Last Full Day of D and What a Great Day It Was!

Dear Parent and Friends,

I just returned from campfire with a slight drizzle overhead.  We had rain several times today but spirits and enthusiasm was anything but damp.  Our last full day of D was truly a great one.  Signups this morning were great from all indications.  I spent the morning and partial afternoon with our Kayakers on Section 0 of the French Broad.  We’ve been getting rain almost everyday or evening and the rivers are finally getting back to their normal level.  Our paddlers did a good job starting off with a big learning curve and steadily gaining more confidence at every bend in the river.  The rapids were the perfect size and we practiced ferrying, peel outs, S turns and even tried a little surfing.  By the end of the day everyone had gained confidence and was pushing their comfort zones.  We had some boats go over on the first ferry exercise but they got right back on that horse.   It’s good to get out of camp and see the world beyond GV.  New places and new experiences can be a bit scary and transitioning from lake to moving water brings some tough challenges.  With the higher water levels the rivers are a bit murky and one can’t always see your hand in front of your face.  Upside down in a boat can produce some panic but everyone who went over did a nice job of pulling their spray skirt and wet exited.  I’ll be back on the water with Mountainside tomorrow afternoon and will help with their progression into their adventure days next week.  Main Camp Bikers also went out to Dupont today to shred the gnar.  Trail conditions were a bit sticky but a little dirt and mud always makes it more fun. You just have to watch those slippery rocks and roots.

Archery always draws a crowd and campers took advantage of our last day to sign up for archery.  I watched them shooting while we were getting ready this morning.   Campers love target sports where they can zero in on the bulls eye.  We have a variety of bows that some of our youngest campers can shoot and some that are of the compound variety that take a bit more skill.  Most of our activities have appropriate sized equipment for as many people as possible.  Our little 1 ½ Jackson kayaks are so tiny and they’re made just like an adult boat but just a lot smaller.  They are perfect for our program.  We also run some bikes with 24” tires for those smaller 2 wheel types.

Riverside returned today and spent their last day on the Nantahala River.  It’s always a chilly day at the Nanty with water temps year round about 48 -54 and air temps today were much warmer thank goodness.  The RS group had 4 great days of paddling and all came back with big smiles.  I ran into them just after they returned later in the afternoon.

The last afternoon of a session is always packing and pillowcase day and all the cabins made it to the pool before the rain arrived around 4:00 today.  You can do amazing things with your pillowcase after it gets wet.  Fill it with air and it will keep you afloat for quite a while.  It’s fun to go down the slide at the pool to see if you can fill it up before you hit the water.  After all of today’s activities, folks were ready for our traditional last night of pizza, salad from the farm, fruit and our unbelievable, better than best, tasting like heaven, party on your taste buds, brownies that you could ever imagine.  They’re not big but they pack so much in a square it’s like an all you can eat dessert banquet.  Some choose to eat small portions a tiny morsel at a time, while others are dunkers who love the floaties in their milk at the end of the glass.  And then there are the inhalers.  The literally breath in the brownie and it’s gone.  Campers always say they could eat the whole platter and I’ve often wondered just how many they could eat.  After a belly full of pizza it would be a challenge to go two or three.  As pizza was served on plates the dining room became very quiet and as the meal went on, the volume rose.  When dessert arrived there was a euphoric feeling that was unmeasurable.  By the time tables were cleared most of the dining room was singing songs and everyone was reliving moments from our almost two weeks together.  There’s nothing like good food and good people to bring camp to another level of joy.  We had it tonight.  During announcements, our head counselor Jordan was saying that breakfast would be 30 minutes early tomorrow because we were having visitors come and those visitors would be parents, coming to pick them up.  Only a few campers made any commotion over this at all.  Suddenly you felt that they knew that it was almost over.  Yes, I love my parents but I’m having so much fun and do they really have to come tomorrow.  The good news is they did have fun and they will be glad to see you in the morning.

After dinner and after supper activities, we held our Friendship Campfire tonight and many children received their blankets and plaques for coming to camp for 4 or 5 years.  It’s always fun to recognize these children as well as our staff and SIT’s who have attended even longer.  Each year we see more of our campers coming back as staff.  Seeing campers come back as staff is one of the best parts of my job.  The reward of having them here brings me a lot of joy.

Speaking of joy, I’m sure you’ll be joyful as you arrive tomorrow to pick up your children.  They will be waiting for you in the cabins.  At 10:30 there will be a cabin friendship circle where all can join in.   After the cabin friendship circle, we welcome you to join us in the Lodge for our end of session campfire at 11:00.  After that feel free to have lunch with us and maybe walk around camp to see some of the activity areas.  See you tomorrow and safe travels.