Raindrops Keep Falling and Camp Keeps Rolling

Dear Parents and Friends,

We started off with a rainy day this morning and it finally abated around 12 noon.  Most activities went right on including sports, climbing, and all other outdoor activities.  When it rains here you only get wet skin deep.  We had a fire going in the Lodge this morning so folks could come by and dry out a bit before moving on to their next activity.  Mountainside was out on the lake and at the climbing wall and the bikers were riding at a slower pace because of the wet conditions.  By lunch time everyone was just a little wet but the skies were clearing.  Afternoon activities got off to a great start with a game of kickball on the soccer field.  There was also fishing and as stated yesterday we should be having that fish dinner any day now.  Those trout are jumping on those hooks and it’s fun to catch one.  Speaking of food, we had taco’s today for lunch and I’ve never seen children eat so much.  They must have burned a billion calories this morning while attending activities.  Despite the rain all water activities went right through the day.  The water temp in the lake and pool feel warmer when it’s raining. The rain is also good for the rivers.  In previous summers here at camp we’ve really had to search for rivers with water to paddle and everything was very low.  This year we’re back up and things are running well.  The creek just outside my office is humming right along.  Tonight several cabins were camping out and eating dinner over an open fire at one of the many campout shelters we have on the property.  For those that stayed behind we had Tajar Tales for the Hillside campers and a hoedown for the Brookside campers in the Lodge.  Debbie plays a mean piano and with a few calls, we had everyone clapping, dancing and smiling their way all over the floor of the Lodge.  It doesn’t take much to get campers involved and camp creates something from nothing without screens, pop music and the myriad of media that bombards children every day. Neither are we fuddy duddies.  We’re actually pretty hip at camp but the campers don’t really know that.  They think if you’re over 25 you’re over the hill.  Not true at all and how.  Most of us are like Peter Pan and just never grow up.

But…. we are adults too and in our adult world comes responsibility.  I mentioned last night that were being visited by the American Camp Association today.  We hosted that visit as a part of our accreditation process and passed with flying colors.  We’re required to meet over 220 standards many of which are mandatory and all are important as it relates to the well being of your child here at camp.  There are approximately 12,000 camps in the US and only about 3500 go through and pass the accreditation process.  It takes a lot of time to prepare for the visit which occurs every three years.  You’re visited by other camp directors who really know their stuff and understand the in’s and out’s of running a camp.

ACA standards help with every aspect of camp management and operation:

• Site: Fire protection, food service, sleeping quarters, utility and maintenance systems.

• Transportation: Procedures concerning drivers, vehicles, and traffic on site.

• Health and Wellness: Staff qualifications, facilities requirements, record keeping, storage and distribution of medicines, contact information, health forms.

• Operational Management: Safety regulations, emergency communication systems, procedures for intruders, personal property regulations.

• Human Resources: Staff qualifications, screening and training, supervision ratios, and procedures.

• Program Activities: Aquatics, adventure/challenge, trips, horseback riding, staff qualifications for special programs.

It’s a worthwhile review to go through because it benefits all participants of our program as well as the staff.  Each year I learn a great deal about our work here.  The accreditation process accentuates that learning even more and keeps us riding the crest of industry standards in working with children in our Gwynn Valley simple joys of childhood world.   Stay tuned!