Big Show, Big Community

Saturday, July 13th, 2024

STILT BENCH circa 4:00pm—Merciful clouds and a faint breeze have blessed today’s Big Show with their presence, bringing the temperature back into double-digit territory. Grown-ups swarm the campus with their slow strides, phones outstretched. Sun hats, cargo shorts and floral dresses dominate the fashion landscape. Clapping emanates from the various simultaneous performance areas. A large peace sign drawn in flour adorns the ground of the Stilt Field, where the parade recently culminated to begin the show. A conch blows, calling everyone together for the main stage performances.

“Let’s make some noise for Juggling,” chime co-emcees Riley Soloner and Mayahuel Montoya. The lightly distorted riffs of the Beatle’s rendition of ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ come locomoting into the muggy air as children fill the stage.

Having acclimated to our microcosm of Camp dwellers, the presence of 200 extra adults is somewhat unsettling, though the prospect of the children leaving is commensurate solace. Earlier I took the opportunity of this heterogenous gathering to interview a sampling of parents, alumni, and current campers.

“The campers acknowledging Wavy, that’s cute,” said alumnus Cedar Love. “I love the new director Ginger, she’s super great. The acoustics of this song writing act are really good. Shoutout to my cousin, Johnny Ali!”

“Seeing the Big Show exciting but kinda weird because I wasn’t around to see it get put together like usual,” admitted alumnus Gina-Raye. “The stilt dance was nice. It was epic when Zoe did the splits. I miss Mara. Shoutout to Djuna!”

“As I walked over the bridge I heard cheering,” said parent Leah. “It was like walking into a bubble; I knew everything was going to be okay because of the sound of happy voices. The stage seems smaller but I guess my kids is just bigger. Watching my kid become a teen staffer, I’m so proud, and so confident that Camp will hold her. There’s no better place.”

“I’m getting ready for Calvin and Hobbes, and I’m playing Hobbes!” said Xing Ling, 13, of the Purple Tipi. “I’m hoping to make some people laugh. So far the show is really entertaining; everyone’s doing a great job. Great year, great tipi.”

“The dragon was a nice touch to the parade,” said one-time Juggling Instructor Flopsy Auer. “I’m really looking forward to the juggling and unicycle acts. I don’t know, I guess I’m just sort of an adrenaline junkie! I will say that the Big Show is a lot less tiring when you’re just part of the audience.”

“I’m pretty nervous; I’m not good with big crowds,” confided Cyrus, 11, of the Flame Tipi. “I’m confident in my unicycling, I just get stage fright. But this is a good place to practice because everyone is really kind and sweet.”

“It’s nice to be a viewer with no stress; it’s a different perspective,” said alumnus Byron. “Camp helped me get out of my comfort zone by putting me on stage and I think that was a character-building moment.”

“It’s surreal being back where I made the best memories of my life,” said alumnus Nevaeh. “Walking to the lake with my friends, singing songs—by the way, I had ‘Smallest Camp’ stuck in my head yesterday but I couldn’t remember the words. Can you send me the lyrics?”

Thanks everyone for reading along this session! Have a safe journey home and as always…

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


Performance Review

Friday, July 12th, 2024

RAINBOW THEATER circa 10:00am—The last gasps of cool morning air are steadily simmering away into the unstoppable midday mug. Aromas of bug spray and sunscreen bloom on the burgeoning heat. The eastern ascent of the sun oddly backlights the Theater, its shadows waning smaller each minute. Crooked, mossy limbs weave in and out of the verdant canopy. Stark patches of sun glow off-white on the ground and tipi walls. One Wavy Gravy takes the stage.

“Today is Friday or Frigg’s Day, in the old vernacular,” begins Wavy from his director’s chair centered on the stage’s apron. The children quietly marvel at his expressive, gravelly cadence. “Today is Pablo Neruda’s birthday, one of my favorite poets.”

A chorus of ‘woo’s signal Camp’s widespread appreciation for the Chilean wordsmith. Wavy continues to read a story from his memoir, Something Good For a Change, wherein he was volunteering at a children’s hospital as a clown. As the story goes, one young patient, Billy, asked Wavy to project the movie Godzilla onto the back of his shaved head for the other kids, which Wavy of course obliged, not knowing that a team of visiting Japanese physicians were touring the hospital that day. Typical Wavy fare. The audience is thoroughly amused and the elderly clown makes his careful exit with the aid of an arm.

Performance Coordinator Jack Crawford takes the stage, transitioning the audience into a Camp-wide parade rehearsal. Children disperse into their assigned areas while the drumming ensemble warms up the chosen rhythm. Once the groups are poised in their starting the position the drumming stops and all of Camp waits in anticipation. Jack can be seen in the distance holding papers and pointing in precise directions as various adults obey her bidding. She produces a large conch shell and sounds it confidently to begin the parade.

Tomorrow this exercise will be outfitted with costumes, props, stilts and unicycles, but today we are just enacting a dry run of the route. All day, in fact, will be a series of rehearsals for the multitude components of Saturday’s Big Show. It’s the final culmination of our two weeks of circus labors. In that spirit, I will be conducting a final round of interviews to assess productivity in the areas of silliness, absurdity and aimless nonsense.

“Major success,” said Thea Lamers, babysitter of the one-year-old Robbie. “We probably clocked 45 miles on this stroller. The nap routine involves a lot of walking. Sometimes he falls asleep in one lap of Camp, sometimes five. If we see the maintenance guys, Angel and Jacob, we try to get them to ‘beep-beep’ the truck.”

“There were so many rich and expanding experiences this session,” said Office Assistant Ginny Zeppa. “It was our first time at Camp as a family so we were finding our groove. I think we grew our bonds and discovered new parts of ourselves. It’s hard as an adult to get our compartmentalized brains into the magical fun that Camp provides so seamlessly for kids. It takes hard work to play.”

“I find it supremely impressive that we had so much fun during the heat wave,” said Aerials Instructor Djuna Barricklow. “Adaptation is key. I’ve been creekin’ it to stay cool. I even let some campers put river mud on my leg and pretend to shave my shins with a leaf.”

“What can I say, all of our campers are still here,” said Lifeguard Meadow Wilde. “I count them every day to make sure. Our tipi even gained a camper! There were some trials and tribulations such as a wasp nest in our tipi, but we just spent the night in the Big Top while Angel and Jacob un-alived them with special poison spray. Through it all Rainbow Tipi has prevailed. We even won the game on Adventure Night. The competition was strong, but they put in the better effort.”

“Camp was an escape from moving,” said Raven, 11, of the Yellow Tipi. “It feels like home here. It feels safe. I just wish there was more time! I’m excited to do poetry and ASL in the Big Show.”

“I took a lot of classes, and got better at a lot of things,” said Fox, 11, of the Maroon Tipi. “There’s a lot more to clowning than just goofing around. This place is amazing because it’s just you and your friends in the woods and you can do anything. The whole world is happening right here! I love the animals here and for some reason I’m not even afraid of the bugs here.”

“Last night’s Cabaret was so sweet, tender and to-the-point,” gushed Performance Coordinator José Garcia. “Simply beautiful. The juggling, the tightrope—everyone was at their absolute best. Clowning got some heckles from Wavy, and drama was really cool. This summer I’m just walking amongst the kindness of these young people and it fills me with hope. The Big Show is going to be great tomorrow. Every year we tweak it a little bit—it’s about serving the kids; it’s child centered. I can’t wait!”

“There’s been some issues with audience etiquette,” observed Poetry Instructor Adriana Mendoza Rosekrans. “I think it must be some sort of Fortnite epidemic. Maybe if we put a square metal frame around the Theater so it looks like a T.V., that could help. But overall I think this session was a reawakening—a reimagining—of excitement, joy, and the fun of coming together.”

“Today’s been really good; I love drumming,” said Wyatt, 12, of the Flame Tipi, who is playing in the parade drumming ensemble. “I got introduced to West African drumming at Camp in 2018 and that same year I got myself a djembe. I’ve been playing drums ever since. Os reminded me of J.K. Simmons in that movie Whiplash when he calls us out for slowing down.”

“My dad plays drums and I look up to him,” continued Wyatt. “He loves Dave Matthews but my mom doesn’t. She’s a super hippy. That’s why she brought me here. I was super bummed to have to leave Camp for like four days this session because I got sick, but I’m glad I got to come back. Today I wrote a poem in poetry class about stars that go out and come back to life. That’s where I’m at.”

“I was at Lake Veronica a lot,” said Singing Instructor Iron Jaden. “I like that it’s big, deep, and quiet and peaceful. This is where I learned how to swim when I was 10. I think the more kids are here, the happier Veronica is. The lake works hard; she does a lot for us. I feel so blessed and grateful to be at Camp.”

“Fun, chill, and HOT!” said Lifeguard Vashaun Harris. “I loved every camper in my tipi. They liked my stories even though I’m not a very great storyteller. Some days the lake is chill, sometimes hard. It depends on how many kids and how many lifeguards are out here. I’ve also been helping out with the songwriting class, especially this one student Oliver who made a Winnarainbow rap. It’s got a vibey flow that everyone can vibe with.”

“It was ONE THOUSAND DEGREES, but we made it through,” said Program Manager Osayandé Kokayi. “Water was the key. The lake, the creek, the sprinklers, and of course the drinking water. Also pasta. I love the pasta here. Water and pasta. Classic combo.”

“It’s been really beautiful to see people I taught how to drum are now holding it down for the parade,” continued Osayandé. “Some notes for the grown-ups: The forecast for tomorrow is around 100 so bring your hats and water bottles, and please, please, please, leave your dogs at home. We cannot host them on our campus, and they will not be comfortable waiting in the parking lot. Another thing to note is that we urge the grown-ups to stay for the whole show which runs from 2:30 to 4:00. All the campers have been working all session for this so we hope you can honor their performance time. Safe travels and see you tomorrow!”

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


Snack Beach Scandal

Thursday, July 11th, 2024

SNACK BEACH circa 2:00pm—Today’s post-lunch perambulation has lead me to a tranquil corner of Downtown Camp, resplendent with a green grass carpet and plenty of natural tree shade; an oasis of salt, sugar, and carbonation; the irresistible, irreplaceable Snack Beach. Every day campers receive here a small dose of artificial happiness, known as ‘store order,’ usually in the form of chips, candy or Camp’s preferred soda brand, Izze. As recently as 2012, this store order was delivered directly into tipis, though this practice was phased out to discourage critter visitors. And so Snack Beach stands guard, a stoic martyr, receiver of crumbs and the animals that seek them.

“Every day the Teen Staff asks about store order, and then after lunch they bring it out in crates,” explains Emma, 11, of the Yellow Tipi, hands covered in a bright orange layer of Cheeto dust. “You have to eat it in Snack Beach because of raccoons I guess. I haven’t seen one but it’s only my first year. My advice is to get here early so you can get the soda flavor you like. The food in the kitchen is healthy so it’s fun to have some unhealthy snacks every once in a while.”

I jump in the passing Lake Shuttle and continue my interviews with a co-rider. We shout to be heard over the blasting cumbia.

“Everybody wants candy, but you shouldn’t have it all the time,” yells Theo, 15, of the Red Tipi. “That’s why Snack Beach is great because it’s just one time a day. Viva Snack Beach!”

LAKE VERONICA circa 3:00pm—Freshly emerged from the lake I give my face and hands a cursory drying so as to interface with my notebook. Sitting at a small picnic table laden with water bottles, sunscreen and a large, yellow water cooler, I inquire an off-duty lifeguard for his professional opinion on the non-aquatic beach in question.

“People only really go there when there’s snack, and then they ignore it the rest of the day,” says Teen Lifeguard River. “It’s grassy and so it has less dust, but it’s overshadowed by the Big Top and Lower Ring. Also, once the campers clear out it turns into a graveyard of wrappers. I’ve gotta be honest, I think Snack Beach has a lot of untapped potential.”

“My favorite Izze flavor is orange because I like oranges,” chimes in Neo, 12, of the Rainbow Tipi. “I don’t like every orange food though, like squash and yams. My favorite color is red; it’s the first color of the rainbow!”

“I don’t care about keeping animals out of the tipi,” claims Neo. “I love rats and foxes and even skunks. I would hug a skunk. I would keep a rat as a child—not a pet—a child. When I grow up I’m gonna have a rat child and I’m gonna eat snack wherever I want, and the rat will eat snack too. And if I go to a party to drink apple juice, the rat will be my drinking buddy.”

The sound of driving cumbia alerts me to the Lake Shuttle’s proximity. I quickly re-shoe and hail a ride.

CAMP STORE circa 3:45pm—A forest green box car constitutes Camp’s store order storage. Here I find three land-locked teenagers half-heartedly engaged in product organizing. Scribbled sharpie markings on the inside walls of the store commemorate teen store workers of the past. A large fan serves as a critical lifeline in the otherwise sweltering, sunbaked metal box. I ask for a behind-the-scenes explanation of the infrastructure that makes Snack Beach possible.

“Essentially the first step is handing out the store order forms,” explains Teen Staff Clay. “Then the teen staff for each tipi takes the orders. This session the candy supply chain broke down, but I’m hoping it will come back soon. Every morning Beau and I crunch the numbers to deduct from each camper’s balance. I’m known for filling out cards in record time. Then after lunch we doll out the goods in these milk crates. The other teen staff line up here at two-o-clock and bring the snacks to the kids at Snack Beach.”

Teen Staff Cori pauses saying “ahhhhhh” into the running fan to offer her outlook.

“Some campers are thieves and some are sharing,” she observes. “Some change their mind on what they wanted and then blame the teen staff. Snack Beach is a very lively scene because the stakes are so high (shout out to Gold Tipi for being so polite and orderly). If you miss your store order you might have to wait for a whole half hour until regular snack is delivered!”

She resumes saying “ahhhhhh” into the running fan.

“It’s a strange system, but it makes a lot of people hang out,” says Teen Staff Ian. “I work mainly at the Nurses’ Dome, so Snack Beach is the most time I get to spend with my campers. In the end, snacks are about bringing people together.”

ART GROVE circa 4:30pm—A misprint of canvas tote bags has led me to the Art Grove to salvage components of the design to be sold as patches. I am surrounded by like-minded crafters who are happy to pass the afternoon making something precious and semi-useful. Random counselors too are drawn to the chill vibes and shaded seating. I put the question to my table-mates, eager to understand the true meaning of Snack Beach, and it’s implications on society as a whole.

“Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a candy connoisseur,” says Clowning Instructor Riley Soloner. “I was a chip fanatic; I was a genuine soda man! It does, however, amuse me to see all these kids waiting around for unnatural food right after lunch. I don’t know—maybe I’m just a grumpy old man—but I think they should all be eating carrot sticks and ice cubes!”

“There’s a lot of arguing,” says Sasha, 12, of the Rainbow Tipi. “People want their snack and they get hangry. My favorite flavor of Izze is green apple, obviously. If you’ve never been there before, just know it’s going to get chaotic, but you’ll get the hang of it.”

“The platform is nice for variety,” says Weston, 10, of the Sky Blue Tipi about the deck adjoining the Stilt Shed. “It’s really nice and shady. There’s also a row of stumps, and you can even rotate around to Lower Ring if you’re feeling adventurous. I’m making a bracelet that says “FIRE IN THE HOLE”, which is a meme from the Geometry Dash video game. Snack Beach is easier than easy difficulty, it’s ‘auto’, no skill required. Auto levels are relaxing. I approve.”

“I will say, it is very hot in that store,” says the aforementioned Beau, who happens to be walking by the Art Grove. “People think doing math and playing with cards is easy, but it’s not easy in this heat. One good thing about this gig is the flexibility though. Once we pass out the crates, we basically have the afternoon off. Having no candy is a bummer, but at least the chips and Izze’s are moving. It’s nice to feel important.”

TIPI CIRCLE circa 5:45pm—The conch has blown, signaling the end of free time, and yet I feel I have barely scratched the surface. It seems as though every answer just leads to more questions, and no one’s willing to tell the truth. Unsure where to go next, I seek the sage counsel of Poetry Instructor Zora Skelton while she waits for her campers to arrive.

“Snack Beach is total anarchy; I avert my eyes,” says Zora. “All these hippy kids are used to sugar-free, organic granola flax. The very idea of a Cool Ranch Dorito is enough to turn a young child raised in Arcata, California into a rabid rabbit! The whole area should be bulldozed and turned into a turnip farm. Now that’s dessert! Have you ever had a turnip in July? Nothing sweeter.”

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor



Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

RAINBOW THEATER circa 9:00pm—The Grim Reaper takes the stage to perform a soothing lullaby. All manner of pirates, witches, fairies, and sleazy salesmen from New Jersey sit in a semi-circle, looking on in fearful reverence. Campers still giddy from the evening’s festivities chat and squirm in the theater benches. Another Adventure Night has arrived at its final conclusion.

“We are the children of Camp Winnarainbow,” he begins in a low, gravelly tone. The crowd giggles at the monotone rendition of the classic Camp lullaby. His serious demeanor is undermined by a lapse in lyric recall, sending the campers into rages of laughter and heckling.

After finishing the song he utters the famous words of Wavy Gravy, “Brush ’em if you got ’em,” signaling the transition from showtime to bedtime. The campers rush from the bright Theater to the darkness of the Tipi Circle in a babbling wave, waving flashlights in search of toiletries.

Preparations for Adventure Night began this afternoon with the creation of two large 2-sided dice—or D-20’s as gamers may know them—out of cardboard, duct tape and acrylic paint. It was then determined that a large amount of counterfeit money would be required. This was accomplished through the implementation of Camp’s trusty paper cutter, likely dating back to the Wilson administration.

After dinner it was deemed prudent to hose down the wood chips before flour lines were laid. The plan was to turn the entire Tipi Circle into a giant board game. Once 7:45pm arrived we gathered campers in the Circle for an explanation of the rules. Each tipi had been assigned a large object for its game piece, such as a unicycle or an art easel. The campers were instructed to participate in activity sites to earn fake Camp money, which could be used to buy dice rolls and advance their pieces.

All chaos broke loose at the sounding of the starting conch. We stoked the madness by blasting dramatic movie soundtracks over the PA. I did my best to stop a few campers for quotations, though the frenetic drive to earn fake money was working against me.

“It’s amazing!” said Rowan, 10, of the Sky Blue Tipi. “I’ve only gotten two bucks so far but it’s good. It took me forever to finally get the ring toss. My favorite part is all the dust.”

“I rolled an 18 and then a 15!” said Micah, 10, of the Flame Tipi. The rest of his statement was blurted out too fast to comprehend, let alone record. In an instant he had darted back into the fray.

“Adventure Night is straight ‘W’,” said James, 12, also from Flame. “We should just keep doing this, maybe not every night but most nights. My favorite is the quests we get from the Wizard. My quest is five yellow leaves. Does this look yellow enough?” he asked, holding up a very orange leaf.

“It’s one of my favorite nights because you get to play games,” said Asa, 10, also from Flame. “It’s all about the obstacle course.”

“Adventure Night is cool because we finally get to swing on the trapeze,” said Z, 10, of the Yellow Tipi. “Death is my favorite character and all the money is cool.”

“In my opinion, limbo is underrated,” quipped Art Instructor Rose Moylan. “We just saw the unicycle advance 20 spaces, and Blue Tipi has already completed a full lap. Everyone is just playing; the Camp magic is alive.”

“I did some ring toss and it took a while but I got two eventually,” said Miles, 11, also from Flame. “Can I go now?” he asked before scampering away.

“I think it’s pretty good and competitive,” said Kori, 12, of the Rainbow Tipi. “Even if someone beats you, you’ll still never lose.”

“I think there’s a lot of things to do and it has a good deal of money,” observed Jojo, 12, also from Rainbow. Just then the announcers reported over the PA “Rainbow has taken the lead,” and off ran Jojo.

“My tipi has a lot of money, and that means we might win,” boasted Ella, 13, of the Orange Tipi. “Crate ball is not going well for me; I have no strategy. But my teammates are very solid. Overall, awesome-sauce.”

At the stroke of 9:00pm we sounded the conch to end the game. We gathered in the Theater for a debrief from site leaders. It was announced that Rainbow Tipi emerged victorious, which entitles them to a custom candy prize of their choosing.

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


Election Coverage 2024

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024

CAMP OFFICE circa 9:00pm—The Dead Bug Collection is one of the greatest experiments ever undertaken in the world of Winnarainbow. From its humble beginnings in the early 2010’s as a open cardboard box with bug carcasses sloshing around in it, to it being transferred to a nice plastic box with a lid, to its first democratically held elections in 2016 where the two major parties were established—Slug and Wasp—the Dead Bug Collection has been a beacon for amateur entomologists and pessimistic absurdists everywhere. As explained in the Day 6 blog, both human candidates indefinitely suspended their campaigns for the Dead Bug Presidency on Saturday, and it was reported that two actual dead bugs would be nominated in their place.

Yesterday, Monday, we learned the identities of the two replacement nominees:

CRANE FLY (Wasp, behind the bathrooms)

Tones of dust. Looks like a large mosquito without the straw-like mouth. Has some sort of mandible. Velvety, moth-like torso, vertical white stripes on ends of wings. Small mustache.

UNKNOWN SCAVENGER (Slug, dish pit)

Rainbow/iridescent/opalescent wings, red legs, black body, elongated abdomen, pronounced hind legs.

It is my pleasure to report that today, Election Day 2024, the first actual dead bug Dead Bug President was elected by popular vote.

Voting began promptly after lunch in the Tipi Circle near the Camp mailbox.

“There’s been lots of turnout,” said Drama Instructor Patrick Belton. “Unknown Scavenger is killing it in the exit polls. I think it’s the name un-recognition. There’s a lot of mystery and that’s intriguing. I think Crane Fly gets bad rep for looking like a giant mosquito. I don’t understand why our only options are two dead guys, though I guess it’s apropos for something called the ‘Dead Bug Collection’.”

“I’d like to know more about Unknown Scavenger, and if it’s unwilling, I find that suspicious,” said Ollie, 14, of the Red Tipi. “I’m not gonna lie, I do like the size of Crane Fly, I think that’s an advantage. I feel like it will get down to business and make the tough decisions.”

“I am of the stance that the Unknown Scavenger has good qualities, but people don’t give Crane Fly enough credit,” said Teen Staff Max.

“I’m voting for the little guy,” said Maintenance Man Angel Herrera. “The little guy always wins.”

“I voted for Unknown Scavenger because big bugs are scary,” said Teen Staff Suleimon. “Little bugs are less imposing, more compassionate and approachable. Little bugs deserve a seat at the table.”

One camper who wished to remain anonymous found an unrelated dead bug near the polling location. Foul play is not suspected at this time.

“Think I don’t care much about any of it,” said Phoebe, 14 of the Blue Tipi. “I don’t like propoganda and I think the Dead Bug Collection will stay the same whoever wins.”

“I’m voting against Crane Fly,” said Cyrus, 11, of the Flame Tipi. “I don’t know much about the Unknown Scavenger but it’s gotta be better than Crane Fly. I honestly haven’t heard much about the election even though the polls are right next to my tipi.”

I cruised up to the chess grove to beat some campers in chess, one of our many outreach strategies to get out the vote.

“I think the dead bugs should be able to live and die without human intervention,” said Sadie, 14, of the Blue Tipi. “Furthermore, we shouldn’t string up bug corpses for our own amusement. The whole election is illogical.”

“What about sea shells?” questioned Unicycle Instructor Arek Rein Jungwirth. “I think those necklaces with ants cast in resin are okay.”

“It’s the biggest election since George Washington was elected,” said Solomon, 13, of the Purple Tipi. “I’m voting for Unknown Scavenger because of Crane Fly’s corruption. On the question of bug jewelry, I think it’s weird but morally neutral.”

“I think we need to ban DEET,” said Juggling Instructor Memo Gosnell. “But we should definitely have term limits.”

I made my way back to the Tipi Circle, passing a small group of stilt walkers.

“I think the bugs were here first, so I don’t see a reason to have an election about them,” observed Mae, 12, of the Rainbow Tipi. “If you hurt bugs, they’ll hurt you. Just like a mosquito needs blood from a human or animal, without bugs we wouldn’t live and neither would plants. I don’t know exactly how it works but I looked it up once.”

“We have a lot of crane flies at home, so I know that even though they look scary, they’re harmless,” continued Mae. “I like Camp. Some spiders and mosquitos have bitten me, but that’s the circle of life.”

“I think the election is too competitive,” critiqued Soleil, 9, of the Gold Tipi. “Since this is a hippy camp, we should just hang out with the dead bugs. Hippies are chill, but I don’t want to be a hippy when I grow up. I wanna be a hip-hop dancer.”

“The Dead Bug Collection Election is great; I like the democracy of it all,” said Sivan, 13, of the Scarlet Tipi. “I like how campers can vote and have a voice. I don’t see much difference in the candidates, but I voted for the underdog just to be contrarian.”

“I’m glad we found actual dead bugs for candidates,” said Izzy, 11, of the Maroon Tipi. “I liked the voter outreach, such as shouting at people as they walk by.”

“All bugs are fighting to prove their purpose in a world of selfish humans,” preached Dance Instructor Karma Engel. “I think all politicians should have mustaches. Why think for yourself when you can have someone tell you what to think? Ignorance is bliss. Justice for bugs!”

The polls remained open until the conch was blown for evening program. I met with other election officials to tally the scores. Here are the final results:

UKNOWN SCAVENGER wins with a landslide 61.4% of the electoral college.

CRANE FLY came in a distant second with 33.3%.

LADYBUG, and unexpected write-in candidate, came in third with 5.3%.

The results were revealed during the so-called Weirdo Talent Night to a resounding mixture of cheers and boos. Inaugural proceedings will take place tomorrow at Dinner Circle.

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


A Day in Triptych

Monday, July 8th, 2024

KITCHEN circa 7:30am—Early mornings at the Camp Kitchen are a hotspot for boardgames, and all the high-pitched yelling required to enjoy them. Now fully awake, but still in my tent, I meditate on the will to rise and join the fray. After a quick pep talk to myself I’m finally up and about, toothbrush in hand. Campers dart this way and that, spurred on by gallons of cocoa like an industrial mischief machine. I, for one, have a different simulating imbibement on my mind: black coffee. My wish is fulfilled by Office Assistant Ginny Zeppa who has already brewed a pot and pours me a quick cup.

The coffee station is at the back of the dining area up a small slope, giving us a broad view of the busy kitchen scene. Suddenly, three campers approach and compliment my Kermit T-shirt. I thank them and quickly take advantage of the organic exchange to suggest a brief blog interview. The topic is anything in particular.

“Stilts and unicycle have been really fun,” says Darwin, 10, of the Gold Tipi. “I’m excited for the Big Show. I’m gonna do puppets and silks (see: Aerials). We saw this one dude with a cup suctioned to his face and that was funny. I don’t know what his deal was, he was just staring into the abyss. Both our counselors are great, nice, fun, helpful—all the things. As we like to say, ‘Snice: smart and nice.'”

“Smart and nice,” repeat the other two campers in eerie unison.

“I didn’t sleep well the first two nights; I think I just missed my bed,” continues Darwin. “But once I got used to it I slept really well.”

“I looked across the tipi at my friend and there was a huge, fuzzy caterpillar on the wall above her,” says Sloane, 10, also from Gold. “I tried to tell her but she just went back to sleep. I love all our counselors. It’s my first sleep-away camp so I got pretty homesick but the counselors helped me out. I also love bugs but some of them are kind of freaky. There’s like an infinite amount of bugs here.”

“They’re always reproducing!” adds Darwin.

“The cloud swing was really fun,” says Isaline, 10, of the Gold Tipi. “The creek is honestly better than the lake. It’s so chill. The biscuits and gravy was my favorite meal so far. Our counselors are really comforting, like if you get homesick. I got it really bad one night and they helped me through it. This is a camp that hippies started, so it’s fun and joyful.”

SOMEWHERE IN CAMP circa 1:30pm—Lunch has come and gone in all of its chicken tender glory, and now begins the vast four-hour stretch of free time. The staggering heat seems to bamboozle my very senses of direction and purpose. I find myself meandering circuitous routes and thinking half-formed thoughts, full of chicken and sweating like a pig.

Some undetermined amount of time passes in this manner until a chance encounter with the Fire Circle hose. Instinctively I blast myself with water directly in my face like a Looney Toon before offering a mist to nearby campers. A few scamper over and brace for chilliness by shutting their eyes, balling their fists and raising their shoulders. After the initial shock they relax and begin to twirl around in the artificial rain. Stashing the hose I continue on the the ping pong zone where I relieve the supervisor in hopes of garnering some goofy camper testimonials. One would-be ping ponger decides an interview will be more entertaining than standing in line.

“I’m having fun with all the classes and free time,” says Caleb, 10, of Scarlet Tipi. “Adora always reads us this book about clowns in the tipi and Mattias started teaching me how to juggle. Both are really nice and helpful. My favorite thing is learning to do new stuff. For the heat I’ve been drinking a lot of water and staying in the shade. I really liked our visit to the labyrinth last week. It helped our tipi bond. At first we were all strangers and now we’re friends.”

“It was funner than I thought it would be,” says Asher, 10, of the Lime Tipi. “When I don’t know what to do, I go to the ping pong table; that’s where the action is. Or I’ll go to the Uni Track if I want a break from all the competition. This is probably the second-best camp I’ve ever been to, after soccer camp.”

Last week during the Tornado of Talent I had the pleasure of playing rhythm on a jazz standard, “Juju” led by camper pianist Judy, who has now appeared on the Grassy Knoll to practice her juggling. I ask her what drew her to a song that vamps on a B natural augmented chord.

“It evokes a very specific disorienting and mystical sensation,” she explains. “And it’s fun to solo over. I basically use a different scale for each of the changes. For example, on the B augmented I play with the whole tone scale starting on B. Then when we move down chromatically I start my whole tone scale from B flat. Then I switch to Lydian Dominant, which if you’re unfamiliar is just Mixolydian with a sharp 4.”

“I really like this Camp, it’s the highlight of my summer,” adds Judy. “But in regards to music theory, I’ve really been trying to break away from complicated chord symbols and get more into a linear understanding of music, such as voice leading and counter point.”

BIG TOP circa 8:30pm—Long 2×10 rafters uphold the sheet metal roof of the Big Top. Two large tents, one at either end, extend the footprint by nearly double. All around the perimeter of the the roof is rolled up a thick tarp wall, ready to be deployed with the loosing of a few slip knots. Broad swaths of carpet duct-taped together create a continuous soft surface for daily acrobatics lessons. Tonight, however, this temple of tumbling is dedicated to the sacred art of boogie-ing down. All afternoon campers have been preparing outfits for the Costume Dance Party, and now they gather in clumps in the Big Top and adjoining Stilt Field to dance, show-off, and commiserate.

“The Macarena,” of all songs, is suddenly playing through the large suspended speaker system. Before I know it, the whole dancing public has arranged itself into a large semi-circle to perform the arm movements in unison. Moments later a conga line has consumed the throng. In to the Big Top they parade, and back out again.”

I wade through the crowd for a minute and snap some costume pictures, but the prospect of gathering any quotations in the middle of the party is completely unfeasible. Away with the pen, I say, and on with the dance!

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


Mid-Term Madness

Sunday, July 7th, 2024

RAINBOW THEATER circa 7:00pm—The menacing sun has finally unfurrowed its brow as it dips toward the western tree line. What would be a temperature high for any normal day feels relatively cool compared to a few hours prior. Golden beams cut across the stilt field and across the Tipi Circle, illuminating Indigo, Blue and Sky Blue tipis in particular. Roughly two dozen campers race back and forth across the Stilt Field in an indecipherable variation of tag, shouting and laughing like cartoon villains. The sloppy joe dinner energy boost is in full effect.

Around 8pm the conch will blow and Camp will gather for Movie Night, but until then free time reigns. At the water fountain ‘safe zone’ one camper douses their head and shirt with a running mister. On the so-called Grassy Knoll overlooking the Stilt Field two campers leisurely volley at the ping-pong table while a third juggles three bean bags. Behind my vantage of the back row benches several unicyclers quietly circumnavigate the baseball diamond-shaped Uni Track, gripping the bar for balance. Five colorful stilt umbrellas and myself bear silent witness to the cheerful chaos.

Last night Camp enjoyed a second Fire Circle, featuring a fire juggling finale complete with a West African drumming ensemble. This morning was the long-anticipated Sleep-In Sunday, followed by the dreaded Mid-Term Tipi Clean-Up. I spent some time this afternoon gathering feedback on the various happenings.

“Hear ye, hear ye, come one, come all,” said Avi, 13, of the Scarlet Tipi, quoting his own speech which opened last night’s Fire Circle. “The Fire Circle is now open. Thank you to Albert Einstein for inventing trees.”

“That was the whole speech,” he explained. “I was inspired by comedy; it’s sort of my thing. I was wearing a blue George Washington/marching band jacket. The fire juggling was really cool. Having sticks on fire and throwing them is cool; it’s just a simple fact of life. Phaedra was a good emcee. She added little anecdotes but kept the show moving. The whole thing was silly and fun.”

“I always get scared when the fire performers juggle fire,” admitted Emi, 10, of the Yellow Tipi. “But honestly I’m more worried at Burning Man where anybody might be doing it; here there are rules. Burning Man is dustier than Camp—if you can believe it—but they’re both places you can express yourself. The main difference is that Burning Man is more about adults and Camp Winnarainbow is all about kids. Overall the Fire Circle was really fun.”

“My tipi went to the Labyrinth last night,” said Kip, 10, of the Sky Blue Tipi. “We could see the totem pole in the sunset; it was beautiful. I like how they have all the crystals in the center of the labyrinth. It was fun but like a different kind of fun because there was no talking. It was calm and meaningful.”

“It’s not gonna be a raving review, I’ll warn ya,” said Puppeteering Instructor Milla Blackwelder of today’s Mid-Term Tipi Clean-Up, sighing deeply. “My co-staff Lastarla held it down while I was doing a little conflict resolution. But we eventually got things swept up. Our tipi definitely should have won the competition, but apparently the judges found a little piece of trash in our pie slice (see: section of Tipi Circle from a tipi’s perimeter to the central fire pit). The main thing is that we made the space more happy and healthy, but the prize was literal candy! The incentive was undeniable.”

“It was inspiring to see everyone struggling so gracefully,” said Lake Shuttle Driver Jasper Skelton. “Thirteen tipis passed outright and two had to do some extra cleaning after inspection. At first it looks like total chaos as tipis are emptied into the Tipi Circle. But as the time comes to an end it settles into a tranquil state of cleanliness and order.”

“One thumb up, one thumb medium,” said Gage, 11, of the Flame Tipi. “It’s kind of a relief. We cleaned a lot of trash and we took all our stuff out so we could sweep up the floor. At the stage we got triple called out for cleaning better. That was unfair. It was hard because it was so hot. I had some gatorade. It was good, medium good. I was glad we did it but it was hard.”

“I almost lost my notebook with my character sheet!” said Abbey, 13, of the Orange Tipi. “My character is Reginald Von Tracey, who is a half-ling bard in the world of D&D. He can use ‘Vicious Mockery’ where you roast someone so bad it causes physical damage. I don’t do that in real life—I’m a nice person—but it’s in my back pocket. Overall it was calming to see the tipi nice and clean. I took breaks to dance to the chorus of ‘Thriller’.”

Stay hydrated,

J. Payseno, Editor


Teenagers and Dead Bugs

Saturday, July 6th, 2024

KITCHEN DINING AREA circa 6:30pm—Counselors on small stools at the end of each picnic table wait for the campers to arrive, each table freshly set with plates and utensils. The heat is thicker than tomato sauce today and a faint breeze seems to tease the possibility of relief without ever delivering. The outdoor dining space is shaded by large bay trees whose sweeping diagonal trunks divide the space in irregular portions. As a whole the kitchen is a sort of an accidental rainbow: the red Cholula bottles, the orange and yellow water coolers, the green and blue waste bins. As campers begin to stream in, Aerials Instructor Jack Crawford takes the stage (see: a small deck in front of the dish house).

“Welcome to the Camp Winnarainbow Dining Room,” says Jack. “Everybody please find a seat.”

Children swarm for a frenzied 30 seconds, deciding which table to sit at and with whom, some with laser-like focus, and others with blissful apathy. The last campers left standing are ushered into the remaining empty seats.

“Now let’s hear from the kitchen!” says Jack.

Camp Chef Sauce Man Steve emerges from the kitchen with his unmistakeable psychedelic rainbow t-shirt and black apron combo.

“Tonight is Lasagna Night!” he announces triumphantly. A collective “woo-hoo” simultaneously signals both excitement and weariness from the heat. Jack solicits a volunteer to say grace. Camilla, 10, of the Maroon Tipi approaches and takes the mic. Jack then strikes two small meditation chime bells together, creating a piercing high tone that signals the need for respectful attention. The crowd goes quiet.

“Be grateful for everything you have in life and be grateful for your friends and family.”

“Aho!” responds the crowd, and the noise of chatter resumes. Counselors and teen staff circle their tables in concert, dolling out lasagna, salad and water. Dinner has begun!

Earlier today I made my rounds to hear about last night’s Teen Staff Talent Night as well as this morning’s special event, People’s Day.

“I feel like I was just messing around, but I wanted kids to laugh, and they did,” said Teen Staff Max. “I did the ‘Tech Act,’ where set up mics, summoned three audience plants who stood silently in front of the mics for a few seconds, and then we struck the mics. I was also in the ‘Backstreet’s Back’ act, a callback to the teen staff from 2019. We had six Backstreet Boys, three back-up dancers, and eight people on the rainbow to pop out during the chorus and sing ‘yeah-eah.'”

“It was fun working with my fellow teens,” said Teen Staff Jojo. “I performed ‘II Most Wanted’ by Beyoncé featuring Miley Cyrus. I didn’t really know the words and I was playing a ukulele with only two strings on it.”

“It started out with me singing this one lyric over and over again,” added Teen Staff Charlie. “At first it annoyed Jojo but then she started saying it all the time. We dressed up as cowboys. The point was to show the kids that they can get on stage and just be goofy.”

“I had my emcee debut during the tightrope act,” said Teen Staff Clay. “I was really focused on having big reactions and well-placed interjections. I had a script and I really tried to live into it. I think Teen Talent Night is a really great opportunity. Obviously at Camp there’s a lot of opportunity for campers to perform, and for the adults too, so it’s good for the teens to get our own chance to get on stage and do our thing.”

On the middle Saturday of every two-week session, Camp holds a special event called ‘People’s Day’. It’s a program that is reserved to be designed on-site by counselors who inspiration around a certain theme. This session we had a ‘Winnarainbow County Fair,’ which was a mixture of a Water Carnival (see: counselors spraying children with hoses and sprinklers while playing games) and a fierce political debate between two fictional candidates for the presidency of Camp’s Dead Bug Collection. The event began with a pre-breakfast speech from the Mayor of Winnarainbow County.

“Hear ye hear ye! I am the mayor of Winnarainbow County. I am very pleased to announce today starting at 10:30am is the Winnarainbow County Faire! I am the Mayor of the Faire! As you all know, this is an election year, for the Dead Bug Collection. Later this session, we will hold a Dead Bug Collection Election, of which I am the Election Chair. I’m the mayor of the Fair and the Election Chair. Today, at the Winnarainbow County Faire, you will all get a chance to meet the candidates and witness the first Dead Bug Presidential Debate. Bee there or bee square! Sincerely, Mayor of the Faire, Dead Bug Collection Election Chair.”

“The kids were really into it,” said Drumming Instructor and Mayor portrayer Jeff Brown. “It was the perfect combination of fun activities and a story line acted out from our characters that really made things interesting. The whole morning kids were running around in the creek and the sprinklers and yelling at the antagonstic characters.”

“There was the Mayor, the two candidates, a general and a judge,” explained Stage Technician Zoë Takaki who organized the event. “The general was going around armed with bug spray and issuing citations to any campers who were respecting nature. The judge made sure that order was kept, and swore in the candidates on Wavy’s memoire prior to the debate.”

“The morning culminated in a camper-led protest march around downtown Camp,” continued Zoë. “Everyone spontaneously started singing ‘All we are saying, is give bugs a chance,’ (see: John Lennon) and I think it brought Milla to tears. In the end, the incumbent candidate, Barbara Schmorbus (Slug party, Improv Grove) was so moved that she resigned and the big twist was that the challenger, J. Robert Booth (Wasp party, Propane Tank), was actually a butterfly all along.”

Special Blog Correspondant Harmony Methgen submitted the following quotations from the event.

“Voting for me is hazardous to your health.”
—J. Robert Booth

“This is a government conspiracy to distract from the fact that mosquitos are government-controlled.”

“I’m Canadian.”
—Muffin, Ultraviolet

“I believe in love and peace.”
—Lilah, Blue

“According to all current evidence, bugs were here first.”
—Dr. Phil

The Dead Bug Collection Election will reportedly proceed on Tuesday with two candidates that are actually dead bugs.

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


The Tornado of Talent

Friday, July 5th, 2024

CAMP OFFICE circa 12:30pm—Ringing phones, squawking walkie talkies and the frantic bantering of logistical issues fill the small camp office like a sonic clown car, whose engine might be the hypnotic hum of the swamp cooler. My desk is a menagerie of random papers, with bits of scheduling ephemera taped all around the adjoining walls. A repurposed red straw stuck in a random hole serves as a makeshift hat rack. Piles of supposedly important boxes loom in every corner. I take a deep breath and try to focus my caffein-addled brain on the task at hand: blogging.

Today at breakfast I made my rounds to gather reviews of last night’s Tornado of Talent. Wavy Gravy first began putting on Tornado’s in the 1980’s to pass the time while waiting around in makeshift jails with fellow protestors. Here at Camp, it’s our first big stage show of the session where a camper can show off the skill that made them famous in their own living room. Last night’s Tornado was emceed by Wavy himself, ably assisted by Robot Riley.

“The Tornado was kind of a whirlwind,” said lead Techie Momo Calfé-Smith. “The finale was a ballet dance from the Nutcracker, ‘Trepak’, and it was really sweet. I was impressed by the two unicyclers who did a pinwheel, one was on the giraffe uni and the other was riding the tiniest unicycle at camp. They got those levels! Speaking of unicycles, someone solved a Rubik’s Cube while riding one.”

“The tech-ing was kind of wild,” admitted Momo. “There’s a wasp nest that appeared in the ground under the mixing board, right where my feet usually go, so it’s been kind of a battle. Luckily no one has been stung, they’re just menacing. By the time the show started all the wasps were asleep, but they were flying around all afternoon while we were trying to take sign ups. But that’s life in the great outdoors!”

“It was amazing, even glorious!” exclaimed Performance Coordinator José Garcia. “I didn’t have to go looking for performers, everyone was on-time, on-cue, and right where they needed to be. My favorite act was the clowns and their invisible bench, a total classic. When I see these kids perform I know the world is in good hands.”

“It was fun watching different talents because everyone is talented,” said Boon, 12 of the Rainbow Tipi. “I liked all the acts, even the one’s that weren’t technically circus skills.”

“It was funny and people laughed at it,” said Frinkie, 12, also from Rainbow. “My favorite was this girl who sang ‘Stick Season’ by Noah Kahan. I love that song. So cute.”

“I liked the little kid things,” said Mae, 11, also from Rainbow. “They’re so cute and brave, especially this one little girl named Rae did a unicorn skit.”

“My favorite was the girl who was dancing to hiphop music in a leopard shirt,” said Jojo, 12, also from Rainbow. “I think the song was ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or something like that. It was so good. She kept doing the same move over and over but she made it look cool, and she even jumped in the air.”

“The Celebrity Fashion Show was fascinating,” said Ophelia, 11, also from Rainbow. “The would announce like, ‘Here comes Ariana Grande,’ and then a kid dressed as Ariana Grande would come out. A lot of the costumes were really good, but some of them were way too big on the kids. Wavy Gravy would make ridiculous comments and Robot Riley was hilarious. All the acts were put together well, like they had been practicing.”

“The diablo acts are always my favorite,” said Song Leader Natalie Garms. “The art of diablo seems to attract a certain demographic: knuckle-headed, prepubescent boys. The have so much heart and so much belief in themselves. They performed one at a time, each one getting their diablo up to speed and then launching it into the air. I think they had like a 12% catch rate. The problem is that when you don’t catch a diablo, it’s spinning so fast that it will launch itself off the ground and start rolling in a random direction at a high speed. It’s totally ridiculous. The juxtaposition of the unbridled confidence and ineptitude brings a smile to my face.”

“I was stressed out at the beginning but it ended up being super easy and fun,” said Micah, 10, of the Flame Tipi. “I just went up to the microphone and asked for a prompt. Wavy gave me one, he said “shredded wheat and melted butter.” So I used the prompt and told a completely improvised story. People clapped a lot I guess. The whole thing was wonderful.”

“The dancing was the coolest part for me,” said Quinn, 13, of the Purple Tipi. “And when Ollie played a solo on the drum kit, that was radical. I was absolutely losing my mind. 7 out 10 stars.”

“The clowns were my favorite,” said Rose, 10, of the Maroon Tipi. “They were really funny and I liked their noses. They started dancing and got everybody in the audience to dance too. Wavy Gravy and Robot Riley were really funny. I’m gonna make Wavy Gravy a bracelet that says ‘Camp Winnarainbow.'”

“Copy cat!” said Rose’s identical sister Eva, incensed. “Look at my bracelet! What does it say? ‘Camp Winnarainbow.'”

“I sang a song called ‘Stick Season’,” continued Eva. “My sister Mary played guitar for me but they accidentally called her ‘Marty.’ It was good that I couldn’t see the audience; it was too dark and the stage lights were really bright. It was good and silly.”

“Many awesome campers got sucked up into the Tornado of Talent!” exclaimed Wavy Gravy. “The ballet was brilliant, and working with Robot Riley was excellent. I like his company and he is über awesome and amazing!”

“I thought it was spectacular,” said Director Emeritus Jahanara Romney.

“And she’s seen a lot of them!” interjected Wavy. When asked how he and Jah were dealing with the heat, he said, “I’m embarrassed to say we live in air-conditioned splendor. But heck, I’m 88! It’s all gravy to me.”

Stay hydrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor


Fire Works

Thursday, July 4th, 2024

RAINBOW THEATER circa 10:00am—Campers full of breakfast sit in lethargic posture on the orange theater benches, fiddling with rocks, kicking dangling feet, or staring motionlessly. The heat bears down like an extra layer of gravity, even in this mid-morning hour. Our reader today, filling in for Wavy, is Administrative Manager Mayahuel Montoya. She sits in a director’s chair on the stage which is framed by a large metal rainbow (with a staircase inside) and two massive oaks. Counselors meander through the audience, blobbing sunscreen into campers’ hands.

“July 4th is a day that is meant to celebrate freedom,” begins Mayahuel, reading a statement from the Indigenous Foundation. “While the United States and its settlers claimed its independence from Great Britain, this came at a cost of others’ freedom.”

She reads on, outlining the struggle of Native American and African American people in the context of today’s holiday. She concludes the statement with a simple call to action.

“The Fourth of July can be used as a day to reflect on the United States’ history and acknowledge the irreversible harm that has been done to many groups of people,” she reads. “It can also be used as an opportunity to address the whitewashed retelling of the American Revolution.”

Next Mayahuel reads a poem by Martín Espada, a Camp favorite, “Imagine the Angels of Bread.” Heads bob in the audience in response to the powerful imagery. Random birds titter and chirp along in the background. The poem concludes,

“So may every humiliated mouth,
teeth like desecrated headstones,
fill with the angels of bread.”

“Martín Espada!” exclaims Mayahuel, holding the poem aloft as the audience claps. “For our final piece, I will be reading on of my personal favorites, The Story of Ferdinand.

This is the material the kids have been waiting for. Several people familiar with the book react with whoops or whistles. The younger campers squirm closer to the stage to see the pictures as she reads, crowding into the front row. She finishes the book and exits stage with a brief curtsy.

“Give it up for Maya!” says Stilt Instructor Alan Knox, taking the stage to transition Camp from morning reading to warm-ups. He wears a ball cap and a backpack, a sure sign that he is a supervisor at Camp, or a “duper” as we call it. As “Duper of the Day”, Alan will spearhead all timekeeping and job-checking at Camp until he is relieved by the next duper at 4:30pm. He calmly disperses the crowd to the three warm-up options, which will serve to limber campers’ bodies before the rigors of circus training. I retreat to my blog lair to transcribe the reviews I gathered at breakfast of last night’s Fire Circle.

“Fire Circle’s chill,” said Karina, 14, of the Blue Tipi. “It’s just like being around the fire with a bunch of friends. It’s nostalgic, it’s campy. The acts were silly, serious—all of the above. The host, José Joaquin Garcia, made sure everyone could hear and be heard. It was fun.”

“We signed up to sing ‘The Wizard’ by Black Sabbath,” said Zane, 13, of the Red Tipi. “Tristan was wearing a long elf hat and I had on a sort of colorful witch hat. But then all of a sudden there was another group singing the same song, like six people and someone in a platypus costume. We decided to jump into the circle during their song and start running around. It was very silly, very fun.”

“The mouth harp act was funny,” said Lilah, 10, of the Gold Tipi. “There were two people making up silly songs about Neptune.”

“The labyrinth holds a special place in my heart,” continued Lilah. “I like taking my time, walking slow, and looking at the Bart Simpson action figure.”

During Fire Circle, tipi groups are taken one at a time to visit Camp’s labyrinth, a sacred walking design traced with stones and decorated with flowers, crystals, and various figurines.

“Sending tipis to the labyrinth is tricky,” said Alan. “The process is coordinating tipis so that Wavy doesn’t have to wait long times between tipis and stay up late. When to gather, when to send, that’s the game. I was just tracking down counselors and making announcements in between acts. Sometimes if we send a tipi but there’s a little extra time, they can stop in the creek and pick out a special pebble to add to the labyrinth.”

“Wavy and his wife were there and they told us about the rocks and stuff,” said Jojo, 8, of the Gold Tipi. “They said, ‘Enjoy the beautiful sight.’ The labyrinth is like a maze made out of stones, but the stones are on the ground and there’s no walls. There’s a track made out of soft sand and you can walk it barefoot if you want to. There’s an entrance that is also the exit. There’s like crystals, gnomes, and lots of cool rocks. I think it’s cool and interesting at the same time.”

Stay hyrdrated,

—J. Payseno, Editor