Dear Parents and Friends,
We just wound down from Mountain Dancing in the Lodge and had 6 cabins join us for the hoe down. Dances included Hokey Pokey, Going to Kentucky, The Bluebird Dance, and of course the Russian Folk dance called Shasha. Everyone had a great time and Debbie was magnificent on the 88’s. She can play about anything and if you don’t know her, she’s our camp pianist and is visually impaired. Check out her skills on closing day when she adlibs all the action on stage and in the room.
While we were dancing and cavorting, other Hillside cabins were camping out. It’s a good night to sleep in one of our shelters and cook over an open fire. Camping out is something many of our children have not experienced and it can be fun and exciting. Just hanging out by the fire and eating a meal cooked by your counselors is a treat. And then there’s s’more’s. Mountainside was host tonight to our Brookside campers who went up there to visit and learn more about our MS program. They will be leaving Monday for their adventures and it looks like they will have good weather for their time out. Hopefully our Brookside campers will want to graduate up to the MS program at some point. It fits the bill for those who are finishing 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. As many of you know, Mountainside is 40 strong plus 10 staff who work solely with that group. Sessions are either (2) ten day sessions in the beginning of the summer or (2) three week sessions later on. Their adventures include Mountain Biking, Backpacking, Rock Climbing and Whitewater Canoeing. It’s a wonderful program for campers beginning to enter those adolescent years.
Riverside leaves tomorrow morning and I went up to the Riverside boys cabin today to attend their “Open House”. This is a touch base meeting with just the campers and no staff. A leadership member or two usually attend. It’s a way to gauge how well things are going and check in with the campers on the program, how they are getting along and generally talk about their experience so far. Great group of guys up there and as stated they are headed out tomorrow to start their backpacking component. They will be tackling the Foothills Trail.
Several activities are getting ready for next week’s off camp trips including, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking and rock climbing. Each group from Main Camp and mostly Brooksider’s will be going to Dupont for biking, the Green River for kayaking, Pisgah Forest for hiking and Looking Glass Rock for climbing. Campers are getting excited for the Monday, Tues., and Thurs. trips out of camp. It’s always a highlight to provide that next level of experience for those who have shown great interest and have improved on their skills to venture farther from the nest.
Today was a second day of Arborist climbing here at camp. It’s one of my favorite activities where campers don’t actually climb on the tree but ascend ropes connected to the tree. It’s the same method that a tree arborist uses to carefully and safely, without harm to the tree, get up in them to make sure they are healthy. It’s a fairly strenuous workout but is like nothing else we do here. You don’t have climbing holds or a wall or tree limbs to hold on to. You do have a belayer and your own strength and determination to get up there and into the tree. Our two arborist trees are right next to Cabins Playhouse and Mountain View.
We will be changing tables tomorrow. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know my table this session. We’ll all get new campers and staff at our tables for the remainder of the session. It’s good to change tables and meet new people even though I’ve gotten pretty attached to one I have now. It stretches us in making new friends and being in new social situations. A table group takes part in a ritual that is probably one of the most important things we do in the course of day and that is sharing food. Sharing food is good for the body and the soul. Sharing good Gwynn Valley food certainly makes life brighter. A good recipe is enhanced more by good company. Stay tuned as we take on new and exciting things each day this coming week!