|The Camp Nor'Wester experience is hard to put into words. There is something very special that is more than the sum of all of the parts. The setting on John's Island in the majestic San Juan Islands is breathtaking - there are few places that can offer a comparable natural beauty in which to spend 2 to 4 weeks of rustic camp living. It's a transformative experience that provides special memories, incredible growth experiences, and friendships that last a lifetime.
As a parent, I was thrilled to learn that the staff is as strong today (if not stronger) than it has ever been. The Directors asemble a talented and enthusiastic group of young adults who are then provided an additional 12 days of training before the campers arrive. I was personally very impressed with each of the staff I was able to spend time with.
Campers live in either tents (9 and 10 year olds) or Tipis. They will live in the open air their entire stay at Norwester. The lodge is open air and looks right upon the water. There are no computers, ipods, cell phones, video games, or the like. There is a a real need to connect with people while at camp.
The camp is divided into units that are defined by age and gender. Most activities are done by unit. These include a well staffed and equipped arts and crafts program; waterfront which includes kayak, sailing, and roeing; ropes course which provides for growth challenges for both individuals and units; archery; a naturalist is on staff to provide for educational games and tidal pool hikes to teach the campers about their amazing environment; there is a drama department; an adobe oven; and more.
Campers will be encouraged to get outside of their comfort zone to discover new strengths and joys. Campers learn to appreciate eachother's strengths and work together effectively. Campers will learn outdoor living skills such as shelter building and campfire cooking during overnights.
My daughters' highlights included performing in the weekly talent show (Musicale) with a friend and watching everyone receive encouraging applause; watching a seal catch a salmon while kayaking; having deer walk right up to her; silk screening designs onto t-shirts; and connecting with campers and staff.
The life skills of being able to live and work with different people is a gift that gives for a lifetime. Learning that you can always accomplish more as a group than by yourself is powerful. Doing something that you were afraid to try and experience success is transformative. Learning to really connect with people and live in the absence of technology is a rare gift in this day and age. Making friends and having friendships that last a lifetime - words are insufficient.
Norwester is run by passionate and experienced people who treasure the impact that they get to have on Campers every summer. There is a remarkable staff that is very well trained. The setting is beautiful. The experience is rustic and outdoors.
My daughters will go to camp Norwester because I believe they will have richer and happier lives for having done so.