Tajar Ball E Session
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. Chairs from the dining room were on the basketball court along with the soccer goal. Tubes and paddles 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. Of course the word Tajar was spelled out on the Green with kayak paddles. 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.
I spent the day on the Tuckasegee River with the Mountainside paddlers who completed their fourth day of whitewater canoeing. They did well and have improved each day. All of the groups rolled back into camp today after four days out in the field. They all had very successful adventures, pushed themselves, learned a lot, and grew in confidence. Fortunately, they didn’t get too much rain. The climbers were able to climb each day at Rumbling Bald and then Linville Gorge. The bikers awoke early this morning to bike in Dupont State Forest and the campers on Earth Skills spent the day having some solo time, writing in the journals they made, and then packing up camp and hiking out.
Discoveries took place today with some time this morning with climbers who were on their last day of Main Camp Climbing and taking 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 in Discovery this morning took a trail ride throughout camp. We have differing trails that wind through, over, and up some of the single track here on the property. This was the A groups last day of Discovery and they were going for it. The Mill made ice cream this morning and of course everyone was happy about that. What child doesn’t want ice cream about 11 AM?! There were several cabins getting the last tie dye session in today. 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.
Several special events took place this week and one was the release of the baby calves yesterday. All summer long they have been cared for and bottle fed twice each day by our campers. After being bottle fed for the last time, 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 to do with their new found freedom. Keep in mind these babies were born back in late April and early May. 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 bit reticent with parent’s parting goodbyes.
As the dinner bell rang tonight everyone showed up in costume to celebrate the Tajar’s birthday. There was a cookout complete with burgers, hotdogs, chips, all the trimmings, watermelon, cole slaw, and beans. That was just the beginning of a food fest. Ice cream and cookies were served on the Pavilion and there was something for everyone at the Ball. There were games of many different varieties including minute challenges, pyramid ping pong ball challenge, balloon darts, the shell game, pong bowl, soccer shootout, football toss, slackline, hay ride, giant bubbles, swurfer swing and the sponge toss. Outside the Lodge there was face painting, tin can topple, corn hole, and guess the # of M&M’s. There will be some tired campers tomorrow because after a full day we also went hard until 8:45 this evening playing and having fun.
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 signups and in the afternoon we’ll be packing our bags and going for sessions at the lake and pool. We have another wonderful day of opportunity, fun and the “simple joys” coming up and will be sad to see our session and the summer come to an end. Stay tuned!