The Sunny Side of Camp! Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi !

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another day of opportunity at camp theme fits right into Aussie Day here at GV. It was Australia day here and we just finished campfire. It was a blast complete with entertainment by the Wiggle’s and of course a visit by Steve Irwin. It was a great skit and had everyone laughing, but the highlight was a young girl in the audience who yelled, “Aren’t you dead”? The crowd roared and I think despite our young ages almost everyone in the room knew who Irwin was. Our Aussie staff did a great job giving us a first hand look at so many aspects of their country which lasted all day long outside of program.

Every Tuesday is International Day here at Camp so we get to know a lot about the countries that many of our staff and children come from over the summer. It’s a great way to learn about a country’s customs, food, songs, stories and general facts. I think it’s also a great addition to our program to have someone in your cabin who may speak a different language or doesn’t come from our country. Camp is the kind of place that brings people together. It’s an even playing field for campers and staff alike. Our staff grow very close after working together for over 10 weeks. Campers do the same and some camp friends stay friends the rest of their lives. We had a couple of mom’s here this weekend who were campers and met here and now send their children to camp. They are also close friends and stay in touch on a regular basis. Sooo many benefits to camp! We see it every day and know that it’s a great place for children to develop and gain that sense of self, resilience, and grow in many ways.

Author and clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison writes, “Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” It is through unstructured, open-ended creative play that children learn the ways of the world. While playing outside, children explore with all their senses, they witness new life, they create imaginary worlds and they negotiate with each other to create a playful environment.

Playing outside brings together informal play and formal learning. Children can incorporate concepts they have learned at school in a hands-on way while outdoors. For example, seeing and touching the roots of a tree will bring to life the lesson their teacher taught about how plants get their nutrients. Our WEB of Life program takes children right to the source of our natural world where you can’t always go in a classroom setting. There’s something mysterious, exciting and little scary about turning over rocks and rotten logs to see what you might find. I was working with Mountainside today on a woodworking project and we had to uncover some milled Cherry that I had saved and tarped just next to the Mountainside Green. I check on the woodpile about once a week to see how it’s drying out and today before our activity I uncovered it and found 2 ringnecked snakes. They’re harmless and but we spent quite a bit of time talking about what to look for in a poisonous snake and the types that live in our mountains. What a teachable moment and that happens all the time at camp.

As you see in our photos there are so many new things that are introduced each day in our camp world. New skills, new foods, new friends, new experiences that help the camper make decisions on their own without parents being there. They do however have a good friend and guide in the counseling staff. Our days are full and today was no exception.

It was a normal day as far as program. Our B day Discovery activities went well this morning and there were a slew of activities offered this afternoon for signups. We also had a little rain and the sun came out just after lunch today with a slight shower just before dinner. We’re happy as long as it’s not lightening or thundering. We’ve been fortunate to have neither the last few days. Stay tuned for all the sunny side of camp!