Saturday is Everyday at GV!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Saturday at Gwynn Valley feels like every other day and every day is special.  The day was hot and dry and it’s nice to have great weather for programming.  We do need some rain but I’ll take the good weather at this point.  This kind of weather is always good for water activities.  We had our kayakers out of camp today on the French Broad from Wilson to Patton Bridge.  It’s a great section because it teaches our fledgling paddlers all about the basics of river features.  The first rapid is perfect for ferrying, peel outs and S turns.  They had a great trip with 8 campers along and two staff.  We’ll be going out again soon the first of next week and looking forward to some more campers joining us.

Riverside came back late yesterday and was around camp while getting ready for their next component which will be paddling.  I spent a couple of hours with them on the lake working on drills and paddling gates for their next outing which will be Monday.  They are a strong group and should do well in their next adventure.  Our other adventurous group, Mountainside, had a sign-up day today which was relaxed and offered a bit of variety for them.  They’ve been going pretty hard all week since they arrived and it was a nice change of pace for them to have some time in camp.  They will be choosing their adventures tomorrow night and will begin adventure training on Monday and Wed of next week.

We talked about our kayakers going out today and so did our Mountain Bikers.  They went over to Dupont State Forest to ride the perennial favorite “Ridgeline Trail”.  It’s one of the best downhill trails in the park and is a crowd pleaser.  It looks like they will be going out again on Tues. of next week if not sooner.

There were several Tubing Trips down the river today and it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours in a cool shady environment.  We take the tubers about 3 miles upstream from GV and they float right back to our property.  It’s a lazy part of the river and perfect for Tubing and just being lazing along.  GV rescue held their river portion of the activity down at the French Broad today on our property.  They learned how to throw a rope, rescue in moving water, and how to swim a river if you turned over in your boat.  It’s good information even though many of them are not big enough to physically pull a victim in but they could certainly use what they’ve learned with the aspects of the old life guard curriculum of reach, throw and go.  These folks have the enthusiasm and may one day save a life.  Wouldn’t that be great!  More arborist climbing in camp today because it’s so popular.  Everyone who sees it wants to try it.

As we near the end of our 10 day session campers are beginning to glaze pots and work down to ends of some of their arts projects.  Marbled scarves and woven bags are beginning to appear.  The array of tie-dyed t-shirts always amaze me.  The colors and the different designs are beautiful.  It’s hard not to like something that you make yourself and our staff have done a good job coming up with great “successful” projects that the campers can do on their own with limited assistance.  There’s a great feeling of accomplishment whenever we achieve something on our own.  If we can wear it, use it or show it, it makes it even better.  Hands on learning is everywhere in the camp setting.  That, plus realizing that we can be independent and do well on our own is another added bonus of summer camp.  At camp, some kids practice sports, some practice instruments, and some practice their belly flops. But one thing that ALL campers practice is independence!

Camp provides a nurturing and safe environment for kids to face challenges on their own, and that can be incredibly constructive to a child’s character.  In a recent Washington Post interview, author and psychologist Michael Thompson, PhD, put it this way: “I think camp is the best emotional preparation for a successful college experience, because you practice being on your own, keeping track of your clothes; you practice living in a community and getting along with roommates you don’t love — all of the skills you need for true independence.”

And when kids have had the experience of overcoming a challenge on their own, it gives them a positive memory to draw from when facing future obstacles; say, preparing for that really big math test or interviewing for that first job.  Camp is place for beginning the stepping stones of life.  We are all gaining skills, making new friends and learning life’s best lessons here at GV.  Stay tuned!