International Day!

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We had a great day at camp today and were fortunate to not get rained on during activity times. It was International Day here at good ole GV and we celebrated and learned about Columbia and Jamaica. The whole day was mixed with good food and fun with football this evening and Jamaican and Columbian dancing as we rotated through stations by neighborhood. Every Tuesday is International Day here at Camp so we get to know a lot about the countries that our staff and children come from over the summer.  It’s a great way to learn about a country’s customs, food, songs, stories and general facts.  I think it’s also a great addition to our program to have staff who may speak a different language, have a strong accent or don’t come from our own country.  Camp is the kind of place that brings people together.  It’s an even playing field for campers and staff alike.  Our staff grow very close after working together for over 10 weeks.  Campers do the same and some camp friends stay friends the rest of their lives.

Campers were on their B Day of Discovery this morning and taking two brand new activities with their cabin groups.  I wonder how many folks were trying out things they have never done before. I headed to the farm where they were just beginning to feed the baby calves.  Many of us are really hungry at breakfast because it’s the longest time between meals.  Well, these calves are the same way.  They are ready for those giant bottles of formula mixed with milk.  It doesn’t take long to drain about 2 liters.  Their instinct, even with the bottle, is to punch mother’s milk pouch, so you’d better be standing to the side because this happens frequently during the process.  From there it was into the cornfield where we picked corn. There are also 12 baby piglets, 5 ducklings, lots of chicks, and 7 snow white baby goats. The farm is a magical place where people, animals and food create a pretty cool part of the circle of life.

Coming back from the farm, I dropped by the pottery shop where they were creating beautiful puzzle jars. We actually have two pottery areas this year, the Pottery Shop and the Brookside Shelter where we are doing wheel throwing. They are centering pots and creating some amazing pieces. Just next door, the campers were grinding corn and making Johnny cakes at the Mill. They were weaving at Shady Grove, kayaking on the lake, learning to be junior lifeguards, mountain biking, and many other fun activities.

From there it was onto Pioneer 1 where Camping Skills & Nature were learning to build fires in the damp morning conditions.  Building a fire is not always easy and some of these youngsters were trying for the first time.  Each group had a small fire starter (a small bit of wax rolled in newsprint), to spur that flame on.  When it rains about every other day, it’s hard to find dry wood.  We did get our share of rain last night but the good news was that it only rained during lunch today although they were calling for rain all morning.

Mountainside had a great day participating in their mini adventures. Bikers biked  the Hunt Farm trail, canoers went to Wolf Lake, Earth Skills hiked John Rock in Pisgah Forest, Hikers went to Dupont State Forest, and climbers stayed here at camp to climb at the tower and the Rock. It was a fun and learning day for all. Riverside is on their climbing adventure and in Linville Gorge. I hope they didn’t get too much rain and had some dry rock for climbing!

Life at camp comes with lots of alternatives and many choices abound.  Camp is a place where youngsters can make their own choices in the context of a structure that is supportive and appropriate for their growing bodies and minds.  Camp can stretch us and yet bring us right back to our comfort zones.  I think this breeds successful outcomes and allows children the chance to make good choices and be accountable for themselves.  Resilience, independence, confidence and an appreciation for those around them are just a few of the stepping stones reached at camp.