Many Benefits to Camp!

Dear Parents and Families,

Today we began a new round of morning discoveries with our C & C2 campers. Campers were excited as they found out what their schedule will look like for the next six mornings. Morning discoveries are organized into A & B days and campers rotate through activities of their choice 3 times each with the same group each time to develop skills in specific areas. Morning discoveries offer a great opportunity for campers to focus on areas of interest and develop targeted skills or finish a more intricate project than an afternoon sign up would allow.

It was hot here today but beautiful and sunny with no rain in sight.  It’s looks like we’re having a dry summer compared to previous years.  Our first good chance of rain is Monday.  With the hot temps the lake and pool were quite popular.

Dinner marked a joyous homecoming for our Riverside crew who just returned from 4 days of white water canoeing. Since they left camp on Monday, these 12 campers and 4 staff have been camping and paddling on the Green, Tuckaseegee, and Nantahala Rivers. We are thrilled to have Riverside with us for a few days before they head out backpacking on Sunday! Mountainsiders also had a homecoming of sorts at dinner. Today was a MS Training Day, so bikers, paddlers, pioneers, and climbers spent all day out of camp training for their Adventures which will begin on Sunday as well! I think having such an active day made our dinner of BBQ chicken, potatoes, salad, peas and carrots from the farm and corn bread from the Mill even better.

The farm is really in ‘full-bloom’ during C session and I just heard that Mama Pig is going into labor.  We’ll keep you posted.  Just this week campers have harvested sweet corn, potatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, more corn, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, blueberries, and more corn. There are also many baby animals requiring love, attention, and possibly a bottle feeding with each camper visit: chicks, goat kids, and calves. Piglets will be next on the list.  Our farm staff is putting on campfire tomorrow night to honor this incredible program area.  As Audrey Hepburn said “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Well, we’ve got quite a garden at GV so I believe we’ll have another great day at camp tomorrow!

I was out with Mountainside paddlers all day today and we ran the lower Green River.  They learned a good deal about water dynamics and what makes an eddy and how rocks can disguise themselves into pillows and what is a downstream V and an upstream V.  Lots to remember for this bunch but they are getting it.  I think paddling is the toughest adventure skill to learn, because you’re with a partner and you’re learning a skill that is not easy.  You’re not tethered to a rope and you have another dynamic of the water pushing you where you usually don’t want to go.  They will make big gains over the days ahead.

There’s been talk for several years of summer learning loss from an academic standpoint and some critics want to do away with traditional summer vacations.  I strongly disagree, obviously from a business standpoint, but also children need to learn in different ways and not just academics.  I feel that the outcomes from summer camp greatly enhance your academic life on the other end.  Just getting children away from screens is a positive.  Recent studies found that the average child between the ages of 8-18 spends 45 hours a week interacting with electronic media.  Spending time away from video games, social media and television help them to make personal connections with others and engage with the outside world.  Being outdoors and breathing in fresh air during activities makes people feel great. It cleanses their lungs and improves blood circulation throughout the body, resulting in increased energy levels and an overall euphoric feeling for a “natural high.” And there’s the exercise factor. Physical activity builds self-esteem and motivation at every age.  An outdoors camp lets children reconnect with nature. The exposure to new habitats and creatures encourages children’s instinctive fascination with science and nature and opens up their world to new ways of thinking about the world around them.  Camps get children out in the field and out of their comfort zone, exposing them to new experiences they may never have dreamed of and perhaps spark a new interest that lasts beyond their week(s) at camp.

I’m a believer in camp and I thank you for sharing your children with us.  We hope you see that growth when they return home.  Stay tuned!