Tajar Ball – Mountainside / Riverside Return!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Another cool morning gave way to afternoon showers but a wonderful day again at camp.  It was our last full day of programming and it started out with a bang.  The Tajar was full of folly last night and left much evidence of his mischief as we arrived at breakfast.  There were kayaks in the hand washing sinks and inner tubes spelling his name out on the Green.  Teacups were hanging from trees as well as a few bikes that seemed to be a little out of place as well. This all set the stage for a super Tajar Ball that just ended a little while ago.  Games and stations filled the soccer field and everyone was there including Mountainside and Riverside, both of whom returned from their adventures today.  On our final full day tomorrow, it will be nice to have everyone back together.

I spent most of the day bouncing from program to program starting at the Mill (where they were making ice cream) this morning and then visiting with pottery, weaving and the Bong Tree, where campers were tie-dying.  From there it was on to Nature and Camping Skills with campers learning about our variety of trees here and Camping Skills were trying their hand at the finer points of setting up a tarp.  Later in the afternoon after a delicious lunch of mac and cheese, salad, broccoli from the garden and freshly baked bread, the clouds rolled in and we spent a little time in the Lodge, Dining room and Pavilion playing games, Thunderball and listening to stories.  The sun came out just before our cookout dinner to set the stage for Tajar Ball.

As reported earlier Mountainside and Riverside returned today from their adventures and all is well.  All groups were back by Tajar Ball and enjoyed the cookout, games and a carnival on the soccer field.  From all indications, trips went very well and you’ll get a full report on the closing day.  Coming back to camp after several days in the woods is always fun.  I’m not sure it all sinks in until after you leave to go home.  Sometimes I think for some of our older campers their experience and the processing of that experience really carries forward and provides some lasting memories and experiences.

We hope that some of what we do as a community for one another rubs off and that your campers bring some of camp home.  Rituals like clearing the table, declaring a rose, bud and thorn for the day, sharing, and being kind to new people we meet are all part of camp life here at camp.   Our values are simple and our approach to outdoor education is based on the hope of self-realization and personal development.  These teachable moments are all around at camp and especially out in the field where these young people just returned from their adventures.  Some more Main Camp campers will be venturing out again tomorrow to climb at Looking Glass, bike at Dupont State Forest and kayak on the French Broad.  Looking Glass is a huge rock dome located just off 276 in Pisgah National Forest.  When you’re on most of the climbs on the Glass it feels like you have the heavens and horizon in your hands.  Sky and earth are vast as one looks out for miles at nothing but layered green rolling mountains in all directions.

Our Tajar Ball picnic was served on the Pavilion and everyone ate in the Dining Room because of the wet ground.  Campers and staff come to the Tajar Ball in masquerade.  There are a host of characters and it’s a time to play, dance, eat and try all kinds of games.  Traditionally we have a cookout with burgers and dogs with all the trimmings, chips and watermelon.  After everyone has eaten, it’s off to the soccer field to try your hand at a multitude of games and carnival-like events to participate in.  There’s ice cream, cookies and music if you want to dance and play games at the same time.  There’s even a giant mountainous water slide which most everyone ends up slip-sliding to the pool at the bottom.  We play the Macarena at the end of the Tajar Ball and we must have had 90% of camp out there to dance and close things down.  It’s a good way to celebrate the next to last night of camp.  There’s structure on the field in the form of games and things to do but it’s nice to have the campers choose their evening participation and travel the soccer field wherever they want.  Free play is important and I think after a structured day of activities it’s nice to run around and have a bit of freedom.  Events and stations are varied and there’s something for everyone.  No child is left without a chance to fun it up.

As we wind down our session, you may find that your camper will come home tired and full of camp.  Memories and experiences may come slow or fast and certain things at home may spark more camp moments.  Our aim is growing your child through outdoor living, building collaborative relationships, stretching oneself and creating resilience in them as they lay new foundations here at GV.   We had a blast today and I’m sure the Tajar was pleased with all the fun and folly we had.  Stay tuned!