Last Full Day of A and a Great Session!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It’s been a full day at camp and unfortunately the last full day Session A.  We just finished our evening campfire program which is always called Friendship Campfire on the last night of camp.  It’s been a super session and we celebrated by showing many of the pictures that you all have been viewing this week.  Our camp photographers Sara and Jacob, have done a great job with capturing your children over the past 6 days.  Anne and I appreciate our staff who have guided and cared for your children this week and made sure that their experience at Gwynn Valley was one that will bring about great memories of the good times we all had.

Tonight’s campfire allowed our campers to take part in some songs and also be the audience for our GV thespians as they performed several stories, dances and songs.  We also recognized those who have attended camp for more than one year and especially those who have been here 4 years or more.  We’ve been quite fortunate with the weather this week even though rain has come each afternoon over the past several days.  The timing was good because it seemed to fall right around rest hour or during lunch.  It’s been great for our garden and provided beautiful sunsets each evening.

Mountainside began their adventures today and will be out until Saturday evening and then back to camp.  Mountainside bikers were riding trails in Dupont State Forest; Pioneers were dropped off near the Pink Beds and were headed for Otter Hole tomorrow; Climbers were up in Pisgah at Looking Glass Rock; and Paddlers were warming up on the mighty French Broad today and will be on the Green tomorrow.      Riverside was back in camp today and also spending some quality down time after their 4 days climbing in Tennessee.   I spent a little time with them on the lake today  to hone their skills and see what they’ve retained from previous paddling adventures here at camp.  They will take off to ply the rivers again on Sunday.

Backing up a bit in the day, we held pillowcase day at the pool where campers can bring their pillowcases and learn how to make them into a float.  Everyone in camp comes to the pool.  All campers had sign-ups this morning since our Discovery’s were over.  All activities were open and many campers got to do things on the last day to complete their Tajar Card.   We had our traditional pizza night with brownies for supper and everyone was stuffed.  Homemade crust and delicious salad from the farm.

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”.  As I circulate through camp each day I witness the magic that is played out by those who are experiencing new things for the first time.  I’ve seen children turn from shy to talkative with our table family, show resilience in tackling new challenges, and push themselves in ways that helps to raise the bar for future endeavors.  Camp is a stepping stone for life skills and building a sense of confidence in an outdoor world.  All of this has happened without the aid of screens or other distractions in this short session that will end tomorrow.  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.   I call it creating Camp DNA.

As you arrive tomorrow morning to pick up your A session campers, we look forward to seeing you and hope you will hear many wonderful stories over the next few days from camp.  Remember that cabin meetings are 10:30 and Campfire is at 11:00.  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.  Gwynn Valley is 82 years old this summer and we hope to see everyone back again for another year of the simple joys of childhood.  Stay tuned!