Wet & Wild!

Dear Parents & Friends,

We’re just finishing up our campfire tonight, which has been our international campfire.  We have a good many countries represented here at Gwynn Valley and tonight we celebrated most of them in small ways.  It’s a fun evening of facts and interesting tidbits of our international community.  During our longer sessions we devote a whole day to one or two countries, but at the end of our summer it is nice to include everyone in the mix.  It was a good evening to be indoors and have a fire going in the Lodge.  Despite our best efforts to keep the rain at bay today, it rained off and on throughout the day.  Activities went on as planned because there was no thunder and lightning which is great.  After our rainy summer, our staff is quite used to operating in these conditions and everything planned went off without a hitch.  Better today than tomorrow since the other half of camp will be camping out tomorrow.

This morning tree climbing got off to a lofty start first ascending a rope ladder for about 15 feet and then making their way up through the myriad of limbs to near the top of the tree.  From there one could see the kayakers on the lake working on their strokes learning that the farther away from the boat your paddle is, the more you will turn.  So keep those paddles straight up and down and use good body rotation when you’re working on your forward stroke and trying to maintain a straight line.

I stopped by one of our arts arenas this morning to watch them make the Shibori scarves.  It’s a pretty amazing process and looks fun with all the steps of wrapping the scarf, tying it on the roll and then sliding it down the roll to paint it.  I’m describing only what I saw and you can make other patterns called dragon scales but I didn’t quite pick that one up.  Thanks to Tamara, Jess and many others we have a pretty sophisticated A&C’s program.  You parents will get to see the results soon.

Matt was out on the Swim Dock today teaching diving.  He’s from England and competes on the 10 meter board.  He’s been showing campers proper technique just from our dock and it’s pretty amazing how graceful some of the campers have become.  I could use a few lessons since most of my diving is more like splatting.  Keeping to the water theme, our sit-on-top kayaks take a beating and keep on paddling.  Those boats have been in our program for 15 plus years and they’re still sat in, jumped on, turned over, rammed, slid in, sat in the sun and paddled by an endless array of campers and staff.  They have served Gwynn Valley well through the years and they must be able to tell lots of stories and proud that they’ve carried so many children on many adventures on our lake and the occasional river trip.   As water fell from the sky today, the pool and lake was the perfect place to be.  If you’re in swimming or boating you hardly notice the rain.  I’ve put up a short video of time at the pool and lake from the first day.  I hope you enjoy the shots which were mostly taken with a GoPro camera.  If all is working well, I’ll try and get this up tonight.

Tomorrow I’ll be going out with the Mountainside Paddlers to the Tuck.  It should be a great trip and I’m looking forward to spending some river time with them.  I had hoped to head out to visit with the Bikers today but couldn’t quite make it.  It would have been difficult to video in the rain.  Our Climbers and Pioneers are doing well and seem to be weathering the weather.  We spend a lot of time working on staying dry while camping and maintaining your gear so that it doesn’t get wet.  All packs have covers when you’re walking in the rain.  There are ways to make a tarp as dry as a tent and we work with our campers on this.  Outdoor involvement promotes problem solving. As children navigate a world in which they have challenges, they must learn to understand what works and what doesn’t, what lines of thinking bring success and failure, how to know when to keep trying and when to stop.  This is practiced at camp before they leave and hopefully while out they can put these skills to good use.  The strides that they make on these adventures will be stepping stones to other chapters in their lives.  I’ll keep you posted about tomorrow’s paddling adventure.  Stay tuned!

To view the video click on the link below or paste it into your browser.