Ropes Course and Orange Teeth!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Wow – what a great and beautiful day at Gwynn Valley! Although it was hot, there was a nice breeze blowing most of the day and the sky was so blue and clear. Discovery classes finished up today with a plethora of skills being taught to campers as they navigate all the activities at camp.  Next week we’ll take some of those skills outside of camp as our kayakers did today, traveling to a frisky section of the French Broad this afternoon to try out their new white water kayaking skills. They had a wonderful trip. There were a lot of water activity sign ups this afternoon including a creek hike to Connestee Falls, a tubing trip, swimming at the lake, and playing on the zip line and water traverse. We had a delicious lunch today which the campers and staff really enjoyed: cheese quesadillas, beans and brown rice, fruit, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, and chips.

Our Brooksiders visited Mountainside this evening for Campfire while the Hillsiders did some Mountain Dancing in the Lodge. There was a lot of laughter and smiles as we twirled, swung our partners and did the Virginia Reel, Going to Kentucky, Bluebird, and the Hokey Pokey.  We all did so well in the Patty Cake Polka that Debbie’s fingers were smoking as she played faster and faster and we kept up!

Mountainside spent the day at camp doing sign-ups which included the High Ropes Course, making journals, tie-dye, Frisbee golf, Thunder ball, swimming at the lake and crossing the traverse line at the lake. Quite a few campers made it over half way down the line before falling into the lake! I spent some of my morning with Laurel Wood helping out at the High Ropes Course and taking pictures of the girls making their way around the elements of the course.  Each person is challenged in different ways.  Fear of heights can be a big one for some and it really stretches those who make it around the course.  Everyone loves the ending with the giant pendulum swing even though it takes a lot of commitment to go off that ledge.  The first four or five feet you just free fall and then the arc starts.  You lose momentary contact with your gut when you take off but once one full arc is completed you breath again.  Some are completely silent and others scream like there’s no tomorrow and that happens with the boys as well (it’s just a different tone).  There’s a good bit of support from the ground and from staff up on the course.  The ground support is a great way to build community because we all have different aspects of camp that stretch our comfort levels.  The course is made to work with what we call 2 lobster claws that clip in wherever you are on the course.  You have to have permission to unclip one at a time before moving on.  In element transitions you’re always clipped in and during the element you’re clipped in with both claws.  The Cat Walk starts things off after climbing up the Taco net which goes up 30 feet to the platform.  Then it’s on to the Swinging Steps and from there to the Jungle Traverse and then on the platform for the Big Swing.  Everyone has thoroughly enjoyed it this summer and it has some great metaphors for tackling those difficult hurdles in life that we sometimes have.  I think if you can coax your fears through that course you’re able to accomplish of lot of difficult tasks as a teen or young adult.

There are some Mountainside photos mixed in with Main Camp today and I apologize.  Our camp photographer is off today and I’m trying to fill in.  I haven’t loaded photos all summer so I may not be doing it quite right.  There aren’t as many as usual and we’ll get back to that tomorrow with Kim’s return.

Both morning and afternoon campers were cranking it out at the Mill today.  As we get closer to the end of a session we also start to make ice cream at the Mill which is churned off the power that supplies the Mill (water).  It is so cool to harness that energy and be able to perform all those tasks from one source of energy, including powering the lights inside the Mill.  Bethan, who comes from Wales is doing a great job there.

Despite the heat our Mountain Bikers always find the shade on the property at GV.  95% of our trails are shaded in deep woods so it’s very pleasant riding while the sun beats down on other parts of camp.  The bikers will be taking some trips out next week so look for some pics and maybe some video.

Orange Teeth – An Orthodontist’s Nightmare

Our pic of the day photo from the dining room was taken at dinner tonight.  Believe it or not those teeth are orange peels.  I showed the kids at the table how to make that happen.  It’s just one of those goofy skills that you pick up through the years and pass down to those around you.  Camp is a place where you can venture outside yourself and do some fun whacky things.  It’s full on acceptance for being silly.  Yes, we are adults when we need to be!  It never hurts to visit that childlike side of ourselves.  It’s the simple joys of childhood that makes Gwynn Valley what it is.  Stay tuned!