Partnering With Others!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Another super day at GV brought more sunshine than we anticipated.  It was supposed to rain today but held off till just before the campfire.  It only lasted for about 30 minutes which was nice for our cabins camping out tonight.  They were scattered about over our property in dry and up off the ground camping huts.  Campfires for food preceded the rain and s’mores followed.  Good food served outdoors and topped off with s’mores ends the perfect evening for some who are maybe going on their first campout.  Coming back from a night camping the campers smell like smoke and woods and showers are a welcome way to enter the land of camp civilization again. Tonight, the rest of our cabins were having some cabin bonding time or dancing in the Lodge.  Our wonderful days give way again to the cool of the evening and we topped off the evening with Mountain Dancing.  Debbie played the piano and I called the dances as she played.  We danced the Hokey Pokey, Sasha (a Russian Folkdance) and Going to Kentucky and a Virginia Reel.  There was a lot of laughter and fun had by everyone.

Backing up a bit Day 2 of Discovery went extremely well.  Our staff activity leaders have been knocking it out of the park creating lots of fun and skills for campers trying new things for the first time and getting lots of chances to try and try again.  “I can’t” is replaced with “I can” when campers have staff encouragement as well as from their peers.  We all excel in different ways and at different times.  I think camp brings out the best of “another day of opportunity”.  We see children tackling not only new skills but also working along with others as were our Mountainside paddlers on the lake today.  They were finishing off their mini adventures and paddling tandem canoes, which is all about partnering with your bow or stern person.  When communication and strokes are working together there’s nothing more beautiful to watch than a tandem team on flat or whitewater.  These folks will soon be on the river and using their combined skills to ply the moving waters.

The climber and belayer have the same relationship in that they both depend on one another and communication is key.  Signals and keywords are used to convey what’s going at both ends of the rope.  Partnering with people and animals is possible at camp and nowhere is it truer than at Horseback riding.  Like us, horses can have a mind of their own and we have to be gentle and firm at the same time.  In working with children, we call it discipline with dignity.  I think the same is true with horses and you have to win their respect as you steer and guide them in the ring and on trails.

It’s that time of day when all of camp has wound down.  As one young man said this morning, “I don’t think it took me more than a minute to fall asleep and I didn’t wake until I heard the wake-up bell.  I compare this to a pack of 230 young puppies, playing all day long and just collapsing into deep sleep and dreams of more to come tomorrow.  We hope you have pleasant dreams as well.  Stay tuned!