Twilight Play and More!

Dear Parents & Friends,

Another glorious day here at camp with clear skies and warm temps.  Tonight is Twilight Play when after supper activities are extended into the evening.  It’s a great time to take part in some activities that you maybe haven’t participated in or want to spend a bit more time in.  There was soccer on A-field, a lot of Arts & Crafts going on, Lacrosse on the Green, Archery, Pottery, Mountain Biking (they just rode by my window), Kayaking, Climbing at the Wall, a Creek Hike and several others that were listed.  On this evening we really don’t have a campfire and campers just spend a bit more time in their cabin before bedtime.  It’s good cabin bonding time for the new campers as well as the ones who are here for three weeks.

We’ve got some tired puppies on Mountainside this evening.  They just completed their second training day in the adventure activity of their choice.  I went with the paddlers this afternoon on the French Broad and warmed them up to the effects of moving water.  We only had one boat that didn’t turn over.  Self rescue is an important skill to learn in the process and everyone was able to do that today.  It’s also about taking care of oneself and making good decisions when parents aren’t there and in doing so, learning and gaining confidence with each small or sometimes large step.   We worked a two mile section of the river and ran one rapid twice by walking our boats back up.  We also took some time for swimming and you’ll see some pics from that part of the trip.  They did well and everyone thought the two miles felt more like 10.  I must say that I’m a bit tuckered out tonight.  The sun and water really take it out of you.  We started out on the lake this morning and then ventured to the river after a picnic lunch.  The leap from flat water paddling on the lake is quite large and everyone did a great job on their first attempts at paddling in current.  In any good river program you don’t just run the river and you’re done.  We spend lots of time practicing at certain places on the river doing ferries, S turns, and peel-outs.  The true art of the sport has to involve these aspects not only for the learning process but more importantly to navigate safely in moving water.  We’ll raise the bar even higher with these campers on Sunday when they head out on their adventures.   Even our younger campers who just paddle the sit-on-tops on our lake gain a good bit of confidence as they maneuver and learn the aspects of two blades and feeling comfortable enough to turn over and self rescue to get the boat back upright.  Other MS groups were out as well but I haven’t heard how they fared today.  It had to be great given our weather.

In Main camp everything was going full tilt from the pictures I saw this evening.  When you leave on a trip you miss so much and it’s hard to get a recap of the day’s events.  Fishing at the Mill always is a treat.  The fishing is almost guaranteed and we keep the fish for later and feed the whole camp with what’s been caught.  That’s a great meal that day complete with cole slaw, corn bread and the fish all grown or caught here at GV.

We teach a lot of hard skills here at camp and it allows children to act on their own when jumping in to try new things.  You can be as proficient as you want to be given the staff that are willing to work with you.  Day in day out history is made with children literally reaching greater heights and leaving their comfort zones and trusting themselves and the staff who hold them on “belay”.  We as staff guide and teach without doing it for them.  When I work in many programs children say I can’t and I always say “you can” with some help.  I believe we’re all teachers here and can you think of a better place to learn.  We give children a solid foundation of skills, providing a trust factor in the form of good counseling along with a nurturing atmosphere  and allow them to go beyond their own expectations.  The hard skills and people skills transfer to life skills and to real rock, real rivers, beautiful hiking and biking trails that lead to life-long hobbies and a greater appreciation of the natural world around us. Stay tuned!