Value 1

The value of the Camp Nor’wester experience lies not only in our beautiful island setting, intentional staff mentoring, a palette full of engaging activities and burgeoning relationships formed under the umbrella of a unique four-week experience. The value lives in the very thread that sews together all of these essential elements to create a meaningful and timeless experience that can be held in heart and memory for years to come.  This thread is personal growth. Self-awareness, the building of character and unique competencies, accountability to community and self, the ability to be present and involved, and the ultimate servant leadership – being able to transfer wisdom and experience out of one’s head and heart to give to others – these are the components that make up the thread that weaves our experiences together, not only at camp but throughout our lives.

Nor’wester provides valuable context for growth

With a solid foundation of establishing a personal growth mindset at Nor’wester, campers and staff members are poised for other experiences away from home, collaboration skills and an increased capacity for resiliency. While we cannot teach empathy, patience, tolerance, love –  we can provide a venue for the opportunity to experience these feelings and qualities and then name them and talk about them in a supportive environment.

21st Century Skills – Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration

Value 2

Camps are essential partners with schools and families in providing these 21st Century Skills for our future generation. Nor’wester takes an innovative approach through all of our activities and group living experiences to help campers learn and practice these tenets experientially and in the embrace of a caring community. It’s been said that having a sense of awe, relationship with nature and openness to new experiences are better predictors of creativity than your IQ. We are honored to be supporting the development of our youth for future creative problem solving in our world.

True Grit

Value 3

Grit is the sustained passion and perseverance through challenges and experiences that helps in establishing long-term goals. So how does Nor’wester help nurture the grit factor in our campers and staff?

  • By providing the experience, debrief and completion of our 4-week program
  • By supporting the forming of friendships, some challenging and some fluid (and equally compelling, participating in closure – having the ability to say good-bye and express desire to maintain connection)
  • By providing a rustic setting where they can not only survive, but thrive – without modern amenities, close proximity to family, and tech devices

Life Shaping Experiences for a Lifetime of Growth

And, with each step of the camp experience, sometimes building on many years of camp adventures, campers and staff move closer toward life-shaping practices in time management, healthy habits, relationships, community equity consciousness, spontaneity and fun, and the ability to recognize and celebrate the sense of wonder and stewardship that comes with living in nature. We hope that attending Camp Nor’wester for four weeks will have far-reaching effects on our campers, extending well into the future.  With the skills campers learn, the personal growth that can take place, and the friendships that are made, who knows where they will go or what they will do, but they have the potential to make the world a little brighter.

Camper Quotes

Value 4

You spend a month in one of the most breath-taking places on the planet, making bonds with new groups of people from lots of different backgrounds.
2-year Camper, age 16
Camp quite literally turned my life around, showed me a new side of myself, and made me think more intentionally about the way I interact with the world and with others. Without camp, I don’t think I would be nearly as happy today.
4-year camper, 2-year Staff
It’s really fun and it gets you off of the couch.
1st year Camper, age 13
Value 5
It’s an amazing experience that lets you really figure out who you are away from electronics and internet. It’s not just a regular summer camp, it’s completely magical. I don’t know if it’s the people or the island or a combination of both, but it’s just a very special place to everyone that goes.
3-year Camper, age 15
I feel that everyone at my age should have an experience like Camp Nor’wester in their life.
2-year camper, age 16

Parent Testimonials

Value 6

She loved the adventure and I know deep in my heart you have made a difference in a young girl’s life.
They come home tired but also lit up! They learn self-confidence and teamwork and how to work with all kinds of people. I feel incredibly grateful that we can send our kids there.
It was just what we hoped for. I trusted Nor’wester to offer our son an opportunity to engage socially, and learn about being a compassionate, engaged citizen, and to just be happy and feel included. And to realize that he didn’t need any electronic devices to be happy.
The fact that your child lives so close to nature is life changing and very needed in this day and age. They eat meals overlooking the ocean and have a huge craft center. The kids are busy with games and activities, and do everything in a unit. They love things you do not think they will… They see these older kids who they look up to and learn from. My son came back with new ideas about who he could be.
It is an amazing camp based on solid values that really allows our kids to “unplug” and connect in real ways with each other and with themselves.
Our child cherishes every moment at Nor’wester. She learns and grows so much each summer. What more can a parent want!?
My camper has returned home from camp with a profound sense of peace and happiness and feeling of being centered and mindful. Living in an unplugged and nonjudgmental environment where everyone has positive regard for each other has somehow allowed her soul to rest and recharge in an amazing way. She had to go back to school straight away and tells me that she is trying to bring some of that magic camp attitude to her school friends.
As a first year parent, I loved the simplicity, strong alignment with nature, music and opportunity for campers to form bonds with campers/counselors from many different hometowns.
At visitor’s day, he was relaxed, present with us, and proud of what he had done. We couldn’t have been happier and confident that we had made the right choice sending him to Nor’wester.


Words from Staff & Alumni

Value 7

I think summer camps are a great place to model equity and inclusion, to join as a group without many learned biases regarding certain community members and then to form and function as a united community for a month or a summer is remarkable. There is room anywhere to be exclusive based on whatever socially constructed ideas one makes up but from my experience at Nor’wester, those preconceived ideas tend to break down quicker through communal living, team work, empathy and simply taking the time to get to know others around you. Kids and staff learn to live in such a different form of harmony than most communities outside of a place like Nor’wester.
5-year Staff Member
Being a previous camper for two sessions, my experience at camp helped me to develop into who I am today and taught me the meaning of independence along with teamwork. After being away from home…I learned that I could thrive independently and I formed incredible relationships and bonds with people from all walks of life.

I love the idea that I could be a part of a kid’s experience of growing up and becoming the person they want to be. Camp is the best place to do that and it would be an honor to become part of a team of amazing people who are passionate about working long hours for little pay in order to inspire, listen to and help kids.

1st year Staff
Camp is for the campers, and I honestly want to be a part of making sure they have the same exciting, quirky, ridiculous, challenging, fun and safe experience I did when I was there.
2-year Staff, 4-year Camper