at Mountain Dancing.  Camp was made for friendship.  Some camp friendships last a lifetime.  Camp just does kids a world of good and we’re so glad to be a part of that “good”.

Our dances with Hillside campers are fun and they do learn some dances but the dances are not too intricate.  It’s more about movement and keeping them somewhat organized while they move about the floor. After dancing they were off to bed and before they left the Lodge, we calmed things down with a tune that Debbie plays at the end of each campfire.  It’s been played for many years at camp and it’s called “Sheep May Safely Graze”.  If you stay for campfire on closing day of C Session she will play it at the end of campfire.  It’s a beautiful song so check it out at the following link: Sheep May Safely Graze. It’s a great song to calm the natives and you can just see the children replaying their day, some going so far as to lie back and close their eyes.  I’m sure that many are going to the imaginative realm after a full day of sounds, scents, salamanders, soccer, swimming, sun light and shade all careening through their minds. Imagination is a big part of camp and imagination creates happy stories that your child can remember and tell for a long time.  “Imagination can be more powerful than you think”, says parenting expert and psychologist, Dr. Randy Cale.  “It allows you visualize life situations and act them out mentally to decide what the best course of action is. With guidance, children can use their imagination to help them solve just about any problem. They can prepare for just about any situation and gain remarkable confidence. And the really cool part here is that each and every time that they practice, their belief in themselves and their skills grows stronger.”  You can just see the growth here with new and different challenges and experiences each day.  Playing Outside and Growing Inside!  Stay tuned!