• Fancy. It’s the most rustic of the C.S. camps. Cabins are called “tents” – open-air wooden structures with no door and a canvas roof. After every meal, everyone – campers and counsellors together – does “Duties.” I love duties. The main ones are washing the dishes, washing the pots and pans, sweeping the floor of the Big A (Bow-Isle’s lodge), and cleaning the biffies. Everyone sings during duties. B.I.F.F.Y. (Bathroom In the Forest For You) is the achronym for the outhouses we use instead of flushies. Showers exist, but they are not a daily luxury.
  • Big. Bow-Isle is also the smallest of the C.S. camps. As a general rule, everyone does everything together. Ali (the camp director) does all activities right with you. There usually aren’t more than 11 or 12 total on staff and often there’s less – 10 or even 9. Sit-down staff meetings happen first thing every morning, where you’ll read and discuss some of the Bible Lesson together. You’ll also talk about any issues that have come up and you’ll all go over the plan for the day ahead together, making any changes that seem necessary. In other words, the collective staff is the Program Director. There is no “senior staff” except Ali Osborne.
  • On a big lake. Camp Bow-Isle is right about in the middle of Bowen Island in a wooded valley. The property covers 208 acres of mostly woods, but including a “lake” (secretly it’s a pond, but it’s soooo much fun), and a field (beside the lake), other grassy areas around the Big A and the gravel road, and lots of paths through the woods, many leading off the property up hills or Mt. Gardner. You’ll go off property plenty, on hikes up to rock faces for climbing or repelling, or over to the beach (an hour’s hike away), or down into Snug Cove (the town on Bowen) for “Town Day” (which is awesome). Oh yeah, there’s also a ropes course in the woods on the property. Now, back to the Lake. Camp has no motorized boats. It does have kayaks, canoes, and a couple of small sailboats. It does not have an H-dock or swim lanes or a big float. It does have a small zip line that drops over the small lake, and it has one other feature which in my books may single-handedly outweigh all the glories of a major waterfront program combined: a small, turf-covered, wooden raft. It rocks. Literally.
  • Co-ed. The Boys’ sessions and the Girls’ sessions happen on different weeks in the same place. In other words they’re totally separate. There is a co-ed week in the works for next year, which I think will be just for staff. But camp will in your case be just for girls.
  • No fun. Bow-Isle is, as a rule, knock-your-socks-off fun all day long. Lots of games: running around games, dress up as characters games, sneaking through the woods games, rainy-day Big A games, sunny day lake games. (The recently developed Kayak Polo is a personal favorite.) Of course, you’ll be the one making it fun, and that responsibility may weigh on you more here than at other places. At least it should, because you’ll be a part of every part of Camp – the kitchen, the program, tent life, outtrips, sunday school, song-leading, etc. So, the good ideas one staff member has can directly impact the camp experience for everyone, and sometimes for years to come. I think that’s pretty cool.
  • Big into tradition. The walls of the Big A are marked almost exclusively by the engravings of metaphysical themes of past years and of the present year – quotes from the Bible and Science and Health. There are no team plaques, no sacred awards. There is also no inspection (except maybe once in a session, for fun), because important things like the dishes need doing.
  • All summer long. Girls Camp (like Boys Camp) is constituted of one week of Staff Camp followed by four consecutive weeks of Camp Camp – five weeks total. Plus the optional one week Co-ed Camp, which may or may not come right after Girls camp, plus the optional one week Family Camp. Boys will come first next year (they take turns), so girls will start sometime in mid-July. See the web-site for the dates.
  • For sissies. To want to work at Bow-Isle is to want to work hard. You’re always on, all the time, right with your campers. Loving them, educating them, living with them like a big family. Basically, if you work at Bow-Isle, you’re either a solid, experienced counsellor, or you’re becoming one. There are C.I.T.s every year (young, first-year counsellors who get paid less and learn a lot) and there are older counsellors like me (who also learn lots). I had worked at Owatonna for five summers before coming to Bow-Isle, and my first summer here, last summer, I was the new kid, wide-eyed, humble, and eager. I learned so much. I loved it. I did again this year and I’m coming back.
  • Not about Christian Science. Bow-Isle is about Christian Science. Your living love of God and Her children is what campers expect. You won’t get funny looks for being open about your practice of Christian Science. To want to work at Bow-Isle is to want to pray all the time about everything.”