Dear Parents and Friends,
What a day, what a day, what a day. We just finished our Tajar Ball evening ceremonies by watching a magic show by the Great Arebesky (RB to staff and campers). We watched him juggle, ring a magic bell, guess numbers made up by campers, and the finale was escaping from the Freezer of Doom after being handcuffed and tied in a bundle. Josh, one of our kayak instructors somehow ended up with the cuffs on and in the Freezer of Doom. Knowing RB as I do, the magic was only in the eye of the beholder.
The show was preceded by a cookout of burgers, watermelon, chips, dogs and all the trimmings and of course everyone at camp was in mascaraed. After dinner the whole camp assembled on the soccer field to test themselves with many adventures and games. There were things to bend your mind, like minute challenges, as well as throwing balls, Frisbees and even a toilet roll into, you guessed it, a toilet bowl. Guess the M & M’s game, hot air sail boating, fortune telling, the SIT sponge throw, penny drop, soccer shootout, strongman hammer challenge, a hay ride through camp, face painting, a giant slip and slide and of course the infamous Dunk Tank. You could dunk your favorite counselor, but only if you could hit the target. And on top of that were giant chocolate chip cookies, ice cream, popcorn and snowcones. I’m sure you will see pics as they are being loaded now.
The Farm held a great event this afternoon when they released the baby calves that campers have been bottle feeding all summer long. Think about this; for almost 13 or 14 weeks these calves have been on a leash and had their own little calf hut to live in and twice a day campers and staff have come to them to feed and water them, clean their huts, and just receive a bit of the good life of GV. Today was graduation and it was pretty fun. As the staff and children unleashed them they just sort of stood around until one just bolted and began running around the pasture. It was like a chain reaction as the others got the hint and soon it was a calf party. They were all scampering about chasing one another just having fun. I’ve seen this scene a thousand times at camp after a full day of programming and adhering to a schedule, campers just need some supervised free play. There are some great analogies here with campers and turning them loose with new found life skills. We come to the nest and are fed and nourished and then released to try and “fly” our newfound skills on our own. I certainly witnessed this yesterday on the river as I watched our Mountainside campers do a great job paddling on the Tuck.
Skills training will wrap up tomorrow for everyone in the morning as they complete their last day of Discovery. Climbers will have climbed in three different areas of camp and utilized three different methods. Potters and Artists will be putting their final touches on their pieces. Bikers will take on the Main Camp Biking Trail and Batikers will wash out all that wax and see their final creations. This and more will culminate our last morning of Discovery which is the skill portion of our day. The Johnny Cakes were abundant at the Mill this morning with staff dressing in full period clothing as they lead the campers through a day at the Mill from the 1890’s, when it was built here on the property. I don’t think the Mill of the 1890’s produced ice cream, Johnny Cakes, or corn cob creations like ours does. Besides all that we also produce all of the camps corn meal and grits. You may be able to pick some up on closing day. Ask Cindy at the Mill on Sunday.
Our climbers have ascended great heights over the course of the session and one of my favorite climbing activities is arborist climbing. You’ll see some pics of this from today. This is another case where campers have learned their knots and are free to climb (ascend the rope) on their own. They are on belay (held safely) but there’s a sense of freedom when you are swinging so high up in mid air and there’s not a wall or tree you’re clinging to. You control your own rate of ascent and descent. This too relates to campers as they grow up and as parents we want them to be able to control their ascents and descents and make good choices. Camp is great place to realize what I can do and do it safely and well. Camp can teach resilience and can provide so many opportunities for children as we are “playing outside and growing inside”. Stay tuned!