Welcome to the new Willowbrook website.

Last summer, I wrote the first lines of code for this site while I sat in Nurse Colleen's tent, resisting the urge to go out and explore one of my favorite places in the world. I've been going to Willowbrook as a camper, a teacher, and eventually a visitor every summer since I was 9 years old. Willowbrook is where my passion for creativity is grounded; the stage of some of my most cherished childhood memories.

Over the years, I've discovered it's kind of hard to explain Willowbrook to people. I've tried to start by calling it a summer camp, which invokes the wrong images. It's not a typical summer outdoor camp. I've tried to explain the plays, the areas, and the freedom to explore the vast outdoor grounds, but it's not quite right. To experience Willowbrook, you have to see the artists, the colors, and smell the sweet pine trees. You have to hear the sound of violins wafting from far away, Richard's hammer, dramatic script readings, and tap dancing, all at the same time. You have to laugh at an old joke from summers past by a friend you've known for more than half your life.

To truly understand Willowbrook, you'll have to ask a child walking the grounds where they're going, and why. You'll discover that the 8 year old you're talking to is a free spirit with a rather busy schedule. They've scheduled a guitar lesson for 11:35 and later they're planning to finish a pot. That child is a different person still when they're a pirate, a lion, or a fairy sprite, taking the stage at night for one of their very first plays.

It's extremely important to me to share this special place with you, whether you're a first-time visitor, a returning parent, a camper, or an alumnus. I want you to be able to experience Willowbrook in its own words. On the last few days of camp last year, I asked campers to ask their peers for quotes about their favorite activities and what makes Willowbrook special. You can learn about Willowbrook in their own words on the tour page.

While the experience will never quite be the same outside of Brown's Ferry park, I welcome you to share in Willowbrook's stories, photos, and best moments online. Hopefully, I'll see you around the basketry tent someday soon.

If you have any questions or comments, I welcome you to send us a note.

Max Goodman, 11-year camper and alumnus