“There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” The Wind in the Willows

Dear Parents and Friends,

It is a beautiful sunset here tonight and as you can guess that made for a great day.  I must admit I wasn’t here much today because of going out with the Main Camp Kayakers on the Green River.  We got home about 6:30 but they saved us lots of dinner including chicken pot pie, fresh bread from our kitchen, cauliflower, carrots and salad from the farm.  And, you can bet, we were all quite hungry. Everyone did a great job on the river and the learning curve went way up.  The Green was full of water today given that we’ve had lots of rain in WNC over the past couple of weeks.  We put in on the second half of the river and paddled through several good size rapids including S Turn (where we practiced some S turns and peel-outs), before getting to Big Corky, the largest rapid on the river.  I eddied up to catch video and Hannah placed herself near the beach on river right for a rescue boat and Davis (our leader) stayed up top with the campers to release them on our paddle signals.  Because the water is so noisy you have silent paddle signals that tell you when to go, stop, right, left, I’m ok and emergency.  Everyone made it through in different places on the rapid.  It’s a little hard to read until you get into it.  And even for folks like me who have probably 200-300 runs on this river, there’s sometimes a new rock in the middle of the rapid that wasn’t there last year.  Things change, water moves things and moving water is very powerful.  After running through the standing waves of Little Nantahala, we cruised into Jacob’s Ladder, a series of three ledges running from river left.  Each ledge has a big eddy and just out from that strong current are lots of rocks and more safe places (eddies).  Ideally you eddy hop down the ladder and today they made some attempts but the water pushed them down the main channel and onto Sunday Ledge the next rapid.  It has a very smooth surfing wave and is a lot of fun to try in your boat.  We had some swimmers there but were set up to handle that situation.  It was a great day on the river and we learned much and as Winnie-the-Pooh says, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there some day.”

I was told by Anne that after lunch today the sun disappeared for a while and soon the skies darkened.  The storm came through south of us and we got just a tad of rain and afternoon program went as planned.  This afternoon several cabins went “off program” on creek hiking, tubing, lake kayaking, and hiking trips. Going off program is mostly FUN, but it also provides great opportunities to bring the cabin group closer together. Some of those going off program today will also be camping out tonight.  It’s the perfect night for it.  No clouds and no chance of rain.  For those cabins who stayed in normal program today, we ran a wide range of sign ups including making ice cream at the mill, tree climbing, farm, dip candles, kumihimo, biking the Main Camp trail, zip & traverse line at the lake, and quite a few more.

Tonight after dinner was Twilight Play which is always a hit here at camp.  You’re able to take almost any activity and it’s like a regular period during the day.  Campers love it because they’ve just refueled from dinner and it’s in the cool of the evening.  After unloading gear from the trip I spent some watching the campers try the Traverse Line at the lake.  Only about 1 in 40 campers make it across and it’s challenging.  It’s a new challenge for most and it’s ok to not make it.  New experiences give our minds a fresh start by awakening the need to focus and push ourselves a bit more.  When children arrive at camp they are surrounded by new people, a new place and ways to play. Counselors and new friends provide support to explore this newness, learn from it, and enjoy it.  Whether it’s meeting a new friend, dealing with an obstacle on a hike, making art out of natural material, or working with their team to take on a challenge, camp has opportunities for children to exercise creativity and use their imagination.  Spending time in nature at camp gives children the time, freedom, and control to play in imaginative ways and collaborate creatively with other children, like building a dam on a creek or creating the back-story of the crayfish they caught in the creek.  That energizing push to explore their ideas will help campers become better problem solvers, communicators, and collaborators.  And most of all, better people!

It’s been another full day here at camp and there’s so much to tell you, but of course, I’ll leave most of that to your children.  There’s a lot of bonding here at camp and I feel that camp is based on building relationships through experiences that we have with each other.  In most all of our cabins children’s bodies and minds are slowing down as they think about their day and imagine what tomorrow might bring.  Stay tuned!