River, Fire, Heat, Crafts, Attack Position and Ending With Winn Dixie!

Dear Parents & Friends,

As the mist on the mountains settles into our view the sun has faded and evening is here.  It’s cool now after a thundershower, again during dinner tonight and just before campfire. Good timing! It was a hot day here and I managed to escape some of that by being out with the kayakers for a good portion of the day.  It was for some, their first trip out and for others, their second of the C session.  We’re trying to get them Green Ready which means a trip to the Green River next week.  We paddled the upper French Broad which got a lot of rain late yesterday and was up for our time on the water.  We ferried, peeled out, caught eddies, played, swam, threw ropes for safety, and repeated all of the above throughout the day.  There are several good challenging rapids on the section where we would stop and ask everyone to perform certain maneuvers.  We only had one boat go over, but others came very close.  Leaning downstream when you’re ferrying and peeling out is the most challenging aspect for most paddlers.  As soon as your edge catches that upstream current and you’re not leaning (downstream) the right way, it’s curtains.  We all go over in good time and with campers, we want it to be early to help with confidence before moving on to bigger water.

It was a good day to be on the water both river and here.  When we got back we all took a dip in our lake to wash the sweat off and the river.  While there Jr. Lifeguarding was training.  I asked one of the campers at my table tonight what they did and she explained the most important aspect is learning to save someone by first learning the different ways you can help them without you having to get in the water and possibly becoming a victim as well.  I do remember the old motto of Reach, Throw and Go but that has since been totally revamped and is much safer than it used to be depending on your skills and qualifications.  All of these young fledging “guards” are learning to use what we call a Rescue Tube which all of our staff guards hold while at the lake or pool.

You of course will notice our Blacksmithing program from the pictures.  We did a trial run last year for just our session B campers and are running it B-D this summer.  It’s working beautifully and is both physically challenging and artistic at the same time.  One has to score some accurate hits with the hammer on the anvil to get exactly what you want.  From just watching Pat and Danny instruct, you learn a lot about the metal and the many tricks to getting to the next chapter of taking raw steel and turning into a useful item.  Children are making pendants, hooks, bottle openers, horse shoe picks (for those riders) and an assortment of other smithy items.  Of course the appeal is you’re handling something hot and one has to have the right safety gear and listen to directions.  It’s not an activity that many schools or arts council’s offer so that makes it even more exciting.

On the metal theme one of my favorite activities at camp is Mountain Biking.  You straddle your metal steed to balance and peddle yourself through the rigors of single track here at camp and off our property.  Pretty much everyone can ride a bike but there’s so much more about shifting your weight, riding in the attack position, braking, gearing, cadence, and the list goes on.  We start every biking activity session with a check of each bike that’s performed under the watchful eye of the staff and tell campers they should do this with their own bikes at home.  It takes less than 5 minutes and is worth the time.  You may even have them checking your bike before a ride.

Although sometime the brunt of jokes at camp, “Basketry” is very popular here and it takes patience and time to weave a nice basket.  The crafts arena at GV offers the camper a host of different artistic pursuits, whatever your medium.  Scott, Pam, Brynn and others can introduce you to strings, bangles, paint, dye, wax, thread, weavings, clay, buttons and beads that provide almost anyone a creative outlet.

We’re all aiming toward something in life and you will appreciate the young archer pic who is obviously visualizing hitting the target before she releases the arrow.  Such concentration and dedication to this ancient sport as she channels her zen to the arrow tip to find the eye of the bull.    This kind of focus is the fodder that starts movie themes.  Archery is one of our most popular activities at camp and we’re offering it more than ever this year.  We got feedback from campers that they wanted more archery and we provided.

Our aim is of course to please and as Mary Gwynn once said, “it’s good to challenge ourselves each day”.  We feel that should be the case as we encourage campers to step out and step back into their comfort zones.  Take a chance, jump higher, run faster and get up there on stage and show your mettle. This was certainly done tonight when our Musical Theater group performed a play called Winn Dixie. It was about a dog and her owner who were of course best friends and had some excellent life lessons entwined throughout the story.  I’m sure the campers will perform a song from the play on closing day.  With that, I must close and bid you all sweet dreams and stay tuned!