Summer Solstice and Free Play!

Dear Parents and Friends,

We started off with another beautiful day here and it was fitting since it’s the longest day of the year.   Mountainside was out on the lake, at the climbing wall, Bikers were on the single track across the road and Pioneers were at the Rock.   Riverside had a giant game of kickball on the soccer field and I watched from the climbing wall while doing a little maintenance there.  You’re never too old to play kickball.   At lunch today RB challenged everyone to come to the Mill and catch lots of fish so we can have our totally GV produced meal.  Trout from the pond, coleslaw from the garden and cornbread from the Mill.

Gummie Worms covered in Dirt Pudding!

Lunch today was spaghetti and this evening we had pizza.  Everyone was so quiet because we were all just eating and enjoying the good GV food.  For desert tonight we had Dirt Pudding with Gummie Worms mixed in.  It didn’t stay quiet very long with they brought that out into the dining room.  Hopefully I’ll get a photo up of some of chocolate covered worms.  It doesn’t look that appetizing but it’s delicious.  Our traditional activity after supper each evening is as you guessed it “After Supper Activities”.  There’s always a variety of things going on from arts and crafts to listening to someone read aloud on the front porch to several athletic endeavors on one of the fields.  Games on the Green (the giant yard area in front of the Lodge) is happening with all kinds of games each night.  I went around to several activities including Thunderball, Knockout, Tetherball, Volleyball and Soccer. Everyone in each group was having a blast.  Each activity depending on what it is, is supervised by at least one counselor.  It’s about a 45 minute play time that offers a variety of different activities each night.  We also have one evening where that period of time goes into what we call Twilight Play and add another 45 minutes or so.  It really allows extra time and it’s great for children after such a structured day.  Tonight several more cabins were camping out and eating dinner over an open fire at one of the many campout shelters we have on the property.  For those that stayed behind we celebrated the Summer Solstice with the whole camp including Mountainside.  Web of Life, Fine Arts and Outdoor Living Skills took charge and acted out several stories from the Native American culture that were great.  We also listened to The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  Debbie led some songs and some of female SIT’s performed a song.  You had to be here for the sunset and the great view we have in front of our office.  I have this view each day as I work.

Listening to a Native American story

At the end of the program we allowed cabins to just to hang out in the field and have what we now call in the camping business Supervised Free Play or just plain having fun.  I’ve been to several conference workshops over the past several years that stressed the importance of Free Play.  Well, duh, isn’t that what all children need at some point during their day.  Of course the key to that is the “supervised” aspect of it all.  Allowing the children to create, move through their own desires and allow them the time and freedom to feel like they are just doing and being what comes next.  It was a marvelous time and the different approaches to free play was wonderful.  There were cabins rolling down the hill, some quiet and listening to counselors play guitars, others playing tag, some talking about their day, some imitating their counselors trying to do hand stands, and much more.  No balls or props were there, just their imaginations and one another.  In our structured camp world these are the times when friendships are built and bonds are created.  Camp is all about relationships and getting on with all those around you.  It’s just such a mish mash of personalities and it’s really the way the real world is.  It’s so important that we all learn to live with one another and in the process learn about ourselves and others as we take on new found skills.  No fancy words here, just plain camp!

Children teach us so much and each summer I revel in watching them play, relate, grow and become new little beings.  I put up a video earlier this evening from our Riverside 1 group during their river component.  It was amazing how far they took their skills from Day 1 on the lake to Day 4 on the river.  The scenes were from the Tuckaseegee River over near Dillsboro.  It’s a great teaching river and we only scratched the surface with some of GoPro video I shot.  Hope you enjoy it and stay tuned!