Twilight Play and Alternative Fishing!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Our day was sunny, bright and warm but with our shade, water activities and fun quotient it was a terrific day here at GV.   Tonight was Twilight Play where there was no campfire or other evening program so we played hard after dinner until about 8:30.  We also held a giant picnic for the whole camp.  Our kitchen staff has worked all summer long and made unbelievable food so they all got together tonight away from camp and enjoyed some comradery outside of the workplace.  The Mac and Cheese today at lunch was over the top good.   We’re into the meat of our session now after having our second full day of Discovery activities.  At our table I asked who experienced something brand new today and most responded to that with: creek hiking, wet exit in a kayak with a skirt on, tree climbing, weaving on the looms, etc.  I also asked what they were most looking forward to in the week ahead: their campout, rock climbing trip out of camp, Tajar ball, tie-dye, and more.  There is always something to look forward to at camp.  Each cabin usually keeps a calendar of events so the children know what’s coming up in camp.  There’s a good bit on our schedule each day and every day has a significant event for someone or sometimes for everyone.  Tomorrow night is Mountain Dancing for part of camp and is a camper favorite.  We’ll talk more about it tomorrow.

Fishing was the big news at the Mill today and it was not the traditional kind you would guess.  Near the end of the summer we empty our pond of all the picky eaters who only eat trout food and won’t bite a hook or worm.  So….. we starting releasing the water from the pond and let the children in with their bathing suits on to try and catch the remaining fish with dip nets or by hand.  In less than a minute the water is totally muddy and you couldn’t see anything an inch down.  It takes a while but they catch them all and it’s a mudfest down to last trout standing/swimming.   I think they caught about 40 fish and had a lot of fun in doing so.  By the end, everyone was ready to jump in the lake and wash the muddy water off.  These fish will be added to the others the campers have caught this session and at some point maybe next week we’ll have ourselves a fish fry, complete with corn meal from the Mill and vegis from the farm.  You guessed it, the entire meal comes from camp.

On my travels today, I stopped by the Bong Tree to see Batik.  There were a plethora of colors being used to go back over previously dyed material.  Batik is almost a reverse process when working toward the final product.  I’ve only watched and it looks fun as you progress with wax, colors, design and the steps of each.

On the sports scene we played in the shade this afternoon and went with an overall camp favorite of Thunderball.  We started playing Thunderball about 6 years ago here at camp.  It’s a game that came over from Israel and is a form of dodge ball with the exception that you don’t actually pick the ball up and throw it.  You slap it with your hand or fist and try to get others out by hitting their legs from the knees down.  Sometime I think there are campers that would play all day long and never tire of this game.  Of course our other most popular game here is soccer.  There’s rarely a day that goes by where there’s not a bit of fotball that’s played. Archery is another sport at camp that’s very popular.  Our sports crew have done a good job of teaching it this year.  It’s like Thunderball in its appeal to children.  On the waterfront our stand up paddle boards came out today and we attached a Go Pro camera to several of them.  I’m hoping the footage turned out well.

Our newest things to camp are the Swurfer Swing, the Rope Swing, and 9 Square in the Air.  All three are crowd pleasers.  The Swurfer was invented in Charleston and I saw one at a camp home show last year and knew it would be a hit at camp.  You stand on it instead of sitting.  We’ve been trying to add a rope swing to the lake for some time and this year attached it to our zip line which was previously attached to a tree on the waterfront point.  I learned about 9 Square at a national conference and played for a couple of hours inside a hotel ball room with all adults.  It’s fast moving fun for all ages.

As stated above, there is always something new for campers every day.  It’s akin to going to your favorite candy store and picking just what candy you want to sample today.  This candy is actually good for you and makes you smarter, stronger, more agile, eager, resilient, and most of all it’s fun.  You also get to share with your friends.   Our outdoor play is mostly structured and it’s so much fun to play outdoors all day, sleep under the stars as many cabins are doing this evening and even eat outside for our picnic.  It’s just good for the body and soul.

Outdoor play increases attention span. Often children who have difficulty with pen and paper tasks or sitting still for long periods of times are significantly more successful after time spent outside. Outdoor play is imaginative. Because there are no labels, no pre-conceived ideas and fewer rules, children must create the world around them. In this type of play, children use their imagination in ways they don’t when playing inside. We’re playing outside and growing inside here at Gwynn Valley! Stay tuned!