Welcome home Mountainside + Riverside!

Dear Families and Friends,

Here we are at the end of another wonderful day at Gwynn Valley! One of the biggest landmarks for today is the return of six different adventure groups who have been away from camp since Monday morning. From Mountainside, the Backpackers, Climbers, Paddlers, Bikers, and Earth Skills Crew all returned home safe and sound this afternoon. It was so joyful to see the Mountainside groups reunite as a single community. The 50 MS campers and their staff enjoyed a celebratory feast out on the Pavillion during dinner and then put on skits to share some of the highlights of their time away from camp. Friends from different adventure groups shared tales of challenges and accomplishments and just plain silly moments from their time in the field. The Riverside team also returned from 4 days of hiking along the Art Loeb trail, proclaiming it the best backpacking trip yet for the 2018 summer! The older campers on MS and RS bring so much energy and enthusiasm for camp life. We love it when they are home and our whole camp community can feel truly together!

In Main Camp, E session carried on much as it has for the last few days. In the morning, campers participated in the 2nd day of their B day Discovery activities. The journey of learning continues as campers build skills in their selected areas and/or work towards a final project or activity. Mountain bikers progressed beyond their drills on the Green to take on a few obstacles and basic trails around camp. Archers shot at not just at the bulls-eye on their targets but at cards and other markers that made the target more interesting. The set builders in Fine Arts are working hard to finish the physical back drop and props that will help bring the actors performance to life at Saturday night’s Fine Arts play. Progress like this was made all over camp as Discoveries marched on.

  

The fun continued this afternoon and evening with sign up activities before dinner and Twilight Play after dinner. Sign ups happen every afternoon, but Twilight Play is special and only happens once each session. Twilight Play is like a long version of After Supper Activities. Campers choose 1 activity to participate in; for limited capacity activities (Drawn Activities), we will collect names at lunch, run a lottery during the afternoon, and later announce camper placements at dinner. ‘Lottery activities’ included blacksmithing (pendant making), wind chimes at pottery, sunset horseback riding, sunset archery, sunset trail ride with biking, and the tower swing with climbing. Campers could also choose to do any of the lakefront activities, campfire stories + popcorn with the Mill and Fine Arts, Kickball, Kumihimo fiesta, and fire building with a dessert option. Each activity was a big hit in it’s own way and campers seemed to love the opportunity to play and really get out their energy after a delicious dinner!

  

Everyone in camp does at least one overnight camp out each session. Tonight, Chipmunk Hut, Mountain View, Aching Legs, 7th Heaven, Meadowbrook and Blue Ridge all cooked their dinner over a fire as cabin groups and then slept in one of the many camp out shelters around camp. This is a great opportunity for cabin bonding as well as a chance for individual campers to get more comfortable being immersed in the natural world. For many campers – and especially for those who were a little nervous about the camp out at the start of the session – this evening tends to be one of their favorite evening activities and a great source of pride. As I listen to the Hillside creek and chirping cicadas outside my office window, I am grateful that we are ALL immersed in the natural world here at camp. Even our staff working in the office are still within earshot for the natural symphony playing all around us.