Parents and Friends,
Our first full day at camp was pretty darn good. We had a wee bit of rain just during lunch and it was over before the end of sign-ups and allowed a rain free rest hour and afternoon. Having a tin roof on your cabin is different than home where you rarely hear the rain unless the windows are open. We hear the rain from all sides in our screened cabins and the metal roof accentuates the sound. Sleeping in an open air cabin has so many advantages. Many of our campers live in air conditioned homes this time of year and the evening and early morning sounds take some getting used to. You really hear the birds start their symphony way before the sun comes up and light spills into the cabin long before the wakeup bell sounds. It’s a simple existence but is an important part of camp. Right there you’ve covered two of Gwynn Valley’s values: Simplicity and an Appreciation of the Natural World.
Today was our first full day of program so the morning consisted of Discovery Activities that engage the camper in 4 different activities of building skills. The afternoon activities provide different signup opportunities each day and campers sign up each day for a range of 1 or 2 hour activities. In some cases you can go back to similar activities in the afternoon that provide more fun and practice in something you might have participated in that morning. Discovery Activities consisted of the following for C/C-1: Mountain Biking, Whitewater Kayaks, Campsite 101, Shelters, Candle Making, Dream Catchers, Printmaking, Weaving, Needlepoint, Farm, Mill, Musical (Because of Winn-Dixie), Play (The Cat In The Hat), Horses, Nature, American Sports, Archery, Soccer, Creek Hiking, Junior Lifeguarding, SUP Boarding, and Water Quidditch. And folks, that’s just the morning activities.
Today was also the day when we learn which table we’re assigned to. Everyone has a new table after 3 meals with your cabin on the first day including breakfast today. At lunch today you sit with folks that you don’t know and get to know counselors who are not in your cabin. The ages are varied as well so it’s like a large family at the table. It takes a meal or two to learn everyone’s name but soon we’re working together and having good conversation. The table is one of my favorite places in camp because GV has exceptional food and you really get to know the folks you sit with. There are so many questions to ask at the table one hardly ever runs out of conversation material…like… if you could only eat 5 foods the rest of your life what would they be. Or, how many pets do you have, what’s been your favorite family vacation, do you have a cell phone, favorite movie or favorite Disney movie, most interesting food you’ve ever eaten and so on. You learn so much about one another because some topics are like expressways to more fun things to discuss while eating good food.
Camp is a magical place where we really live and exist just for children. It’s a child’s world and one where you become the very best version of yourself as Maggie says. I think that goes for staff also. After several days of camp our adult lives take on a whole new meaning. While camp is certainly busy, it moves at a slower, more consistent place. Sometimes slow and consistent really keeps us on track and is great for all involved. Camp is that kid “happy place” where you don’t have to worry about anything except why can’t I take all the activities each and every day. As adults we talk about not enough hours in the day to sometimes get all the work done and at camp there’s not enough hours in the day to enjoy all the fun. It’s that place where children can make their own decisions, set and achieve goals, try new things, understand a sense of belonging to a group larger than oneself (cabin, activity & table), develop grit, resilience, confidence and all under the guidance of some very cool counselors you will hear about when your camper returns home. We call it the Simple Joys here at GV. Stay tuned!