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!

Update from the Carlyn Canada Trip

This session, our 61′ yawl, Carlyn, is on her annual voyage up the Straight of Georgia, with eight campers and four staff.

When he gets internet access, our Captain, Ryan Downs, will send us updates, and we’ll post them here. Here’s his first update:

Ahoy from Nanaimo, B.C.! We have had some of the best sailing I have seen in 12 years up here. A brief recap of what we’ve seen and where we’ve been. It was a whirlwind at Camp getting ready, but our campers have been extremely helpful and cheerful in sharing the work. They moved aboard, stowed their gear and loaded the boat with food for the trip. Our Galley Coordinator, Edward, has been making us some amazing food.

We left on Wednesday the 27th for Friday Harbor to clear out of Customs, with no problems. We had a lovely breeze in San Juan Channel, and got three cheers from 2 other Camp boats on the way! Schooner “Adventuress” passed us heading south, and we also saw “Journeyman” heading out with Shining Mountain for a trip! We crossed the border in the early evening, and dropped anchor in Bedwell Harbor on South Pender Island. We cleared Customs by phone and set down to our first dinner in Canada. We slept very hard that night, as we were pretty tired!

The next day, we had an INCREDIBLE morning of sailing. The campers have learned very quickly how to handle Carlyn, and the crew are feeling very comfortable in giving them more responsibilities. We went to an island that I’ve never been to before; Portland Island, also known as Princess Margaret. This is a protected B.C. Park, with trails all the way around and lovely views. We arrived after lunch and hiked all afternoon. After a leisurely swim, we decided to pull up the anchor and head to Saltspring Island in order to get a better position for the next day’s trip to Wallace Island. Wallace didn’t work out, due to a TON of wind we’ve had. We anchored instead at DeCourcy Island for some swimming and hiking on this lovely tiny island.

This morning we left early to get to Nanaimo and hide from another windy day. We had some burgers in town and have been enjoying civilization. Tomorrow we head for Princess Louisa Inlet, the jewel in the crown of the trip. We will check in again likely at Powell River, B.C.! Until then…


Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm.

Second Session has begun!

Greetings from Hilltop. After a few days of rest, we’re back to doing what we do best on our beautiful little corner of Deer Harbor, creating a unique and special community for young people. And it’s a good thing too, as these Second Session campers have clearly come to have the time of their lives. The energy around Camp is electric.

Travel day went very smoothly. All the campers arrived according to plan. The first campers here were those dropped off by their parents. Introductions to counselors were made, and those parents got a bit of a tour of Camp. As the tours ended, we all gathered on Greenie Hill to wait for the boats that would bring the majority of the campers. As the boats pulled into Four Winds Bay, a cheer came up from both Greenie Hill and the boats themselves, and the session was truly under way. Campers ran up the hill to meet their counselors, reunite with old friends, and meet new ones for the first time. As many times as I’ve seen that moment, it never fails to rouse joy at the start of another session, and admiration for what’s about to occur here.

We went back to cabins and tents for a bit of quick settling, then gathered to all introduce ourselves at our first flags circle, and had our first dinner together. After dinner, we met on the Lodge Steps and I was able to greet the campers as a whole group. I told them how happy I was to see them, and that all the staff are here to make sure they stay safe and have a great time. We were able to celebrate the fact that we have 27 states and 13 countries represented in our Second Session Community, and that we have campers and staff celebrating their first summer at Camp all the way up to one staff member who is on her 19th. This diverse group of people will create a community full of depth and understanding.

As I write this, campers are settling into cabins and tents, unpacking, and getting to know each other. Heads and Specialists are circulating through the cabins, collecting medications, electronic devices, and other contraband and generally checking in. Perhaps most importantly, counselors are asking their campers what type of cabin they’d like to be this summer, how they’d like to be known. We’ve always believed that kids should be involved in helping to create the rules, and they usually do a great job. So, for many years, our groups have created cabin and tent constitutions on this night, where they come up with their own rules for those groups. This year, we had a speaker named Dr. Deborah Gilboa come to our staff training, and she suggested that instead of asking young people to come up with a list of rules, we should instead ask them how they want to be known. We thought it was a great idea, because it emphasizes the positive (be respectful, be kind, be genuine, be patient) instead of the negative (don’t hit, don’t steal, don’t swear). I can’t think of a better way to spend our first night together.

Tomorrow, we’ll have Rotation Day. We need to get some things done to start the session off right. We need to get these kids signed up for the second half of their classes (the first half was taken care of by the forms you filled out in the spring), so first thing after breakfast we’ll learn about what’s offered in the activity areas and indicate preferences on forms. As the Activity Area Heads take those forms up to the office to crank out some schedules, the rest of camp will take swim tests, see the nurse, have cabin photos made, exchange uniforms that don’t fit, learn about how things work at camp, have fun, and get to know each other a bit better. We’ll cap it off with a great Evening Activity, Biffer Medic, which involves matching clues to counselors while avoiding Biffers (counselors armed with a sock full of flour). After tomorrow, we’ll be off to the races for a great session.

I’m sure you’re wondering how you can check in on your camper while they’re here. There are several ways. The first and best way is still the good old fashioned US Postal Service. The art of letter writing is alive and well at Four Winds. There’s nothing better than getting a letter at camp. If you’re wondering what to write, a friend of mine wrote a great blog post with some suggestions. The second way is right here. I’ll post here once a week, on Sundays. Thirdly, you can follow us on Twitter. I’ll post there every day the campers are here. You don’t need to join Twitter to get the updates, you can just go to twitter.com/fourwindscamp, or text the phrase ‘follow fourwindscamp’ to the number 40404 in the US, and you’ll receive the updates via text message. Lastly, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re happy to check in on your camper and give you and update.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this session. For the 90th summer in a row, young people here at Four Winds will be trying new things, growing up a little bit, making great friends, and having a ball. I can’t wait.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 24, 2016 at 8:22 pm.

An amazing session has ended

Greetings from Hilltop. Camp is very quiet. Many campers are already with their parents. The vast majority of the rest are in the air and headed that way. A handful are still with our staff at the airport, waiting for flights. The counselors are off on some well earned time off. After four weeks of constant laughter on every trail and around every corner at Four Winds, the place is eerily quiet.

It’s been an amazing session, and we will miss these campers. Last night at our final Evening Fire, there were more than a few tears shed. Towards the end, I told the campers how proud I was of them for creating the community they did this session. It’s tempting to believe, because of the magic that’s been created here each summer for the last 90, that the magic is automatic or guaranteed. I believe strongly that it’s not, rather it’s the cumulative effect of the choices that all the campers and staff make over the course of their time here. The choices they made over the course of the session created a community where people can be free to be genuine, where the things that matter are the things that really matter, where young people can try new things and grow, and where true friendship blossomed. It was a great thing to see.

Your campers are likely to come home tired and happy. Camp is an emotionally intense experience, and it may take them a few days to adjust to the rhythms of life outside of it. Some things we’ve heard from parents over the years about their kids in the days immediately following the end of Camp include: Sleeping a lot, a focus on certain foods that weren’t available at Camp, and an inordinate amount of time spent on devices (sometimes communicating with Camp friends, sometimes not). Some campers are immediate with their telling of Camp stories. Some dole out the stories in more of a slow drip. It’s all normal, and will pass in a few days. What will remain is the memories, growth, and friendships that were created here.

I certainly hope that your camper is already thinking of Summer 2017, and you may be interested to know that registration 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 this 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.

Thank you for sharing your children with us for the last four weeks. For youngsters, camp is an extraordinary opportunity, often filled with joy and excitement. For parents, I know that it can be a sacrifice. I appreciate your making that sacrifice for your children. It was a privilege to spend time with them.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 21, 2016 at 6:05 pm.

Nearing the end

Greetings from Hilltop. As we enter the last few days of the session, Camp is in a wonderful place.

The Seniors returned from Trips yesterday, full of great energy, stories, and riding high on new friendships and reunions with their friends who were on other trips. It’s become a mini-tradition that when the Seniors return from trips, they have dinner in the backyard of Hilltop, and I share a hobby of mine with them, Texas Barbecued Brisket. It’s a great way to welcome them back, and last night was no different. We missed them in camp, and welcome their energy with open arms.

Back in Camp, the Juniors and Intermediates had a great week. The smaller size of camp (in both number and stature) changed up the mood of Camp in a really wonderful way. All of a sudden, our 13 year-olds went from the middle of the pack to the oldest kids in Camp, and then did a great job of seizing that leadership opportunity. For Evening Activities, we played Capture the Chicken on Monday. We had Moonraker and a sleepout on the Sports Field on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the CTs got control of evening activity, and created a hybrid of Capture the Chicken, Game of Life, and Counselor Hunt called Rock and Bawk that was a big hit. Sports Night on Thursday was rained out, and at the suggestion of several campers, we simply had a hang out night in cabins and tents. When I made that announcement, a cheer came up from the Lodge Deck like I haven’t heard in some time. I guess they needed some down time, and I’m glad they got it. On Friday, we had Burger Bar, a great evening activity that we do each session while the Seniors are gone. The Heads give the kitchen staff the night off, dress themselves and the Lodge up in a theme (in this case, Space), each cabin dresses up in their own theme, we have a dinner of burgers, fries, and milkshakes. For Evening Activity, we watch a movie projected onto a sail in the Boat Barn. This year, we watched Wall-e, and it was a big hit. Last night, with the Seniors’ return, we had Age Group Night.

Today is Sunday, and we’re having our normal relaxed Sunday schedule, right up until Evening Activity. The reason for the change is that we have just four nights left, and we always end the session with the same four evening activities. That series of evening activities includes many opportunities to celebrate and reflect on the session. Moreover, the ritual of doing things this way every year has a way of reminding everyone that our time together is short, and triggers the feelings of valuing Camp just a little bit more that make the end of the session one of the best parts of Camp. In many ways, the three weeks and a bit we’ve spent together have culminated into these last few days we’re about to spend together. It’s another reason I’m such and advocate of four week sessions. These last four days aren’t possible without the first twenty-three.

So, tonight we’ll have Talent No Talent, our talent show. Tomorrow, we’ll have Pins & Slides, where we’ll award activity pins and have a slideshow of the session. On Tuesday, we’ll have the CT Dance. Finally, on Wednesday night, we’ll have our final Evening Fire together. I can’t wait. I’ll post here again on Thursday, when the campers are on their way home. Thank you for sharing your children with us. On Thursday, you’ll see them, tired, happy, and having had a remarkable experience.

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 17, 2016 at 3:41 pm.

Growth = Fun

Greetings from Hilltop. We’re a bit past the midway point of the session. These campers have created a strong community. They’re joyful, they help each other, they’re creative, and they have a ball. Four week camp is an extremely rare thing on the West Coast. The different energy levels in Camp over the course of four weeks are a big reason I’m such an advocate of the longer sessions. There’s time to settle in, time for ups and downs, time for relationships to develop, and time for real growth.

North Star cabin led Sunday Assembly today, and the topic they chose was how they wanted to grow during their time at Four Winds. It was great to see camper after camper standing up to talk about the different ways they had grown, and they ways they were still trying to grow. They spoke about being nervous about making new friends, speaking in public, taking the swim test, or trying something new, and how good they felt when they overcame that fear.

When I got up to speak at the end of Sunday Assembly, I told them about how, in my job, I’m often in the position of telling someone about how fun Camp is, but feeling that that word is strikingly inadequate to describe Camp. After all, Six Flags and Xbox are fun, without a doubt, but people don’t talk about those things with the same passion that they have for this place. Perhaps, just as the Greeks had four words that translate to love but all have different meanings, we should have multiple words instead of just the one term, fun. I think there is a kind of fun that more or less equals growth. The thrills of realizing that your limits are not what you thought they were, of doing something you were unsure you could, of being supported by great friends to become your best self, are all pretty darn fun. That type fun can be had in all walks of life, but is on offer all the time at Camp.

Getting of my soapbox for a moment, I should tell you a bit about the week. The Fourth of July and Gypsy Day were the same day this session, and it was a banner day. The campers don’t know that Gypsy Day is coming. They find out when they are woken up by song. The Music Director and Head of Girls’ Side start with the Senior Girls cabins, waking them up to singing. The Senior Girls start a chain of campers in their pajamas, wandering through all the cabins and tents, singing and growing with more and more campers waking up. Eventually, everyone ends up on the sports field, where we play big field games like In and Out the Windows and Duck Duck Goose. We head over to the Lodge for a special breakfast of eggs, potatoes, sugared cereal (only once per session), and muffins baked by the CTs with fortunes inside. At the end of breakfast, each camper receives a clue that points them to their band for the day. They travel with their band all over Camp and Westsound, solving a giant in-character scavenger hunt throughout the day. In the afternoon, we all gather back together, change into Sunday uniforms, and honor our Gypsy Court, eight campers that the staff want to recognize for being good role models in our community. Since this Gypsy Day was also July 4th, we then got ready for our annual parade to Deer Harbor. We paraded, had a cookout dinner, and then relaxed for a wonderful garden concert. We went to bed tired and happy, and enjoyed a well earned sleep in the next day.

The rest of the week was full and fun as well. On Tuesday, we had Game of Life (in which campers attempt to run between the Barn and the Helm as many times as possible without getting tagged), Craftapalooza (a celebration of all things Craft Courts), a Folk Dance, Cabin Adventure, and Lord of the Rings (four-way, multi-ball, Tolkien-themed capture the flag on the sports field). This afternoon we’re having Regatta Day, and this evening, of course, Evening Fire.

Tomorrow, Seniors will head off on their trips. They will have grand adventures, challenge themselves, and create great stories to tell. Back in Camp, the Juniors and Intermediates will have the run of the place, and we’ve got special treats and a different vibe in store for them. I can’t wait.

Thank you, once again, for sharing your children with us. Until next week…

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 10, 2016 at 3:45 pm.

Ten days in, and Camp feels like home

Greetings from Hilltop. Camp has a tendency to warp one’s sense of time, so when I write the title that we’re ten days in, I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, time has absolutely flown by, and it seems like the campers just arrived. On the other, we’re well past the beginning of Camp and into the middle. To put it another way, Camp feels like home.

It’s been a big week since I wrote last. For Evening Activities, we had Sports Night on Monday, Cabin Adventure (in which each cabin has its own special activity planned by the counselor) on Tuesday, Folk Dance (in which we dress up in crazy costumes and dance to well loved line dances) on Wednesday, Moonraker (silly songs and skits on Moonraker Point, one of the most beautiful spots in Camp) on Thursday, Age Group Night (like Cabin Adventure, but split up into age groups instead of Cabins) on Friday, and Capture the Chicken (like Capture the Flag, but with a rubber chicken – I have no good explanation for that one) last night. It was a great mix of high and low energy activities and bigger and smaller groups, to give all sorts of opportunities for different proclivities to find their place.

Campers are in full swing in their activities. We believe in campers having a say in their activities at Camp, so there are plenty of opportunities in the first week to adjust and find the perfect fit. We have activity selection on Rotation Day that I wrote about last week. On Tuesday during rest hour, we had Gypsy Switch, when campers can come and move any class they don’t like to any one that’s available. Campers that were on a trip on Tuesday had an opportunity to Tripsy Switch (get it?) on Wednesday when they returned. At this point, everyone is settled into their schedules and learning new things every day.

Today, of course, is Sunday. Sundays are special days in Camp, and one of my favorites. We sleep in a bit, have flags and breakfast, and then head to Sunday Assembly. We don’t have a religious component to Camp at Four Winds, but we have borrowed an idea from many religious traditions to take time out once a week to reflect on the things that are most important at Four Winds. Today, the boys of Royal led us in a discussion of Community. In attempting to describe Four Winds in just three words, our founder Ruth Brown chose, “Community, Simplicity, Creativity,” so Community is a big one for us. It’s a big topic, and it was interesting to hear what campers had to say about it. Many spoke of their friends, of feeling nervous when they were new to Camp but having that nervousness erased by an immediate and wholehearted welcome, and how good it feels to be so completely accepted for who you are. The common thread was that the Four Winds community is defined by the choices of its community members. If Four Winds feels different than other environments (and that is the common refrain), then it’s due to choices people make every day. It’s an intentional community, and one that it’s pretty great to be a part of.

After Sunday Assembly, we all give back to our community through Sunday work projects. We feel that it’s important for campers to contribute to this community through work, and so they have daily chores as well as work projects on Sundays. After that, we have lunch, an extra long rest hour, and a fun Sunday afternoon activity. Today, it’s “Ruth’s List,” a creative scavenger hunt of sorts where campers can find, create, or perform items from a list full of obscure and punny items. It’s a ton of fun. Tonight, we’ll have Evening Fire. For our first Evening Fire a week ago, it was mostly staff performing. Tonight, with the kids a bit more comfortable, I imagine we’ll see a bit more of them. I can’t wait.

Thank you for sharing your children with us. They’re creating a great community every day. Until next week…

Posted by Paul Sheridan on July 3, 2016 at 6:18 pm.

In full swing!

Greetings from Hilltop. First Session is off to a great start. We had a great Rotation Day yesterday, took care of business, and had a great game of Biffer Medic to end the day.

Biffer Medic is an elaborate game of tag, in which campers run around the sports field avoiding biffers (counselors armed with a sock full of flour), while trying to reach other counselors sitting on the edge of the sports field. Once with a counselor on the edge of the field, campers try to guess which of list of clues applies to that counselor. If they guess correctly, the counselor signs their sheet. If they guess incorrectly, the counselor yells “Biffer!” and the camper have to run to avoid Biffers again. If the campers are biffed, they have to freeze and yell for a Medic (still more counselors who give campers crazy tasks which, when completed, unfreeze them). As I said, elaborate. It’s a great energy level to end the first full day of camp.

Today is Sunday. Normally Sundays have a completely different, slower, more reflective schedule. But, at the beginning of Camp, it’s important to establish the routine, so today we had our first day of normal classes. One of the best parts about Sunday is Evening Fire at night, so we’ve decided to retain that portion of the Sunday schedule and have that as our Evening Activity tonight. We will gather in the lodge to share music and poetry. Like many Four Winds traditions, it sounds simple to tell it, but it’s a powerful community experience. It will be a great way to start off the session.

The first few days of camp have been a huge success. Cabins and tents are bonding well, kids are having a great time, and counselors are helping campers adjust.

Normally in these blogs I have a full week to report, and this time, in order to get on the Sunday routine, I’ve only got a couple of days. To make up for that, I thought I’d spend the rest of this post sharing a bit of information from Dr. Deborah Gilboa, a parenting and camp expert that we brought in for a day of our staff training. I thought you might a appreciate a bit of insight on what our counselors learned in preparation for your children’s arrival. You’ll find it below. Until next week…

*********************

Four Winds families… what an amazing staff your kids get this summer! It was my privilege to spend a staff training day at FWWH last week, and I want to tell you how incredibly impressed I was by each and every staff member.

My name is Debi Gilboa, I’m also known as Dr. G. I’m a parenting and youth development expert, as well as a family physician and mom of four boys. The boys were with me for the trip to Orcas and camp, and, despite incredible devotion to their own overnight camp in Wisconsin, they were dying to know if they could come back to Four Winds when the campers are there.

During my time with the staff, I led three seminars: respect, responsibility and resilience. Within each topic area, we focused on definitions, purpose and strategies for teaching these traits at camp.

Respect: Recognizing and acknowledging someone’s worth. Camp is filled with opportunities to teach kids self-respect and respect for others. We talked about boundaries and how each one marks something – often several things – we need to respect. A game called Boundary Treasure Hunt allowed staff to find and define dozens of boundaries at camp that keep kids, the environment and the camp itself a safe place.

Responsibility: The ability to be reliable and dependable meeting obligations. Campers take on all kinds of responsibilities at camp, like sweeping and fire-building, keeping track of their own belongings and maintaining those of others. Counselors will be able to teach kids a great work ethic this summer by summing up the five parts of responsibility,

1. Notice the task
2. Show initiative by stepping up
3. Do the job
4. Complete it
5. Check back in

in two sentences: “How can I help?” and “What else can I do?”

Resilience: The ability to recover from adversity. Camp provides fantastic opportunities for everyone to try new things and hone their problem-solving skills. Your kids will come home better able to think of solutions when weather interferes with a plan or interpersonal conflict arises. Be sure to ask them, when an issue arises, “What do you think we should do?”

Leading and learning with the FWWH staff was a true honor. Your kids are in great hands, I would be happy to have my own children there. Have a great time, and, though I know you’ll miss them a ton, enjoy your kid-free or kid-fewer time!

All the best,

Deborah Gilboa, MD
Email: DrG@AskDoctorG.com
Website: www.AskDoctorG.com

Posted by Paul Sheridan on June 26, 2016 at 6:30 pm.

Summer 2016 has begun!

Greetings from Hilltop. First Session 2016 has begun in fine form. There were a few flight delays today due to Air Traffic Control in Seattle, but it was all handled well by our team at the airport, and all the campers got to camp on time. The boats pulled in to Four Winds Bay greeted by cheers the counselors and campers who had been dropped off by their parents on Greenie Hill, and the campers ran up towards the lodge to meet their counselors and cabinmates. Old friendships were renewed, and new friends were met. For the 90th summer in a row, our Four Winds community is forming.

After an initial settling in at the cabins and tents, we had flags in each cabin and tent introduced themselves. We had a fine meal of baked ziti, kale caesar salad, and chocolate chip cookies, and met on the stairs. We sang some songs, and I welcomed the campers. We celebrated the fact that there are 25 states and 10 countries represented in our First Session community, and that we have people here in their first summer all the way through their nineteenth (that title belongs to our Assistant Director, Emily Glass). After that, the campers headed back to cabins and tents to unpack, get to know each other a bit, and settle in. After a long travel day for many of them, it will be good to get some rest.

It’s going to be an amazing session. Campers will have the chance to try new things, solve problems on their own, have the most amazing fun, be a part of something larger than themselves, and make the best friends. While they’re at it, they’ll be supported by a remarkable staff. I’ve been so impressed this week with the dedication and care these counselors have shown to giving campers the summer of their lives.

I’m sure you’ll be interested in how you can communicate with your camper while their here. The first, and best, way is through the good old fashioned mail. The art of letter writing is alive and well at Four Winds, and there’s something absolutely wonderful about receiving a letter while at camp, or from your camper. A friend of mine recently wrote a great blog post with tips about letter writing to your camper. The second way is through me. I’ll post here weekly on Sundays, and daily on our twitter feed, @fourwindscamp. You don’t need to join twitter to get the updates, you can simply go to the website or text the phrase ‘follow fourwindscamp’ to the number 40404 (in the United States) and you’ll receive the twitter updates via text message. Lastly, feel free to call the office. We’re happy to check in on your camper and give you an update.

If you receive a letter that talks of homesickness, please give us a call. Almost all the time, we’re already on it, and by the time you receive the letter, the homesickness is vastly improved. But, occasionally, a camper will not speak of homesickness at all to his counselor or cabinmates, and a call from a parent helps us to give a camper the help they need. Our counselors are well trained to help campers work through those feelings. We don’t consider homesickness something to be feared, but rather a normal part of being away from familiar places and loved ones. It’s an age appropriate challenge for these campers, and one that they will be proud of overcoming. If you’re concerned about homesickness, or would just like a window into what your camper is experiencing at Four Winds, I highly recommend the book Homesick and Happy, by Dr. Michael Thompson. It speaks eloquently about the power of camp, and matches the Four Winds philosophy perfectly.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this summer. They’re going to do great things, and be part of an incredibly special community. I can’t wait to be a part of it. Until Sunday…

Posted by Paul Sheridan on June 24, 2016 at 9:08 pm.

Summer 2015 Slideshow

Did you miss the slideshow when Paul and Emily took it on tour in January and February 2015? Maybe you just want to check it out again?


Posted by Paul Sheridan on March 9, 2016 at 8:07 pm.

The End of Junior Session, and of the Summer

Greetings from Hilltop. It’s almost as though Mother Nature knew that Camp was ending. After one of our driest summers in memory, we had a good rain that started in the early hours of this morning. When the Junior Session campers left this morning, it was amidst counselors making sure they had rain jackets and sweatshirts and the like. It was an uncanny feeling, to feel so like fall as we said goodbye to our last round of campers for the summer. As I write this, counselors are taking care of jobs all over Camp, so they can move on to their next adventures. Travel day is going as planned. For the 89th time, a Four Winds summer is over.

This week with the Juniors was a fantastic one. They played, they used their imaginations, they got to experience our wonderful activity areas and well-loved traditions. Amidst that environment of fun and belonging, they had a big growing up experience, stepping outside the adult supports that they’re used to, and navigating a new environment with new supports. Many campers had an occasional tinge of homesickness. For a handful, their homesickness was truly difficult to overcome. Despite any difficulty, they did it. Last night at Evening Fire, I told them how proud I am of them for that, and how I hope they learned from this experience that they are capable of great things.

I hope that your campers are already asking about attending one of our four week sessions or Junior Session for a second time. You may be interested to know that registration for 2016 is already available. You can login to your parent account at fourwindscamp.org/login, select the camper application, and you’re on your way. We hold spots for returning campers until November 30, so there’s no rush, but many parents like to get it out of the way. This year’s Junior Session campers are considered returning campers for registration purposes, even if they’re graduating to one of the four week sessions. This year, for the first time in modern memory, Second Session and Junior Session were both full on December 1, and First Session was full by the New Year, so re-enrolling while the guarantee is still in effect is definitely the way to go. We certainly appreciate your referring new families to us as well – they can enroll at fourwindscamp.org/register, fill out the application, and we will hold their applications until December 1 and enroll new campers at that time until camp is full or until all new campers who have applied have been enrolled.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this week. We’ve had a ball with them, and I hope they’re entertaining you with stories of their adventures already, or when they’re home in a few hours. We’re taking a bit of rest, and then starting the process of doing it all again in 2016!

Posted by Paul Sheridan on August 28, 2015 at 11:07 am.