You’ve Got a Friend At Camp!

Dear Parents & Friends,

It’s been a gorgeous day here today.  The temps were about 10 degrees cooler than they have been most of the summer.  Cool breezes blew all day and we had relief from the humidity that’s been occupying our skin over the past few days.  This of course made for great activity conditions both on and off site.  We had several trips out of camp today including Main Camp bikers, 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.

Bikers went to Dupont and rode on one of my favorite trails called Reasonover and then on to Turkey Knob Extension and finished up with Ridgeline which is a roller coaster of a ride and a great way to finish.  Climbers went to the Nose area at Looking Glass Rock and were like spiders out there today.  They set up three climbs that campers had multiple opportunities to climb.

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.  Jackson Kayakers were on the lake all day getting ready for a river trip off site tomorrow.  They will head out to the lower Green.  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.

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, GA GA.  The afternoon saw campers competing in a Decathlon with a variety of activities.  Many campers are already talking about the upcoming Olympics.

A beautiful day ended with our Thespians putting on their drama performance for Main Camp this evening.  They did a great job and it was all done by the campers with help from Ami, Julia, Debbie and a multitude of cast members.  They performed the Lorax and wrote several songs to go with their version of the book.

Just a quick word about Mountainside and Riverside; Mountainside had their “mid summer’s night dream” over across the road at the Hunt Farm.  It’s a beautiful setting and this morning they learned what adventure they will be going on.  Riverside started their water component today with a trip to the Green River to get their paddling legs.  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 and a big one, that campers and staff return to Gwynn Valley year after year.  At camp, there is time for friendship.  Time relaxing, getting to know each other, and making memories while communicating face to face instead of over the 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 skills, 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 people ever question your decision to send your young child to a traditional, longer camp stay this summer, 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 more impact than any material item you’ve ever given.  Thank you for sharing your child.  Stay tuned!