Dear Parents and Friends,
We hope you are safe and dry back in your home or maybe on the way to your next destination. Thank you all for a smooth opening for Session A and the beginning to another great summer at GV. This is our 85th year of operation and certainly a milestone for camp and the many children and adults who have attended. We have wonderful staff this summer filled with those who grew up at camp. Daniel, Lauren, MK, and Zeke (head counselors for Hill, Brook, Mountainside, and Riverside) spent many years here as campers. Multiple other former campers, now staff members are here to fill in the counselor, logistics, activity heads and support staff roles for the 2019 summer. At our last night of staff training, I told our staff, “Our strength comes through your guidance and direction, as you assist campers in realizing new talents and personal strengths through new self-confidence. My hope for you all this summer is to gain a new appreciation for our child-centered world here at camp and experience the chance to stretch your skills as a parent, friend and teacher.” It’s an awesome responsibility that brings great rewards.
Opening day is always full even without the rain that we experienced this afternoon. Camp is spontaneous and flexible. A fire in the Pavilion warmed those that had just finished their swim assessments. Other activities today included: Tie Dye, Camping Skills and Nature, Horses, Pottery, Fine Arts, Crafts, Archery, The Mill, Lake Fun, Climbing and Sports. Everyone stayed busy dodging raindrops and going from activity to activity. Campers also took time to sign up for activities and they will learn their schedules tomorrow morning before breakfast.
Mountainside and Riverside spent the afternoon getting to know one another and prepping for their upcoming days of training and adventure. Riverside will leave for Foster Falls tomorrow as they begin their climbing component. After being regular campers for many years, Young Leaders will be getting their feet wet in a new role for many of them at camp. Moving toward maturity and leadership they will embark on their 3-week journey toward gaining new skills and prepping to hopefully becoming full staff at some point in the future.
This first night for all of camp is about community building. For the first three meals, we will eat as cabin groups and then lunch tomorrow we will break into table groups for the remainder of the week. Campers of all ages will gather at preassigned tables and meet new folks from our many age groups and cabins. Eating is great at GV mostly because of the food but also because of the time we take to converse at the table and socialize. I love meal time and getting to know our campers in the table setting.
Tonight at campfire, we spent time getting to know one another by seeing where everyone is from. Debbie played the piano as we sang several songs and each cabin let everyone know what their “rose-Bud” (what they are looking forward to) for the week. Each night in the cabin we circle up and each camper expresses their thoughts on the day. Rose is something positive and fun; bud is looking forward and thorn may be something challenging or hard.
After campfire, everyone went back to their cabin to settle in for the evening and the Serenaders (singers) came through the camp to proclaim lights out and bedtime. This tradition has been happening since 1935. Traditions abound at Gwynn Valley and that is one reason that camp is so special. Over the days ahead we will post pictures of your children in activities having fun and experiencing all aspects of camp. We will also post a blog each day to let you know what’s happening in our camp world. In the past, I have been the GV blogger with an occasional writer taking over on my day off. This summer I’m stepping back to refocus on more program interaction and will turn most of the blogs over to others. I know you will enjoy hearing different perspectives and seeing why we call Gwynn Valley the Simple Joys of Childhood. Thanks so much for the chance to host your children! Stay tuned!