Twilight Play: playing until the stars come out!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Today was a smooth and sunny day here at Gwynn Valley! It is now day 4 of the session and everyone seems to be in the groove of camp life. Everyone knows the lyrics to songs that we sing before meals or in the lodges so the volume is turning up and enthusiasm is headed in that direction as well. Everyone is relaxed with their cabin, table and activity groups so you hear more chatter and laughter around camp. Even the new campers seem to know the schedule well enough that there are few surprises in routine or confusion about where to go during transition times.  Today it felt like we were in the zone or in a state of flow. This is something we talk about with our older programs on the individual or small group level, but it can also apply to large groups or teams. There are typically moments or days of camp each session that we experience as whole camp where all of the various elements of program and people and place just come together to create these moments of being positive, energized, and aligned as a community — and that is exactly what today felt like!

This morning campers went back to their A-day discoveries for the 2nd time. Day 1 of discoveries is all about beginning something new, starting projects, and being introduced to basic skills. Because campers have already been to this area once to begin a project or to learn the base skills in a particular program area, on Day 2 of discoveries campers can focus on progression and growth. For weaving, this means adding length to your project. For pottery this means glazing your wind chimes or trimming wheel thrown objects. For the musical this means finishing up script writing and practicing lines or selecting costumes. For mountain biking this means getting on some single track trails around camp rather than the green and our skills course. For white water kayaking, this means jumping in with your skirts and focusing on skills, gate drills and games.

This afternoon the sun continued and sign up activities were a blast! As always in the August heat, waterfront activities were very popular. We had a sign up creek hike and sign up sit-on-top kayak trip down the tubing section of the French Broad. We also ran white water kayaking, zip and traverse line, and free swim at the lake. All the normal sign-up activities ran as well: archery, hand-building pottery, ice cream making and fishing at the mill, tie dye with cabin groups, tree climbing, mountain biking, hiking with outdoor living skills and more!

Tonight for evening program we had “Twilight Play” where we run an extra period of activities after dinner. Campers were able to sign up for all sorts of activities – some of which we run during normal time and some of which only happen during twilight play. We had a Tajar scavenger hunt, farm fun (mostly potato picking and piglet playtime), white water kayaking, mountain biking, kumihimo, tie dye, unicorn chasing, tower swing at the high ropes course, a corn shuckin’ party at the mill, banana boat extravaganza at P2, creek hiking and fairy houses, and many more! I was walking around doing video, and – maybe I’m just getting nostalgic for a summer that’s almost gone – but it was a truly magical evening at camp. Everywhere I walked I could hear the sounds of campers laughing and playing mixed in with the evening sounds of bull frogs all enhanced by the the “golden hour” of fading light as the sun went down and the stars and lightening bugs started to come out. We played and played until 8:40 PM when we finally called it a night and gathered on the green to meet up with cabin groups and head off to bed.