A beautiful first day

Greetings from Hilltop, and good morning from a glorious island. Yesterday was a long day getting here, for everyone. Some were up very early for flights. Some had to wait an hour in a parking lot (that was supposed to have a Port-a-Potty, but did not) for test results. Some had to wait at Skyline Marina for the second round of boats that were running at reduced capacity. But, everyone tested negative (all campers three days before camp, plus unvaccinated ones yesterday), and we all got here. Today, it’s a glorious Orcas Island summer day, and the kids are having their first full day of Second Session. It’s wonderful to have them there.

Today is Rotation Day, which is always is on the first full day of the session. We spent the first part of the morning learning what’s offered in the activity areas and indicating our class preferences as cohorts. The activity area heads are currently taking those preferences and turning them into a schedule for the first week. The campers and counselors are rotating through camp taking care of the beginning of session jobs like taking the swim test, visiting the nurse, taking cabin photos, and so forth. In between those jobs, they’re playing games, getting oriented to camp, and getting to know each other. Tonight, we’ll have a disposable camera scavenger hunt for Evening Activity. Tomorrow, we’ll get into our first day of regular activities. If you’re familiar with the camp schedule, you know that Sundays are usually completely different. Because this Sunday is only the second full day of camp, we’re going to have our normal weekday schedule tomorrow. It’s important to establish what’s normal before you start changing things up on kids.

It’s so wonderful to have these campers here after the year they’ve all had. Remote school, quarantines, and restrictions on gatherings were all necessary, but they all added up to fewer chances to build relationships. When I got my dander up during the pandemic, it was usually because it seemed like as a society, all the choices we were making put kids last. For the next four weeks, their needs come first. They’ll get the face-to-face time of which they’ve been starved. They can be carefree. They can be challenged and grow. At the beginning of First Session, it was only a hunch to say that Camp would still feel like Camp with the modifications we’ve had to make due to COVID. Now, we’ve done it once, and we know it for a fact. It’s wonderful to see these Second Session campers embark on that.

We know that parents are anxious to get updates about how camp is going. Perhaps that need is even greater this year than a normal one since our COVID protocols disallow visitors. The primary way you’ll get those updates is via letter. The art of letter writing is alive and well at Four Winds, and we encourage you to write. There’s something tactile and beautiful about getting a letter at camp or receiving one from your camper. Campers tend to be a little unfamiliar with the medium, so we encourage you to ask questions about camp in your letters to prompt them. (What are your favorite activities? Did you jump in the cold water? Tell me about your cabinmates.) We’ll prompt them too. Each camper wrote a postcard at breakfast this morning, which you should receive soon, and a couple of times over the session, we’ll ask every camper to write a letter home.

I’ll also blog here once a week on Sundays (given that today is Saturday, the next post here will be on August 1), and you can get daily updates via Twitter. You don’t have to join Twitter to get the updates if you don’t want to, you can just go to the link. Finally, feel free to call the office if you need an update, we’re happy to check in on your camper and get back to you.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this month. It’s wonderful to have them here, and even more wonderful to see them getting their need for face-to-face time filled after these last 18 months.