What a talented bunch of campers!

Dear Parents and Friends,

Here we are at the end of another fabulous day at Gwynn Valley! The day started off overcast in cool, creating the perfect setting for a breakfast of oatmeal (complete with brown sugar, cinnamon and golden raisins), hard boiled farm eggs, fruit, and cereal. After breakfast, the sun started to peak through just in time for our 2nd day of Main Camp discoveries. As I visited program this morning I saw campers adding inches to their weaving pieces, finishing the Musical scrip, and advancing in their mountain biking techniques. This is so representative of this stage of discoveries – day 2 of is often the day when we see the most progress. Day 1 is about introductions and Day 3 is about finalizing or polishing… but day 2 is when the work happens!

After a delicious lunch of BLT sandwiches, pasta salad, farm veggies, salad and fruit, the afternoon sun came out in full force. This afternoon many cabins went “off program” on creek hiking, tubing, lake kayaking, and  hiking trips. Going off program is mostly FUN, but it also provides great opportunities to bring the cabin group closer together. For those cabins who stayed in normal program, we ran a wide range of sign ups including making ice cream at the mill, tree climbing, visiting the  brand-new farm calf (and other farm fun!), dip candles, kumihimo, biking the Main Camp trail, zip & traverse line at the lake, and quite a few more.

Mountainside and Riverside got to enjoy an afternoon at the lake. Everyone swam, floated in tubes, relaxed in the sun, and cruised down the zip and traverse lines. Riverside tried out our new stand up paddle (SUP) boards as well. They looked pretty good out there, so the four days that they spent paddling white water canoes last week must have helped them to maneuver the SUP boards. Both Mountainside and Riverside will head out tomorrow for a four day adventure. For Riverside, this will be the 3rd and final adventure, so all 12 campers will go backpacking together. For Mountainside, the 40 campers will be going on 4 different trips: white water canoeing all over WNC, climbing in Linville Gorge, mountain biking in Dupont, and backpacking in Pisgah. Each Mountainside camper can only go on one adventure, and they work towards this experience all session long. So far they have spent 4 days sampling the trip options, 2 days training in the field, and many more days learning campsite skills, packing, and mentally preparing themselves for this culminating experience. Everyone is so excited for the next 4 days…. it makes me miss the days when I was an adventure leader! I can hardly wait to hear the stories when they are all back at camp safe and sound on Wednesday.

After our PM activities, we enjoyed a hearty dinner of meatloaf, home made rolls, salad, pears, farm corn (which campers  picked this morning shucked after lunch!) and cheesecake for dessert. I’m not sure if it was the cheesecake or the anticipation of our talent show tonight, but energy levels were through the roof at dinner making for a fun meal and a loud dining hall. After supper activities tonight were extra important as they allowed campers to run off some of that energy!

During evening program tonight, we hosted our annual Gwynn Valley Talent Show. Both campers and staff provided entertainment in the form of dance, music, stand up comedy, skits, poetry reading, and more. It was a wonderful and fun opportunity for members of the Gwynn Valley community to show off their talents to the rest of camp. Some of the performances were silly and fun, but some were truly incredible. I was struck by one camper in particular who played a very lovely and technically advanced piece on the piano. I have also seen this very same girl be selected for both off-camp biking and river kayaking trips over the last 2 weeks. Watching her play reminded me how multifaceted our campers and staff can be. We have people here who are both athletes and musicians, expert outdoorsmen and creative crafters, farmers and precision archers. I think sometimes in life you get pigeon-holed as being a certain type of person or having a certain personality type or specific set of interests, but camp allows you to explore your identity and be whoever you want to be.

I can see the full moon out my office window, so it must be time to say goodnight!