Traditions & History

Tradition is important in our camp, and much of that tradition is held in our core values of community, simplicity, and creativity. For so many generations, Four Winds campers have been riding the same trails, singing the same songs, gathering in the same places, sailing the same waters, enjoying the same sense of belonging, and sharing the same spirit of adventure. Though we balance this deep sense of commitment to tradition with fresh ideas and evolving perspectives, the stability that arises from our tradition is a touchstone for campers, staff, and alumni.

Girls cabin silly group
Black and white photo of girls sitting on tree branch


Uniforms play an important role in the culture of camp. We strongly believe that people should not be judged by the clothes they wear, and with a large financial aid and international camper population, uniforms are a great equalizer. The bloomers (originally an article of clothing from the women’s suffrage movement) and middies have been the girls’ uniform for most of camp’s history. While they are uniquely un-modern, most find them comfortable and practical and we love the uniqueness and connection it gives us to the past. Boys wear navy blue shorts and matching shirt. The campers actually love the uniforms they get when they arrive at camp and we often have a difficult time getting them back at the end of the session!

Black and white photo of girl playing trumpet
Boys cabin group forms pyramid


Music and poetry are firmly rooted in the spirit of Four Winds * Westward Ho. Many of the songs we sing go back generations, and alumni from 60 years ago know many of the songs we still sing today. Newer songs are brought in to camp each year, and many are written at camp. Campers and staff bring their instruments to camp or learn to play a borrowed one. Campers who write their own music or who wish to perform have the opportunity to do so, and some may choose to visit our recording studio and have their songs added to our web site or take it home on a CD. Even though we do not have iPods or stereos at camp, the air is always filled with music. View our songbook on our site to see some of the songs we sing at camp.

Campers play guitar at evening fire
Group of 1990s campers perform with guitar

Evening Fire

Since 1927, campers have gathered in front of the fire in the main lodge to sing songs, play music, share poetry and tell stories. It is a truly magical experience to be in the room and experience the warmth and sharing. We find that, years later, it is the hours spent here that remain the most memorable.

Black and white photo of campers standing near mountain
1970s campers sit on edge of Martha sailboat

Big Boat Sailing

Four Winds * Westward Ho has a long standing tradition of giving campers the experience of learning about life at sea aboard a large sail boat. Historic boats such as Courageous, Martha, and Dorade have spent summers in Four Winds Bay. Today, campers get a taste of the sea aboard Carlyn – a 62′ wooden yawl built in 1995. Many a camper has been introduced to sailing here and gone on to great adventures around the world.