Saturday, but then everyday feels like Saturday at camp!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Tonight is a bit cooler and that means good sleeping weather up here.  We had a shower earlier this afternoon just after rest hour and right at the beginning of afternoon activities.  Four cabins are camping out tonight and the spring peepers are putting those children to sleep.  I can hear them just outside my office window as I write.  I didn’t put out a blog yesterday because I had a day off.  First full one of the summer.  I miss camp when I’m not there but it runs very smoothly because we have great leadership staff to step in and an overall great staff.

Water polo has been a favorite this summer and we play at the pool.  If you’re a shallow swimmer, this really helps with your swimming skills.  You can start off with a swimming noodle which makes you a little more buoyant.  Swimming with the ball in front of you is such good exercise and also provides stamina.  Cindy who runs our waterfront told me that many of the children had really improved their strokes and were so much more confident in the water because of water polo.  I saw some confidence gained today in our mountain biking program.  The first hour had some beginning riders  who did well with our varying terrain and its features that are quite different from the yard/street/sidewalk at home.  Learning how to ride in the attack position and being able to shift your weight around was the first thing they took on.   The attack position is when your pedals are even at the 9/3 or 3/9 position depending on which foot you want to place forward.  You’re also standing up out of the saddle with your weight evenly distributed over the entire bike depending on the terrain which we teach in a later lesson.  We keep a couple of fingers on the brake levers ready to use those if you need them.  We start them off in that position riding down a slight incline and then went to maneuvering the bike around a few obstacles in that position and then finally going off several small drops about 4 to 6 inches high.  Everyone did great which led into a ride around camp utilizing our terrain with its many features.  We got on the single track bike trail at the end our session and went about a ¼ of the way up our trail and rode back down because we were running out of time.  Big improvements with this group!

Mountainside learned what their adventures were going to be today and will be heading out on Monday.  I have two Mountainsiders at my table and they were very excited about the upcoming adventures.   We have a great staff up there with super leadership.  I wish my own children hadn’t aged out of that program because I’d love to have the staff as their mentors and role models.  It’s all about the staff and the role they play while your children are here at camp.  I briefly mentioned our table above and we’ll change tables tomorrow.  I have such a great table this session and we all really want to stay together for the remainder of the session.  You’ll see a picture of our table as we all wore bread bags on our heads for the afternoon meal.  We were of course bread heads.  Camp is all about having fun, and it’s also about learning and trying new things.  Our GV Rescue group went to the French Broad this morning and participated in rescue scenarios in moving water.  They learned how to cross a moving river, throw a rope to a victim and utilize a rescue tube (the devices we use on the river and our waterfront).  You all might remember the old “reach, row, throw and go” that was promoted by the Red Cross.  Much of that has changed but still applies in many situations.  Swift Water Rescue is the equivalent river course for instructors and I was just updated this year before camp started.  These campers are learning foundation principals that could very well save a life or their own in a crisis situation.

As far as learning new things, Arborist Climbing was in full swing this morning at our huge Poplar Trees in front of the office.  You’ll see pics from that activity.  I helped a bit with that activity this afternoon.  It’s very different from tree climbing and takes a fair amount strength to ascend the rope utilizing what’s called a Blake’s Hitch.  It’s basically a complicated version of the prusick knot.  As long as it’s not under tension, it’s easily moved.  Once there is weight on it, it stays put in the vertical position.  Campers love this activity and we’ve had fun with it through the years.  It’s one of those that pushes the comfort zone and allows the camper to step out there on their own.  Camp is a great place to take those steps and then on your own step back into that comfort area.  Stay tuned as we take on new and exciting things each day!