Tajar Ball


We awoke this morning to the Tajar’s folly with all kinds of pranks in downtown GV.  There were so many things moved and out of place we hardly knew what day it was and where we were.  There were boats in the dining room with staff sleeping in them.  Tubes from the lake were all over the Green.  Folks had different name tags on and didn’t even know it.  People were walking backwards thinking they were walking forwards.  Tajar was spelled out on the Green with kayak paddles and tubes were spread all around.  Despite all his folly we made it through another wonderful day at camp intact and just ended on a great Tajar Ball note.  More on that later.

There were so many activities offered today. Climbers who were on their last day of their climbing discovery  took on our two Arborist trees.  Arborist climbing is very different than tree or tower climbing here at camp and originally was used to access trees without spiking the trunk or limbs.  It’s an environmentally friendly way to get up into trees.  Through a series of knots and hitches you literally climb the rope you’re hanging on and inch your way up like a silkworm.  It’s a strenuous workout for legs and arms but you’re able to hang freely while climbing and 98% of the time making no contact with the tree. 

The bikers spent their Discovery this morning on a trail ride throughout camp.  We have differing trails that wind through, over and up some of the single track here on the property as well as a flow track.  This was the A group’s last day of Discovery and they were going for it.  The Mill made Johnny cakes and pottery glazed their pots.  Tye Dye finished their projects as well. Dye was mostly on the shirts and it’s a good thing we wear aprons and gloves or you might have greeted a tie dye hand or two on closing day. This afternoon campers enjoyed hiking and swimming at Connestee Falls, a beautiful waterfall on our property.

Several special events took place today and one was the release of the baby calves.  All summer long they have been cared for and bottle fed twice each day by our campers.  Today was the day they were set free to go into the big field.  It was in essence graduation day at the farm.  A slew of campers and staff took their lead lines and walked them to the entrance of the field.  Some bounded away kicking their heels up and frolicking along the way while others were hesitant and weren’t quite sure what they were getting themselves into.  Keep in mind these babies were born back in late April.  The whole affair reminded me of opening day of camp when some campers just can’t wait to get to their cabins while others are a bit reticent with parting goodbyes to parents.

Mountainside and Riverside rolled back into camp after their four day adventures. I always love when they return with all of their stories of success and fun. They all pushed themselves, did really well, and should be very proud of themselves. A couple of groups also dealt with some rain but stayed in the field and kept dry in their tents. Backpackers, climbers, whitewater paddlers, expedition canoers, and mountain bikers all grew in confidence, resilience, and outdoor skills while building close friendships. I’m sure they were ready to come back to hot showers and of course the Tajar Ball. 

 As the dinner bell rang tonight we showed up in costume to celebrate the Tajar’s birthday.  There was a cookout complete with burgers, hotdogs, chips, all the trimmings, watermelon, potato salad, and corn.  That was just the beginning of a food fest.  The weather was perfect for the carnival after our picnic dinner. There were games of many different varieties including minute challenges, pyramid ping pong ball challenge, balloon darts, face painting, tin can topple,  corn hole, pong bowl, , guess the # of M&M’s, a large waterslide, hay rides, giant bubbles, the swurfer swing, and fun music and dancing.  There was also ice cream and cookies if you didn’t eat enough dinner.  It was loads of fun and we were thankful the weather was so good.

Camp helps a child develop a powerful identity which makes children feel confident in front of others and provides them with something genuine to like about themselves. A child may not be the best on the ropes course, the fastest swimmer, or the next teen idol when they sing, but chances are that a good camp counselor is going to help a child find something to be proud of that they can do well. The camp experience not only helps the child discover what they can do, it also provides them with an audience that shows appreciation. With all the activities and experiences that Gwynn Valley offers, there are many experiences that provide the inertia that propel children in positive ways and are stepping stones for life’s skills. 

Tomorrow morning is the last day of Discovery and in the afternoon we’ll be packing our bags and going for sessions at the lake and pillowcase day at the pool.  We have another wonderful day of opportunity, fun, and the “simple joys” coming up. We will be sad to see our session and summer come to an end.