Dear Parents & Friends,
A cool morning turned into a warm day as we opened E Session. Many thanks for dropping off your children as we finish off our summer with many who are experiencing camp for the first as well as returners to GV. We are so pleased to have your child, whether new or returning, to live the “simple joys of childhood” here with us. One our values at camp is acceptance and we acknowledge the fact that we come from many places and have a lot to share which includes new friendships. What a better place to do that than camp and especially Gwynn Valley. We make it a priority to incorporate those new campers into our fold and make them feel that they are part of the GV family. It doesn’t take long and already I’m seeing friendships being formed.
Those that have been to camp before know that we start off our first day of camp with a bang. There’s not a lot of down time the first day or any day, but especially the first day when campers might have a tendency to think too much about home. Activities were assigned the first day with campers Climbing, Horseback Riding, Arts and Crafts, Tie Dye, Sports, Archery, Pottery, The Farm, The Mill, Fine Arts, Waterfront and more. Always an active part of camp, the Waterfront had the Zip Line humming with camper after camper trying to go for the Spider Man. The web spinner would be proud of our fledgling “spidies”. Others were going off our rope swing and loving the chance to cool off in the lake. Some were trying the Tension Traverse which is a real challenge located at the lake. You may see some photos of this as the week progresses.
After lunch campers got a glimpse of the kinds of activities they can take in the morning while at camp which are called Discovery programs. They get 4 choices for an every other day schedule, one each hour of the two hour time slot. These activities work on progression of skills and give the camper a chance to carry a project through to the ultimate end whether it’s paddling, creating a piece of art, biking more difficult trails and much more. Afternoon signups happen every day for either two one hour activities or one two hour period. The two hour provides a chance to extend that activity time and really experience a longer time for focusing on one activity.
We also had swim assessments this afternoon. The swim checks allow us to gauge how well campers swim and their comfort level in the water. These are done in the pool where you can easily see the bottom and its only 5 ft. deep at the DEEP END. It’s a great teaching pool and allows those who are a bit uncomfortable in the water to take it on gradually. The depth starts off about 4 inches and gradually goes to the 5 ft. mark. The pool is a wonderful way to build confidence in the water and gain new swimming skills as well as be comfortable for your first day of swimming at camp. Those stronger swimmers will have access to both the lake and the pool for swimming.
Tonight’s dinner was a delicious noodles and bolognaise sauce , salad and broccoli from the farm, and the GIANT COOKIE with each cabin’s name on it. We will move to our tables tomorrow at lunch where we’ll mix up ages and programs and you’ll have yet another group that you belong to at camp.
After supper activities are a free time for campers to choose one activity after dinner. It changes each evening and a variety are offered each night. Usually there’s a ball game or two of some sort, games on the green, some kind of arts & crafts, story telling, and any number of other activities. Tonight after the activities we held our first campfire program leaders introduced themselves in skit form. We also learned about the Tajar – a camp legend for many years who is a friend of children far and wide. For those new to GV it pronounced Ta’ jer.
Mountainside and Riverside will be leaving tomorrow to head out on adventures. Mountainside will be going to Linville Gorge for climbing, Dupont State Forest for biking, various WNC rivers for paddling, and Mountains to Sea Trail for backpacking. They will be out of camp for four days. They were out on Gatehouse Green tonight for a special evening before they leave. Riverside will be heading out for their backpacking component to take on the Foothills Trail and will be out for 4 days as well.
Tomorrow brings our first full day of camp and as we move into the session. Camp is a great place for these young people. It’s full of life building moments and experiences that sometimes they can call upon down the road of life’s moments. With guidance, they are empowered to make decisions on their own and live in a large family like atmosphere. It’s a place where you’re under the watchful eye of staff who are younger than parents and pretty cool. It’s an environment where they are guided in skilled activities that you can learn and continue into your adult life. We maximize our time outdoors, playing hard, eating our farm grown food, and getting good rest by night. What more could a camper ask for. The “simple joys” of GV abound and it’s an exciting time as we begin our session. Stay Tuned!