The Spirit of Camp and Election Day!


Dear Parents, Campers and Friends,

We are winding down from probably the most beautiful time of the year (my opinion only) here at camp.  Most of the leaves have fallen and the weather has been brilliant over the past several weeks.  We actually need some rain, but that I’m sure will come.  We’ve had successful home shows on our annual promotional tour, with some yet to occur over the next couple of weeks.  Anne, Maggie, Andy,  and I have enjoyed seeing our camp families on the road and meeting new ones as we travel about the southeast and beyond.  Enrollment is strong and staff hiring is going well.  Our building project is right on schedule with walls and framework beginning in a couple of weeks.  Most of the time since camp ended has been devoted to building a strong foundation for this project and we all know how important strong foundations are in our buildings and our lives.

I communicate this news to you on Election Day, which is and should be a day to celebrate our freedom to choose candidates to represent us on many levels of government and also relish in the fact that we are so fortunate to live in a democracy.   With this backdrop of beauty, progress, and the privilege to exercise our right to vote, I have been disappointed by the way many campaigns have taken a darker path to reach their goals.  For the past many weeks Anne and I have been the recipients of mail, email, social media, phone calls and seen way too many derogatory commercials by candidates trying to vie for our vote.  The mudslinging and fearmongering has reached an all-time high.

Through all this, I think of our children who are witnessing this unnecessary back and forth dialogue that literally shakes the foundations of our lives.  And then I think of camp.  Camp is a place where children and adults come from all walks of life to gather together to learn, live, work and have fun with one another.  Camp is where we teach one another to lay our personal differences aside and enjoy the time we have with old friends and new ones in this beautiful place.   One of our camp values, created by Mary Gwynn, is acceptance. Camp has always been and always will be a “no put down zone”.  No matter who you are or where you come from you will be lifted up and given a chance to experience life in a positive and forgiving setting.  We are not perfect and we know that.  At Gwynn Valley we do our best to create an atmosphere of civility and respect for those who enter our gates.

Let’s utilize this camp spirit as we move forward after this week.  Let us hope and pray for peace and unity in our country no matter who is chosen from the balloting.  It is time to adopt a humble spirit to cross the boundaries and barriers that have polarized our lives for the past many months.  Let us go forth to rekindle a spirit of moving forward together, on common ground.  We must keep those foundations strong for those who are just beginning their lives.  We should mentor and guide these children and young people in the spirit of good citizenship and kindness for all man and woman kind.  We look forward to having your children join us this coming summer here at Gwynn Valley.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”  Nelson Henderson