The End of a Fabulous Season at GV!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Camp is way too quiet.  All the campers have gone and most of our staff have said their farewells.  Our E Session campers really ended our summer on such a good note.  We thank you for allowing us to be a part of their lives for the last eight days and three weeks for our Mountainside and Riverside groups.  It goes way too quickly.  I also want to thank all the people that work behind the scenes.  You see a few of them on opening and closing day as you pick up and drop off children.  Dale and his crew unload and load your car so you can focus on your camper.  They also keep camp working and running throughout the year.  Our meals were wonderful this summer thanks to Dan, our kitchen manager and his crew.  Ollie, who works in housekeeping kept us all sanitized and kept our clothes clean.  Cate, Barbara, Ann Marie and Steph, answered all your phone calls and corresponded with you throughout the year.  Many thanks to Andy, our assistant director, who keeps our staff happy and makes each day a joy with his “choose your attitude” philosophy.

My thanks also go out to our staff for providing such a great experience day in day out for the children.  A camp is only as good as its staff and we had a great one this summer.  They remained high energy and enthusiastic right up until the last day.  As a staff member I get a lot of my energy from the children.  This morning I shared breakfast with the boys in Chipmunk Hut and it was a joy to see them all happy yet tired from a full week of activity.  I sometimes think of camp as a human battery charger.  Probably everyone needs a dose of camp life every once in a while to bring things down to the simpler life of the “simple joys” found here at Gwynn Valley.  This is my 34th year in camping and through the years I’ve seen many children reach great heights at camp and it doesn’t stop there because I feel camp is such a springboard for life skills.  Our staff also grow a great deal while at camp and many are changed forever because of their camp experience.

At  Gwynn Valley, when children make new friends, explore the world around them, and learn that “I can” is much more powerful than “I can’t”, magic happens. In an environment created just for them, children learn real life skills, develop self-esteem, and gain a sense of independence and community. Whether children are playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, or becoming part of a camp family, they are creating memories that will last a lifetime.  Our thought for the day this morning was “The real secret of happiness is not what you give or what you receive; it’s what you share”.  I told the children before we dismissed from breakfast, to please take that sharing philosophy back home and share a piece of what you learned at camp with a friend or loved one.  It will make the world a better place.

Over the weeks ahead we will begin to plan for our 2011 season.  One of my goals is to keep this blog going and have others share their thoughts on the camp experience.  Don’t forget to check in and see what’s new on the website as well as come to one of our camp shows this fall and winter.

From all of us, thanks for a great summer of 2011.  Camp is 75 years old and during those years Gwynn Valley has always been a special place for children as well as for those who are young at heart.    Campers, we will miss your presence over the weeks ahead.  We hope to see you all back for another wonderful season at GV!  Stay tuned!

Grant & Anne