New Zealand Day!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Kia Ora everyone, which is Maori for “greetings”.  Today was New Zealand Day at camp and we started off the morning with the discovery of the country.  Food throughout the day was presented at each meal concluding tonight with a very delicious dessert called Pavlova.  Very sweet and very good.  Tonight at dinner we had a group of campers perform the Haka and then there was a Rugby game on the Green.  We came into the dining room to table clothes and a wonderful meal with a festive atmosphere.  Tonight at campfire the Kiwi crew (5 of them) along with many campers presented a variety of skits, music and great videos of their country.  Makes you want to go there.  Andy, our assistant director is a Kiwi and we love having all our different nationalities.  It’s a real bonus during the summer to learn so much about so many countries.

We dodged some showers this morning and this afternoon and it was rainy all around us but not at GV.  We hope the weather holds for the weekend.  Several trips went out today including some Tubers as well as a kayak trip to section 0 of the French Broad.  6 campers and two staff went along and they are preparing for a trip to the Green River on Thurs.  I think that I will be sneaking out with them.  Should be a fun day.  All the rivers are full with the rain we’ve had the past several weeks.  Children are practicing their lines and getting ready for their big performance tomorrow night.  I don’t know much about the production but it should be a fun night at the theatre.  GV Rescue headed to the French Broad today to work on their rescue skills.  Rope throwing, and using other devices is part of the curriculum.   It’s much like the reach, throw and go that has been taught in various ways for many years.  If you just wanted to have fun in the water, well… that happens every day at camp.  The Lake and Pool have been great all summer long for cooling off and having a good time.  The Tension Traverse across part of the Lake has challenged everyone and only one camper has made it all the way across this summer.

I spent half the morning perched in one of our Arborist trees to film and shoot some pictures.  I had a blast because it’s a whole different view of the folks who are ascending the tree.  I’ll try and get some video up maybe tomorrow.  I really enjoy this activity because it’s a challenge and it’s so much fun.  It takes some effort to get off the ground and once you get into a rhythm, you’ve got it.  We had some fantastic climbers today as they passed me and went even higher.  I took a picture of those intrepid climbers just before the period ended.  We’ve been doing this activity for about 6 or 7 years at camp and it gains in popularity each year.  Our two giant Poplar trees can accommodate 5 climbers at a time.  Ask your child about the activity to see if they have participated.

Those mask makers are about the finish up their projects.  We’re looking forward to seeing the final results.  There are so many art projects that will go home with you this weekend.  I saw an especially beautiful scarf that a young boy had made for his mom.  Great job and I know she’ll be proud to wear it.  Our Discovery Program gives the camper a chance to work on a project for more than one day.  It means working on a piece that has progression and has a number of steps that need to be performed before the final result.  How often does that happen in our lives where we have to follow procedures and learn as we go to reach that final destination.  Camp is a great place for learning those life skills that apply to so many aspects of who we are and how we learn to tackle life.

I’m so pleased that a handful of our once “homesick campers” are doing so well and have made it through the session.  Michael Thompson author of Homesick and Happy says, “Children want to be independent, and they realize that they cannot be truly independent until they beat homesickness, even when they have a painful case of it.”  You know that camp is good for your child and camp is one of the best things for building kids’ independence and confidence. Through the years, I have also seen many kids work through some pretty painful emotions at camp, so I know that camp is not easy for all kids.

We let them know right away that missing home is okay.  We reassure them that there are people at camp who will take care of their needs.  Talking with the child honestly about the importance of starting to develop some independence is important.  Share the reality that many good things in life come with some pain and failure.   Make sure they know you want to hear about everything they want to tell you in the initial conversation.  We let them know that we are confident in them.

It’s a growing experience for them and also for you as parents sometimes.  We thank you for your patience and your willingness to let us step in for you during these times.  You’re doing a great job by sharing your child with us.  Stay tuned!