earlier this year, one of my favorite mom friends showed me a website for a summer camp at the webb schools, a local private boarding school for high schoolers. they were offering several different programs - digital arts, global ethics, science and paleontology - and the session was ten days long, during which the students would stay on campus in the dorms. it would be the first time that the bean was away from home and on her own, which sounded both exciting and a little scary. to be honest, i wasn't at all sure that she'd go for it, but when she found out that her two besties were also going for it, she warmed to the idea.
i knew that her heart would probably lead her towards the digital arts program, but i encouraged her to step out of the box and try something different. it seemed like a good idea to expand her horizons a little and learn something completely new, and when she expressed some interest in the paleontology program i definitely gave her a bit of nudge.
okay, maybe a big nudge. heh.
and so we filled out the application, which also involved an essay and a questionnaire that was to be filled out by the student, plus a recommendation from one of her current teachers at school. we joined in on a parent information session via zoom, where we got to see pictures of the campus and ask the program director questions if we had any. apparently, they were reading all of the applications carefully to get an idea of each student's maturity level to make sure that they were ready for a sleepaway camp for ten days without parent visits - especially this year, with covid being a factor.
to no one's surprise all three girls were accepted, with each of them choosing a different program. this meant that they wouldn't be in classes together, but there was plenty of downtime for them to hang out. and before we knew it, it was time to get the bean packed up and drop her off.
with the hub stuck in a meeting for work, the old lady was able to take a couple of hours off to come with us and get her sister settled into her room.
after we got her checked in, we got to hop into a golf cart for a ride up the hill to her dorm since we had her luggage and everything with us.
once we lugged everything up those steps, we got our first glimpse of where she'd be living for the next ten days.
and there was swag - i didn't get a picture of all of it, but there was a t-shirt, water bottle, notebook and pen all tucked neatly into a drawstring backpack.
she was pretty stoked when she found out that her room was right next to both of her friends. we'd requested that they be close to each other, but you know nothing is ever guaranteed. but i think everyone was relieved to see that they'd be together as much as possible, and they'd help each other whenever one of them was feeling homesick or something like that. we ran into one of them as we finished unpacking and started heading down to the dining hall for lunch.
once we were done with lunch, we headed back down towards the front of the school and joined the rest of the program participants in the tent. her other friend had been given an earlier check-in time, so that's where we finally got to see her and her mom.
the program director introduced herself and said a few words of welcome before handing the podium over to the "fellows," current and former webb students who would be there acting as counselors and dorm leaders throughout the session. and then it was time to say goodbye.
bye, kid! we'll miss you!
the old lady and i accepted an invitation to take a campus tour with one of the fellows, a 2020 graduate named sydney who was assigned to the bean's dorm and had just finished up her first year at dartmouth. she was really friendly and chatted with us about her high school experience at webb. she showed us the paleontology museum, which is a nationally accredited museum that houses almost 200,000 fossils and things that were dug up by students and faculty over the years.
we walked up the hill to see the chapel, built over several years in the late 1930s.
the community center, which was recently remodeled and where the students would go for movie night sometime during the session.
we both came away from that tour feeling like we'd learned a lot about the campus, life as a student and the school as a whole. since neither of us really knew much about it until then, it was all really interesting and made us both kind of wish we'd had the opportunity to attend the school ourselves.
maybe the bean will. who knows? at the very least, she can apply and maybe next year we'll find ourselves returning to the campus as a webb family. we'll just have to wait and see.