The Gold Rush Comes to Gwynn Valley and Saves Us!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Here we are at the end of another great  and action packed day at Gwynn Valley! Main Camp is getting into a rhythm again as C2 campers settle into the flow of camp. We are well into Discovery’s, which means that campers are gaining skills in each morning activity.  As I walked around this morning, I heard and saw so many moments of excellent instruction from our program leaders and quite a few ‘lightbulb’ moments with our campers.  Activities bring forth challenges and fun.  Sometimes adventure means milking a goat or feeding a baby calf, especially when you are a Primavera  camper and the calf is bigger than you! Sometimes adventure means getting up on stage in front of the rest of camp and sharing a talent.  You might be challenged by simply trying to weave with a Kumihimo Wheel, or by tying your own figure eight knot, but either way you do eventually get it and it’s even more fun when you can remember the next time on your own.  I think every day at camp has teachable, learnable and funable moments.

Our Mountainside and Riverside campers are heading out tomorrow for four days in the field. The Mountainside climbers will be heading to Linville Gorge where they will climb at a wide range of sites that area has to offer. The Mountainside bikers will head into Dupont, where there will have access to over 100 miles of single track.  The Mountainside paddlers will head for the Lower Green or perhaps the Tuck.  We had a lot of rain today so both river banks will be full.  The Mountainside pioneers will be heading out into Pisgah for 4 days of hiking along many of the trails that trace our backyard range.  Riverside will be heading out for their backpacking adventure also in Pisgah with lots of ascending and descending, but the amazing views make it worth their while!

The 4 day Adventures are truly the pinnacle experience on Mountainside and Riverside, as they are marked by a level of personal growth and community strengthening that we don’t see gained as readily through other parts of the program. The true growth that we witness in these campers cannot be summed up by the number of miles they rode or the rated class rapid that they paddled down. Rather, the growth can be seen in their ability to go beyond what they feel they are capable of and if they fail, pick themselves up and try again. The great thing about this is that we emphasize “challenge by choice” and encourage them to take the high road to excellence.  There’s a lot of power when you have others to help you along who are supporting you in reaching the crux of climb, bike, paddle and hike.   All of Mountainside was on the Gatehouse Green tonight participating in their adventure sendoff’s and spending time together one more time before they’re upcoming departure.   It was idyllic as a beautiful sun set on one side and the moon appeared over the tree tops just opposite the sun.

We had a storm today during lunch that lasted past our rest hour.  Everyone was stuck in the Lodge for a good while, but we got to go to our 3rd and 4th activity periods despite the weather.  The golden sun came back out later toward dinner and all was well.  Speaking of gold, we held a surprise campfire tonight that is called GOLD RUSH.  Maggie brought the game to camp and it’s a blast.  Anne and I got up after dinner and talked about how we were going to have to work another 50 years to pay off our new Dining Room and Kitchen.  And just when we thought desperation set in, Jed came in and said that he had heard tell that Gwynn Valley was built on a mountain of gold and if we could find enough we could pay off the building in one night –debt free.  We liked that idea so we encouraged all our campers to help us.  Of course there are challenges with looking for gold.  There were Robbers, Sherriff’s (good guys),Tax Collectors, and Guides who were either out for our money or to help us keep it.  And you might guess that this story ended well.  The campers found enough gold to pay off the debt and a bit extra that might even build something new next year.  We were saved and everyone helped.

Tomorrow is Special Day at Gwynn Valley, which means the whole day centers around a theme. It looks as though our theme will be Dr. Suess.  Some events will be silly and some not no silly, but fun.  A few leadership team members have been actively planning all of tomorrow’s events in secret. Part of the fun of Special Day is that you don’t find out the theme or activities until breakfast that day. Many campers were guessing what the theme might be over dinner as they discussed ‘best Special Days’ from years past. We’ll just have to wait and see what is revealed over breakfast tomorrow morning!! Until then… stay tuned!