Four Winds Blog

Welcome to the Four Winds Blog. In the past, this blog has really only been active in the summer, when Paul Sheridan, Four Winds' Director, has posted weekly updates. Paul is going to continue to do that in this space, and for those that are interested, we're going to occasionally post things in the off-season. Enjoy!

Greetings from Hilltop. The last few days of Camp are here. It always sneaks up on me, even in my 13th summer. While the seniors were gone last week, it seemed as though we’d all be here together forever. Of course we could look at the calendar and see, but it doesn’t register emotionally for some reason until the Seniors are back, and we are looking at our final four evening activities.

Part of what makes Camp great is ritual. Ritual is important at Camp because it creates a sense of familiarity, and it sends signals to our community about what’s going on. The familiarity is important because much of Camp involves pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. The familiarity of our rituals offsets that push into growth. The signals are important because we’re a relatively large community, and Camp is at its best when many of us are feeling similar feelings. Sometimes it’s simple. Our good night songs every night signal feelings that it’s time to go to bed, and to bring our energy down after a sometimes zany evening activity.

The ritual that I want to talk about here is bit bigger than that, our final four evening activities. We end each session with the same four. Tomorrow, we’ll have Talent/No Talent, our talent show. On Tuesday, we’ll have Pins & Slides, where we’ll award activity area pins and have a slideshow of the session. On Wednesday, we’ll have the CT Dance, where the CTs will decorate the boat barn and we’ll dance the night away. On our last night together, we’ll have our final Evening Fire. All of these evening activities share a theme of celebration and reflection. The fact that they’re the same every year shakes us out of our sense that we’ll be here together forever. We will not. Our time is short, and when we recognize that, we value our time together all the more. It’s one of my favorite times in Camp, and I can’t wait.

On top off all that, we’ll have a great number of Gypsy Jewelry ceremonies in this last week. As many of you know, campers and staff receive different items of jewelry in their camp careers. In everyone’s first year, they receive a boon pin. In their third, boys receive a Polaris Pin and girls receive a Gypsy Ring. At some point after that, usually when a person is on staff, they can receive a Polaris Ring for boys, and a Gypsy Bracelet for girls. The way we award this jewelry is simplicity itself. We surprise the recipient in a place in Camp that is special to them, sitting in a circle and singing a camp song they love. We each take a turn sharing something about the person that makes them particularly deserving, we give them the item of jewelry, and then they pick a song for us to sing to end the ceremony. It sounds simple, and it is, but the net effect of dozens of those circles over the next five days is fellow feeling across our community. To me, when people say Gypsy Magic, a term that can be hard to define, that’s what they’re talking about.

Thank you for sharing your children with us. It’s been a pleasure to spend these last three weeks and a bit with them, as I know it will be to spend these last few days. I’ll post again on Friday when the campers are on their way home. Until then, be sure to follow our daily updates on Twitter.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 16, 2017 at 1:50 pm.

Update #3 from the Carlyn

Hi Paul!

We are making a brief stop in Campbell River now before pushing off tonight for Namaimo.
We left you last at Lund, BC and a lot has happened since then. We left for Desolation Sound the next day and went to one of my favorite spots: Tenedos Bay. We anchored and swam in 73 degree salt water before a hike up to pristine Unwin Lake for yet another swim to rinse off the salt. We’ve been eating a lot of huckleberries as they are finally ripe. It’s a new crew favorite, and in fact the campers have become quite the naturalists! Alaskan blueberries are out too, a personal favorite of mine. We have seen many of my friends out here on different boats as well and it has been nice for the campers to make new friends.

The day after Tenedos, we went over to Prideaux Haven for yet another swim, and sailed all afternoon up Homfray Channel which was stunning. Spent the night at my favorite dock in Toba Inlet, a gorgeous fjord with snow capped peaks. We had Gypsy Day aboard the next day and as a challenge, the campers took over the boat and sailed to the head of the Inlet. We saw a black bear eating on the shore, but he didn’t like the look of us and ambled into the woods.

The day after, we left Toba Inlet and headed to Octopus Islands Park, but on the way were treated with a great humpback whale sighting as they fed near Raza Island! Octopus was wonderful. We spent a day there before going to Pulton Bay and spending a relaxing 2 days at the Bounous property relaxing, swimming in the lake and rock quarry and catching salamanders.

We left early this morning and went through Seymour Narrows and arrived at Campbell River. We are gassed up, got food and water and took naps in preparation for the most challenging part of our trip; we will sail all night tonight and tomorrow on our way to Nanaimo. The campers will lead the watches and guide the ship over 70 miles to our destination. They have been preparing and are ready.

We will spend the 16th in Nanaimo and then head for Friday Harbor and then back to Camp. It’s been a marvelous trip but we miss our friends at camp. We look forward to seeing you soon and I’ll drop a line from Nanaimo. Fair winds!

Capt. Ryan

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm.

Greetings from Hilltop. What a time to be at Camp, on Orcas Island, in the middle of this First Session. It’s hard to believe that we’re past the halfway point of the Session, but of course that is indeed the truth. Camp has a way of warping your sense of time. As someone more eloquent than me said about the phenomenon, “The days feel like weeks, but the weeks feel like days.” The Seniors left on trips today. That is a pretty big marker of time in our four weeks together. We’ve been together for two weeks. Everyone knows each other, the campus, and at least the most important songs. We’ve tried new things, and overcome setbacks. Some campers have made a friend, gotten into a disagreement, and made up with that friend again. We’ve had great special events like the Fourth of July, Gypsy Sisters and Swamp Chomp lunches, and of course Gypsy Day.

Now, it’s time to switch things up a bit. Our Seniors are going off on 6 day trips around the San Juan Islands and on the Olympic Peninsula. Nearly all of them are quite comfortable at Camp, but some of them are a bit nervous about trips, whether it’s about not knowing everyone in their group, going on a longer wilderness trip, or the physical nature of the trip. That nervousness is a big part of why we do trips. Parents often marvel at the growth that occurs in campers over the course of just a few weeks. Growth doesn’t occur by doing things that are easy. It occurs when we try things that make us a bit nervous. Time and time again, I’ve seen those nervous campers return from trips elated, proud of their accomplishments, happy to be reunited with friends from other trips, and full of inside jokes from their own trip group. It’s fantastic, and I’m a bit jealous of the adventures they’re about to have.

Back in Camp, we have great things in store for our Juniors and Intermediates. Camp will feel a bit smaller, with nearly 70 of our community members off on trips. Our 13 year olds will be the oldest kids in Camp, giving them a heretofore unavailable leadership opportunity. Lastly, we have some great things in store for them here, chiefly among them the always loved Burger Bar, in which the heads will give the kitchen staff the night off, dress themselves and the Lodge in a theme, serve burgers, fries, and milkshakes to the campers, followed by a movie projected onto a sail in the Boat Barn – the only “screen time” they’ll get for a month.

But, enough about the week to come. The week that’s past was action packed. On Monday, we played the Game of Life, an elaborate game of tag between the Barn and the Helm. On Tuesday, we had our 4th of July parade to Deer Harbor and a concert in the Garden. On Wednesday, we had our Gypsy Sisters and Swamp Chomp lunches. The girls had pizza and decorated cupcakes at the Drama Stage and revealed their Gypsy Sisters, Senior campers who’ve been writing notes and making presents for younger campers secretly throughout the month. The boys had barbecue on the Sports Field and played lawn games. For evening activity, we had Craftapalooza, a celebration of all things Craft Courts. On Thursday, we played Lord of the Rings, a great version of capture the flag that involves four teams, multiple flags, and a J.R.R. Tolkien theme. Saturday was a great Cabin Adventure.

Yesterday was Gypsy Day! Gypsy Day is an old tradition at Camp, begun when the water system failed in Ruth Brown’s era, and she sent everyone off the property to have an adventure while it was fixed. Today, it’s slightly more organized, but in the same spirit. We woke up a bit early. The Head of Girls and Music Director started in the Senior Girls’ cabins and woke them up with singing. The campers formed a chain and wandered through all the cabins and tents, singing and waking up the Camp. We all ended up on the Sports Field, where we played some big group games led by the oldest campers. We headed back to a crazily decorated Lodge for flags and a breakfast of sugared cereal (the only time during the month!), chocolate chip muffins with fortunes inside of them baked by the CTs, and eggs (on Paul’s insistence). At breakfast, each camper received a clue that told them about their Gypsy Band, which included a theme and a mode of travel. Each Band spent the day on a giant themed scavenger hunt, meeting crazy characters along the way. At the end of the day, we gathered in the Garden for Gypsy Court, where we recognized a boy and a girl from each age group, and two of each gender from the Seniors, as campers who have exceptionally displayed the values we espouse at Camp: Helping each other, trying new things, and being kind, welcoming, and inclusive. We had a great dinner, and then a Folk Dance for Evening Activity. It was a long, but fantastic, day.

That’s the news from Deer Harbor. Thank you so much for sharing your children with us. I look forward to spending this next week with the Juniors and Intermediates, and hearing stories from the Seniors about their adventures when they return on Friday. Until next Sunday, be sure to follow our daily updates on Twitter.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm.

Update #2 from the Carlyn

Here is update #2 from the Carlyn trip!

Hi Paul!

We are in Lund,BC for the night. The Crew is cleaning the boat and getting some more groceries and doing laundry. Sending them up for showers as well. We got here around 1400 after an amazing few days.

We left Powell River on the 3rd around 1100, and set sail right outside the harbor. We turned off the engine immediately and didn’t turn it on again until we anchored in Thunder Bay at 1900. We sailed about 22 miles without turning on the engine. It was one of the best sailing days we’ve ever had on a Canada trip. We polished it off with a swim.

Fourth of July we had a fair breeze and were able to sail the majority of the way to Princess Lousia Inlet. On the way we spotted a herd of elk grazing on the Britain River!

We entered the Inlet at 1745 and it was calm and lovely. It was the least crowded I’ve ever seen it at PLI. We docked and spent a lovely evening playing games and being a crew.

The next day we hiked for two hours up to the waterfall and old trappers cabin. The view and falls were magnificent and we had some bonding time watching the falls. A good swim after we got back all sweaty, and settled in for an early night. Yesterday we started with a swim and motored back to Thunder Bay to anchor. This morning we had a ton of wind and sailed at 9 knots up Malaspina Straight all the way here to Lund, BC. Tomorrow morning we fuel up and head for Desolation Sound for two days, and then Toba Inlet where I will get another email out to you.

It’s been a perfect trip with wind and mild weather. We miss our friends at camp but the campers are bonding as a crew and learning quickly. Looking forward to seeing you all soon, and to tell you all of our stories!

Until then,

Capt Ryan and the Carlyn Crew

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 8, 2017 at 5:24 pm.

Update from the Carlyn Trip

The crew of the Carlyn sent their first blog post back to Camp. Here it is!

Paul,

All is well here in Powell River, BC! We left Camp on the morning of the 27th, and went to Deer Harbor for a fuel and water up before heading to Friday Harbor to clear customs. On our way, we ran into some friends of mine, the sailing ship Lady Washington, a replica 18th Century sailing vessel that I first learned how to sail aboard. We sailed together for a bit, and seeing an old square rigged ship like that was a real treat for the whole Carlyn crew. We spent the night on Bedwell Harbor across the border. The next day, we headed to Portland Island after a great morning sail. We anchored and went for a hike. While we were there, we discovered a small robin chick who couldn’t fly, drowning in the water. We rescued him in our small boat, and dried him off. He stayed with us for the afternoon, and we named him Eric. When we left him on the island, he was happily hopping around. We hope he is still ok!

That evening we headed to Ganges Harbor, and saw Martha, Camp’s old sailboat, on the way! We spend the night anchored in Ganges. Up the next day to Wallace Island, where we hiked to the old cabin. As is Carlyn tradition, we left a piece of driftwood with our names on it at the cabin, alongside many others from previous years. Kate, our deck hand, found hers from her camper year on Carlyn on 2009! We left Wallace and stayed the night nearby on Thetis Island. We got up early the next day to make the tide at Gabriola Passage, and sailed across the Straits of Georgia to Jedediah Island. It was pretty crowded, so we stayed at Lasqueti Island instead. We spent the next day walking around Lasqueti and the girls stayed at my friends cabin. They are gone for the month, but let us use the cabin. Boys stayed aboard the vessel, and both groups had a fun night.

We left Lasqueti yesterday, and sailed up the west side of Texada Island, and came across to Powell River. We worked hard cleaning Carlyn and taking on food and water. We went out to a crew dinner, and got all of our laundry and showers done. We are leaving in an hour for Blind Bay, and tomorrow we head for Princess Louisa Inlet, a trip favorite. We will check in on the 7th from Lund, BC.

We miss camp and hope all is well! Say hi to our friends and we will see you soon.

Sincerely,
-Captain Ryan & the Crew of the Carlyn

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 3, 2017 at 2:17 pm.

Greetings from Hilltop. We are fully into the swing of things on Orcas Island. The First Session campers have settled in, and Camp feels like home.

Before I tell the story of the first week of Camp, I feel like I should take a moment to talk about Sundays at Camp. Due to the way the calendar falls differently every year, there’s a different span of time between the first day of Camp and the first Sunday at camp every session (or more accurately, there are seven different variations). Some of the variations present us with options, and if you ever wondered about the minutiae of Camp Directors’ lives, there is a running debate amongst our leadership team about the optimal amount of time before the first Camp Sunday. In any case, this session’s calendar did not present us with lots of options. Since arrival day was two Saturdays ago, and the first full day of Camp has to be Rotation Day, the first real Camp Sunday had to be today, day 9 of the Session.

Moving on from scheduling details, I should tell you what a Four Winds Sunday looks like. We sleep in for an hour, have a nice breakfast, and then head off to a special spot in Camp to have Sunday Assembly. Today, Crow’s Nest led us in a discussion of the reasons why Camp is important to each of us at Madrona Point, one of the loveliest spots in Camp. We don’t have a religious component to our program at Four Winds, and we welcome people of all faiths and none at all, but that doesn’t mean we can’t borrow an idea from religions all over the world to take a few moments every week to gather together and reflect on greater things. After Sunday Assembly, we head back to our cabins and tents and change into work clothes, in preparation for Sunday work projects. Each cabin and tent is assigned a job around Camp to help keep us in tip top shape. Actually, it’s about much more than getting the work done. If all we cared about was getting the work done, there would be much more efficient ways. What’s important about campers having jobs at camp is that we all give and receive from this community. Campers are not passively along for the ride at Four Winds, they are integral and important community members, and so having responsibilities is important. After work projects, we have lunch and an extra long rest hour. In the afternoon, we’ll have a fun all-camp Sunday afternoon activity. Today, it will be World Cup, where the campers will play a soccer tournament for countries they invent, along with flags and national anthems for those countries. This evening, we’ll have Evening Fire, our oldest and most closely held tradition, where we’ll gather in the Lodge to share music and poetry, and where our feelings of community are strongest. All in all, it’s a day to take things more slowly, reflect, and serve. I was reminded today why they are some of my favorite days of the summer. I sat with the Gollywobbler tent, our youngest boys, for breakfast this morning. I was describing how Sundays work to them, and one of them said, “It’s like a dream day.” I couldn’t agree more.

On to a recap of the week. In my last post, I told you all about the 24th and 25th, Arrival Day and Rotation Day. Monday started Camp proper. Campers began their classes, and we had Cabin Adventure for Evening Activity. On Tuesday, Jigger, Romany Winds, and Rocky Point left on their cabin trips, and we had Sports Night for Evening Activity. Also on Tuesday, Carlyn, our 61′ yawl, left on her three week adventure to Canada with 9 campers and 4 staff aboard (more on that in a minute). Wednesday brought an opportunity to changes any classes the campers had tried once but didn’t like, known as Gypsy Switch. The campers on trips could do this after they returned at Tripsy Switch (see what we did there?). Evening Activity was Folk Dance, in which we dress up in crazy costumes and dance to well loved line dances. It’s good old fashioned fun. Thursday, our three tripping cabins returned, and had Moonraker for Evening Activity, in which we have silly songs and skits on Moonraker Point. Friday, we played Capture the Chicken, which is exactly like Capture the Flag, but with a rubber chicken, and therefore much, much better. Last night, we had Age Group Night. The only important thing about today that I haven’t already written is that our second round of trips departed today. This time, it was Moonraker, Genoa, Jib, Hillside, Caravanserai, and Shining Mountain. They will all return on the 4th of July, in time for our traditional parade to Deer Harbor.

I promised a Carlyn update. They are doing well. They haven’t been able to give us a full blog post, but they will soon, and I will post it here. What we have gotten are their daily “All is well” updates from their satellite device, along with their location. They’ve made it to Lasqueti Island on their way to Princess Louisa Inlet. They’re already a good way into an adventure of a lifetime.

It’s been a fantastic first week of Camp. As Crow’s Nest was leading us today in a discussion of why Camp was important, I heard many good reasons: That this community is so open and accepting, that relationships feel genuine here, that kids can spread their wings and try new things here, that they can have setbacks and know that it’s okay. What really stuck with me, though, is not all reasons why Camp is important, just that it is important. It’s fun, sure, but so is Six Flags. The growth and rejuvenation that is already happening here, and will continue for the next three weeks, will serve these campers, as well as our staff, throughout their lives. Thank you for sharing your children with us. Until next week, be sure to follow our daily updates on Twitter.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 2, 2017 at 2:03 pm.

First Session has begun!

Our 90th anniversary summer has begun in fine form. All campers have arrived safely. More than that, they’re thrilled to be here. The energy in Gatehouse Circle, where the campers being dropped off by their parents arrived, and on Greenie Hill, as the boats arrived in Four Winds Bay, was absolutely electric. Each new batch of arrivals elicited a cheer from the growing crowd. Old friendships were renewed, and new campers were welcomed. It was a scene of young people excited to embark on a great adventure.

The staff have been training since the 15th at the latest, and some since the 5th. They were as ready as any for Camp to begin. We use every minute of staff training intentionally, and we sometimes feel the need to squeeze in one more thing, but Camp feels incomplete without campers, and after so long training, all the staff was thrilled to get started on what we all came here to do. I’ve been so impressed with this staff so far. They are truly committed to giving these campers an extraordinary experience, and I know they have the skill to make it happen.

Tonight was all about settling in and getting comfortable. Once everyone was gathered on Greenie Hill, cabin and tent groups went back to cabins to get a sense of their new homes, and of each other. Counselors led games and introductions, and helped everyone with the things a person needs to know at the start of a new experience. Each cabin introduced itself with a skit at flags, and we had a great first dinner of chicken, corn, and potato salad (plus a vegetarian option of veggie and tofu kabobs). We all met on the stairs to learn a few songs, and celebrate our newly formed community. We have campers and staff here in their first summer, and staff here in their 14th. We represent 20 states and 11 countries. We’ve joined together on this beautiful corner of Orcas Island to create an extraordinary community where people can be comfortable sharing their true selves, and be accepted and loved no matter what, where we can try new things, and get better at the things we already know, where we value relationships over things, and take things just a little bit slower.

Tomorrow, we’ll have Rotation Day, which all about getting oriented to camp and taking care of some business. We’ll sign up for classes (adding three to the three you signed up for using pre camp forms), take the swim test, visit the nurse, take cabin photos, exchange uniforms that don’t fit, learn lots of things about how camp works, and get a tour. For Evening Activity, we’ll play a great game called Biffer Medic. In Biffer Medic, about two thirds of the counselors sit around the edge of the Sports Field. Campers attempt to match clues from a list to the counselors sitting around the edge, all while avoiding Biffers, counselors armed with a sock full of flour. If they do get tagged, still a third category of counselors, the Medics, can unfreeze them by giving them a silly task. It’s a fantastic game to end the first full day of Camp. We’ll end the same way we end every Evening Activity, singing songs, and end our first day together. On Monday, we’ll start with classes, and Camp will be in full swing!

I’m sure you’re wondering about how you can check in on your children while they’re here. The first (and best) way is the good old fashioned letter. All the campers wrote postcards at dinner tonight which you will receive in the next couple of days, and we will do our best to encourage campers to write home. If your camper hasn’t written in a while, feel free to call or email Mariah, and we’ll give them a nudge. And, of course, letter writing from your end is encouraged as well. The second is this blog, which I’ll write once a week on Sundays (given that it’s nearly Sunday now, I’ll write again on the 2nd of July). Third, I’ll tweet once a day from @fourwindscamp. You don’t need to join twitter to get the updates, you can just go to twitter.com/fourwindscamp, or, from the United States, text the phrase ‘follow fourwindscamp’ to the number 40404, and you’ll get the updates by SMS. Lastly, feel free to call Mariah in the office. She’s happy to check in on your camper and get back to you with a real time report.

Thank you for sharing your children with us. It’s a privilege to spend our 90th Anniversary summer with them. These next four weeks will be filled with adventure, song, and friendship. I can’t wait.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on June 24, 2017 at 11:31 pm.

A Great Junior Session, and a Great Summer

Greetings from Hilltop, one final time. Camp is very quiet. We have a skeleton crew of counselors doing some last jobs getting things cleaned and buttoned up for the winter. Travel is going well, with everyone on time, and no hitches so far. Summer 2016 is complete, and it was one for the record books.

The end of Junior Session was just fantastic. Pirate Day, as I predicted on Friday, was a huge hit. The kids dove into Pirate training with abandon, and were able to turn Pirate Captain Ryan’s heart with some great pirate jokes, and he freed me and Emily. Good thing, too, as we had the second half of Junior Session to run. That evening, we had silly songs and skits at Moonraker Point. The Junior Session version of Moonraker is its own beautiful, silly thing, and this year was no exception. There were belly laughs all around. On Saturday, we had a full day of classes, followed by Cabin Adventure, where we made boats of driftwood to be used in last night’s closing ceremony, and had s’mores. Yesterday, we had classes in the morning, packed in the afternoon, and had Evening Fire at night. Evening Fire can be tough for the little ones, as it does involve sitting quietly and paying attention for an hour, but they did a great job, and got a taste of the feelings of community that make Evening Fire our most loved evening activity.

Junior Session flies by, particularly for those of us that are used to the rhythms of our four-week sessions, but that’s kind of the point. For these younger campers, the goal is to have that first (or second) experience be successful, fun, and positive, and get a taste of what Four Winds is all about. We accomplished that goal in spades. Most children today do not get an independent experience like this one. These campers now know that they can do it. They’re better off, and will be more ready for bigger independent experiences down the line.

With Four Winds’ 90th summer complete, it would feel remiss to not say thank you as well to all the campers, families, and staff from all three sessions. It takes a commitment to come up to Orcas in the summer and build this community of which we’re so proud. Thanks to all of you.

For Junior Session families, as well any other families that may be reading this, I hope your camper is already talking about summer 2017. You may be interested to know that registration for summer 2017 is already available. We reserve spots for returning campers until November 30, so there’s no real rush, but many families like to take care of it when Camp is at the front of mind. We will send out reminders and so forth, but we do encourage you to mind that November 30 deadline. This year, all three of our sessions filled on December 1, and we have no reason to believe it will be different next year. You can find that registration form by logging into your parent account at fourwindscamp.org/login, clicking on “Registration Form,” selecting the 2017 season, and filling out the form. Please keep in mind that because Junior Session is intended to be an introduction to Camp for families that hope to have their children attend our four-week session, there is a two year limit on Junior Session attendance. New families may also register now (at fourwindscamp.org/register), and we will enroll them, or place them on the waitlist, once the returning camper guarantee expires on December 1.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this week. It was great fun to have them here, and I hope to see them all next summer.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on August 29, 2016 at 10:56 am.

Taking to Junior Session like Ducks to Water

Greetings from Hilltop. Junior Session is in full swing, and we’re having a great time at Camp. These campers are showing great camp spirit, and throwing themselves fully into this experience. They’re all about learning new songs, trying new things, and seeing what surprise is around the next corner.

It’s so much fun to see them throw themselves into Camp with such abandon. This morning, our music director asked them to sing a silly camp song (Baby Shark) in the voice of their favorite singer. There was no hesitation. The cacophony that came up from the Lodge Steps was incredible. They ready for anything, and that’s perfect for Camp.

Here’s a report from the week so far: As I wrote in the last post, on Wednesday we took care of business in the morning and went right into activities in the afternoon. For Evening Activity, we played Capture the Chicken. Capture the Chicken is one of our most well-loved Evening Activities from our four week session. It’s really just Capture the Flag, with a rubber chicken instead of a flag, but the kids just love it. During the main session, we play all over Camp, and in Junior Session, we just play on the Sports Field. As usual, it was great fun. Yesterday, we had a full day of activities, two periods between breakfast and lunch and two between lunch and dinner. For Evening Activity, we had Sports Night, with a nice variety of sports on offer to end the day.

Today, we have activities in the morning. While the campers don’t know it yet, this afternoon has some shenanigans planned. We’ll head to the stairs for afternoon activities as normal, but instead, Emily (our Assistant Director) and I will be kidnapped by pirates (the crew of the Carlyn). The campers will spend all afternoon in pirate training (eye patches and tattoos on the Craft Courts, dodging canon balls at landsports, learning sea shanties, walking the plank) in preparation for rescuing us at the end of the day. Since these campers are so willing and eager to use their imaginations, it will be a great change of pace. After a long day, tonight’s Evening Activity will be great. It’s called Moonraker, and we gather on Moonraker Point, one of the most beautiful spots in camp, and get entertained with silly songs and skits. I can’t wait.

Thank you once again for sharing your children with us this week. We’re having a ball, and look forward to sending them back to you on Monday, having had and experience that’s both massively fun and genuinely valuable.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on August 26, 2016 at 12:48 pm.

Junior Session has Begun!

Greetings from Hilltop. Junior Session has begun in fine form. All campers have arrived, safe and sound. The charter boat that brought most of the campers turned into Four Winds Bay to be greeted by a cheer from the counselors and the campers who were dropped off by their parents. The campers ran up Greenie Hill to meet their counselors and the rest of their cabin groups. The spirit of welcome and adventure was palpable. It was a great start to the week.

This week represents something great: The next generation of Four Winds campers. Our aim for this week is for these campers to have their first (or second) experience away from home and the supports they’re used to be a positive one. They’ll have fun, experience Four Winds traditions, make new friends, try new things, and navigate an environment that’s new for them. That sounds simple, but it’s incredibly powerful. These kids are the lucky few on our society that get a chance like this, and they’ll be all the better for it.

I should write a little bit about what we’ve already done, and about we’re going to do in the coming days. After the campers arrived, we had an hour or so to see cabins and tents, learn some names, and explore a bit of Camp. Then, as we do every evening, we gathered in a circle on Greenie Hill to sing some songs and lower the flags. Tonight at flags, since it’s the first night, each cabin introduced themselves with a funny skit. We had a great dinner, and as I write this, campers are unpacking in cabins and tents. Very soon, we’ll be headed to bed for a good night’s rest.

Tomorrow, we’ll wake up for flags and breakfast, and then spent the morning doing a miniature version of the full session’s Rotation Day. We’ll visit the nurse, take the swim test, exchange any uniforms that don’t fit, learn some songs, and have our cabin photos made. We’ll have lunch and rest hour, and then in the afternoon, we’ll start the campers on activities. Over the course of the week, each camper will visit each of our five activity areas two or three times, plus take a half day sail on our 61′ foot yawl, Carlyn. It will be a great introduction to Four Winds activities.

I’m sure you’re interested about how you can hear about how your camper is doing. Although Junior Session is only a week, mail is still the best way to keep in touch. You can have direct communication with your camper, with the tactile nature and remove that only the Post Office can provide. The magic of getting a letter at Camp (or from Camp) is a great part of this experience, and we do everything we can to nurture it. In fact, we had each camper write a postcard at dinner, and those will be going out in tomorrow’s mail. I will post updates daily on our Twitter feed. You don’t need to join Twitter to get the updates, you can just go to the website, or text the phrase “follow fourwindscamp” to the number 40404, and you’ll get the updates by text message. I’ll post here on Friday, as well as after the campers leave on Monday. Lastly, you can give us a call in the office. We’re happy to check in on your camper and give you a call back.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this week. They’re going to have a ball, and grow more in one week than you can believe. I can’t wait to be a part of it.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on August 23, 2016 at 7:56 pm.