Tajar Ball Day!

Dear Parents and Friend,

Sorry to have missed you last night but our internet was giving us fits.  We were able to load pictures but after that it fritzed.  This morning we awoke to Tajar Folly.  The Tajar leaves lots of mischief around the center of camp the night before his day while we’re all asleep.  If you don’t know who the Tajar is, just ask your child.  Each session we celebrate his birthday and everyone comes to the party in costume.  This event has been going on at Gwynn Valley for a very long time.  We usually have burgers and dogs outside and then hold the carnival.  We were able eat outside but rain chased us indoors for most events as dinner ended.  Our traditional after dinner carnival consisted of Fortune Telling, Soccer Shootout, Hayrides, Bucket Breakup, TP Toss, Frisbee Throw, Face Painting, free food including ice cream, popcorn, snow cones, Guess the M&M’s, The Penny Toss, Sponge Throw, a Dunking Booth and Strongman Hammer Test.  There were all kinds of costumes at the Ball and Carnival.  I’m sure you’ll recognize some characters from your household.

Earlier today those Mountainsider’s and Riversider’s came home and are safe and sound sleeping in their own beds.  Each group had their fun and adventure while out since Sunday.  They all came back with smiles and stories to tell, memories to remember and that’s what counts.  We’ll look forward to having them back at our tables tomorrow at lunch.  They all get a big sleep-in tomorrow morning.  I escorted the paddlers on their last day of canoeing to the North Fork of the French Broad.  We haven’t run that section of the river in about eight years and when there’s lots of water it’s a fast and furious ride down out of the mountains from such places as Courthouse Falls and Devils Courthouse.  The North runs into the West Fork which forms the beginning of the French Broad just above Rosman.  It’s a beautiful stretch of river.  I scouted it late yesterday with three other staff before we took campers on it, to make sure there weren’t downed trees or major changes to the river since I last ran it.  We were thrilled to be able to do this and look forward to using it again in the future if water levels continue.  The Mountainside Paddlers did a great job and had a blast.  It’s a quick 2.5 mile run and we were back by 1:00.  It’s full of lots of eddies and rocks that make it a maze in some sections.  One has to keep their boat straight and have a reliable eddy turn.

There will be several Main Camp trips out tomorrow with Kayakers, Mountain Bikers, and Climbers.  The kayakers will head to the Green River that is still flowing strong.  It will be an all day trip for that group.  They were doing their final preps today on the lake and getting psyched.  Speaking of water, Cindy our waterfront director is doing a great job with our fledgling canoers and we’ve seen great progress in adding to their skills.  Another water activity that I got involved with by chance today was Web of Life.  I happened to be coming back from horseback riding and found them at the Lake.  This has been a bumper crop year for tadpoles in our lake.  They are not the tiny ones either.  They’re huge and most are growing legs at this point.  They were hard to catch and I took off my shoes and got into the act.  I managed to get one.  We were having a blast trying to sneak up on them.  I don’t know if they can feel or see you coming but they usually scoot off to deeper water just as you get within a couple of feet.

All kinds of arts and crafts projects are being completed as we wind down the session.  There’s not a day goes by that I don’t see a new creation.  Pottery has glazed all their pots and creations and the kiln will be fired tomorrow morning to finish up the final pieces.  Tomorrow will be signups in the morning as all of our Discovery Activities ended today.  Tomorrow after lunch we have the Play (which was scheduled for tonight but changed because of weather).  In the afternoon will be pillowcase day for all of camp when everyone goes to the pool (not all at once mind you).  There is a method to this madness.  Tomorrow evening will be Friendship Campfire and our last one for the session.  We keep things moving right till the end of the session.  I think the three week campers will need a couple of days of rest upon returning home.  We were up a little later tonight and tomorrow is a big day for us all as we wind down from a very active and fun session.  I wish we could keep them all for another week.  Camp does a world of good.  If you’re feeling a little “campsick” and missing your children we understand.  They’ve provided a great deal of joy in our setting.  We sent our son off to Scout camp about a month ago and he’s been home a week.  Anne I missed his presence and we felt your “campsickness”.  Camp is a safe and supportive environment where children can develop authentic relationships, unplug from technology, connect with nature, and participate in human-powered activities. Camp allows children to relax and enjoy just being kids. I truly believe there’s a camp for every child in America.  Thank you for choosing Gwynn Valley.  We appreciate you sharing your children.  Stay tuned!