Dear Parents and Friends,
We just finished Friendship campfire and during dinner it rained for the first time all week. The rain felt good and we needed it to restore the moisture to our mountain coves. It was such a good day and campers broke into song in the dining room tonight during dinner as we were finishing the meal. Mountainside has historically lead songs for breakfast the following morning for pick up day and everyone was so happy and we’ve had such a great session. The meal must have played into that as well. Fresh made pizza, salad, grapes and topped off with brownies. I had a camper at my table that doesn’t eat pizza and he had three pieces. There was plenty for everyone including some specialty pizza’s like kale and mushrooms, vegi, and some other flavors. Eating here is a highlight at every meal. We spend time together at the table and don’t just eat and run. There’s always time for good conversation and finding out more about each person in our small table groups.
We held sign-ups this morning and those in Main Camp enjoyed their last sign-up for the session. We also had several trips out today including climbers that went to climb the classic Sundial on the Nose area of Looking Glass Rock. The Nose area has several great climbs and our climbers took no time in getting to the base of the rock this morning and having the climb to themselves. Climbing is not a boisterous sport and many groups yell and talk loudly while waiting to climb. Our climbing staff engage our campers and actually teach them how to belay with a counselor backup so up to three people are involved in each climb including the climber. It’s a focused, involved and fun activity. I went and visited with those seeking more heights this morning at the climbing wall at camp. Campers signed up for the Tower Swing which is a small portion of our ropes challenge course here at camp. It’s a challenge by choice component because you can go as high as you want before you release yourself for the giant swing. Your friends and program mates pull you up and you let go when you’ve reached your preferred height.
Our bikers were out today as well and traveled to Dupont State Forest to ride some single track there. Mountain biking is such a natural for us here at camp. We have over 3 miles of single track trails for the campers to train on. More miles of trails are being established in our surrounding area each year. Our crew traveled to Lake Dense which is a good place to swim and is on the way for a nice trail called Three Lakes. They stopped off at Bridal Veil Falls which was used in two popular movies; Last of the Mohicans and The Hunger Games.
Our kayakers took to the water again today and paddled the upper French Broad which was the perfect first time trip for many of these folks. Also our hikers from Nature and Camping Skills hiked around John’s Rock that overlooks the fish hatchery and has a grand view of Looking Glass.
The afternoon was filled with packing and of course pillowcase day where everyone goes to the pool and takes their pillowcase along. You get it wet and fill it with air – voilà, you have a floatation device. It was the perfect day to be at the pool and everyone enjoyed their last swim.
Friendship campfire included Anne and me presenting blankets and plaques to our 4 & 5 year campers as well as recognizing those who have been here for 6,7,8,9 and 10 years. Over the winter we decided that our 8 and 10 year campers would receive a compass for 8 years and a stool for 10 years. Throughout life we are seeking and finding our way. There are things that draw us in certain directions and as the First Nation people believed, it our destiny to travel the medicine wheel or the compass. We hope our campers always seek good direction and are able to call upon their internal compasses to lead them in good ways. 10 year campers have been at camp a long time and have reached for many heights with their experiences and adventures in our programs. We should never stop reaching and when we need help there are those close by to usually assist. Sometimes just a step up means a lot, so we provided them with a simple stool to lift them higher as a symbolic gesture. This stool was patterned after one I made in the 7th grade that Anne and I still use. It’s located in our pantry and helps us to reach and attain things we can’t normally gain access to. It’s been a seat and stool for our children and now our grandchildren. Several staff even go beyond the 10 year mark because they started as campers.
Campfire concluded with campers and staff viewing photos that you all have seen these past 12 days. We also presented the video that you may already have seen online. If not, here it is.
As you arrive tomorrow friendship circles will be in each cabin at 10:30 unless you’re on Mountainside and Riverside and they will conduct their campfire for parents at the same time. Our final campfire for Main Camp will be at 11:00 in the Lodge and you’re welcome to stay and have some delicious GV farm food at 12:00. Thanks for sending us such great children. We’ve had a wonderful session! Travel safely and it may be raining here when you arrive.