Opening Day – D Session & MS-3 & RS-3!!

Dear Parents and Friends,

A great start for opening day D session brought cool temps and cloudy skies when you checked in this morning. After lunch we had sunshine and great weather to begin our afternoon. It was perfect for the first day as we launch into our next two weeks of camp.  Thank you for bringing such a great batch of campers.  We hope you are safe and sound wherever your destination.  We just finished our first night of cabin skits and will return tomorrow night to complete all the cabins on Hillside and Brookside.  Our Mountainsiders and Riversiders hold their own campfires in their own quarters. I attended the Mountainside opening campfire and got there just in time to see their skits, sing some songs and observe as they divided into their mini-adventure groups.  Dinner tonight was the traditional first night of Macaroni and Cheese with salad and fruit cocktail.  To top things off each cabin got a giant cookie, and I do mean giant chocolate chip cookie at their table.  It had their cabin name on it written in icing.  After supper we all went to “after supper activities” and there was a great choice of things to do.

I spent some time this afternoon roaming activities and getting a glimpse of what lays ahead for the week. I visited pottery, horses, weaving at Shady Grove, the Mill, sports, the pool and also peeked in on Riverside on the Gatehouse Green playing ice breaker games. Each had a tarp cord tail that was stuffed in their waist at the back and dragged the ground enough to be able to step on one another’s tail. It’s a no hands keep away from everyone game. The idea was to stay alive long enough by not having your tail be stepped on. In a confined area this is a fun initiative. They were having a blast. Mountainside was playing their own games and working on group bonding as well.

It was a busy afternoon and activities that were running today were Climbing, Pottery, Sports, Fine Arts, The Mill, Tie-Dye, Crafts, Horseback Riding, Swimming, Lake Fun, WEB of Life, Outdoor Living Skills, and Farm. We held swim assessments this afternoon after lunch.  We don’t call them swim tests because that sounds too much like school.  Campers also signed up for their Discovery Activities today.  They will take those four activities through Saturday which last for 3 days each and happen every other day just in the morning.  The Discovery activities are as follows: Farm/Mill, Horses, Martial Arts, Archery, Climbing (3 types), Soccer, Candles, Weaving, Fine Arts Musical, Dance, Mask Making, Basketry, Batik, Printmaking, Weaving, Canoeing, Water Polo, Diving, Creek Hiking, Junior Life Guarding, WEB, Mountain Biking, Pottery (2 types), Outdoor Living Skills, and Whitewater Kayaking. The afternoon has 2 more hours of activities that provide campers with a variety of sign-ups each day.  These can be 1 or 2 hour activities and there’s no limit to the possibilities.  Staff can provide a one time activity or several of the same over the week. This should be a great week as the session begins.

Riverside leaves on Tues. for their climbing trip and they are going to Foster Falls in TN.  They’ll be gone through Friday of this week.   Mountainside begins their mini-adventures tomorrow and will be in and out of camp as they sample each adventure.  As the session progresses, we’ll have more and more trips out for all three programs including Main Camp.  We look forward to reporting on those and hopefully will have some photos up.

Last night the whole staff met for our campfire before we started D, Mountainside and Riverside sessions.  Anne and I told our staff what a good job they were doing this summer.  Our goals are being met through their fine work of providing the following aspects that define Gwynn Valley:

Camp has been a safe and supportive environment where children can develop authentic relationships.

It’s a place where we’re unplugged and focused on one another and becoming cohesive in our groups of cabin, table, and program communities.

We’re providing parenting on a different level, with structure and support as they gain hard and soft skills each day.

We’re helping the campers reconnect to the natural world where they are participating in human powered activities.

And last but not least, we’re allowing them to relax and just be kids or as we say at GV “the simple joys of childhood”.

Can you think of a better way to spend 13 days or three weeks.  Ya gotta love it!

Stay tuned!