The Ruth Brown Story
Who walks with beauty has no need of fear
– David Morton
Ruth Brown, a gifted young educator, moved to Washington after graduating from college in Michigan in 1916. She was passionate about the outdoors and girls’ education, and became involved with Camp Fire Girls, a local Seattle camping organization. She served for several years as Executive Director of the Seattle branch before founding Camp Sealth on Vashon Island. It was at Camp Sealth that Ruth Brown started many of the traditions now beloved at Four Winds, such as Gypsy Day and Magic Ring.
After seven years at Sealth, Ruth Brown embarked on her next great adventure: founding her own private camp. After convincing Revenue Agents to take her along on their patrols of the San Juan Islands, she discovered a parcel on Orcas Island that had at one time housed a salmon cannery. The land was unkempt with logged over hillsides, a bay scattered with wood pilings, and a large cannery building situated next to a large maple tree. Beyond the hills lay an abandoned farm with a barn, tackhouse, and wild orchards. Miss Ruth had found a home for Four Winds.
Four Winds Camp opened to campers in 1927. Over the next many years, Miss Ruth encouraged generations of children at camp to explore and discover new friendships, to sing and write about the day’s great capers, to share stories and laughter with others, and to show diligence in learning responsibility and stewardship.
Today, we hold dearly to heart Ruth Brown’s vision of a place where children were free to be themselves, and where simplicity, creativity, and community remain cornerstones of our camp experience.