Last Full Day of A:(

Dear Parents and Friends,

Perfect day at camp and just as we ended Friendship campfire a sprinkle of rain cooled things down a bit.  I can’t believe time has flown so quickly with our first session.  It was such a nice way to begin our summer with so many wonderful children.  80 years of camping has provided and produced many memories of summer camp experiences.  I feel that we are creating camp DNA or camp memories.  But…it’s not over till it’s over and we have breakfast and a wonderful campfire planned for tomorrow morning.  As I backup through the day, certainly a highlight was dinner tonight which was our traditional last meal of pizza.  This was not just your average pizza either.  All were homemade pies and you had a choice of plain cheese, pepperoni, or vegetarian.  Add some fruit and a fresh salad from the garden and wait… we’re not done.  Through the years I’ve had my share of brownies at camp.  This summer one of our kitchen managers is a head pastry chef at Johnson and Wales Culinary Institute in Charlotte.  We are excited to have Megan and tonight she made the best brownies I’ve had in years.  They were awesomelylicious. One of my six year old table buddies told me that she loved caramelized onions after I mentioned the onions on the vegis slices.  Since when does a six year old know about caramelized onions.  I’ll get back to the main theme here in a minute after another great quote by a camper.

Yesterday I sat in on what we call an Open House.  This event is a chance for a leadership member to go into the cabin without the counselors being there and spend about 30 minutes with the campers.  This gives us an opportunity to find out how things are going and if staff are doing a good job and campers are getting along.  We ask a number of questions and ones that center around the counselors leadership style and their interactions with their campers.  I asked, “can you describe your counselors in three words or less”. After many repeats of pretty, nice, happy, loving, caring, one camper very confidently said, “balanced, thoughtful, and principled”.  Incredible, I thought and how’s that for an answer.  Keep in mind these are 9 year old girls.  Parents, you’re doing a good job out there and keeping me on my toes.

This afternoon while everyone packed we held pillowcase day at the pool and cabins came by to get checked over by the nurses and doctor before going for a refreshing dip.  You had your choice of water activities and it was the perfect sun shiney day for it.  The tradition of pillowcase day goes back many years.  Yes, you do bring one of your pillow cases, get it wet and whirl it around over your head until it’s full of air, twist the open end shut and voilà, you have a personal floatation device.  This comes from an old lifesaving technique where you can do the same with a pair of pants.

This morning we had sign-ups and all activities were going strong.  I visited the farm, horses, biking, archery and some beading at Yanderside.  We started off the morning with pancakes and then off to the cabin for clean-up.

It’s been a great session and the children have made lots of new friends, explored the world around them, and learned that “I can” is much more powerful than “I can’t”.  Magic has happened in their short time with us.  In an environment created just for them, they’ve learned real life skills, developed self-esteem, and gained a sense of independence and community.  By playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, and becoming part of a camp family, they have created some memorable moments this week.

As you arrive tomorrow morning, we look forward to seeing you and hope you hear many good stories over the next few days from camp.  This session is always full of lots of new campers.  Seven days is such a short amount of time in our adult world but to many of our first year campers it is perfect for their first experience.  We wish we could keep them longer but it’s good to leave a place when the timing is right and you want to come back.  As stated earlier Gwynn Valley is 80 years old this summer and we hope to see everyone back again for another year of the simple joys of childhood. If you can stay and enjoy campfire tomorrow morning you’re also welcome to join us for a delicious lunch that comes from our farm and garden.  Drive carefully and stay tuned!