Camp Nor’wester Facilities
This is the heart of Nor’wester. We meet here at least three times a day for meals. In addition, we hold campfires and rainy day activities here as well as many of our drama sessions. Two to three times a week dances are held here—but not your regular school dance. We learn folk, contra and square dancing! There is a spectacular view to the south, especially since the entire south side is open to the elements! It's always a good idea to wear a warm jacket to breakfast—the mornings can be chilly.
One of our major program areas and with a brand new building for the 2007 season we are ready for tons of creative projects to come out of the craft shop this year. Our eight craftshop staff are prepared to give instruction in a variety of areas including: batik, sewing, painting, ceramics, wood working, textiles, print making, book making, jewelry, weaving and more. Everything is made from scratch, no kits allowed! Campers and staff love this department because you are free to experiment and try new ideas.
We hope you never need to visit the Health Center, except to say 'hey' to the nurse and the nurse's assistant. But just in case, we have qualified medical staff, including and RN and assistant, available 24 hours a day. They can take care of colds, scraps, bruises, tummy aches and more. We have a number of campers and staff who come with their own medications and our health center staff make sure everyone receives their meds on time. We also have a great relationship with the medical providers on San Juan Island in case we need additional assistance.
Named Nawalagwatsi or “Receptacle of Magic,” the Bighouse is the place where our Northwest Coast cultural activities come into focus. Nawalagwatsi was built largely by volunteers in the style of the traditional houses of the Kwakwaka’wakw people of northern Vancouver Island, with whom Camp Nor’wester has had a close relationship for 50 years. Traditional dances and Nor’wester potlatches are held in its fire-lit interior, with its monumental carved houseposts and painted screens. Rainy-day activities are sometimes held in its inviting space. See pictures from the Bighouse Construction
One of the best parts about camp is that we get to live in tents and tipis. The tents are on wooden platforms and will have room for four campers. The 3rd and 4th grade campers get to live in tents. The rest of us, campers and staff, live in 3-person tipis. Typically a Unit may have 4-5 camper tipis and 2 staff tipis. Each unit, whether in tents or tipis, has its own private area, somewhat separate from the other units. Living in a canvas home is a unique experience—you'll learn how to make it comfortable, how to keep it tidy and how to keep it dry inside if it's raining outside.
Each side of camp (boys/girls) has its own shower house. Some degree of planning is necessary to have hot water, since a fire must be built and maintained to heat it. Public and private showers are available. Each side of camp is responsible for cleaning their own shower house and that duty is rotated on a daily basis.
This is a wonderful building that, once its restoration is complete, will become a working barn as well as the home of Nell Robinson memorabilia. Nell was the woman who lived on Johns Island for many years, raising a family and sheep. She was a strong spirited and independent woman, who we are told would have been very pleased to know that hundreds of children are now spending part of their summer on her property.