Dear Parents & Friends,
We finally got some rain today and it came at the right times. Just a little bit of program was interrupted today by a short storm that rolled through camp this morning and some rain this afternoon after lunch and during rest hour. Sign-ups had pretty much completed when it started to rain heavy and our Thorguard lightening detection system went off. We purchased the Thorguard system two years ago and it’s been money well spent. It picks up the static electricity in the air, measures it and determines if we need to interrupt program or whatever we’re doing and get to a safe place. It’s set for 12 miles out in all directions and storms and especially lightening can come fast and without warning sometimes. It’s been a life saver and has taken the human error of trying to make a decision about incoming weather. You can spend hours watching weather maps and Doppler radar but this is very accurate. It sounds off with a camp wide warning of horns for 15 seconds and 3 five second blasts when all is clear. There’s no missing its alerts.
Josh and his sports staff were playing flag football this morning when it began to drizzle. Josh is an Aussie but is very sporty, shall we say, and quite interested in American Sports. He did a good job working with the kids playing a more razzle dazzle style play where two completions is a first down and there are only three plays instead of four. The campers loved it and there was lots of ball movement and running, passing and catching. American football was fun for these folks and they played right through the rain.
Several cabin groups were caught in the Lodge after lunch and we knew we might be in there for a while, so we pulled out the tumbling mats which gave the boys a chance to wrestle and play while the girls were just satisfied with a story told by several counselors where you take up where someone else leaves off. The difference in the two genders is not always startling, but just ten feet from the girls the boys were having a blast while you would have thought that some famous character from Disney had captivated the girls. The contrast was quite evident to us all and downright comical. Maybe the boys were just pumped up on food and the girls had the after lunch sleepies.
I visited quite a few activities this afternoon and among them was swimming at the pool where kids were learning life guarding techniques. There were probably 25 campers there and they were learning how to rescue from shore. Red Cross and camp teaches don’t “go” unless you have to and have nothing else at your disposal to reach with or throw. You put yourself at much less risk when you learn these techniques. You never know when one of these young folks will be put into a situation where they might have to assist a sibling or friend and they will have some skills to draw from. They also had some free time to go off the slides, play basketball in the shallow end, float with noodles and just catch with all kinds of water toys.
The rain today made our bike trails a bit wetter but stickier. Bikers left the shed and rode to both our skills areas where they were challenged by dodging natural objects, riding skinnies (narrow logs or boards on the trail), and just navigating the elevation changes and bridges that cross water on the back forty. Mountain biking has grown immensely here at camp and it’s just a fun and gratifying activity for anyone who can ride a bike. You can learn a lot about body position and learning to ride single track trails even in a short session like E. On the animal end of Mountain Biking, the horse riders went on a long trail ride to the Hunt Farm today where they have acres and pastures to ride in, with a sense of freedom you don’t have on Main Camp. It’s also a beautiful setting where you look out and see right up to the Parkway. I’m starting to see the handiwork of arts and crafts surfacing in camp. A cabin of girls were showing off their shabori (spelling?) scarves this afternoon. Great creations coming from our arts arena!
Tonights meal came totally from camp, well almost! We had cornbread (cornmeal) from the Mill, trout caught by campers at the Mill, green beans, broccoli, and squash from the Farm, and potatoes from the Farm. Actually there were orange slices but that didn’t really count. As almost half the camp was out camping out and cooking out tonight and the other half who stayed back, went to the Lodge for Mountain Dancing. We did several folk dances, one called Menushka and one called Shasha. Going to Kentucky and Patty Cake Polka rounded out the evening followed by a couple of Tajar Tales to end our campfire. RB and Michael read a couple of Tajar Tales and if you don’t know who the Tajar is, then ask your children. Tajar is pronounced like Tajer or Tiger with a short “a” vowel. First you learn to say it and then you learn all about his crazy and zany habits.
Mountainside and Riverside come home tomorrow after 4 days out on adventures. I know the Mountainside Paddlers were on the Nantahala today and had a blast. Dylan joined the bikers today and took on more new trails at Dupont State Forest. They rode, swam, rode more and devoured lots of food. Adventures will start to roll in just before lunch to de-gear and of course hit those showers. By 4 everyone will be home and looking forward to some good camp cooking. We’ll have a cookout tomorrow night and following that will be Tajar Ball. Get ready for a fun evening and a carnival for one and all. Stay tuned for more of the best days of camp!