Reconnecting with Nature
Today we began a new round of morning discoveries with our C & C2 campers. Campers were excited as they found out what their schedule will look like for the next six mornings. Morning discoveries are organized into A & B Days and cabin groups rotate through activities of their choice 3 times each with the same group each time to develop skills in specific areas. Morning discoveries offer a great opportunity for campers to focus on areas of interest and develop targeted skills or finish a more intricate project than an afternoon sign up would allow.
We had some rain today but fortunately not too much with sunshine peeping through the cloudy sky.
Dinner marked a joyous homecoming for our Riverside crew who just returned from 4 days of white water canoeing. Since they left camp on Monday, these 12 campers and 4 staff have been camping and paddling on the Tuckaseegee, and Nantahala Rivers. We are thrilled to have Riverside with us for a few days before they head out backpacking on Sunday! Today was a MS Training Day, so bikers, paddlers, hikers, earth skills, and climbers spent the day preparing for their Adventures which will begin on Sunday as well! I think having such an active day made our dinner of pork fried rice, mandarin oranges and pineapples, and farm corn taste even better.
The farm is really in ‘full-bloom’ during C session and we had a new baby goat born a few days ago. The campers named her Poppy. The pig has not given birth yet and we are hoping that will be any day now. Just this week campers have harvested sweet corn, potatoes, beans, carrots, cabbage, more corn, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini. There are also many baby animals requiring love, attention, and possibly a bottle feeding with each camper visit: chicks, goat kids, and calves. Piglets will be next on the list. Our farm staff is putting on a campfire tomorrow night to honor this incredible program area. As Audrey Hepburn said “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” Well, we’ve got quite a garden at GV so I believe we’ll have another great day at camp tomorrow!
I was out with Mountainside paddlers all day today and we ran a section of the French Broad starting at Glen Bridge near Asheville. They learned a good deal about water dynamics and what makes an eddy and how rocks can disguise themselves into pillows and what is a downstream V and an upstream V. Lots to remember for this bunch but they are getting it. I think paddling is the toughest adventure skill to learn, because you’re with a partner and you’re learning a skill that is not easy. You’re not tethered to a rope and you have another dynamic of the water pushing you where you usually don’t want to go. They will make big gains over the days ahead.
There’s been talk of summer learning loss from an academic standpoint and some critics want to do away with traditional summer vacations. I strongly disagree, obviously from a business standpoint, but also children need to learn in different ways and not just academics. I feel that the outcomes from summer camp greatly enhance your academic life on the other end. Just getting children away from screens is positive, especially after the last 15 months. Spending time away from video games, social media, and television helps them to make personal connections with others and engage with the outside world. Being outdoors and breathing in fresh air during activities makes people feel great. It cleanses their lungs and improves blood circulation throughout the body, resulting in increased energy levels and an overall euphoric feeling for a “natural high.” And there’s the exercise factor. Physical activity builds self-esteem and motivation at every age. An outdoors camp lets children reconnect with nature. The exposure to new habitats and creatures encourages children’s instinctive fascination with science and nature and opens up their world to new ways of thinking about the world around them. Camps get children out in the field and out of their comfort zone, exposing them to new experiences they may never have dreamed of and perhaps spark a new interest that lasts beyond their week(s) at camp.
I’m a believer in camp and I thank you for sharing your children with us. We hope you see that growth when they return home.