The Spirit of Squanto is something that lends itself little to written interpretation except by the hand of the likes of Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway or Robert Lowell, but I nevertheless try upon returning to these grounds, continually to do so.

This spirit is everywhere here but somehow remains elusive; it moves quietly through the trees of the pine grove and through the open windows and doors of tents and cabins. It finds its voice throughout the day in different media: from atop the bell tower in pulsing tones, from the mouths of campers and staff, from the breezes as the air tousles the leaves and branches that canopy this place. I chase it through the trees; just as I nearly grasp it, it dances away and becomes a bird, or a ray of sunlight, free as ever.

It is a testament to the spirit's power that it remains for so long in the hearts of those it touches. The feeling is strong and palpable on these grounds; it is sometimes amplified by memory. For these reasons we are compelled to return. Those who encounter this spirit are caught up in it-they grab a handful and dispense it as they move about. In this way the Spirit of Squanto is contagious as a smile and we become its vessels and its heralds. It is the gift given us by our predecessors and the same one we will pass on to those who come after; yet it is the gift forever new.

The Spirit of Squanto is the soul of a place that remains youthful and true even as it prepares boys and girls for life. It is behind the fun and excitement of the campers and it is the Neverland that impossibly exists apart from the world for the staff, a beautiful reminder of simplicity, of purpose, and of friendship.

It is why we are all here!

Ian White 8/5/00

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