Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed

Westwind’s Whisper Echoes Still

Camp Westwind

Alumni and their children comb the beach on the annual retreat at Camp Westwind. Photo by William Aegerter '85

Reedies gathered Saturday afternoon of Reunions 2017 to reminisce about Camp Westwind, the legendary annual retreat on the Oregon coast.

The session, led by Jim Quinn ’83 and Johanna Colgrove ’92, kicked off with a slideshow of the surf, cliffs, caves, and sunsets of the secluded camp.

As attendees treated themselves to cardamom pound cake—from a recipe that Johanna retrieved on Facebook from a former Paradox baker—Quinn gave a history of Camp Westwind, starting with the collision of the North American and Juan de Fuca plates 50 million years ago. The camp itself, which was built by the YWCA in 1936, first hosted Reedies in 1962. It was the start of a decades-long tradition of beach bonfires, talent shows, coastal adventures, and mythic late-night escapades. Through the ’70s, according to Jim, Westwind became such an epic event that classes weren’t held the following Monday, in order to accommodate campers making their way back to campus.

As early as 1970, though, trouble was in the wind: a note from that year on YWCA letterhead informs the student body that “The Y is unhappy with Reed’s behavior.” Finally, in 1987, someone forgot to file the deposit to reserve the camp, and when another group asked to reserve the time slot, they were given enthusiastic approval.

Fourteen years later, Quinn resurrected the tradition, but for alumni, rather than students. “I got pretty far into the planning process,” he remembers, “before I mentioned the words ‘Reed College.’” Fortunately, there had been enough turnover that the words didn’t set off sirens, and alumni have returned every year since—often with their children in tow.

This year’s trip is scheduled for October 13-15. Join us—whether you are coming from Portland, New York, Kansas, or Florida! Registrations through June 30 receive an additional 10% off.

Tags: Reunions