We’re enjoying a glorious stretch of weather these last two days, with clear skies, warm days and just a few limited thundershowers. I hope you have seen the July 4th photos on our Flickr website.We had a wonderful day, and the details are included below. Before we share more details on July 4th, I just wanted to share a few reminders. Mail & Packages: As you know, our campers do not have access to write to you by email. Hopefully you’ve received a first letter or two, and you have had a chance to send a letter. We still believe in the value of a hand written letter at camp and encourage parents and family to send letters through the mail as much as possible. There is something very special about holding a letter in hand written by family member when you are far from home. However, if a unique situation warrants an email, we are able to print your emails. Please send camper emails to email@example.com, and we’ll deliver it to their mailbox. Please do not send any food or candy in camper care packages. Our campers enjoy a healthy and balanced diet that supports their busy schedules. Food and candy attract animals to our cabins, and can create unwanted jealousies between cabins. We also do not want to generate any unnecessary packaging trash or waste in keeping with our Zero Waste efforts. We will confiscate any food or candy that is sent as campers open their packages in the presence of their counselors. Visits: Visitors for campers are welcome, but we do ask that you avoid visiting during the first and last five days of your child’s stay. Please call ahead to plan your visit so that we can be sure your child isn’t out of camp on a trip. We have a “Tent Day” (an all-camp field trip) almost every week, as well as cabin wilderness trips and other special events that may take your child away from camp. Once you visit camp, please be sure to check-in at the camp office, sign our visitor log, and stop by to say a quick hello if you have a chance. The remaining Tent days are scheduled for July 12, 18, 29 and August 3 and 9th. July 4th: From Nick Morrison, Head Counselor We don’t have fireworks at Chewonki, but for the first time in many years, we celebrated the national birthday with a special evening on our Salt Marsh Farm. As the morning mist gradually burned off and dried out the farm fields where we would later gather, preparations were underway for an all-camp cookout. As a few afternoon thundershowers rumbled past in the distance, we grilled up burgers, hot dogs, and lounged lazily on the grass, gathering around picnic tables in cabin groups to the sounds of guitars and the conversations born of a full day of activities. After lemonade, corn, pasta salad, and a whole lot of popsicles, the kids swarmed down to the lower field for a few rounds of Captain’s Coming and Sharks and Minnows. But the best was still to come. As kids filed up to the farm around eight o’clock, the bonfire was just being lit: a towering structure nearly ten feet tall that our Guides had spent the better part of the afternoon assembling from discarded timbre, fences and shingles, it loomed as large as the last one I was present for (as a camper 1994!) looms in my memory. From a safe distance, to the crackling din of the flames and the backdrop of the sunset over the open fields, the kids sat in mesmerized silence. We heard a few songs, the Tale of Sam McGee, a dramatization of Edward Gorey’s the Epipleptic Bicycle, and my rendition of a story about a boy getting lost in the woods that I learned from a legendary trip leader years ago, as a junior counselor–it ends with the boy forgetting his troubles and reaching out from a precarious perch for an enormous strawberry, a perfect metaphor for seizing the precious moment of our summer here at Chewonki. We closed with the Voyager’s song, the enormous pile of embers glowing in the dark. As bedtime minutes were being called on the lower field, I pondered whether it had been too long a day already–but hearing snatches of “America America” and the national anthem drifting up from cabins, I couldn’t resist setting up my Fender electric guitar on top of the hill by the pottery room, and as ‘lights out’ was called, I gave Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock version of our National Anthem my best shot…as I wrapped up, the circle of kids that had formed around me erupted into cheers of “USA! USA! USA!”. A very memorable night to close out the first week of camp.