Unstructured Free Play !

Dear Parents & Friends,

We deserved a beautiful day today and got it.  Perfect day for all activities at camp!  We’re in the process of shooting a new camp promo video and our film crew of two were here all day today.  It was fun walking around with them to various activities and watching them work.  I told the campers a couple of days ago that professionals were coming.  They’re used to seeing me everywhere with a video camera but I’m an amateur.  I learned a lot watching how they film and use all kinds of film terms like B roll footage.  I think I’m somewhere down the line shooting X, Y or Z footage.  What was really fun was their interviews with the campers.  We would approach an activity and they would just kind of nestle right in and start talking and asking questions to campers about the activity they were participating in while shooting footage.  Some children are just naturals around the camera and do a great job with filling the video with good script and lines.  The crew will be back about 7 more days during the summer hoping to capture the essence of Gwynn Valley.

Which… brings me to a point, what is at the essence of what we do? It can be said in so many ways.  We are here to “do a world of good for children”; “Playing Outside and Growing Inside” is what our 2015 T-shirts say; “camp is a stepping stone for many life skills”; “camp takes up where school and family don’t”; “camp brings out the best version of you”; “camp is all about building relationships”; “my summer top 40 usually includes: this is a repeat after me song”; “trying to get your friends who don’t go to camp to understand the great experience you’ve had there”; “my counselors were probably the coolest people I’ve ever met”; “camp is my second home”; and the list goes on.

I think what we do with and for children is found around every corner.  Tonight during after supper activities I had been in the Lodge setting up the sound system for Mountain Dancing which was great.  I came out onto what we call the Green.  It’s a grassy area between the lake, mill, and lodge.  It used to be a terraced corn field back in the day when the mill was built around 1890.  Now it is a sloping grassy playground where a multitude of games are played from fat bat baseball to jump rope, to learning how to ride in the attack position on a mountain bike.  I looked out on the Green where about 30 kids were playing Red Light / Green Light.  Sharing the same space was another group just simply rolling hoola hoops down the hill and trying to jump and dive through them.  How did we ever get to point that finds us looking into screens for our entertainment.  This simple unstructured free play just happened.  Children were happy, they were running, jumping, rolling in the grass and without a care in the world.  Children, I’m convinced, need more of this in their lives and camp is that vehicle.  This is just one piece of that essence and it’s happening all the time here.  Our video folks marveled at the way life is served up here in our Valley.  We had prepped them, provided schedules, brochures, old videos, but you just have to be here and live it to understand it.  We do our best to capture it in pictures but still that just doesn’t sometimes even scratch the surface.

Just being outdoors adds to the vitality of program and being here.  There’s a great ad I saw on TV recently, that shows a whole family engrossed in their screen of choice sitting at home on a beautiful day.  They hear a knock at the door and it’s a bear along with several other animals of the forest who take the family hostage, throw them in a van and whisk them off to a wild place where they can connect with something way more magnificent that the multi-chip device that rules their existence.  This and other ads can be found on www.discovertheforest.org

We are having a great session and soon you will be able to tap into hearing what the essence of your child’s experience was here at camp.  Stay tuned!