New Zealand Day

Dear Parents and Friends,

It was New Zealand Day today at camp and we started off with a Maori ceremony on the lake before breakfast.  Every Tuesday is international day at camp and we celebrate the many countries of Gwynn Valley each and every week.  We’ve got quite a few staff from down under and they made a day of it complete with music, skits, kiwi commercials, dances (the Haka) and pavlova, their most popular dessert.  Everyone wore black today because of the All Blacks, which is the name of their national rugby team.  It was a sea of black t shirts tonight at campfire.

We had a little shower today but nothing to write home about as it was just a sprinkle for the garden.  We could actually use some more rain.  Speaking of wet, the Web of Life folks caught a huge salamander today during their activity.  We have many varieties in and around our area.  They love our moist environment.  There’s one that’s bright orange they were actually looking for but found another.  Tree climbing was a hit today and campers of all ages scampered up and down the trees next to the office.  It’s a great way to start off climbing and I think is much easier than starting on our wall.  It’s also a natural as we’ve been climbing trees for years (just not quite this high, 40-60 feet).  It also teaches the basics of climbing gear, knots, and the calls and commands used whether you’re in a tree, on real rock, or on an artificial wall.  Sophie the camp dog got involved with ground school and received some love from those who were waiting to climb.  She also was watching the kayakers at the lake and did her part in staying wet.  She’s gets in the water about 8:00 each morning and stays wet all day.

Did you see the Tie Dyes that the girls of Blue Ridge made?  They are pretty spectacular.  We had great meals today at lunch and dinner.  Lunch was fish, baked french fries, cole slaw, and watermelon and dinner was BBQ chicken, roasted potatoes, fresh corn and broccoli picked this morning at the farm, and the New Zealand Pavlova dessert with strawberries and kiwi fruit.

There was lots of audience participation tonight at campfire as the Kiwi’s entertained us.  Everyone had a great time and it was a nice way to end our journey to the other side of the world .  I’m off tomorrow to paddle with Riverside.  They’re going to be on Section 9 of French Broad around Hot Springs, NC.  It’s the most remote and beautiful part of the French Broad in NC.  It’s also the biggest water so we should have a good day of it.  I’m looking forward to spending the day with them and seeing how their skills are progressing.  They’ll be home tomorrow evening and I’m sure will be ready for a shower and bed.  Stay tuned!