Sunny days and sad goodbyes!

Dear Parents, Family, and Friends,

It’s hard to believe that we are already at the closing night of C session! Here at camp the days are long, but the weeks are short. To be honest, the years are short as well. For many of the campers we recognized this evening at Friendship Campfire, I can remember their first Gwynn Valley summer 4, 8, or 10 years ago. Young Leaders performed a song this evening that reflects this sentiment. It’s a re-write of a Taylor Swift song (The Best Day), originally written and performed Kate Willingham, who was the Blue Ridge Counselor for these same girls 5 years ago in 2014. Even though Kate is no longer at camp, they remembered the song all these years later and re-wrote it to fit their 2019 experience.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics: 

I’m 16 now and can’t believe how time could go so fast
It’s been 10 years since I first started here, it’s in my past
I’m worried I’ve forgotten everything, I’ll get lost and roam
But I can see the lake and lodge and I know that I’m home

Now I know why the trees change in the fall
I know my counselors were on my side, even when I was wrong
And I love Anne and Grant for giving me their eyes
Staying back and watching me shine and
I didn’t know if they know, so I’m taking this chance to say
That I had the best day at camp today
I had the best day at camp today 

After honoring all our campers for their various years here at camp, our Young Leaders were honored for their leadership and service to camp this session. The Young Leaders program is designed to help ease the passage from camper to staff member, and to commemorate this milestone, we presented each Young Leader with a 2019 staff t-shirt. We hope that many of these young men and women will be future SITs and counselors! 

At Friendship Campfire, we also watched an amazing that our videography team put together, in addition to a slideshow with some of the photos taken. Please enjoy the video for a taste of what we’ve been up to for the last few weeks! 

Today wasn’t all about goodbyes though. The morning was action packed with sign ups and Main Camp Adventure Trips (MCATs) in biking, climbing, kayaking, and camping skills! We like to offer our Main Campers a taste of off-camp adventure to help with their transition into the Older Programs (Mountainside and Riverside) that are more adventure focused. On camp, we offered lots of great sign ups including trail rides for horses, water color painting, archery, slip and swim (a pottery favorite), and a birthday party for the Mill! Our Mountainside campers did sign ups as well and enjoyed some chill time on the lake as a whole community. 

In the afternoon, cabins kept busy with packing and a last trip to the pool for pillowcase day! The hot afternoon sun was the perfect invitation to go down the water slide or play ultimate waterball with your cabin mates. Campers who signed up for the Fine Arts Discovery also attended rehearsal for the performance shared with Main Camp this evening. This creative group put on a wonderful mash up fairy tale story as well as an original tale about the protective powers of the Tajar at Gwynn Valley. If you plan to attend the closing campfire tomorrow morning, you’ll see at least one of these original musical numbers! 

Tomorrow when you arrive, your children will be waiting for you in their cabins.  At 10:30 there will be cabin friendship circles in the Main Camp cabins as well Closing Campfires for our Older Programs: Mountainside at the MS Lodge, Riverside in the Center, and Young Leaders in the Lodge.  At 11:00 am, we’ll host a Main Camp Closing Campfire in the Lodge for parents, friends and campers. After this, family and friends are welcome to join us for our farm buffet lunch. 

Thank you for sharing your children with us for these past 3 weeks or 10 days. We’ve had a wonderful session and hope to see all of these children back again next summer!!