April 2011 Update – Announcements, Announcements, Annoooounnncements!

April 2011 Update – Announcements, Announcements, Annoooounnncements!


We have some exciting news to share about a new member of our community. Jay Rainey will be joining Windsor Mountain as the new head of the kitchen! As many of you know, Andre married his lovely girlfriend and Hillsborough native Mandy Cawthron and has been residing in New Hampshire all winter (what a first winter for a Jamaican!). Andre found a great year-round job cooking at Weidko across the lake. We’ll miss Andre in the kitchen and are happy for him and Mandy and wish them lots of success (especially with his new baby boy on the way!). Andre and Mandy still very much are a part of Windsor Mountain, and Andre will be helping us out in the kitchen (and soccer field, no doubt!) on occasion during the summer.

As for Jay, he will bring almost a decade of culinary experience to camp. A current resident of Beaufort, South Carolina, Jay’s experience is quite varied, having cooked at resorts, golf clubs and national parks, including Yellowstone National Park. A native of Connecticut (and a Red Sox fan!), Jay is excited to begin spending his summers at Windsor Mountain and will continue to work the winter months in South Carolina, where he is the sous chef at the Spring Island Club in Spring Island, SC. Jay looks forward to preparing all the camp favorites (chicken and artichoke, anyone?) while also bringing his own ideas and creativity to the kitchen (family style Italian dinners on Wednesday nights?). And no fear, Jay has lots of experience working with all sorts of allergies and dietary restrictions (and will do so with a smile!). Please be sure to welcome Jay to the family when you visit camp this summer!


If you have ever dreamed of feeding and walking an animal that looks like a cross between a small camel and an Ewok (the small furry creature from Star Wars), I have some great news. Windsor Mountain is welcoming two Alpacas to camp this summer! This is a joint venture between camp and the Fitzsimmons family, who we are lucky enough to have join us every summer. The Alpacas will spend their summers with us and will winter in Maynard, Massachusetts (where they will spend their time reading the newspaper and drinking coffee with Fitz).

For those of you who aren’t familiar with these interesting creatures, Alpacas are indigenous to the high terrains of countries like Peru and Ecuador and were a cherished treasure of the ancient Incan civilization of South America. The lifespan of the alpaca is about 20 years and they eat grasses and chew a cud. Adult alpacas are about 36″ tall, social, gentle and easy to handle, and don’t have incisors, horns, hooves or claws.

But they do have one of the world’s finest and most luxurious natural fibers. Soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it comes in more colors than any other fiber producing animal (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends).This cashmere-like fleece, once reserved for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by spinners and weavers around the world. (Hopefully we’ll get to do some of that at camp!)

Here is a video of a pack of Alpacas eating a cameraperson (no, not really, but it is pretty funny).

Yay! Alpacas! Click here to watch

WORK WEEKEND (April 29-May 1)

Now that the Alpacas are coming, we have some work to do on our farm! We plan to do some remodeling, including building new structures for the animals, constructing a new fence and laying down some new ground cover. For those less inclined to dig and saw, we’ll also have indoor opportunities, like cleaning and organizing the office and HMO for the summer. We would love for families, friends and staff to join us for a weekend of good people, good cheer, good food and some hard-working fun! Bring your chainsaw, your rake, your gloves, or just your helpful hands and your desire to dig into spring. We hope we’ll have gorgeous weather but just in case, bring a change of work clothes and rain gear.

For those of you who plan to arrive on Friday night, we’ll treat you to a “carb” loading dinner so you’ll be ready to go on Saturday. On Saturday, a delicious New England breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m. and we’ll begin our work at 9:00 a.m. Lunch is at noon, and we finish up between 4:00 and 5:00 (as long as Bob and Pete are satisfied!). Saturday evening will be a time for the group to enjoy their time together – we’ll cook, eat, sing songs, tell stories, play games, chat, and enjoy our time together. We’ll gather for breakfast again Sunday morning and will work until Noon before heading our separate ways after lunch.

If you are interested in joining us for a fun-filled weekend of “building stuff and hulling stuff,” please RSVP to [email protected] so that we can plan our menu. And please remember to bring your sleeping gear (pillows, sleeping bags, bottom sheets) and work clothes!


We still have a few spots available in our sailing program for the July session. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, campers will spend two periods per day sailing on Franklin Pierce Lake (10 minutes from camp) and the other periods on general free-choice activities. For 3.5 week campers, the sailing program would be held the first 2 weeks of the session only.

Sailors are taught boat safety, rigging, sail handling with an instructor in the boat, and reading the wind. As they achieve greater skills, sailors learn knots; tacking and jibing; capsize and racing drills; and other advanced techniques. We hold a series of formal races, ending with a three-day regatta. Our sailing fleet is comprised of FJs, 15 and 17ft Hunter sloops, a 17ft Precision sloop, and a 14ft JY sloop. The sailing program is exciting, fun, teaches skills and fosters confidence.


This summer we are offering a 12-day Maine Adventure trip. Ron Furst designed this trip to take campers to the most breathtaking natural scenery and wilderness in all of New England. It includes wilderness canoeing, climbing two pristine mountains in Maine, ocean kayaking from Stonington, Maine, ocean sailing on the Olad, a 50-foot two-masted wooden schooner out of Camden, Maine, and more. The trip will run from June 26 – July 7, and has a cost of $2,195.

The trip will incorporate the Outward Bound principles of developing personal responsibility and self-reliance through contributing to a group effort. During the trips, campers rotate job responsibilities on a daily basis. Jobs include group captains, navigator, cooks, cook helpers, log master, fire and water person and environmental officer. To enhance leadership skills, our experienced staff lead group discussions in the evening to assess how well the group is functioning as a unit. Campers are taught skills in map reading, compass work and how to pack and plan each trip. Organizing trips in this way allows participants to become more vested in enjoying and learning from their experiences.

If you have any questions about this trip, please contact either Jake (603-478-3166) or Ron (207-363-1773) to learn more details.


We still have limited spots available in the following WMST programs:
Seattle – SF Bike Trip (7/3—7/26) – Challenge yourself on an exciting and breathtaking bike trip down the coast; engage in community service projects; relax and enjoy the Pacific Ocean;
Puerto Rico (7/6—7/31) –The perfect combination of leadership training, cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, language learning and fun in the sun;
Caribbean (7/3—7/28) –Develop leadership skills and get to know the islands and their people while engaging in meaningful service; make friendships and lasting memories;
Ecuador(7/6—7/31)—From adventures on foot, canoe and horseback to exploring the diverse cultures of Ecuador through home stays and community service, this trip has it all.
Southern Africa (7/6—7/31) – Engage in meaningful and challenging service work; learn more about the poverty and HIV/AIDS crisis; explore the diverse landscapes and cultures.

If you would like any more information about these trips, you can check out our travel website at Windsor Mountain Student Travel or contact Angus at (404) 549-9197. Come see the world with us!


In past years, we have waited until after the summer is over to ask each family whether they would like us to refund camp store deposits or donate the balance to the Educational Opportunities Fund (“EOF”), a non-profit entity that provides financial assistance for summer opportunities for deserving students. Unfortunately, this resulted in some delay in returning or donating camp store monies.

We have changed this procedure by adding to the bottom of the summer questionnaire (a form required from each camper) a request for each family’s preference as to how to handle refunds after the summer is over. Hopefully, this will allow us to disburse camp store monies faster than in past years.

For those of you who already have submitted your summer questionnaire and the form had not yet been updated with this information concerning the camp store, please email us your preference as to how to handle camp store refunds. Also, please note that unless specifically requested, we will donate to EOF any camp store balance less than $10.00. If you have any questions about this procedure, please let us know.

FIRST TIME CAMPERS AND PARENTS – Let’s talk about homesickness

Going away to camp for the first time is exciting but it can also give some campers their first experience with homesickness. It is important that parents and campers know that it is completely normal for campers to miss home. In fact, almost all campers miss home to some extent while away from their loved ones. The best prescription for camper homesickness is a combination of preparation and patience. We strongly encourage families to talk with their camper about what it will be like to be away from home and feelings of missing home before camp. Here are some tips adapted from University of California Psychologist Chris Thurber and the American Camping Association (ACA) for parents to help their child deal with homesickness at camp:
• Have your child practice time away from home, such as a weekend with a friend or Grandparent, which encourage your child’s independence before camp and simulate the camp environment.
• Discuss what camp will be like before your child leaves. Consider role-playing anticipated situations, such as using a flashlight to find the bathroom.
• Be positive. The best way to prevent homesickness is your positive attitude about camp and the separation. We suggest expressing confidence, optimism, and a positive attitude about camp to your children. Your children look up to you and will role model the tone you set. We discourage parents from dwelling on their own feelings of “kid-sickness” and from mentioning that “your dog/cat misses you.”
• Do not use bribery. Linking a successful stay at camp to a material object sends the wrong message. The reward should be your child’s increased confidence and independence.
• Do not make a pick-up deal with your camper. It’s normal for children to ask prior to the first day of camp, “What if I want to come home?” Most parents provide an answer that virtually guarantees intense homesickness: “If you feel homesick, I’ll come and get you.” Please do not make a “pick-up deal.” Promising this will undermine your child’s confidence and can dramatically intensify homesickness. As a parent, you will always have ability to pick up your child at anytime. The pick-up deal often gives children something to be preoccupied with. We suggest talking positively about their anxiety and how they will have a great time at camp.
• Pack a personal item from home, such as a stuffed animal.
• When a “rescue letter” comes from your camper, offer calm reassurance and put the time frame into perspective. Avoid the temptation to take your child home early as it sends the wrong message and takes away their opportunity to grow and overcome this feeling. Campers feel a sense of independence, confidence and achievement when they overcome their initial feelings and have a successful stay at camp (and they have an incredible time!).
• Send a note or care package ahead of time to arrive the first day of camp. Acknowledge, in a positive way, that you will miss your child. For example, you can say “I am going to miss you, but I know that you will have a great time at camp.
• Talk candidly with the camp directors to obtain our perspective on your child’s adjustment. Often by the time the first “help, I’m homesick” letter arrives at home, your camper will have already adjusted to camp-life.
• Don’t feel guilty about encouraging your child to stay at camp. For many children, camp is a first step toward independence and plays an important role in their growth and development.
• Don’t worry. Counselors are trained to recognize and address symptoms of homesickness and will provide a lot of support to your camper. And, of course, we are always available to speak with you about your child’s adjustment to camp.


Okay, I’m pretty sure that this riddle is more difficult than the first one. Because it is more difficult, the prize is more substantial (at least in my opinion). The first person who solves this riddle and emails to me the answer will get Ben and Jerry’s ice cream (flavor or your choosing) (or alternative snack that is equally yummy if there are food allergy issues) to share with your bunk mates on one night of camp. Talk about an easy way to make friends!

Here goes:
A man went hiking in the woods. During his trek, he found a 5’ 3” long hiking stick. Upon exiting the woods, he went to the train station to board a train to his house. When the man tried to board the train with the hiking stick, the conductor told him that he can’t take anything on the train longer than 5’. The man walked to the store next to the train station and bought an item, which allowed him to board the train with his hiking stick. The man did not damage the hiking stick in any way.
What did he buy and what did he do with it? Good luck!

Enjoy spring!