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An end to Junior Session, and the summer

Greetings from Hilltop. We’re all in a bit of a haze after a wonderful Junior Session. As I’ve said many times, camp tends to warp one’s sense of time, and the end of a session, and of the summer, definitely sneaks up on a person. But, we’re all thankful for a fantastic Junior Session. The campers did an excellent job of stepping off into a new adventure, making new friends, trying new things, navigating a new culture, and using different supports than the ones they do at home.

Last night, we had a beautiful Evening Fire. If I’m telling the truth, our programming in Junior Session tends to be a little more high energy and a little less on the contemplative side when compared to our four-week sessions. The reality of younger kids and a shorter session is that the best way to give them a good experience is to keep them moving. But it wouldn’t be a Four Winds experience without Evening Fire. It’s perhaps our oldest tradition, starting from the very beginning in 1927. In Camp’s early days, it was the only evening activity, done every night. For decades now, we’ve had Evening Fire on Sundays during our four-week sessions and on the last night of each session, including Junior Session. We gather in the Lodge, share music and poetry, and read boons (notes of thanks and appreciation that campers and staff write). Like many Four Winds traditions, when you explain the mechanics of the tradition, it seems very simple, but when you’re there to experience it, it’s quite powerful. Last night was no different. I was very impressed with the campers’ ability to both perform at Evening Fire and also be good members of the audience. At the end, we continued a special, Junior Session only tradition, floating boats made of driftwood in Four Winds Bay, with candles atop them, as the campers and counselors sang camp songs, and eventually the Good Night Song, in the Amphitheater. It was a lovely end to the evening, the session, and the summer.

As I write this, travel day is happening. The campers picked up at camp and in Anacortes are already with their families. For families picking campers up at Woodland Park in Seattle, or at Seatac Airport, our bus is running a bit late due to delayed ferries. Our current arrival time is estimated at 12:20 PM at Woodland Park and 1:15 PM at Seatac. Campers that we are putting on flights as Unaccompanied Minors are all on track to make their flights. Please call us at the office if you have questions or concerns.

I hope that your campers are already talking about returning to Four Winds next summer, either for Junior Session or one of our four-week sessions. Registration from 2019 is already open, log in to your parent account at fourwindscamp.org/login, click on “Registration Form,” select the 2019 season, and you’re on your way. Returning campers are guaranteed enrollment until November 30, so there’s no real rush, but some families like to take care of it while it’s at the top of mind. We’ll send our reminders and so forth in the fall, but please do pay attention to that November 30 deadline. For the last several years, all three of our sessions have filled immediately after that deadline, and we have no reason to expect that it will be different this year. Please also be aware that we have a two year limit on Junior Session because it is intended as an introduction for families considering one of our four-week sessions, as opposed to a stand-alone program. If you’d like to have detailed discussions about best choices for next year, we are available (though probably after catching our breath).

Thank you, once again, for sharing your children with us. They were so much fun to have at Camp this week and carried on the spirit of adventure and delight that we celebrate here at Four Winds. We hope to see them all back next summer!