The Tajar’s Birthday!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Today is a very special day at Gwynn Valley. We had three birthdays at camp today: 1 camper from Brookside who turned 11, 1 counselor from Hillside who turned 24, and 1 Tajar who turned…well we’re not exactly sure how old the Tajar is. With 5 birthdays a summer it’s easy to loose track of your age! When it’s your birthday at camp, your whole cabin goes up to the microphone to make an announcement after a meal. 1 person announces the special birthday verse while the rest of the cabin cover’s the birthday person’s ears so that they can’t hear the verse until it’s sung to them by the whole camp. See below for the words one of the birthday songs that was sung today. The 3rd and 4th lines are written specially for each birthday person. During the last line everyone claps and yells out a number until the birthday person holds up their hands on the age they have just turned.

Today, today, today, today, today, today’s your birthday!
Hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray today’s your birthday!
Here’s a guy who loves the pool,
And we think he’s really cool!
Hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray today’s your birthday!
Tell us when to stop… 1 (clap), 2 (clap), 3 (clap), 4 (clap), 5 (clap)……!

When it is the Tajar’s birthday, the whole camp celebrates all day! For those of you who do not know, the Tajar is a magical creature who lives here at Gwynn Valley. He is half tiger, half jaguar, and half badger. The Tajar is very shy and very playful, and he loves making mischief around camp. We have a whole book of Tajar Tales that we like to read and quite a few songs about the Tajar as well. Today when we came down to breakfast there were kayaks out on the green, chairs in the trees, hoola hoops everywhere, and Table 7 had been replaced by a disc golf goal! That silly Tajar was busy last night, but I guess it was worth it because all the campers were laughing as they lined up for breakfast this morning. The celebration continued throughout the day, but the real party happened this evening. During dinner we had a big cookout with hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and chips. It was delicious! And everyone looked great eating in their costumes. I personally ate with a doctor, a ninja turtle, a princess (who also had a beard), a ballerina, a hippie, Duke the Mouse, a person wearing a feather mask, a red panda, a cat, a kayaker, and someone wearing tye die from head to toe. After dinner we all went outside for Tajar Ball where campers and staff enjoyed carnival games, hay rides, dancing, story time with Debbie, a massive slip’n’slide, water balloon tossing, egg races, thunderball, pin-the-tail-on-the-Tajar, and lots of other great games. We also had homemade ice cream from the Mill for dessert. Everyone in camp was dressed up in a costume so that the Tajar (who is very shy!) could put on a costume himself and join in on the fun without being noticed. I didn’t see him myself, but I heard from a few campers that he was spotted over by the face painting station.

In between the birthday festivities, we had our last morning of Discoveries and this afternoon we did sign ups. After discoveries this morning, we saw lots of finished art projects carried around by proud artists and heard from many campers about the skills they grew over our morning sessions. A few cabins went off program this afternoon for cabin tubing trips, creek hikes up to Connesstee Falls, and regular hikes around the property.

Today was also a big day for our Older Programs. Riverside returned from 4 days of climbing at Foster Falls. We were thrilled to have them join us at Tajar Ball where we heard stories of climbing hard and high, rappelling from the top of a 150 foot cliff, and climbing behind a waterfall! It sounds like it was a truly magical trip for our oldest campers. Many photos were taken and RS parents should be able to see those tomorrow or Friday. Today our Mountainside campers were busy preparing for their 3 day Adventure, which begins tomorrow. Mountainside campers choose either mountain biking, pioneering, rock climbing, or white water canoeing for their 3-day, 2-night trip off camp. We can’t wait to hear all of their magical stories when they return to camp on Saturday!

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has flown this session. Tomorrow our Main Camp campers will do 1 last morning of sign ups and then the afternoon will be spend packing up and hanging at the pool with our pillow cases! Pillow case day is a time honored tradition at Gwynn Valley and a fun way to spend your last afternoon at the pool. More on this tradition tomorrow. As we come to the end of a session we always remind campers to slow down and enjoy every moment as it will all be over too quickly. We know you are all looking forward to seeing your children; Friday morning will be here before we know it!