Junior session has begun!

Greetings from Hilltop. Junior Session has begun, and we’re off to a great start. All campers have arrived safely. About 4 hours ago, our chartered boat entered Four Winds Bay, to the cheers of the counselors and the campers who had been dropped off by their parents. The campers ran up Greenie Hill to meet their counselors and cabinmates, and another amazing Junior Session had begun. Once all campers were here, cabin groups went to their cabins for a bit to get to know each other and their space, play a few games and learn names. At flags, each cabin introduced themselves with a little skit. We had a lovely dinner of salad and pasta, and then met on the stairs for a few songs and announcements. After that, the campers went back to cabins to unpack, and as I write this, they’re moving towards bed.

Already, these campers are diving right into the spirit of camp. There are lots of questions, lots of exploring, lots of being silly, and lots of fast friendships being formed. In short, they’re kids being kids. It never ceases to amaze me that, in this modern age, with so many technological wonders available to entertain children, how attracted kids still are to playing with sticks, or climbing up into a treehouse, or imaginative play, or throwing stones into the water. The only explanation of that phenomenon that makes any sense to me for is that there is something deep in children’s inherent natures that is attracted to these timeless pastimes. Those simple pleasures will be on full offer this week.

Of course, we do have a few campers who are experiencing homesickness. We’ll help them through it. We’re not afraid of homesickness at Four Winds. I sort of wish change the name. It’s not a virus; it’s a perfectly natural feeling. Kids tend to feel things more intensely than adults, and of course, have less experience managing this particular emotion than adults do, so it’s a challenge for some of them, but an age appropriate and necessary one. There’s no better place to overcome that hurdle than camp. If you’re nervous about homesickness, I highly recommend the book Homesick and Happy, by Dr. Michael Thompson. It’s an excellent read for parents while your kids are at Camp, giving you a better sense of what they’re experiencing. And, if the ideas in the book appeal to you, it’s very likely that your ideas about what a camp experience should be are well in line with what we practice at Four Winds. If your child’s homesickness is persistent or severe, we’ll give you a call to check in, and you are welcome to call us as well to ask for an update. Our office staff will likely need to check in with your child’s counselor and call you back, but we’re happy to do it.

In addition to that, I will tweet once a day at twitter.com/fourwindscamp, updating you on what’s going on. You don’t need to join Twitter to get the updates; you can just go to the website. If you want to get notifications on your phone, you can text the phrase “follow fourwindscamp” to the number 40404, and you’ll get the updates by text message. I’ll also blog here on Saturday, and when the campers are on their way home on Tuesday.

We’re looking forward to a great week up here on Orcas. These campers will get a taste of what it’s like to be a Four Winds camper at our month-long sessions. They’ll try each of our activity areas (the Barn, the Dock, the Craft Courts, Land Sports, and the Garden) two or three times, they’ll get a half day sail on Carlyn, our 61′ yawl, they’ll try several of our well-loved evening activities, learn songs, make great friends, and play. We’re so excited to go on this journey with them.