Published August 25, 2017
Every summer ends with reflections. This year on the night before Fair over 200 community members gathered for moving and memorable words and songs inspired by the F&W experience across generations. An Indian Brook alumna shared an experience as a senior lodger, which she has previously performed on the Moth stage. A Timberlake alumnus from the 50’s reflected on his father’s impact on F&W (Bill “Flying Cloud” Cook, after whom the camp is named), and F&W’s impact on him, decades later.
Camp wrapped up with milestones, affirmations, and fun; harvest banquets, woodsman and pioneer ratings, and double and triple grand circuit swims! Two groups of teens reached Canada after through-hiking all 272 miles of the Long Trail. They toured the camps with clever, musical skits highlighting the triumphs and struggles of their journey.
Barn Day Camp had its last one-week end of summer session, as that session will move to the start of summer 2018, followed by three, two-week sessions. This has been a request to normalize the last BDC session with programing that best reflects an F&W experience.
At our quarterly board meeting, teen representatives from our Camper Council reported on topics ranging from wanting more food at IB, to seeking time for greater, deeper discussions on race and class, as opposed to gender identity. Teen reps spoke about the Tamarack Farm apprenticeships or ‘Practicas’, from song writing and music composition to counselor training. Tamarack Farm teens were busy, helping to harvest crops for the camps and BDC market, to re-building the cabin called Satilla, and finishing the new Tamarack Farm Art Barn, all while building community and getting to know their peers and counselors better through meaningful, often spirited, discussions.
Before the Fair bonfire was lit, I danced my last Zodiac of summer 2017, with a the feeling of serenity, peace, and community. Summer 2017 with its adventures, challenges, and joyful successes was unforgettable in many ways.
As I re-engage, post summer camp, with what’s happening in our world from Charlottesville to China, I am hopeful and encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm our staff, campers, and teens exhibit in seeking to engage in tough conversations and to build a more equitable world. Our youth are resilient, show great integrity, and I believe are up to the challenges we face. As an organization, we still have a lot of work ahead of us, to further live our mission and values. We will continue tackling tough topics of race and class equity, cultural appropriation versus ‘appreciation’, and the ever-present conundrum of balancing the need for better summer salaries that yield staff retention, to minimizing costs, while increasing campership awards to provide camps with greater economic diversity.
Thank you for sharing your family with us this summer. I hope to see you at one of our community events in Vermont, Boston and New York.
Until we see you next, be healthy, happy, and safe!
P.S. Remember to check out FaceBook, SmugMug and Instagram for summer and event photos. Let us know if your child came home and presented with a communicable illness; registration opens in October, and fill out the end of camp survey. Your opinions help us improve campers’ experiences.
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