Sunday, June 6, 2010

Camp Fuller and The Toilet Bowl Derby

The first time I came to Camp Fuller I didn't think that it was a particularly beautiful place. It's a YMCA camp, complete with musty cabins, concrete bathrooms, and a rocky beach on Pt Judith Pond. But I came back once or twice a year for the last 24 years and have had some very special times here. When I look around the camp now, I see memories.

In the early days this trip was a big windsurfing party, like the Frisco Wind Fest. The waterfront would be covered with the 70 or more windsurfers that showed up for the weekend. We had clinics, windsurfing movies, happy hours, bonfires, sing-a-longs, and the famous "Toilet Bowl Derby" windsurfing relay race named for the toilet paper that was used as a baton. I loved everything about those trips.

On my very first trip I met a lovely woman who seemed impressed by my ability to keep toilet paper dry while passing it off to a teammate on a windsurfer. She became my wife. We brought our children here, changing their diapers in the tent and exploring every inch of the waterfront. Our babies turned into teenagers, too old for uncool toilet paper races and weekends with parents. Now I've come full circle, attending without my wife and kids so they can stay home for school sports and teen friends. It feels strange being here without them.

A lot has changed in 24 years, besides the height of my boys. This trip gets a turnout of 15 to 20 now for the weekend. Windsurfing is no longer allowed at the camp without a lifeguard so we drive to Ninigret for the main activity. The excitement of a large crowd of unruly windsurfers has been replaced by a more intimate feel. This will probably be my last time here, maybe the last time this trip is run at all.

It's a bittersweet weekend, fun to be here but sad to say goodbye. On Sunday morning I'm packing up when I notice the trees starting to dance. The sun is out and the forecast is great. I want to take some pictures but I'm starting to get excited about the building wind. This camp is full of beautiful memories. It's time to go make some new ones.

Ninigret, Kitesurfed, 5-25, SSW, 12 M kite/152 Ply Board, with AMC crew & Petra Kanz.