Dear Families and Friends,
Kia Ora and Hola! Today was International Day at Gwynn Valley and we were able to learn about New Zealand and Spain! One of the best parts of Gwynn Valley is the staff and campers who join us from all over the country and the world. This summer we are fortunate to have 5 staff from all over New Zealand, and one of our SITs from Spain! Each International Day allows the staff to share their homes, introduce us to new and delicious food, and excite us about the wealth of cultures around the world.
We started the morning with a Spanish breakfast consisting of Spanish Omelettes, homemade bread with tomato sauce, sausage, and mixed fruits. One of the many reasons I love International Days at camp is the opportunity to experience foods from all over the world, and this breakfast did not disappoint! It was a great start to the morning and prepared us for the first day of Discoveries on Main Camp!
Campers learned the four activities that they will visit three times each over the next six days. These Discoveries allow the campers a deeper dive into the activities offered to challenge and develop their skills. Some discoveries offered this session were climbing, traditional bead weaving, acting, and several more.
Our Mountainsiders challenged themselves with another training day for their respective adventures. The Earth Skills campers built shelters in the woods, while paddlers went on the Green river! It was a busy day for these campers, all of whom are getting more and more ready for the start of their adventures on Sunday!
As everyone finished their mornings and gathered for lunch, campers were greeted in Maori (a language of the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand) and enjoyed a delicious Kiwi picnic-style lunch of sausage, bread, pesto salad, and chicken nibbles (which looked suspiciously like chicken wings to us Americans). It was a delicious meal and lead to many more conversations and questions about Kiwi culture and foods!
The afternoon was spent enjoying afternoon signups where campers participated in activities like blacksmithing, whitewater kayaking, pottery, and even performing a skit for the International Day campfire!
Our Riversiders spent the morning working on a service project around camp, and the afternoon on a creek hike! These awesome campers certainly stay busy regardless of them being on or off camp.
Young Leaders spent the morning working their discoveries, and in the afternoon had a chance to climb on the rock wall! They also met to plan an activity they will run during Special Day on Sunday!
The day flew by, and before we knew it dinner had arrived. We had a New Zealand specialty of Fish and Chips, Corn Dogs (who knew they at them in NZ too?), grilled pineapple, and salad. For dessert, we enjoyed Ambrosia, a delicious Kiwi dessert consisting of sweet yogurt, marshmallow fluff, berries, and chocolate chips. Everyone at my table finished dinner happy, full, and eager to visit New Zealand!.
After dinner and After Supper Activities, all of camp gathered in the Lodge for International Campfire. We started the evening with a Flamenco dance and a presentation about Spain! We then boarded a flight to New Zealand where we traveled to cities across both islands including Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch. We enjoyed a traditional gumboot (rain boot) throwing competition, were treated to a song by NZ native, Lorde, and even saw the Haka performed by the All Blacks rugby team. We finished the night with a song from our Kiwi staff as campers were dismissed for bed. It was a wonderful day to celebrate and learn about two incredible countries. Thank you all for sharing your campers with us, goodnight, Buenas noches, and pai te po from all of us at Gwynn Valley!