Wavus Alumna Rose Palmer Ford

Rosie first came to Wavus in 2009 after Susan Russell (Trustee Emeritus) shared Wavus with Rosie’s grandmother. Rosie had grown up in London, and she spent her childhood outdoors and went camping every summer, but she had not been on a wilderness trip or canoed before. She spent two summers at Wavus when she was 13 and 14, and was off on challenging adventures from the start.

“In my first summer at Wavus, I met lifelong friends and had some of the best times. I felt a complete trust in nature and in my ability to feel safe outside my comfort zone. I returned to school that autumn with a newfound feistiness and a flickering glowing Wavus light in me that helped me be my own kind of teenage girl.” Rosie joined one of these lifelong friends, Erin Gates, on the Kieve-Wavus alumni trip down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway this August, so clearly the tripping skills, the feistiness and the bonds have stayed with Rosie all these years.

Rosie decided to return to Wavus as a counselor this summer, and it was her first summer back at Wavus in 7 years. She says she considered returning in the first place because she remembered thinking that her counselors were extremely cool. Rosie also knew she would have the opportunity to give teenage girls a challenging, joy-filled experience like she had. Finally she knew it meant a whole summer away from technology and the city – and she wanted that very much.

In fact, we find that many of our Wavus counselors speak fondly of this “unplugging” phenomenon. As Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” This fundamental truth was endorsed by another Wavus counselor Dempsey Schott in a recent interview, published on Instagram, with @getchogrindup.

As Rosie looks back on the summer of 2017, during which she led trips on the St. Croix and in the White Mountains, she had this to share: “This summer I realised that, as a camper committing to Mud Pond or the ‘four peaks day’ and as a counselor committing to keeping 12 children safe and happy in the woods, I was committing to an invaluable attitude of complete trust in my surroundings and my abilities. In a world of crazy overwhelming politics and unwholesome societal expectations this trust is hard to come by and so valuable.” This sense of trusting yourself is a profound experience that counselors and campers alike are blessed to discover here at camp.

Rosie is currently living in London and going into her final year of a music degree at Goldsmiths University. She will also earn a music production diploma course at SSR, a music studio in Camden where she recently received a scholarship to study. She writes songs and chamber music and intends to be a singer/songwriter, freelance composer and choir director. Rosie is a dreamer with high aspirations.

Over the summer Rosie wrote a collection of songs inspired by the girls she hiked with, sang with, ate marshmallows with as well as the eagles, mountains, sunrises and waterfalls they saw together. These will be up in the ether of the internet as soon as she has recorded them! If you follow us on Instagram, you may have caught her performance of a song inspired by her St. Croix girls which she shared during the 9/11-Family Camp at Kieve this past August.

It is worth noting that Rosie returned to us on a J1 VISA, a program which is in political jeopardy in Washington, DC at the moment. Many of our international alumni come back to Wavus and Kieve to give back to the children, their campers, what was given to them. You can contact your representative in the US Congress to support the Summer Work Travel (SWT) Program and the J-1 Counselor Visa Program HERE.