Dear Parents & Friends,
As I write, Mountainside is walking back from the Hunt Farm where they found out which adventure they were going on starting on Monday of next week. Our Hunt Farm view looks right into heart of our Blue Ridge Mountains and was the perfect setting to set their minds toward the upcoming outdoor adventures. It’s almost dark and they are talking excitedly about things that Mountainsider’s talk about after another great day at GV. In a couple of days they will start their training days in the adventure they have chosen.
That weather high pressure is still beaming down on us and it was quite chilly this morning at around 57 degrees here at camp. Almost everyone had on their jumpers (sweatshirts) as the Aussie’s call them. I didn’t come out of mine until a bit after 11 this morning. It should be the same tonight. This makes for great activity conditions both on and off site. We had several trips out of camp today including Main Camp kayakers, hikers and climbers. With the weather and prep they did beforehand, every single trip was a success. There were some tired campers from the trips but that makes the day and sleeping even better.
Climbers went to the South Face of Looking Glass Rock and were like spiders out there today. They set up three climbs that campers had multiple opportunities to climb. Kayakers were on the Green River all day and will be returning with another group tomorrow. The Hikers (Nature Skills & Camping) walked to the top of John’s Rock which overlooks Looking Glass and surrounding Pisgah. You should see pics of these trips sometime late tonight or early tomorrow. All three groups will be going out again later this week as will the Biker’s for two days.
If you stayed back in Main Camp today you had sign-ups in the morning and in the afternoon. You may have caught a fish at the Mill or been involved in a morning ice cream making session. Hordes of campers were at the lake today trying out the zip line and the tension traverse. It’s a tough challenge to make it all the way across without falling into the water. The zip line is just pure fun especially if you can perform a spider man as you’re zipping along. The lake water is cold but the sun warmed everyone to the point of wanting to jump back in.
For those that wanted a dry land experience there was so much to choose from including in the sports arena: basketball, fat bat baseball, soccer and of course the infamous Thunderball, aka, GAGA. The afternoon saw campers playing capture the flag, more soccer and archery.
A beautiful day ended with our Thespians putting on their drama performance for Main Camp this evening. They did a great job performing “Where the Wild Things Are”. We discussed this book during dinner at my table and every camper and staff member had read it. Even our table Kiwi, as well as a visiting Aussie, talked about their experience with it as a child. We were trying to guess when it was written (1963) and of course most of the campers thought that was eons ago. Come Friday on closing day, you will hear a song or two from our musical. By the way, Debbie wrote all the music.
Riverside started their water component today with a trip to the Green River to get their paddling legs. They will navigate the waters of the Tuck tomorrow and I may tag along as the video boater. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.
We talk a lot about program at camp but I feel the essence of what we do is about the bonding and friendships that happen at camp. They are different from those that occur at school and on sports teams. The intensity of living together and experiencing life together, without distractions, creates the ideal setting to form lifelong friendships and really get to know people well. Friends are one reason that campers and staff return to Gwynn Valley year after year. At camp, there is time for friendship to blossom and grow. Time together in activities, in the cabin, and at the table are part of getting to know each other, and making memories while communicating face to face instead of over a phone or the internet. Miss Mary Gwynn, our founder, built her camp around inclusion, respect and kindness. There’s little competition, no color wars, tribes, no A team or “in crowd”. Staff gently coach campers who need to develop social skills in areas such as listening, initiating conversations, and understanding non-verbal cues. Camp is made up of children of all varieties being together and involved in great activities. Staff are trained to help kids connect and one of the best places I think this occurs is at the table. You have more variety there and all different ages. No one can tune out with earphones or just be a wall flower. Questions are always being asked and ideas thrown out all the time in between bites. I see friendships forming and being valued every day. There’s nothing better.
So parents, if others ever question your decision to send your young child to camp, let them know that it’s hard for you to let your child go, but that you’re giving your child a gift that will have positive impacts for years to come. Thank you for sharing your child with us. Stay tuned!