Thank you, Junior Sessioners!

Greetings from Hilltop. Junior Session and the Four Winds summer of 2023 have come to an end. All campers are reunited with their families. It’s oddly quiet around camp. We have just a few staff here, taking care of some tasks before they move on to their fall adventures. After a summer of constant activity, it’s almost eerie.

Our Junior Session campers were fantastic this week. They were so playful, and fully embraced the camp experience. Last night was the culmination of a great week, ending the session the way we always do at Four Winds, with Evening Fire. The campers and counselors gathered in the Lodge to share music, poetry, and boons. Afterward, the campers sang in the amphitheater as specialists released the boats the campers had made of driftwood on Friday evening into the bay, lighting candles on top of the boats. It’s a wonderful, reflective way to close out the week.

At the end of Evening Fire, I always say a few words to the campers, attempting to frame their experience and provide a little context. Last night, I told them how proud the staff and I were of them. Unfortunately, most kids don’t get an experience like this one, stepping away from home and their normal supports, learning to navigate a new environment, with new people, new ways of doing things, new fun, and new challenges. These campers did that, and they did it while having a wonderful time. It was a pleasure to see.

In these blog posts and other messages this week, I’ve avoided writing about the fact that this was our last Junior Session for the foreseeable future, choosing instead to focus on the week and the campers in front of us. After seeing these campers having such a great time here this week, and at the end of a long summer, it’s natural to be sad that we won’t be doing this next year. Four Winds is a delicate balance in many ways. Our community draws comfort from the fact that it seems to change so little, but of course, it has changed many times over the years, and it has to. We do our best to be thoughtful about changes and to always navigate by the North Star of camp’s values. That will make camp stronger for these campers as they grow up, and for the campers of the future.

Now, it’s time for a little rest. We wish these campers a wonderful start to their school years, and hope to see them all back in future summers.