Sun and a Little Rain! No Worries Mate!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Our day was sunny and bright with a big shower while we ate lunch today. There was a sprinkle of rain just after dinner which ran us inside for one of our campfires but other than that, a super day at GV. I just finished calling our Mountain Dancing with Brookside in the Lodge and at the end of the dance everyone gathered near the stage and we talked about our day. I asked who experienced something brand new today and many hands went up: creek hiking, wet exit in a kayak with a skirt on, tree climbing, weaving on the looms, etc. We also asked what they were most looking forward to in the week ahead: their campout, rock climbing trip out of camp, tajar ball, tie-dye, and more. There is always something to look forward to at camp. Each cabin usually keeps a calendar of events so the children know what’s coming up in camp. There’s a good bit on our schedule each day and every day has a significant event for someone or sometimes for everyone. Tomorrow night is Twilight Play and is a camper favorite. We’ll talk more about it tomorrow.

Fishing was the big news at the Mill today and I think about 25 trout were landed by campers. That’s a few pounds of fish and all these get frozen until we have enough to feed the whole camp. That’s when the entire meal comes from camp. Fish and cornbread from the Mill, coleslaw and vegetables or corn from the garden and it’s delicious. There was also some old timey figurine making at the Mill the afternoon. Cindy, our miller taught the campers how to make corn husk dolls and as I strolled by they were just forming the body. It’s an old art form and you can do some fairly sophisticated things with the dolls.

Also in the arts and crafty realm is print making. You parents are the targets of some of the prints I saw today. One for each parent with hearts and love carved on the tiles. Just next door the potters were learning about the fine art of throwing on the wheel and also how to make a slab or coil pot. It takes a lot of practice to be able to throw on the wheel and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time to learn. There’s just something about working with clay that is appealing. On my travels today, I stopped by the Bong Tree to see Batik. There were a plethora of colors being used to go back over previously dyed material. Batik is almost a reverse process when working toward the final product. I’ve only watched and it looks fun as you progress with wax, colors, design and the steps of each.

On the sports scene we played a muddy game of Thunderball (because of the earlier rain). It’s a camp favorite that started about 4 years ago. It’s a game that came over from Israel and is a form of dodge ball with the exception that you don’t actually pick the ball up and throw it. You slap it with your hand or fist and try to get others out by hitting their legs from the knees down. Sometimes I think there are campers that would play all day long and never tire of this game. Of course our other most popular game here is soccer and the World Cup seems to have boosted participation this summer. There’s never a day that goes by where there’s not a bit of fotball that’s played. Archery is another sport at camp that’s very popular. Josh and his sports crew have done a good job of teaching it this year. It’s like Thunderball in its appeal to children. On the waterfront our stand up paddle boards came out today and we attached a Go Pro camera to several of them. I’m hoping the footage turned out well.

As stated above, there is always something new for campers every day. It’s akin to going to your favorite candy store and picking just what candy you want to sample today. This candy is actually good for your and makes you smarter, stronger, more agile, eager, resilient, and most of all it’s fun. You also get to share with your friends. Last night I talked about the benefits of outdoor play and here are some more.

Outdoor play increases attention span.Time spent in unstructured play outdoors is a natural attention builder. Often children who have difficulty with pen and paper tasks or sitting still for long periods of times are significantly more successful after time spent outside. Outdoor play is imaginative. Because there are no labels, no pre-conceived ideas and no rules, children must create the world around them. In this type of play, children use their imagination in ways they don’t when playing inside. We’re playing outside and growing inside here at Gwynn Valley! Stay tuned!