Special Day!

Dear Parents and Friends,

As we all know, every day is special at Gwynn Valley.  Sunday’s are special because we get up a little later, we don’t have regular program, we participate in a theme day and of course we end our day with Sunday service or Vespers as some call it.  Today’s theme was GV Goes to the Movies!  We embraced several movies that some or all have seen.  Little Mermaid, Harry Potter, Spiderman, Jurassic Park, Cool Runnings, and more.  We attracted our movie goers to the Pool, the athletic field., the Green, the Lake and really all over Gwynn Valley.  There were clues as part of a scavenger hunt, dinosaurs around every corner, treasure deep in the pool, and our counselors dressed as James Bond had to dodge an onslaught of double agents (as campers) to save the Crown Jewels.  Harry Potter and friends played Quidditch on the soccer pitch complete with brooms, chasers, keepers, bludgers, beaters, and of course the snitch.  You must know that there are over 300 teams around the world and this past year over 80 teams competed in World Cup held near Orlando.  That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about the game. We’re so cutting edge!

Events for the movie theme were held in the morning and the afternoon.  Rest hour is an important time for Sunday’s because we are gearing up for our last week of program for C and C-2 Session.  Campers and staff need a little extra time to get over the busy week and weeks (if you’re a C camper).  I have heard that many children come home from camp and sleep a great deal.  Our days are very full here and we are always playing and learning.  As we play outside it affects how we play, what we think, how we feel, what we sense, our perception, and the list goes on.  Playing outdoors is also open-ended. Sometimes there is no instruction manual for outdoor play. Children make the rules and in doing so use their imagination, creativity, intelligence and negotiation skills in a unique way.  Time spent outdoors improves children’s immune systems. Healthy children are stronger learners. As children spend more and more time outdoors, their immune systems improve, decreasing time out for illness.  This is one that we see when children get sick.  If they have to go to the Health Care Center at camp they hear and can see the sounds and visuals coming from camp around them and I think it gets them back into program earlier and helps to sustain that healthy lifestyle.  We do our best to wash and stay clean but some germs, I think are better than none.  

Time spent outdoors increases persistence. Outdoor games often require persistence. Children must try and try again if their experiment fails. If the branch doesn’t reach all the way across the stream or the bark doesn’t cover their fairy house, they must keep trying until they are successful. Camp is a great place to try and try again and it’s ok to fail too.  We see the results as resilience.   Not everyone is going to make the perfect pot on the wheel and little hands are learning to do all kinds of new things from tying knots to catching crawdads to weaving a basket or applying the proper stroke to hit an eddy on the river.  Playing outside promotes leadership skills. In an environment where children create the fun, natural leaders will arise. One child may excel at explaining how to play the game, while another may enjoy setting up the physical challenge of an outdoor obstacle course. All types of leadership skills are needed and encouraged.  Children are given the chance to ask a lot of questions all through the day and this promotes their reasoning powers and satisfies their inquisitive nature.  It also helps to promote their own agenda and put themselves out there, up in front of people and take a stance.  Sometimes if we need to borrow something from another table, say a different kind of cereal I encourage the campers to go to that table to ask folks they don’t know if they can borrow their cereal.  Some don’t hesitate on this and other’s will totally depend on counselors to ask.  Sometimes I’ll go with a shy camper to help in that process.  They most always go back on their own.  It’s the same with clearing the table after the meal.  For some, they love it and for others, carrying all those dishes and food items to three different windows can be overwhelming.  Everyone helps to clear and the work gets done community fashion when you work with a partner.  And as we’ve said before, outdoor play is fun. Children who are happy are successful learners. Children are naturally happy when they are moving, playing and creating outside. This joy opens them up for experimenting, learning and growing. 

Special Day is fun and with that comes much of the above because camp is a place that changes lives.  It doesn’t happen over night but we see the changes even in our shorter sessions.  You as parents provide so much in the growth of your children and we as a camp are a small part of that recipe for making the best possible children.  Thank you for letting us wear the chef’s hat for their time at camp.  Stay tuned!