Warren Wilson College Creates Perfect Atmosphere for Camp

Warren Wilson College has a working farm with livestock and gardens on the grounds. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

Warren Wilson College has a working farm with livestock and gardens on the grounds. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

By Shannon G.

Warren Wilson is a small private liberal arts college nestled in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. It is noted for its 300 acres of working farm and market garden as well as its 600 acres of forest, which provides the surrounding areas with 25 miles of beautiful hiking trails. The college has about 1,000 students, 900 of them being undergraduates and 100 being postgraduate students. The undergraduate program is run based on the Triad, a program that requires all students to complete 100 hours of community service in their four years, work 15 hours a week on campus all four years, and also earn 128 hours of academic credit in order to graduate.

Warren Wilson started out as Asheville Farm School in 1894 after the land was purchased by a Presbyterian church in 1893 whose goal was to afford better education to Americans living in isolated areas. In 1942, the school merged with Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs, NC and formed a co-ed secondary school. After World War II, education in North Carolina drastically improved and the need for high schools diminished, allowing Warren Wilson to become a four year college that offered six majors.

The college also has over 100 work crews whose work ranges from working on the farm to cooking for the vegetarian/vegan Cowpie Cafe. The campus also maintains 14 residence halls, including Sage Hall, which has the student-run coffee house, which provides space for open mics, bands, studying, and food. As well as the activities run by WWC itself, once a week the Old Farmers Ball hosts a contra dance, providing the students and community with music, a fun activity, and new people to meet (like MFA graduate student actor James Franco).

Nora White will be a senior in the fall. She came to Warren Wilson all the way from Washington State. She found out about the college from an alumni who she played the fiddle with when she was 15. Warren Wilson was the only college that she applied to, and when she began she was planning on majoring in an aspect of agriculture; however, now that she is a senior, she is a sociology and anthropology major with a minor in music. Nora really enjoys the close atmosphere of Warren Wilson and that each student is responsible for his or herself. She also really enjoys how inclusive and community-like the campus is because 90% of the students live on campus. Another “awesome” thing about WWC is that when going to school here, a student must work on a work crew. Now what’s great about this to Nora is that the student can either major in agriculture and then also work on the farming crew or he or she could be a biology major and work as an electrician; therefore, the student could graduate with a bachelors in biology but also as a certified electrician, giving them a degree and a certification in a trade.

Students at Warren Wilson love the trade aspect of the school as well as the campus and consider them the real selling point on whether or not they attend. They also love what a great community Warren Wilson itself has created, and how inclusive it is, making it a truly different campus with lots of different people.

Campers Learn Magic in Hogwarts Class

Hogwarts students role play with wands. (Photo credit Shayla I.)

Hogwarts students duel with their wands. (Photo credit Shayla I.)

By Shayla I.

Walking into the classroom, you could tell that this class was going to be interesting: newspaper on the tables, paints and brushes stacked neatly on the counter, and the teacher, Eric Elliott, standing at the front of the room. The junior counselors Xoe B. and Graham M. were standing next to the center table. And as we filed in for the first day of classes, Eric said, “Welcome to Hogwarts!”

Over the course of five days, we would be sorted into our houses, create wands, learn spells, and brew potions. All, of course, in the spirit of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. To be sorted, the students took a profile quiz that would determine the characteristics that are most prominent in them. That quiz would then be used to sort them into one of four houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin. The attributes of Gryffindor are bravery, courage, chivalry, daring, and nerve. The things that define a Hufflepuff are dedication, hard work, fair play, patience, kindness, tolerance, and unafraid of toil. Ravenclaws are said to be full of intelligence, wit, creativity, individuality, wisdom, and originality. Last, Slytherins are said to possess traditionalism, cunning, resourcefulness, ambition, leadership, self-preservation, determination, intelligence, fraternity, and power. There were two Slytherins, six Ravenclaws, one Gryffindor, and five Hufflepuffs.

After we were sorted, we started working on our wands. We could choose the length, the color, the design, and the core. We could also paint it whatever color we wanted: black, brown, white, or we could mix the colors. Eric had Xoe help the younger kids with the hot glue gun, and she would put spirals and knots on the wand wherever you wanted. When we had all completed our wands, Eric taught us the seven spell categories, which are Transfiguration, Charms, Hexes, Jinxes, Counter-spells, Curses, and Healing Spells. He then told us to partner us and make up two spells of our own in any of the categories. After we created them, we went up to the front of the class and demonstrated them with our partners. That was the first three days.

The last two days were spent dueling, playing games, and brewing potions. We dueled with specific categories, such as magical creatures or charms. There were more specific categories like deceased characters, or professors. We also had spell duels, where the participants performed spells and watched the effects. We each dueled against two or three people, and it was rather interesting. We played a game similar to “Mafia,” where each person had a role and we couldn’t tell who we were. The roles were either Umbridge’s Army, Dumbledore’s Army, or Student. Umbridge’s Army ended up winning, as they booted everyone out. The next day we brewed potions. This class was a great summary of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who is interested!

Rituals Bring Camp to Life

Some of the younger girls demonstrate a popular game created at camp over the past few years. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

Some of the younger girls demonstrate a popular game created at camp since its arrival at Warren Wilson. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

By Caroline M.

Campers come and go over the years, but despite changing faces, camp traditions live on. Throughout the school year, campers look forward to specific camp rituals that define the times at AICL.

For example, the first night of camp features a fast-paced game called Do You Like Your Neighbor. Since it’s repeated every year, it’s revered at camp as one of the favorite getting-to-know-you games. Another favorite evening activity that has become a tradition is New Games. New Games is a fun collection of games that are played each year, including, among others, a laughing game called “stone lions,” a confusing dance referred to as “the labadoo,” a repetitive game called “this is a what,” and a rope game similar to “tug of war.” Storytime is a laid back activity each Wednesday that for some strange reason, is looked forward to by almost all. Jordan R says, “My favorite evening activity is probably Disco (on Thursday night) because everybody gets together and is just dancing.” But not everything necessarily stays the same each year. The first week of AICL 2013 featured a disco in the gym rather than in the Ecodorm, with a private after party later in the boys dorm. Some of the songs that were played were different and some were the same, but the whole experience made for a memorable night with friends of all ages. Evening activities like these define camp in a way, because they create hilarious memories and since campers all get excited for the activities, it provides common ground for strong friendships.

Another camp ritual that campers can look forward to is dorm meetings. Residential campers enjoy the controlled chaos of the dorms after dorm meetings, around 10 pm. Warren Wilson requires the camp to have a quiet time after 10pm, which is the perfect time for campers to catch up each night after classes and various activities of the day. The boys tend to not get very into their group meetings but the girls discuss the day with their whole age group and learn more about each other through games like Hot Seat. A tradition for the oldest boys after dorm meetings is something called Gentleman’s Club, hosted by counselor David Dykes. It features philosophical questions, events of the day, and advice from the boy counselors. In the girls dorms, music carries down the hall, doors slam shut, quiet talking voices can be heard into the early morning, the showers always seem to be on, and no matter which room you go to it is very likely that snacks will be available and offered. Late at night (or early in the morning) it’s typical of campers to play some sort of prank on the corresponding age group, for example the older girls might play a prank on the the older boys and a prank war ensues.

Early mornings are another ritual, although maybe not a super fun one for most campers. After the usual foggy walk to breakfast, the whole camp plays a game together called “Balderdash” which is played using obscure or advanced vocabulary words and their definitions. Campers then enjoy their classes and repeat the whole cycle.

All these unique camp rituals create positive memories that are remembered year round. Campers go home with an “I can’t wait for next year” attitude, thanks to the camp traditions that have become a part of AICL over the years.

Junior Counselors Are a Big Help

Junior counselors Estonia B., Xoe B., and Graham M. take a break at lunch. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

Junior counselors Estonia B., Xoe B., and Graham M. take a break at lunch. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

By Kimberly B.

If you love AICL but are too old to be a camper, you might become a junior counselor. A junior counselor is like a counselor but younger and less experienced. However, they are still a big part of AICL. They help with activities,setups, and they also help with the campers. In order to be a junior counselor you have to be graduated from high school. After that you have to train to become a junior counselor so you know what to do in cases of emergency, to keep the children safe but still let them have a lot of fun. When you become a junior counselor you have a lot of responsibilities.

I spoke to several junior counselors. Xoe B. was at camp for eight years. She loves camp so much, when I interviewed her I asked her, “Why did you want to be a JC?,” and she said, “If I did not come to camp I would die, I would just die.” Graham M. is another JC. She has been here for five years. She wants to be a JC because she would like to “pave the way to become a counselor/teacher.” Nick F. has also been here for five years. He said he wanted to be a JC because he “wanted to give back to the camp and help others enjoy it as much as I did.”

Camp Catches Ultimate Frisbee

Camper Logan F. prepares to throw the frisbee. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

Camper Conor F. prepares to throw the frisbee. (Photo credit Jennifer J.)

By Sean G.

Every afternoon campers, junior counselors, teachers, and counselors alike will all congregate on the soccer field to play an intense game of ultimate frisbee in the grueling summer heat. Instead of taking a refreshing dip in the pool or a leisurely stroll in the shaded woods they will subject themselves to ninety minutes of sun, sweat, and sprinting across the field. Ultimate is played a lot like a combination of football and soccer with a frisbee. The offense team starts a play by “pulling” the disc down the field to the other team. Once the other team catches it, the two teams attempt to capture and move the frisbee down the field by throwing it to their teammates. The goal is to catch the frisbee in the other team’s end zone for points.

Cason G. explains the appeal of the game: “Playing ultimate frisbee is a way for me to have ultimate fun!”. Cason also mentions another interesting aspect of AICL ultimate. “It stays really competitive, (but) the score is always 2-2.” The fact that the score always remains tied not only intensifies the competitive atmosphere, but also takes victory out of the picture: it means that kids are playing just for the love of the game. When players aren’t focused on winning it takes the level of sportsmanship and fun to the next level, and that’s what it’s all about at AICL

Campers Battle in Lego Robotics

Students make their own robots for battle in Lego Robotics class. (Photo credit Chloe A.)

Students make their own robots for battle in Lego Robotics class. (Photo credit Chloe A.)

By Chloe A. and Avery H.

Matthew Perkins teaches Lego Robotics. We are going to talk to Dr. Perkins and some students about this class. We are going to ask them questions.

Question: What are you trying to accomplish in this class?

Dr. Perkins: Well, we are building the robots for fighting. The way that they fight is like sumo wrestling, your robot trying to push the other robot out of the ring.

Question: Do you think your students like this class?

Dr. Perkins: Yes, I do, because they get to build things that normally wouldn’t build at home.

Question: Do you like Lego Robotics?

Student: I like it a lot because we get to really make the robot, and not have it pre-made, because then all we would do is fight and that would be really boring.


What is Lego Robotics? from AICL on Vimeo.

Video credit Chloe A.

Camper Perspective on Lego Robotics from AICL on Vimeo.

Video credit Chloe A.