Farewell, First Session

Greetings from Hilltop. And just like that, it’s quiet again. For 21 months, a longer stretch of time than any other in Four Winds history, this place was quiet. Too quiet. Last summer, for those of us on the year-round staff, there was a heaviness to the air around Camp. Though of course it was beautiful, the quiet was a reminder that things were not as they should be.

The quiet now is different. There’s the echo of the campers that left this morning. The friendships, the activities, the songs, the connection – it’s all still there in the quiet. For the campers, they got the connection, togetherness, and play they came for. For the staff, there’s a deep satisfaction in helping to pull it all off for them.

It was a wonderful last week of camp. As it happens, all of our final four evening activities are usually indoors – Pins & Slides and Evening Fire are in the Lodge, and CT Dance and Talent/No Talent are in the Boat Barn, so all had to be moved to outdoor locations. But they still had the desired effect – celebration and reflection. Evening Fire last night was particularly lovely. The poetry and music were a balm for the soul, and the togetherness that makes Evening Fire so special was there. There’s no other way to end a Four Winds session.

Logistics are more challenging than normal this year, and that’s true of departure day as well, but all in all, things are going well. All campers picked up at Camp and in Anacortes are with their families, and all flights are in the air (some have even arrived). I know campers are regaling their families with stories of camp. All is as it should be.

One thing to be aware of – we did have a cold going around Camp during First Session. Normally that wouldn’t make the blog post, but this year is different. Our relaxed COVID protocols following our surveillance testing on day 5 probably assisted with its spread, and our bubble is built against COVID, not other viruses.  We’ve done dozens of COVID tests on people with cold symptoms, which is why we’re confident that it’s a cold. But, if you have any worries, please feel free to reach out. Certainly, if your camper receives a COVID diagnosis anytime in the next 14 days, please let us know.

Other than that, it’s the same stuff as any year. Campers are going home tired and happy. We hope they’re already thinking about next year. If they are, and you’re the type that likes to get things out of the way, our 2022 camper application is now live in your parent account. There’s no rush. All returning campers (and their siblings) are guaranteed enrollment for 2022 as long as you sign up by November 30. We’ll remind you in the fall. But it’s there if you want it.

Our staff are tired and happy too. They’re getting a break as I write this – their only 48-hour break of the summer – before coming back on Thursday to get ready for the Second Session campers to arrive on Friday. We’ll look to re-establish our bubble the same way we did First Session, and give the Second Session campers the same magical experience.

Thank you, as always for sharing your children with us, this year more than usual. We know that camp, particularly a long-term camp, is a big sacrifice for families. We think you’ll see the rewards in your campers’ eyes. We can’t wait to see them back next year.