My Joy and Home is By the Ocean

It’s New Years Eve and we here at Westwind are excited to welcome in 2017.  While there are a lot of new things on the horizon for Westwind, a new deck, new solar panel, new partnerships and so much more, we are continuing to celebrate the 80 years of joy that we have been bringing to the community.  Camper and 2017 Staffer Lily “Fox” Kunkel shares her Westwind story of joy, which also happens to be her middle name.

Joy is an Internal Explosion!

Lily playing a game of Capture the Flag on the Westwind beach

Lily playing a game of Capture the Flag on the Westwind beach

I have never, in all my sixteen and a half years of life, lived in one house for more than three years. As an eleventh grader, I have attended eleven schools, some for as little as three months, others for a whopping two and a half years. So, in all honesty, I have no idea what to say when people ask, where are you from? But, there is one place that I have set down roots. One place that has celebrated my highest victories and led me through my darkest moments. One place that I am sure that I can call home: camp. Westwind has become synonymous with who I am and the ever continuing discovery/development of my identity. It has been there to show me that, even on the days I feel most unlovable and disappointing, I am beautiful, capable, and strong. Coming to Westwind envelops you into the warm embrace of being part of something bigger, something that has the power to change the world. It is my parents that gave me the middle name Joy, but it is Westwind that has shown me what Joy means. Joy is not just happiness; it’s an internal explosion of contentment and triumph that reaches deeper than our own happiness. Being part of Westwind is being part of a family–we aren’t always perfect and we don’t always get along, but we are there for each other through everything. Westwind is its own entity; we function as its parts as it inhales our insecurities, differences, and loneliness and exhales joy, love, and community. The best thing you could ever do for someone is to send them to camp. They will return with newfound confidence, a greater understanding of the world, and an abundance of Joy. They will be filled to the brim with the satisfaction of knowing that they are valued, that they have a place and an important role in this world. I like to believe that Westwind is the answer to many of the world’s problems and questions about who I myself am. Where is home, exactly? For me, it really is Westwind. Would I be the person I am today without Westwind? The answer is a resounding no– it is both the reason I am confident enough to know who I am and the shaping factor that caused me to be who I am. And although not many would quite understand, the answer to the nagging question, where am I from? Westwind.

My Life is in the Sand

Have you spent time at Westwind? If you have, you know that whenever you leave, no matter where you go, the sand goes with you too.  The Westwind sand reminds us of a home that is always there, ready to welcome us back home, wrap us in the tall trees  and wash our worries away in the oceans tide.

Giving Abundant Joy to Others

Like Lily, there are many campers who have felt empowered through their experiences at Westwind to be bold, capable and strong.  You can help us continue celebrating 80 years of giving campers another home to join a greater community and experience the magical joy that Westwind is.

Give a Home and Joy and Donate Now!

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