Inflection Points

Greetings from Hilltop. It’s another beautiful August day on Orcas Island. Weather isn’t the most important thing, but it sure does help when it’s lovely, and it’s been lovely for much of this summer. It’s been just one warm, sunny summer day after another. We had enough rain in the spring, plus a handful of showers in the summer, which means we haven’t had a fire ban yet, so we can still have evening campfires. We’ve gotten lucky on smoke so far this summer. It’s been a real gift.

I mention the weather not just to make small talk. Today, as we had Sunday Assembly in the garden, I felt an inflection point coming. The consistency of the weather this summer helps a person to entertain, longer than usual, the illusion that everything will always be as it is right now. In the camp setting, that means entertaining the notion that camp won’t really end. Of course, no one does this intellectually, but they do it emotionally. Eventually, events overtake that ability to entertain those illusions, which is happening at camp right now. The 10th graders come home from their trips today. The series of “lasts” has begun (our last Sunday Assembly, for example). Several of our Assistant Counselors, who often have college orientations that conflict with camp, have already left, and a few more will in the coming days. All these signal that our time together is limited, and jog us out of any illusions we may have allowed ourselves.

Perhaps more powerfully than any of those markers is the fact that tomorrow, we’re going to begin the series of four Evening Activities with which we end every session at Four Winds. We’ll have Talent/No Talent, the camp talent show on Monday. On Tuesday, it will be Pins & Slides, in which we’ll give out activity area pins and have a slideshow of the session. On Wednesday, we’ll have CT Dance, and dance the night away hosted by the CTs. Finally, on Friday, we’ll have our final Evening Fire together.

This series of four evening activities is one of the most well-crafted traditions we have at Four Winds. It serves the function of putting everyone in the proper mindset of camp ending, which leads to everyone in camp valuing our time together just a little bit more. Even more so, it provides many opportunities for celebration and reflection. Sometimes the end of camp feelings are big, and campers don’t always know what to do with them. These activities and the other end-of-camp events provide campers with many positive opportunities to process those emotions. It’s one of the best times of the session, and I always look forward to it.

The week behind us has been wonderful as well. On Monday, we had Cabin Adventure, all the more poignant since it was the last one. On Tuesday, it was Moonraker (silly songs and skits on Moonraker Point), and a sleepout on the Sports Field, underneath the Perseid meteor shower. It rained on Wednesday, so we shuffled the schedule and had Folk Dance in the Boat Barn. On Thursday, the CTs took over Evening Activity and ran an elaborate all-camp game that your humble camp director didn’t fully understand, but which got great reviews from the campers. We played Capture the Chicken on Friday and had Sports Night last night.

It’s been a wonderful session so far. I’m so pleased that these campers have had this experience, and that we’ve been able to keep it so close to normal after these years of anything but. Thank you for your trust and for prioritizing this experience for them. We’ll have daily updates on Twitter for the rest of the week, and I’ll post here once more after the campers are on their way on Friday.