Main Camp Excursions and “The Happy Prince”

Dear Parents & Friends,

As I write, there are counselors working down the hall from my office working on tomorrow’s international day.  There is always something going here at camp and creativity is oozing from our staff.   You’ll see pics from many activities including the “Fuzzy Bottom Club”, our bareback horseback riders.  I met them on the trail today as I was making my rounds and one of my tablemates was talking about being in the FBC today at lunch.  I’m not much of a rider (just give me a bike) but I understand that it’s quite different riding bareback.  It really helps your balance and the feel of the horse.  Anne is the rider in the family and loves and looks after our horses when camp is not running.  She grew up riding and showing horses.  Frankly they are just too big for my tastes.

Love those horses!

Speaking of animals those farm critters are getting lots of attention.  I’m sure we’ll have a few on stage during our closing ceremony on Friday.  The piglets are still in the cute stage and everyone loves to pick them because they squeal when they are picked up.  The calves are still bottle feeding and are just about to be weaned in the next couple of weeks.  Our campers E session, will be the last group to give them that nurturing care before they’re on their own and grazing like their older cousins.  The farm is also producing some outstanding food these days.  We’ve been eating those wonderful tomatoes for several weeks now and they are lining our dining room window sill.  That’s the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food coming from the farm.  We’re also getting a host of other vegetables not to mention the  cantaloupe and watermelons.  Those mountain grown melons come in a lot later than the ones originating from farther south.  There is just something magical about picking the food you will eat over the next couple of days and knowing that it came from where you are living.   20 years ago several children out of group of 10 would have a connection to a farm.  That number is dwindling and it’s so important that we know where our food does come from.  We have proven that we can feed ourselves to an extent.  Two hundred years ago most everyone that lived in our Valley was totally self sufficient.

It is of course a different time and a good time to appreciate what we have…. And what we have is more exciting events and activities at GV.  Main Camp Mountain Bikers went out today and traveled to Dupont to test their skills on the single track trails there.  There are over 100 miles of trails at Dupont State Forest and riding for every biking ability.  I may have mentioned this before but Gwynn Valley will be hosting a mountain biking event as part of the CYMBL series on Aug. 18th.  CYMBL stands for Carolina Youth Mountain Bike League.  We’ll be hosting one of the series races on that date above.  It’s more fun than anything and you can be a complete novice and never have had any experience.  Ages will be 6 and under to 18.  Check out for more details.

Climbers from Main Camp were also out of camp today and headed up to Looking Glass Rock to meet that giant granite monolith.  They were at the Nose area of the rock which is probably the most famous part of LG.  The Nose climb itself is a classic climb in Western NC that is 4 pitches long and has stunning views.  Our campers were just to the left of the Nose on what we call the Apron.  It’s a smaller slab that looks directly North and West and has several easy to challenging climbs.  Everyone had a great time and returned pretty tuckered out.  It takes about 40 minutes to walk to the rock itself and it’s uphill all the way.

How long will it take to burn through that string? Fire building skills being honed.

We talked about critters earlier and our Web of Life folks went under the Lodge today in search of giant salamanders and crawfish.  It’s dark and dank under there and the perfect environment for both species.  When you come on Friday know that there’s a creek that originates just behind the Lodge and runs right underneath forming what we call Forget Me Not stream that runs into our Lake.  In the old days there were cups at the springhead and that was camp’s water fountain.  Campers simply grabbed a cup and dipped it in the water and drank deeply.  Those days are obviously over but our water still comes from the ground but much much deeper.

Candles of all sorts were being today at the Bong Tree, one of our Arts buildings.  You may be the recipient of a beautiful scented candle in a few days.  Performing Arts outdid themselves tonight with their “The Happy Prince” performance.  Lots of music and great acting by our thespians.  The story was an adaptation from the Oscar Wilde story.  Our staff did a great job with the children who only started preparing last Monday.  It was a stellar performance.

Each day I blog about what goes on here at camp and we just scratch the surface of camp time.    So much interaction, so many skills, so many great conversations with children, and so much fun.  It is life at its fullest here at GV.  Stay tuned!