New Zealand Day!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Greetings from the land down under.  Today was New Zealand day or as we learned Aotearoa (land of the long white cloud).  Campfire just finished outside the Gatehouse (office) as everyone sat on the hill underneath Playhouse and Mountain View.  It was a holiday heme since they celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa in the warm months which is our winter.  Everything was decorated and we literally entered New Zealand just on the other side of the creek.  Meals and customs all day were Kiwi oriented.  We sang their songs, heard their anthems, and even listened to a bedtime story to bring closure to the evening. You’ll see photos as they are loaded.  Many campers and cabins got into the act and it was quite an evening.  My favorite is always the Haka, which is a traditional dance form of the South Pacific islanders and mostly known from the Maori of New Zealand through their rugby team display. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.  The boys from Wildwood and Walnut Run all participated along with their counselors.

Another warm day at camp, but no rain.  We had plenty yesterday, so it was a good day to dry out a bit.  Lots of activity on the lake today especially with our kayakers.  Kids were getting their wet exits down, which means they have to turn over in the kayak and exit with ease.  It can be a little un-nerving to be upside down in a boat that you have your legs tucked in to.  They’re getting folks ready for a trip down the Green River sometime next week.   Bikers in Main Camp were out today and we’ve had lots of campers sign up for mountain biking this session.  All different abilities and many are new to the skills to ride a single track trail.  Ben, Erin, and Gary are doing a good job with the Discovery groups.  Archery was in full flight today and everyone loves to shoot a bow and arrow.  It’s one of those concentration sports that works your strength, breathing, timing and patience.  It looks easy but is not.  With clear weather, the tree climbing was fantastic today.  You can see for miles when you’re in the top of one our hemlock trees.  There are 4 types of climbing at GV:  Tree climbing in the Hemlocks, Arborist climbing in the Poplar trees, wall climbing and rock climbing.  We have a small rock at the top of our property which we’ve placed bolts on and use it frequently.

Learning to Ride in the Attack Position

I did a tour today for prospective campers and went down to the farm to check out the progress of the piglets and their growth.  They are getting bigger by the day and squealing just as you might think they would.  The Farm continues to crank out the farm to table cuisine.  We had fresh salad, corn, potatoes and beans today.  It’s an amazing place and the campers are totally involved in every aspect.  I think I’ve mentioned that we grow our own gourds at the farm and today the Gourd Discovery group was working on their gourd art.  This is an item that’s grown here that you can do so much with.  Creativity lives in all aspects of the program.  Go to Shady Grove where we have our looms and see all the wonderful patterns and colors that the campers can combine to create tapestry.

Mountainside completed their second day of mini-adventures and will take a day off tomorrow to host their own sign-ups.  It was nice having them at campfire tonight.  They add a great deal to the scene wherever they are.  I have two Mountainsiders at my table and I allow them to serve and help out with the meal when one of the other table counselor’s are missing.  Riverside is still out climbing and we’re hoping they are getting some good days in on the rock.  They’ll have stories to share when they come home.  Look for photos as well.  Tomorrow is a new day at Gwynn Valley.  Each day holds surprises and challenges. Miss Mary Gwynn, who founded camp, said that children should be challenged every day.  I think this still holds true today.  It’s a large community and everyone needs to pitch in and help one another.  I see many campers learning new skills and it makes my day. I so enjoy these youngsters growing inside while playing outside.  Stay tuned!