Twilight Play Makes the Day – By Emma Thames

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Today was another chilly morning at Gwynn Valley as the sun crested over the mountains. Breakfast was a huge hit this AM–the chocolate banana bread was enjoyed by everyone! Today was the second B-day of B session, with campers getting to develop their skills over a period of three days in their alternating discoveries. It was a joy to see the hemlock tree climbers clambering through the branches outside of the office window, to hear the clang of the forge echoing across camp as the blacksmithers moved some metal, and to smell (and taste!) the fire-cooked johnny cakes and ice cream from the mill.

 

Lunch was a new one for us this session. “Brats and Buns” were accompanied by a delicious mix of peppers, onions, and spicy mustard! Water cups were refilled many times as we all hydrated for the afternoon’s activities. Afternoon sign-ups offered many new activities for campers to try–things like mountain biking skills, a long hike to the incredible view from the Rock, chrysanthemum bowls in pottery, and “tubihimos” were on offer today! Tubihimos is an especially fun one that showcases the creativity of our staff: Kumihimo (a Japanese braiding technique that campers can learn in crafts activities) are an especially popular sign-up, and on hot days like today, the water is always a big hit. So, we combine them! Campers get to float in a tube on the lake while they braid to their heart’s content. Programming that gets children involved in several areas, and allows staff to interact in new and creative ways is especially exciting for showcasing the interconnectedness of our camp community! 

Dinner was lasagna, challah bread, a farm-fresh salad, and sauteed squash and onions–and the lasagna went incredibly quickly! Of special note is the incredible “special diets” cook we have here on staff–Danielle makes sure to cater to any and all dietary needs, allergies, or restrictions while still maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the meal. Her food always looks and tastes amazing, and makes each child feel seen, cared for, and nourished. One camper even exclaimed that “this dairy-free lasagna is even better than normal lasagna!” And that’s saying something! Small details like making sure the same seasonings are used, or the overall look is the same, despite sometimes major dietary differences, in the different menus on offer help children know that they have a place here at Gwynn Valley.

 

After dinner today we had a special evening program called “Twilight Play.” This is essentially a fifth activity period in the day, where kids get to experience a popular or rare sign-up in the evening. Tonight we offered the ever-popular tower swing down at the climbing wall for our daring and adventurous campers. We also offered pottery trivets, sunset archery, blacksmithing, mountain biking, tie-dye, a trail ride, and a wind dancer craft. These activities had limited numbers so campers made selections for a lottery at lunch. Other activities like lake party, a game of camouflage, and a huge game of capture the flag had no limits and drew a huge crowd! Capture the flag ran all throughout Downtown GV and seeing the play happening up and down the green and the soccer field was joy-inducing. 

Overall, it was a busy day here at Gwynn Valley, both at Main Camp and in Older Programs. Young Leaders had an early morning raft trip at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, Mountainside started their mini adventures to prep for adventures later in the session, and Riverside got in some late night farm time after doing the challenge course at the climbing wall in the afternoon.

B session continues to fly by, and campers are learning, playing and growing every day!