Tutu’s and Tajar Tales!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Thanks for your patience today with pictures.  Our uploader is still moving slower than we would like and presently we have more pics coming your way and a video.  It was a splendiferous day here with a little rain and a little sun.  It seems to rain when we’re indoors which is perfect.  All activities got on track despite the rain.  We were even able to run a tubing trip down the mighty French Broad.  Tubing is so much fun and it was an afternoon sign-up made up of children from all over camp. It’s about a 2 hour trip in all even though you’re only about 2 miles from camp.  It’s an easy float and we always take a raft along in case someone gets too tired or cold to stay in their tube.  Two counselor lifeguards take groups of no more than 10 campers and sometimes only 8 depending on the swim level and size.

Waterfront always has something going from Kayaking to sit-on-tops to swimming and aqua games to zip lining to watermat, tension traverse and in two locations – the pool and the lake.  It’s a small but bustling lake and we love all the things that happen there.  Even Mountainside and Riverside start their canoe training there.  I would love to own a camp on a lake but we have a pond or small lake at a camp.  Our creek is one of greatest water resources that runs through camp.  We hope to get some campers on creek hikes this week and when you’re up near the top end of the property you feel as though you’re out in the middle of Pisgah National Forest.  Our own Carson Creek has some great little waterfalls that cascade down our mountain and into camp proper.  The creek is also the power source for the Mill.  That Mill provides food and lots of fun for those that participate.  Yesterday a group of boys made chocolate ice cream while at the Mill.  I didn’t stay to sample it but it looked delicious.

There was a lot of activity at the climbing wall today and a group of campers ventured up to the Rock after lunch today to climb there.  We have about 3 different climbs set up at the Rock.  It’s also a great place to view our surrounding mountains with views all the way up the Parkway and beyond.  On the opposite side of the Rock you get a whole different environment because few campers and staff go there.  There are ant lions there and if you don’t know what they are we’ll have to shoot some video and show you.

Pottery is one of those steady as you go, everyone loves it and is always doing something creative.  Today they were making whistles in the Pot Shop.  There are so many cool things to make at camp.  It’s sometimes hard to choose what you want to do each afternoon after you’ve had your morning Discovery Activities.  Making choices is such a good exercise for children and having a say so in what they want to do each day.  (There is guidance so that campers don’t take 8 days of one or two activities.)  A camper asked me what I would take today from the afternoon’s activities.  I told her “looking for salamanders, kayaking or going to the Rock”.  I don’t think she agreed but then that’s what is special about our program.  You can make your own choice.  Most of the time children know what they like to do and it’s an easy choice for them.  Other times they will see other campers doing an activity and they want to try it next time it’s offered.  Then there’s word of mouth advertising which I hear all the time at the table.  You can easily have a run on an activity if the “word” gets out.  As a counselor or staff member my job is coax campers into stretching themselves and try something difficult every day.  Miss Mary Gwynn, who founded camp, believed this should be the case for every child in camp.  It’s frankly a good idea.

I was at riding today and our youngest girls cabin was there riding.  You could just see most of the girls expressions change when got atop those giant gentle beasts.  Their minds could have taken them anywhere and their smiles brightened our overcast afternoon.  One of the campers decided that horseback riding was truly a special occasion and decided to wear her tutu (that she brought to camp) for that portion of the Gwynn Valley show.  Priceless!!!

I know if you are a Mountainside or Riverside parent you’re wondering how they are.  Both groups left today for Adventures.  Riverside is in their backpacking component and will head south on the AT from Max Patch to Hot Springs, NC.  Mountainside Bikers went to Dupont State Forest today and they’re camping there for the next three nights.  Climbers went to Linville Gorge and if you’ve never been there it’s spectacular.  Backpackers went to Black Balsam to begin their journey atop the Shining Rock Wilderness and will hike all the way down to the Davidson River Campground over the next few days.  And Paddlers began the foray into moving water on the Green River today and tomorrow will likely head to the Tuckaseegee River near Dillsboro.  I wish I could be with every group but duty calls back at camp.

Tonight’s campfire was a mountain dance that Debbie and I provide the entertainment for.  It’s mostly Debbie and a little me.  She tickles the 88’s and I call the dances.  The campers who came danced and danced and we ended the evening with a Tajar Tale.  Your child can fill you in on the Tajar.  Many cabins are camping out tonight and the rest will venture out into the hinterland of GV on Thurs. night.  There will be tales to tell tomorrow at breakfast and pictures to take for tomorrow’s activities.  I hope you’re having just a fraction of the fun we’re having here.  Stay tuned!