Post-Camp Wrap (Myrtlewood 2017) ~ by Logistics Coordinator Margie Sanderson

It’s hard to believe it was just a week ago that we were together at camp! Settling back into the “real world” makes that time seem so long ago. It almost already feels like it should be time to go back again!

This was our 22nd year at Camp Myrtlewood, and you can feel the way that NBTSC is settled into this site. From the trees and the creek, the kitchen and the cabins, to simply the air–the whole place just feels like camp. What a magical two weeks we had together there! At this session this year we were joined by 52 campers and 17 staff with, collectively, over 100 years of experience staffing at NBTSC. We sang as a whole group over 30 times, snapped 203 photos at the prom fashion show, consumed 144 grilled cheese sandwiches (thank you, kitchen staff!), climbed up and down the giant coast redwood 20 times at least…and so much more!

To wrap it all up, I’ve collected a number of different anecdotes and photos to remember the session by. Highlights from the session include….

“The biggest highlight of session 2 for me is always some sort of spontaneous kitchen dance party. This year a camper came in while I was actively making 72 grilled cheese sandwiches and asked if they could play their music. I said yes and we all ended up dancing around the kitchen until dinner was ready. It was so much fun!”–Staffer Janie H.

“When Blake bought me vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup on my last day of camp [editor’s note: Alli unexpectedly had to leave camp early due to a personal matter] because I was so sad about going home early, and June said that it was my favorite.”–Camper Alli L.

“Watching people so excited and proud after learning how to break a board in Emily’s Taekwondo workshop. Also the art at the art show blew me away.”–Staffer Maya T.

“I love how the river beach became such a hub of activity this session. We swam and sang and held meetings there, skipped stones and watched the frogs and newts and crawdads. We smoothed the sand over so we could count the deer hoof prints the next morning.”–Staffer June K.

“Sharing tea with some campers and Oliver on the tea stump next to the bridge over Myrtle Creek.”–Staffer Jay D.

“Even though the smoke dampened the session, I had some really nice, intimate, one on one conversations in the Bear cave while we were trying to stay out of the smoke. Teaching partner dancing to people who’ve never done it previous to the session, but at the end of the session, they were dancing like pros.”–Camper Iris P.

stay tuned for more highlights! 




Day 13 (Myrtlewood 2017, by camper Erich I)

I slept outside, which was surprisingly pleasant, not too cold and lots of fresh air, although I did not get to see any stars due to the smoke. Still worth it.
Later that day there was a “taking camp home with you” panel by the culminators.
Camp clean-up was uneventful, although I never did find out what happened to Ruby’s ray in a bucket. [Editor’s note: this was an expand-in-water toy ray that was started at the beginning of camp and faced an unknown fate at the end.]

After clean up me, Dan, Kiley and Miriel had a very enjoyable conversation about Hayao Miyazaki films.

The time between cabin clean up and closing ceremony was uneventful but enjoyable nonetheless.
Closing ceremony was very moving and full of love. I really enjoyed hearing all of the culmination speeches, brought a bit of tears to my eyes. All in all it felt very final as it was my last closing ceremony. I’m glad I got to say goodbye to everyone that way. Afterwards was very relaxing, lots of hugs and small conversations. It felt like a good end to my last session.

Later on in the night there was a lip syncing event, highlights included Vick lipsyncing to “Gold Digger” by Kanye West, Vick and Teddy lipsyncing to “Big Poppa” by Notorious B.I.G, and Ben doing an amazing rendition of “That’s how I beat Shaq” by Aaron Carter, which I have to say might have been the single greatest thing I have ever witnessed.

After that I wrote in some directories and went to bed.

A Collection of Musings on Day 12 (Myrtlewood 2017, by camper Kiley K)

A soft voice singing to a sleepy cabin wakes me this morning. It is time to leave the cushy warmth of my flannel blankets to face the smoky air. The smoke stifles sound and sunshine, dampening the normally jovial morning. However, this melancholy is nothing a breakfast of delicious frittata and fresh fruit can’t cure.

Today is a rest day and breakfast is extended. The sparsely populated lodge slowly fills with campers, tables are covered in plates, and a staffer’s child plays a game around the eating crowd.

After eating my book beckons and, relenting, I head to the collection of elderly sofas in a corner of the lodge. While relaxing with my novel a crowd congregates at the Foosball Table for a match. Intense guitar chords accompany this competition.

Advisee group by the creek, the air is clearer there.

Wading in the shallows during check-in.

Sore ankles relieved of pain.

A game of fantasy – new campers, new story.

The hour before lunch allows for the tidying of personal effects.

Partial packing helps ease last minute stress.

Once mind and clothing has been organized to satisfaction, back to the lodge to read.

Joining a group of campers and staff in a corner of the lodge we listen raptly to a casual performance. Skye plays guitar and mockingly croons the lyrics in their best “Indie Voice.” Switching back and forth from their natural voice to the “Indie Voice” makes the listeners laugh heartily.


Filling and rich potato and leek soup is accompanied by warm cornbread dripping with butter and honey. Salad (of course) fills the remainder of my plate.

Siesta: my favorite time. Today I spend the hour lounging in a hammock beneath the hemlocks reading, napping, and discussing literature with a good friend. Then a visit to the creek: fresh air, skipping stones, and catching salamanders.

How lovely this day has been.

Day 11 (by staffer Margie Sanderson)

In organizing the blog this session, I’ve often encouraged campers to write their posts just about their own highlights from the day rather than to give a play-by-play, which can be formulaic to write and read. However, now that I’m writing myself I see part of the problem- it’s a real challenge to pick highlights. There’s very little from my day that feels boring, uninteresting, or unimportant. Which is part of what I love so much about camp!

I went to workshops during both the pre-lunch workshop slots today. First, I attended the gender non-binary panel. I am a cisgender person, which means that I identify with the same gender as I was given at birth (female). Given that, I always have a lot of questions about the experiences of non-binary folks and about how best to support them at camp. I really enjoyed the panel for providing an opportunity to hear about the experiences of some of our campers, especially around topics that don’t come up often in day-to-day conversation, like how it feels to them to be misgendered (have people assume they are a different gender than they are).

After the non-binary panel I attended Sierra’s face mask workshop, in which we all put on facial masks and hung out in Dogwood. I’ve never tried a face mask before so I was pretty excited for this—and it was great! I can’t say I notice any difference afterward with my face, but I found the experience quite relaxing and it was nice to just hang out and talk with a sweet group of campers. Since there’s been some forest fire smoke in the air here this session (no fire threat to us though!) it was also a welcome, refreshing break from the smoky air.

Part of why Sierra’s workshop was today is that the evening activity was the camp prom! Throughout the day there were lots of people curling hair, doing each other’s makeup, and preparing outfits. Aside from the workshop I didn’t do any fun prom-prep this year–I just wore a regular outfit and still had a good time. I did take the photos during the fashion show before the dance began, so I got to see everyone’s amazing costumes and poses. Here are a few highlights:

Aside from dancing at the prom, I also enjoyed spending time in the kitchen and in Dogwood just hanging out and talking during the night. I got to have some nice conversations with campers about what’s next for them in the year ahead. As the session wraps up it’s always valuable to talk with folks about what’s coming up for them and set intentions and goals together. At camp it feels a little like we’re existing in a separate universe, with the “real world” amazingly distant. In reality though, our time together at Camp Myrtlewood will be over in just a few days, so it’s useful to think about what’s ahead. I heard from campers who have plans ranging from international travel to circus school, motorcycle purchasing, book reading, and most everything in between.

Partially through the evening, we had an unexpected visitor at the prom–a bat! This was a serious highlight for me. The bat flew around the room for a while until eventually, with the help of everyone inside being still and quiet, it found its way out. Later in the night as I was going to sleep I discovered not just one but two bats flying around in my cabin, too! Since I am an animal lover, I spent a little time watching them fly before I opened the door to help them out. With my cabin now free of bats, I fell asleep quickly and slept well.

Day 10 (by camper Liza P.)

The day began as usual. A delicious breakfast of potatoes and eggs with a side of good conversations, followed by check-in, morning meeting, and advisee time. Some of us in Blake’s advisee received full body massages from other members of the group as we discussed our alternative educations.

Those of us in Blake’s Argentine tango project had a great time dancing to the sweet sound of Argentinian music (and a bit of non-tango music), and were all a bit sad to know that today marked the end of the five day projects for those who chose to do one.

Lunch was sushi, many folks’ favorite here at camp.

I had a lovely time working out on Rosie’s aerial silks during siesta (quietly!) but the smoke that has been hovering over camp recently (from far away fires) has put a bit of a damper on some campers’ moods and bodies as of late, and slightly hindered all the physical activities.

Blog author Liza, practicing aerial silks (photo by Mckinley)

I didn’t partake in any of the lovely camper and staff led workshops today, but I loved watching Skye dye hair, hearing the sounds of more music and dancing in Blake’s open dance, and many more fabulous workshops that were hosted today.

We had a great spaghetti dinner followed by nightly check-in and evening meeting (which included a sweet prom-posal)!

Next was project presentations, which everyone who participated in a project (independent or otherwise) got a chance to present all the awesome things they’ve been working on to the rest of camp.

A rad staff-led night swim took place in the creek, then a Forest Dell cozy party helped us wind down, complete with music and story sharing, general hanging out, and some relaxing massages from Aristotle. Overall, another fantastic (and busy) day at camp!

Day 9 (Myrtlewood 2017 ~ by camper Ruby J)

Thursday, August 31st was a great day at camp for me. I would even say it was one of the best days so far!  Everyone seemed like they were in a good mood from the start, and I was committed to doing fun and exciting things, because I knew I was going to be blogging. I could give you a play-by-play of everything that happened, but I’d rather just say my personal highlights!

To start my favorite part of the morning is advisee time! If you’re unfamiliar with camp, this is the time of day when you meet with your advisee group (twelve or so other campers) and the group adviser (ours being the amazing June!) During advisee time we check in with how we are feeling physically and mentally. We also play games, go on mini hikes, and just chill with a cool smaller group of campers we can be honest and have a good time with.

The next highlight of my day was dancing tango in my project, led by the very talented project leader Blake and his two lovely assistants Leif and Karen! Last year at NBTSC was my first time ever doing partner dancing and ever since then I have been in love with it! Learning tango was definitely a challenge at first, but the leaders do a fantastic job of teaching us some pretty sweet but basic moves.

Blog author Ruby, dancing tango with project leader Blake Boles (photo by Mckinley)

Next up on my list is workshop time! During the first workshop slot I went to a patch making workshop led by Jack. It was a pretty neat time. I made a cute teacup patch! During the second workshop slot of the day I led a photoshoot workshop. About 6 people attended. I led them into the Camp Myrtlewood forest with our cameras and Iris, our talented dancer model! IT was a very aesthetic photo-sesh and I was really happy that everyone came!

That evening was the second talent show. Everyone was, of course, super amazing! I will never be able to get over how incredibly talented everyone is at camp. Everyone brings their own individual skills and strengths.

Camper dancing in the talent show (photo by Mckinley) 

After the talent show was one of my absolute favorite parts of camp–dance on the daily! It’s basically a bunch of dancers and amateurs fusion dancing to some sick beats. I have learned so much about connecting and following in dance in the past two weeks from all the practice I’ve gotten. Shout out to all the amazing leads who have danced with me–especially Jenny!

To end this overall great day, I slept outside under the stars with a small group of people. It is always really nice to fall asleep in the night air surrounded by trees and mountains with people you love and care about. Thank you to every single person that is a part of this camp session. You are what makes camp the magical and wonderful place that it is.

Day 8 (Myrtlewood 2017 ~ co-written by campers Maddy P. and Jake K.)

Maddy: I started my day by waking up and wandering over to the lodge for breakfast. Day 8 is a rest day, so breakfast is extended and there’s a pretty chill open schedule all day. I love rest days because it helps me recharge for the busier days at camp.

Jake: My day began with me sitting up in my bunk, checking my watch, realizing that it was a rest day and that I had an hour or so more to sleep, and promptly shoving my head back into my pillow. An hour and a half later I emerged from my cabin still half asleep and slowly shuffled towards the lodge for breakfast. Rest day breakfast is the best breakfast, and is basically just fruit and cereal. You can show up whenever and there is always a slow trickle of campers shuffling into the lodge.

Maddy: After breakfast we had community meeting. We sang some songs and went over the schedule for the day. Following community meeting we had advisee time. Every day campers meet in small groups with an advisor. We check in about how we’re doing, play games, and more. In my advisee we played a hilarious game of Telestrations.

Jake: After breakfast it’s pretty much business as usual, minus workshops and other semi-strenuous activities. Honestly, rest days are not very interesting. I normally get up, eat breakfast, and sleep for the entire day.

Maddy: After my advisee meeting, I led a workshop with a fellow camper (Iris P.). It was called “Camp Crushes: How To!” It was a super fun discussion-based workshop! As you can imagine, after several years of camp, we had lots of camp crush wisdom to share. It had been awhile since I’d led a workshop, but I think it went pretty well.

The rest of the day was pretty laidback. I had some conversations with other campers and spent some time journaling. Next up we had cabin clean-up. Cabin clean-up is pretty self-explanatory. You get your cabin all sparkly and clean, and then judges (staffers) come do a walk-through and write down a score for your cabin. Some cabins decide to go all out. My cabin had snacks and tea, live music, a photo gallery, fairy lights, streamers and more! It was super fun and really brought my cabin together.

Jake: Today was rather special, seeing as it was cabin cleanup day. About halfway through camp we all spend about an hour cleaning our messy, messy cabins. Some of us get really into it and set up snacks and pretty lights and such for the judges. Myself, not so much. My cabin did most of our cleaning during siesta (our daily hour long nap/rest), and I spent my cabin cleanup blasting some tunes with some cabin mates.

The rest of the day consisted of deep conversations, some not so deep conversations, playing music, and laughing until my sides hurt. After dinner and meeting we all cleared out of the lodge and a group of really awesome volunteers set up the art show! The art show is a chance for all the super talented people at camp to share their art. It’s a really nice event, and the amazing artwork blew my mind. Most of us dressed up as if we were going to a fancy art show, and there was amazing music playing.

Art Show 2.JPG
Enjoying the Art Show (photo by Mckinley) 

Maddy: Later that night was the Art Show! Campers and staff submitted all types of visual art to be presented in the show. It was a really great event. There were so many beautiful art pieces. It’s always really cool to see how talented people are!

I ended my night by having a nice, long talk under the stars with a close friend before heading off to bed.