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Second Session – one for the ages

Greetings from Hilltop. Second Session is over, and it was extraordinary. As I write this, many campers are already with their parents. For those that are still traveling, travel day is going smoothly. There are a few minor flight delays, but nothing out of the ordinary. The staff have been working since the campers left to get the place squared away for Junior Session for some parts of camp and winter for others. They’re just starting a very well earned evening off, to be followed by more cleaning and our staff banquet tomorrow. As is usual on this day, camp feels eerie. The missing energy of our two hundred or so campers, CTs, and Helping Hands is palpable. For four weeks, they filled this place with laughter, song, friendship, and joy. Even now, you half expect to hear them as you walk down towards the Lodge. Next year.

Last night, we had a wonderful Evening Fire. As is our custom on the last night, it was extra long, both to allow time for all those that wanted to share, and also for all of us, to allow for the feelings to build and develop. At the end, there were many tears. Despite my own admitted need for a short break before Junior Session and a long one after that, I was sad to see this session end as well. I told the campers something I believe firmly: That even if it were possible for Camp to be our lives year round, it wouldn’t be as good if it were. The whole thing works because we come together for this period, which is long when compared to other summer camps but short in the grand scheme of things, create something special, and then go back to our regular lives for the year. The fact that it’s temporary is part of what makes it great. The feelings of sadness at camp ending wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t something very special, and so while the sadness can be real, it can also be appreciated in its way.

That brings me to another camp phenomenon of which you should be aware. When campers go back to what we call the real world, there’s often a period of decompression of sorts. Camp is an intense, immersive experience, and getting back into the normal routines of life often takes a few days. Every camper will express it in different ways: Sleep, lots of time on devices talking to camp friends, either coming forth with lots of camp stories or withholding them a bit are all common. Rest assured, your camper will adjust quickly, except, perhaps, they might be a little more confident, show a bit more initiative, or even offer to clear the table after dinner (they’ve been doing it here for four weeks, after all).

I hope your camper is already talking about next summer, and you may be interested to know that registration for summer 2019 is already available. We reserve spots for returning campers until November 30, so there’s no real rush, but many families like to take care of it when Camp is at the front of mind. We will send out reminders and so forth, but we do encourage you to mind that November 30 deadline. For the last several years, all three of our sessions filled on December 1, and we have no reason to believe it will be different next year. You can find that registration form by logging into your parent account at fourwindscamp.org/login, clicking on “Registration Form,” selecting the 2019 season, and filling out the form.

Thank you for sharing your children with us this summer. I know that it’s a sacrifice in time, money, and stress of separation. I strongly believe that it’s worth it, and believe that you’ll see the benefits in your children both now and over the coming months. I hope to see as many of them as possible back next summer.