Dear Parents and Friends,
We just finished our Friendship Campfire for Session E. What a great session it’s been and a wonderful way to end our summer. We were treated to nearly perfect weather all day today and we finished strong. Our morning Discovery’s were running full steam ahead and I stopped for some time to observe our Arborist climbers ascending the tree out in front of the Gatehouse (office). Ask your children about these giant poplar’s that shade us, provide an activity and are beautiful. In passing I came upon our horses and their mounts riding down the camp road and stopped to walk with them for a while. From there it was on to our friends with Nature where they were hunting the rare striped salamander that lives in our little stream that used to be the camper water fountain or springhead. In times past and before health laws, there were several tin cups that hung around the spring and campers and staff would just dip their cup in the tiny reservoir to quench their thirst. Now day’s the water flows freely out of ground year round and then goes under the Lodge between the Dining Room and Green and then into the lake. The salamander makes his home in this tiny world where ferns, jewel weed, sweet shrubs and other plants shade his private quarters.
From Nature to Camping Skills was a nice transition and watching the children building a fire to make pancakes. Not only did I stay to observe the fire building but also to sample the pancakes. I’ll admit I went to lunch a little stuffed, but well stuffed. Mountainside and Riverside has great days today and lounged, swam and finished putting away all their gear from their adventures. Both groups showed up after lunch today to sing with us in the Lodge. Some of them went to the front of the Lodge to help lead songs. They all know the songs we sing because many of them have been here for so long. Tomorrow you will hear some of the songs we sing after lunch every day, here at camp. All Main Camp cabins went to the pool today for the ritual pillowcase swim day. You learn to inflate your pillowcase with air and it will float you depending on your size or perhaps the size of your pillow. It’s basically a fun final event for the cabin after packing.
At campfire tonight we honored the many campers who have attended camp for years. As a tradition at our final campfire we honor those who are coming for their 4th and 5th year with a blanket for the 4th year and a wooden plaque for their 5th year. We also honor those staff, SIT’s and campers who’ve gone beyond the 5 year mark. Milestones are now 8 years with a compass and 10 years is a sturdy stool that has our logo and name on it. It’s made by our own Team Maintenance crew and wood from camp. It’s always special to have these campers stand and be recognized.
After camper recognition our Discovery drama groups performed skits they had adapted from the Jack Tales book. It was delightful and harkened back to the tall tales that came out of back hollers of our Appalachian Mountains. Our photographer and video dude showed slides and video of the session highlights just after our Fine Arts performers. The link for the video is here.
It is on the camp website as well as the Campminder site and Facebook. Songs were also shared and we finished off the evening with Debbie playing “Sheep May Safely Graze” which has been a part of campfire for many, many years. It’s a beautiful song and if you linger after the end of our Closing Campfire tomorrow you’ll hear it. It comes after the staff sing, “The Irish Blessing”. Hope you’ll linger and listen.
Tomorrow when you arrive your children will be waiting for you in their cabins. At 10:30 there will be a cabin friendship circle where all can join in. We do these each night and check in with campers to find out how their day has been. It allows staff to see how the children are doing since they only see them at morning wake-up, rest hour, before and after meals and bedtime. Our days are full and it’s a good way to learn about the children’s experiences. Mountainside and Riverside parents will gather earlier at 10:30 as well. After the friendship circle there is our program in the Lodge at 11:00 for parents, friends and campers. You can stay and enjoy a wonderful GV lunch at noon if you like.
Camp offers children a better sense of their own culture. Camp is a place where children can think about their own values and share with others about themselves. We’ve done that our table this session and I have loved the group of campers and staff I sit with for three squares a day. We have really gotten to know one another over these 8 days. We learned that we’re all different and also have many things in common. Being in the larger camp community provides an opportunity for children to understand themselves a bit more as they learn about others. Camp gives campers both cultural roots and the chance to understand children who have lives that are different than their own. We also belong to something we call camp. It’s unmeasurable and isn’t easily articulated when you’re young, but I can sense it in the way they react to the end of the session and parting.
Thank you for sharing your children with us these past 8 days. We’ve had a wonderful session and hope to see all of these children back again next summer. It’s been a great session and a great summer for us. I can’t think of a better way to end our summer and I hate to see it come to an end. We had a blast with our E session and I’m sure they will look forward to seeing you all tomorrow. Safe travels and stay tuned!
Again the link for the video is here: E Session Recap