Opening Day of Session D!

Dear Parents & Friends,

I hope you’ve all safely arrived either home or to your destination.  Opening day was great with cool nice weather and campers all seem to be happy as clams.  After parents departed everyone partook of a buffet lunch and then went to Discovery sign-ups just after to choose their morning skill-based activities. The skies looked threatening most of the afternoon but we got less than a sprinkle for 5 minutes.  No one seemed to mind and no one complained.  Swim assessments took place at the lake and activities came off without a hitch.  Campers were assigned activities this afternoon and went to the following: Tie Dye, Crafts, Swimming, Fine Arts, Camping Skills and Nature, Sports, Mill, Climbing, Horses, Archery, Pottery and Lake Fun.  Many of our new campers got a chance to see camp as they traveled and learned the lay of the land here at GV.  Tomorrow morning they will begin their Discovery activities and we’re off to a roaring start.

Mountainside got to know one another this afternoon at their end of camp and played many group games and icebreakers.  Their group of 50 campers will hold their own campfire tonight at the MS Shelter.  Tomorrow they begin their mini-adventures and will head out (some off-property and some here) in 5 different directions.  Riversider’s will hit the road tomorrow and head over to TN to climb and will be back on Wed. of this week.  They are wasting no time in getting outdoors and learning the “ropes”.

Gwynn Valley has a great many returners each season and there are always new campers to our program.  Whether our campers are returning after many years or brand new, one of our goals here is developing stronger friendships.  For many obvious reasons, friendships are vital for children.  There is a direct connection between the quality and quantity of a child’s relationships and their cooperation, productivity, happiness, and success here at camp and at home.  Camp is a great place to reconnect with old friends and certainly make new ones.  As a director, I hear every year about campers who have bonded in our sessions and stay in touch and or visit with one another from distant cities.  Of the few positives for young people and electronics, it is easier for friends to stay in touch, like those friendships made at camp.

Friendships obviously happen for a reason and we assist by creating circles at camp to share in our camp relations.  Circles happen in the cabin, circles are at the table when we eat, and circles are made when we gather to teach and guide during activities.  Mountainside circles up before every meal under our grove of hemlock trees behind the Lodge and after circling make their way into the dining room.   Camp really brings people together from different parts of our state, our country and even other countries.  We’ve all used the term “circle of friends” and it’s so true here at camp.

On Tuesday of this week, we will celebrate Camp Kindness Day.  This is a new event highlighting the practice of intentional kindness that happens every day at American camps.  This is our opportunity to demonstrate to the world the great work that camps are doing to teach kindness in engaging, simple, repeatable and high impact ways that live on in the daily lives of campers and staff members when they return home.  The American Camp Association, which we are a member of,  is working in cooperation with the Kindness Evolution to take a stand for a positive shift in our nation while focusing on our youth and young adults. We’ll keep you informed on our Tues. Event.

As we entered the Lodge tonight a giant rainbow spread over the entire building as campers lined up to go in.  The lighting and colors were amazing.  Campfire is over for the evening and everyone is participating in their first “friendship circle” for Session D.  Camp is a magical place.  Stay tuned!