Lions, Mice, Pillowcases and Pizza With Brownies!

Dear Parents and Friends,

It’s been a full day at camp and unfortunately the last full day of 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 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 The Lion and the Mouse.  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 it’s been quite hot.  We had just enough rain and could use some more next week.  It does fair well for Mountainside as they began their journeys and adventures today.    Riverside was back in camp today and also spending some quality down time after their 4 days climbing in Tennessee.   I will spend a little time with them on the lake tomorrow to hone their skills and see what they’ve retained from previous paddling adventures here at camp.  They will take off 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.   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, we look forward to seeing you and hope you will hear many wonderful 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.  Gwynn Valley is 81 years old this summer and we hope to see everyone back again for another year of the simple joys of childhood.  Stay tuned!