Goodbye to Junior Session, and the summer

Greetings from Hilltop. Just like that, the summer is over. The Junior Session campers are either on their way home or already with their parents. The counselors are cleaning up and getting ready for the next phase of their lives. Another summer at Four Winds, our 93rd, is in the books.

These campers had a great week. They played, made new friends, learned new songs, and got a taste of what it means to be a Four Winds camper. For our staff, they were a perfect way to end the summer, playful, imaginative, and eager to see what every moment of their camp experience had in store.

Last night, we had Evening Fire, our oldest tradition at Four Winds. I’ll be honest, when we’re looking to pare down our traditions for Junior Session, we concentrate on keeping the silly and high energy stuff for the Junior Session campers. The more reflective stuff is some of the first to go, for the simple reason that it tends to be more age-appropriate for older kids. The exception to that rule is Evening Fire. It simply wouldn’t be a Four Winds session without an Evening Fire, and so we go for it.

I have to say; these Junior Session campers did a pretty good job of sitting and listening to the people that got up to perform at Evening Fire. I was impressed. That can be hard to do at their age.

At the end of Evening Fire, I always use the moment to try to impart some words of wisdom on the campers, both in our full sessions and Junior. Last night, I congratulated them on doing something that very few kids their age do, be away from home for an entire week. I could tell that they had a lot of fun this week, and I told them that of course, I was glad for that. I also told them that I was pretty sure that for nearly every camper, there was something about this week that was hard. For a few, the whole week was hard, and for the rest, at least something – the swim test, a cabinmate that was hard to live with, an activity they didn’t like, or a day they felt like they just got up on the wrong side of the bed, was a challenge. I congratulated them for besting that challenge, whatever it was for them, and I encouraged them to remember that they were capable of besting that challenge when, at some point in the future, something else seems daunting. These kids are capable of great things.

I hope your camper is already talking about summer 2020, either Junior Session or one of our four-week sessions. Please remember that there is a two-year limit on Junior Session, and campers starting 2nd grade this fall will only be eligible for Junior Session in 2020, campers entering 3rd or 4th grade this fall will be eligible for either a four-week or Junior Session (provided they haven’t already had two years of Junior Session) in 2020 , and campers entering 5th grade this fall will only be eligible for four-week sessions in 2020.

To register, go to your parent account at, enter your username and password, select “Registration Form” and the 2020 season, and you’re on your way. Returning campers (including Junior Session campers switching to a four-week session) are guaranteed enrollment until November 30. Please do mind that deadline. We have filled all three sessions immediately after that guarantee expires for the last several years, and expect to again this year.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this week. We had a ball with them. I hope they’re regaling you with stories or will be soon, and I hope to see them back next summer.