That Silly Tajar

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Today happens to be a very special day at Gwynn Valley. It’s the Tajar’s birthday! No one knows for sure how old the Tajar is, but he has been around Gwynn Valley for a long, long time. For those of you who haven’t heard about him yet… The Tajar is part tiger, part jaguar, and part badger. The Tajar is a very curious creature who lives in an old tree somewhere near camp. He is really a very nice guy, always willing to listen to a story or help carry firewood or do anything you ask. But sometimes when the moon is just right or it happens to be his birthday… the Tajar can become full of folly! Today was one of those days. On their way to the dining hall this morning, campers discovered a kayak on the green, canoe paddles spelling “TAJAR” on the Green, yellow waterfront tubes all over the green, and too many little bits of folly to count! I saw many wide eyes and astonished camper faces walking to the dining hall this morning and plenty of giggles. After breakfast all the non-cabin staff set camp right again and we carried on with morning activities and a mostly normal day.

What a beautiful day it was at Gwynn Valley! Although we had a storm blow through during lunch, it ended right when we finished so we carried on with sign-ups and Mountainside headed back up to their cove to finishing packing for adventures. Mountainside then played at the lake on the rope swing, traverse line, and zipline. Main Camp’s activities all took place outdoors as the sun came out and the fun began.

This evening we had a big birthday party for the Tajar. We dressed up in costumes so that the timid Tajar might also be able to dress up and join us for an evening of fun. We started with a big cook out: hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, baked beans, potato salad… it was a feast! Then we had a big carnival style party with hay rides, face painting, guessing games, darts, bubbles, sponge throw, soccer shoot out, corn hole, and a large inflatable water slide. There were lots of other games and quite a bit of dancing as well. At the carnival campers also enjoyed some ice cream and homemade cookies from our kitchen. Everyone had a big time and when we closed down for the night campers left happy and ready for bed.

Our Older Programs, Mountainside and Riverside, are on the move today and tomorrow. Today, Riverside returned safely from four days of climbing in Tennessee just in time for dinner and Tajar Ball. The Riverside crew was all smiles and excitement telling me about the walls they climbed and the waterfall pool they swam in at Foster Falls. Riverside is a smaller community of 12 campers and they spend 4 days out of every 7 in the field either rock climbing, white water canoeing or backpacking. It’s always a treat to have Riverside back in camp and to hear about their experiences in the woods.

Mountainside is a bigger and slightly younger group of 50 campers. That group has spent the last 5 days in camp sampling the different adventure options (mountain biking, rock climbing, white water canoeing and kayaking, expedition canoeing, and backpacking). Each member of the Mountainside community picks one of the five adventures to specialize in. Tomorrow morning, each adventure group of roughly 10 campers will head their separate ways for 3 days and then the group will come back together to close out the session. Each group is ready and excited to head out tomorrow morning!

Tomorrow will be the last full day in camp for our A session campers. I’m sure our A session parents are excited to see their children in person and hear about the week from their perspective. Hopefully these short stories from the blog and the wonderful photos that the photography team has been uploading will tide you over for the next 36 hours… If you haven’t seen the photos yet, be sure to check those out through your CampMinder account!