Camp Nor'wester provides an outdoor living experience unique in today’s world—an experience which challenges a diverse group of young people to develop skills of self-confidence while fostering respect, responsibility, and compassion for themselves, their community, and the environment.
Camp Nor’wester’s extraordinary 135-acre property is located on the old Nell Robinson Ranch at the west end of Johns Island, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. Surrounded by over 10,000 feet of saltwater shoreline, this area encompasses wetlands, open meadows, and mature, richly varied forests.
Our focus is on being outside, on learning to live with simple comforts that rely less on technology and more on personal solutions. Here there are no computers or traditional academics. We do have such classic camp programs as arts and crafts, drama, archery, and a ropes course, with myriad activities like sailing, kayaking, hiking, and overnight camping trips. Nor’wester is also home to a traditional native Bighouse, which is the focus of our Native Cultural Activities program.
We really love the feeling of balance at Nor'wester. You've done a great job fostering an atmosphere of purpose and respect with fun and recreation. —A Parent
Under our Unit System, campers are grouped according to grade level, participating in the majority of their activities as a unit. While campers develop new skills or improve their abilities in familiar areas, they are also learning to live together.
At school we learn how to write and all that stuff. At Camp we learn about useful stuff like friendships. —A Camper
Our Directors embrace the Camp’s mission to provide children the chance to discover their own strengths and talents in an environment that minimizes the distractions of outside world. Nor’wester’s summer staff of approximately 85 men and women, most of them college students and recent graduates, provides leadership to a maximum of 170 campers, with a supervision ratio of 1:3.
If you ever thought of venturing someplace new with a group of total strangers to find your passion, rediscover yourself, or spread your profound message, this place may be for you. —First-year Staff member