Tajar Ball is Always a Highlight!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Today we awoke to a foggy and cool morning.  It was nice until ole Mr. Sol came up over the fog and burned it off to reveal the heat.  It was also the Tajar’s birthday.  There is always Tajar folly on his birthday and today there was no exception.  His folly includes putting things where they don’t belong, like kayaks on the path to the Mill, inner tubes hanging from the trees, spoons and cups in odd places, dining tables moved outside and balloons hanging from string in the dining room.  The campers get a kick out of it and it is fun to watch their reaction.  The Tajar Ball is always a hoot and everyone comes dressed in masquerade.  There were astronauts, princesses, monsters, dragons, kung fu fighters, aliens, unicorns, fairies, golfers, Kings and Queens, ballerinas, ball players, runners, brooms, turtles and much more.  What you can imagine you can be with a little costuming here and there.  Just before the Ball tonight we had a big rain come through camp that lasted about an hour.  What is usually a cookout on the basketball court turned into a cookout in the Dining Room.  We were undaunted and still held the Carnival part of the Ball on the soccer field.  There were all kinds of things to participate in including dessert food, hayrides and many games.  As part of the Carnival was the Tin Can Toss, Sponge Toss, Speed Stack, Corn Hole, Duck Sling Shot, Guess the Number of M&M’s, Face Painting, Balloon Animals, The Shell Game, The Quarterback Throw, Slack Line, Soccer Shoot Out, Penny Drop, Hay Rides, Angry Birds, Minute Challenge, Strong Man, and the Infamous Mountainous Slide of Death into freezing cold water.  Plus, there was food like popcorn, cookies, snow cones, and made here at GV Ice Cream.  Kids love it and staff have a pretty good time as well.

Another group of climbers went out today but didn’t get rained out despite the clouds passing over Pisgah.  Bikers and Main Camp kayakers are out tomorrow with bikers in Dupont and Kayakers to Section 2 of the French Broad.  I will going with the kayakers and looking forward to it.  Mountainside will be taking a day off from training for their adventures.  They headed in many different directions and returned home with more skills and confidence.  That will continue to rise as they venture out again on Friday.  Each group will be progressively challenged in their individual adventure. I will going with the paddlers that day after D Session parents and campers depart on Firday.  Riverside will return tomorrow from their paddling component and a day on the Nantahala.  We look forward to having them back.  They really add to our program with their years of experience at camp.  Another group of older folks that have been outstanding this session are our SIT’s (Staff In Training, aka- Slaves in Training).  They have just been fabulous and have been great additions to our cabin and program life here at camp.  And let’s not leave out our newest program called Young Leaders, which just started this year.  They’ve really added to the camp community and helping while learning in so many ways.  This was the pilot year for the program and we hope to have many more years with these older campers.  Again, all of these folks are old campers and have come through ranks of Main Camp, Mountainside and Riverside.  They are future staff members in the making.

I spent the morning going around to different activities including riding, pottery, the mill, two of our arts activities, sports, and of course the farm.  Besides tending to all the animals they picked the corn we had tonight at the Tajar Ball.  I was able to get some good video from the corn field.  This time of year there is nothing better than corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes.   This afternoon I went with the advanced riders over to Hunt Farm.  They were riding for a two hour session on the 75 acres we lease there.  It’s beautiful and rolling and they really enjoyed riding between the corn and hay fields, hedges and eventually to the river and back by a different path.  I rode my bike with video gear which is easier than riding a horse.  You don’t have to feed my steed and it doesn’t have a mind of its own.

On a different note this marks the 155st year of organized camping in the US.  And with over 60 percent of parents reporting that their child continues to participate in activities learned at camp, we are planting the seeds that grow into a lifetime of service to communities.  Community gardens are a good example of one of those services that is thriving right now.  Camps are teaching great lessons and values that build on the same values you parents are trying to instill.  I’m proud to partner with all of you to make the best possible young person that we can. Gwynn Valley is dedicated to that mission and we hope that you will reap some of the benefits when your child returns home.  Stay tuned!