Simple Joys


Even though it rained today off and on, we went full on into program for our first full day of Session B. As I write, the staff are putting campers to bed and singing, playing music, or reading stories as they drift off after a full day of fun, discovery and making new friends. We just finished a mountain dance for Brookside which is always a good time. It takes a while for the Brooksiders to warm up since “mountain dancing” is not so cool and Brookside ages are just starting to become cool.

While our Brookside campers were dancing, Hillside campers were just finishing up their first full day of camp with a bang. They went to various shelters and camping spots, built fires and enjoyed roasting marshmallows with their cabin mates while listening to stories. Cabin bonding is important and we work on starting that bond as early as possible. Camp is all about getting along and coexisting with one another. Total strangers one day, working toward the magic of new friendships over the time they are here is one of our top priorities.


Today was our first day of Discovery activities and there were many offerings for the morning. Each camper chooses 4 one hour activities and takes two of those every other day. The mornings are skill based working toward projects and gaining skills where you can tie your own knot for climbing, learn to throw a pot on the wheel, be on stage and learn your lines, bottle feed a baby calf and know if that carrot or onion is ready to be pulled, complete that art project or weaving, wrangle raw iron to hot metal into your first masterpiece in blacksmithing, perfect your T rescue in a kayak, and most importantly, have fun while doing all of these and more. I got to spend time on the lake this afternoon with 10 campers, most of whom had never paddled a canoe. Straight lines were the order of the day and they did very well. We’ll meet in the afternoon at least 3 more times and hope to get these youngsters on a short river trip sometime late next week.

We said goodbye to our Mountainside group from MS1-A and it was nice to hear all the wonderful stories that came back from Adventures. Our new MS1-B campers will arrive on Wednesday. Anne and I attended their adventure skits last night and though short in presentation, the subject matter was “deep and wide”. Those three day out experiences make for great beginnings in challenge, confidence building, grit and learning to work closely with others. Campers quickly learn that they all have given talents that play into building the solid foundation of their 10 day experience and polishing it off with the adventure. It’s the perfect program for an age that needs a push and shove away from screens and all the exclusive behavior of adolescence in an inclusive and fun environment.

Camp is human powered and very hands on. In this setting it makes the learning even better. We are surrounded by the beauty of the natural world and sounds that we don’t often hear for sustained periods of time. This world of simple joys is Gwynn Valley. It’s a place where children can reclaim and foster the beauty, wonder and awe of the natural world and the innocence of childhood. Stay tuned!