Special Day! Wet in the Wonderland!

Dear Parents & Friends,

If you missed the blog last night, Anne and I had an evening off and of course camp goes on.  We’re hopefully at the end of a rainy spell here and for the first time in several days we had some sunshine late this afternoon just before dinner.  Special Day is always on Sunday and yet the showers didn’t deter us this morning.  The theme was Alice in Wonderland along with a host of characters that woke us up this morning for our traditional PJ’s and Pancakes breakfast.  Events included Flamingo Croquet, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Table Setting, Jumbo Cards & Riddles, Floating With the Mouse, Games With the Cheshire Cat, Lobster Soup Challenge, White Rabbit Ears, Mad Hats and Roses, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Queen of Hearts Towers, Photo Booth and Edible Tea Cups.  Everything went well and the visitors to the Wonderland got a little damp but otherwise survived the moister coming from above.  After lunch we had a long rest hour to get ready for the last week and the heavens opened up just as we were about to continue our Wonderland Adventures.  Plan D went into effect and everyone settled in to the Lodge for a movie (Night at the Museum).  Not my choice for programming but we felt it was the right thing to do given the fact that everyone needed to dry out a bit.

Yesterday brought some showers but again we were on task with program and those who were playing water polo never even noticed the rain.  We set up our goals on the dock and had a huge crowd that joined us.  We’re catching record numbers of fish at the Mill with record numbers of worms.  Usually I have to purchase fishing worms for the summer but this year they are racing to the surface to breath and right into our hands.  More ice cream was made at the Mill yesterday and we’re getting ready for Tajar Ball which will be the launching pad for the sensational flavors that are produced by the Miller and her camper assistants.

This coming week our Main Camp paddlers, bikers, and climbers will get out on our local rivers, trails and rocks to conquer the elements and stretch themselves with the skills they have learned during the session.  We looking forward to having them test their mettle away from camp and in different challenging environs.  I hope to go out with a few groups.

Speaking of out – Mountainside and Riverside left for their adventures and will be out until Wed.  Even though all started off in the rain, we made sure they were all wrapped tight and warm before entering the forests and fields of Pisgah and Dupont.  The weather looks like it will start to clear tonight and be nice through Tuesday with a slight chance of rain after that.  As these young people go forth into the wilds and put their skills to work, I think about “challenge by choice” here at camp and how it empowers our campers to learn to make good decisions and go farther than they might on their own or when parents aren’t around.  I’m not talking about peer pressure which has its place in the equation.  I witnessed this the other day when a Mountainside cabin was on our ropes course and the participant on the giant swing was not giving in to the peer pressure coming from her cabin mates.  She knew what her threshold was and even with our reassuring and qualified staff right there, she was not going to succumb.  One can look at this several ways.  Yes, she could have done it and would have been fine but let’s change that scenario to several years later as it might relate to risky behavior and that’s where the confidence and assurance in oneself says no, not today and hopefully not tomorrow. We support those campers who decide to take on the challenges here at camp as well as those who don’t.  Also, just getting up on the ledge to look at the swing and going through all the other elements of the course is an achievement.  The moral of the story is to take ownership in the experience and not be pressured by your friends.  We want our children to make good decisions on their own and not rely on their peers to make push them into something they don’t want to do.  The good thing about camp is we can learn from that first time and try again later and succeed or maybe inch your way little closer to proverbial “edge”.  In our staff training we talk a good bit about “perceived risk vs actual risk”.  We take the “actual” out of the equation and leave the perceived so that campers do have that challenge by choice mentality and can learn to make good decisions even when it doesn’t involve high adventure.  Stay tuned for more challenges here at camp!