Winter Camp XXI - 1997

Dates:December 27-31, 1996
Location:Beaver Creek & Clearwater Cabins, D-A
Attendance:35 (16 youth, 19 adults)
Leader:Tommy Lee
Adviser:Steve Donohue
WCUES Score:332
Catchphrase:Aliens are among us.
Winter Camp XXI adopted an Area 51 theme and events of the weekette centered around the possibilities of alien visitation. The centerpiece of the schedule was the Area 51 Role-playing game where campers were assigned various roles and sent to investigate and alleged alien crash site.

The 72 weekettes of oblivion between Winter Camps XX and XXI were unusually active. Under Steve Donohue’s direction, Winter Camp and the Winter Camp Future Society launched Worldwide Web pages in April and set them up at www.wintercamp.com in October. The site includes a complete history of Winter Camp, announcements about the upcoming camp, space for commentary, the "Ask Dr. Beast" interactive feature, and a hypertext version of a new Mark Bollman-->creation, the Encyclopedia WinterCampica. New pages were posted to the site during camp with illustrated updates on each day’s events.

Attendance remained high as costs remained level for 1997. The theme for the year was "Area 51", as Winter Campers explored the possibilities of intelligent aliens coming to the Winter Camp universe. Murder Clue and the Quest were modified to accommodate this theme, and the Area 51 role-playing game borrowed from the Murder Game in assigning roles to campers based on a computer interview. Other new events were a rocket launch, hydrogen ballooning, and Ball Blast, which was an improvised game combining elements of kickball, volleyball, and dodgeball. A can toss fund-raiser netted $3.68 in additional income. The Perimeter Hike was repeated for the first time since Winter Camp I; its anticipated return date is now 2017. Steve Donohue’s short story "Training Camp" was tapped as inspiration for a new version of Night In Hell.

5 new meals joined the food list. The "Something Is Out There" Snack and Space Lunch were theme-related meals, while the Undercover Dinner, Southern Hospitality Banquet, and Hume Lunch (planned with a random phone call to Everett, WA) also made their debuts. Also adding to the bill of fare were two Winter Camp soft drinks, provided by the Donohue brothers. Winter Camp Soda was a black cherry beverage, while Goon Brew was vanilla cream soda in gold and gray packaging.

Some players in the Area 51 role-playing game taught all campers that freedom of the press had its dark side. While five newspapers published a total of seven editions during camp, there was considerable variation among them as to the accuracy of their contents and the integrity of the individual publishers.

While all were sad to see Winter Camp XXI end, it was somewhat reassuring that a return to the Winter Camp world was for the first time as close as a computer with Internet access.

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