Simple Joys!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another great day for D session at Gwynn Valley.  We just finished our campfire for Brookside campers , however many of them are camping out tonight at this hour and I’m sure are sitting around the campfire after a meal and some smores.  What is a campfire without smores.  I’m always amazed at the variety of ways in which campers “roast, toast or nuke” their marshmallows for the smore.  I haven’t concluded which is the favorite cooking method for this summer’s group.  Food is always an item of discussion at camp whether it’s the food in the dining room or the foods we don’t have at camp.  As you parents know GV is free of those junk foods that most of us at least try once in a while when no one is looking.  I myself have a thing for the spicy Doritos but go a whole summer without because we don’t have them here.  Even in the off season I partake in moderation.  Our food is really good at camp but there are picky eaters among our ranks.  Rest assured, that we will not let any child go hungry and if we can’t find something suitable at the meal we’ll wait till afterward and search the kitchen for something that the picky eater will eat.  This doesn’t happen often but it does occur.  We also live in an age where many children are allergic to certain foods.  The days of sitting a container of peanut butter on a serving table with bread for those that don’t want what is being served are long over.  I’m actually glad because I love peanut butter and would probably have it several times a week.  At any rate, we had pizza tonight at dinner along with salad and quartered oranges.  For dessert there were brownies.  Certainly this was a meal that most any camper could sink their teeth into.  But let’s go back to those oranges.  Did you know that you can take a simple orange quartered, eat the orange down to nothing but the skin and you have the beginning of an orthodontist’s nightmare.  With the care of a surgeon and a plain ole table knife you can create orange teeth that will make your mother howl that her daughter or son is changing into an alien (see photo at dinner tonight).  This is a skill that I learned many years ago working at camp and I always pass along whenever orange quarters are served.

There were some very nice scarves being made today at Yanderside, which is one of our Arts Arena areas.  Marbling was the design they were going for as you can see from several of the pictures.  Bikers from Main Camp are going out tomorrow to Dupont State Forest and I’ll know they will have a good time.  The Mountainside Bikers were over there today as well as the Mountainside Paddlers, who spent the day on larger than life Lake Julia.  Deep into Dupont is Julia the blue gem of water where the MS paddlers are learning their strokes and trying their luck with canoeing.  Pottery was all abuzz today as several campers tried their hand at throwing a pot on the electric wheels we have in the pot shop.  It’s harder than it looks and a skill that I’ve never been able to quite get a handle on.   Tree climbing continues to be a popular activity both in the realm of arborist climbing and regular old tree climbing at camp.  The view from the top is amazing as one camper noted about 60 feet up in one of our giant poplar’s.  We added two new climbs today and expanded our arborist climbing to another tree just in front of the gatehouse.  If you noticed a picture of your child tree climbing over the session be sure and have them show you the trees on closing day.  It’s a great activity.

Campfire tonight was Mountain Dancing, but we took it to the next level and invited Leo from Brazil and our camp baker, to show us the wonderful dance he taught during international day on Tues.  It was a great way to end the dance as we did so sweating profusely.  Then we lowered the lights and I read  the story of Jumping Mouse.  It’s a Native American tale of compassion, acceptance, faith, with some adventure thrown in.  Debbie played the piano as I read and her music really adds to one of my favorite stories to be read aloud.  Before Leo’s Brazilian dance, we danced to Going to Kentucky, Circle Round My Zero and Patty Cake Polka.  I think camp allows the children to drop their guard and really enjoy the childlike nature of these dances and not think about who you’re dancing with or how silly you might look, but just have fun.  Camp is all about saying “I can” as well as saying “I will”.  It’s a child’s world here at Gwynn Valley and we’re trying our best to keep these youngsters child like in their imaginations and getting them back to the simple joys!  Stay tuned!