Day 1 (Vermont ~ by Claire Ward)

We’re getting into the swing of things here in Vermont. This is a guest post by long time camper and full worktrader Claire Ward.


Waking up on the first day of my last year of NBTSC the first thing I hear is the sound of birds on the lake that is about 50 feet from where I am sleeping. To begin my first morning of camp, I manage to convince myself to leave the warmth of my sleeping bag for the biting cold of the early morning, and the chilly downpour that is the low-pressure outdoor shower. The outdoor shower is one of my favorite things about being here in the fall. Being able to look up from the shower into the undersides of a hundred trees, to be able to watch the leaves swirl down from overhead, just adds to the magic of camp. As I finish my shower, one of the new campers comes into the shower, and somehow we end up talking about our hiking boots. We have matching ones, that each of us received from our mothers.

After I’ve warmed myself up in a scarf, I begin the trek up the hill to the main lodge. The hill doesn’t look like much, but it takes some muscle to get yourself up. I walk into the quiet lodge, and I am reminded of my very first day of camp. It was a day when I woke up hours before anyone else had even thought of waking up, and I walked into the same silent, peaceful main room, terrified and excited to see what would happen to me that day and the days that followed. Looking back on 16 year old me, sitting alone on the front porch in the grey early morning light, I feel older… older in a way the respects how I was then, older in a way that I know I would be amazed to see who I have turned into.

I walk into the kitchen, and begin the day by cracking 9 dozen eggs for breakfast, with the help of Talis, one of the junior staff this year, and one of my own dear friends. For breakfast we have scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, and cinnamon honey oatmeal. I help serve, and getting to see all of the new and old faces first thing in the morning is one of the things I love best about helping out in the kitchen.

I spend the rest of my morning in a creation circle meeting before breaking for a meeting of our advisee groups. In advisee we check-in, something that I never liked my first year of camp but now I have come to look forward to each day. It’s a wonderful feeling to have a group of people focus on you, and hear how you’re doing, without any type of interruption.

After advisee I return to the kitchen, which has quickly becoming my favorite place at camp. The kitchen is always warm, and there is always something for me to do, and someone new to have a conversation with. We have a lovely lunch of pea soup and cornbread, and I spend my lunch on the front porch, basking in the sun and the wonderful, colorful people who surround me. After lunch, there is a portion of the day called siesta, which is time to hang out, and be low-key together. I walk into the large field in front of the lodge to join my friends on the grass. My friend Matanah is an artist, poet & music maker, and my friend Keira is a producer and music maker as well, and they begin to collaborate, drawing campers in around us on the grass.

I spend part of my evening writing in the large windows of the lodge, and doing more food prep. In the evening, there is a staff talent show, one of my favorite things of the first day of camp. The talent show includes singing, dancing, magic tricks and performance poetry. I find myself ready for sleep, and the moon guides me to my cabin.