Not just another Saturday!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a beautiful day here at Gwynn Valley with a little thunder but no rain to speak of.  Program went on all day long with no delays.  I was on a day off yesterday and that’s why there was no blog.  My son’s birthday was also yesterday so it was a special day.  Natalie our photographer was on a day off today so we took fewer pictures than usual.  I know many of you search daily for glimpses of your children here at camp and I can assure you that we will keep the pics flowing throughout next week.  Tomorrow is “special day” here at camp and festivities are planned at this hour.  Lots of fun and good things for children to do.

I did spend a little time walking around this morning and got to see a lot of great things happening in activities.  The mill was abuzz with lots of different things happening.  There was a small group of campers on the inside of mill shelling corn and getting it ready to go through the milling process.  Most of the shelling was being done by hand.  That process takes a while as it must have when the mill first opened in the 1890’s.  There’s still a portion of the building that remains from those days but a good bit of it has been rebuilt.  You also notice there was a bit of automation that was in evidence with some of our old machinery.  One young boy and girl are shelling corn with a hand crank sheller.  When the cob has lost all its kernels the empty cob is spit back out on the other side and deposited automatically in a box. Ladies and gentlemen, that was progress in “them” days.  Our mill still runs off of power from the water and yes, you can adjust the flow as was done today when the campers and staff started milling.  Mind you that’s not such an automated process but done simply by hand by covering the mill race exit hole which places more water in the race.   While all this technology was happening, there was a group outside that was cooking over an open fire.  Johnnie Cakes were the fare of the morning, consisting of eggs, corn meal, honey and a little shortening.  Corn meal cakes are always a hit with a little added honey.

Across the alleyway was pottery finishing off their pots they had made and were getting ready to add faces to.  I love pottery but just don’t get to sit long enough to take part in it.  These folks had all made coil pots of various sizes and shapes and were going to add facial features to them in today’s activity.  There’s a good bit of creative spirit in the pot shop and is the perfect place to let your hands create what your mind is thinking.  Clay can take so many shapes and themes and it’s always fun to see children’s interpretations in their clay modeling.  I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

At the lake this morning Josh and Joe were having campers wet exit their kayaks with their spray skirts on.  When you only weigh 60 lbs you have to pull your spray skirt to get it off and not panic when you go over in your boat.  One of boys in our intermediate group learned to roll his kayak yesterday which is pretty darn good.  Being underwater, upside down and feeling for that grab loop to wet exit is a skill that a camper must have before they go on a river trip.  If you’re not comfortable in that situation then a kayak is probably not for you.  It’s a confidence building exercise and also building trust with your counselor that he or she will be right there and help you if you do turn over.  Everyone turns over at some point and the lake is a good place to start.

While at kayaking I noticed that Sophie the dog was lounging on the water mat at the lake.  The only drawback to that is she likes to chew on things and started chewing on the mat.  The campers do love her and miss their pets back home.  Can you imagine being a dog at a summer camp.  It must be very cool!

This afternoon I went with Erin and the Mountain Bikers on a ride around camp and eventually up to the trail that goes to the top of our property.  The climb is not easy and yes several had to walk but the ride down is a blast and well worth the effort up.  You’ll see some pics from the descent which everyone really enjoyed.  Erin is doing a fantastic job teaching these campers all the aspects of mountain biking starting off with simple braking technique to shifting gears and riding off the saddle.  This is a skill that every biker needs to have; keeping their peddles equal and parallel to the ground.  You get up off the saddle and rely on your legs and balance to shift your weight over the bike depending on the terrain.  Good Stuff!  We had the beginner group riding some new and challenging terrain by the end of session.

Rounding out the day was Talent Show tonight.  It was a blast with about 22 different acts.  I thought we were going to have continue it tomorrow night because it was getting so late.  Everyone loved it and the acts ranged in some many areas from stand up comedy to broadway musicals.  Max, Brain, CJ and Matt stole everyone’s heart with their song, including a couple of guitar solos.  One camper sang one of my favorite Jackson Brown songs and another sang a Bob Dylan song.  Thank you parents  for turning your children on to a wide variety of music.  Camp is a great place to express yourself through so many different mediums.  Thanks to so many who shared their talent tonight.  Stay tuned!