The red bus is back, and so are the participants of Camp Jabberwocky, the longtime summer camp on Martha's Vineyard for youths and adults with cerebral palsy.
The campers, who settled in last Monday for the opening of the July camp, already have embarked on a full schedule of activities, including rides on the Flying Horses carousel in Oak Bluffs, a field trip to Menemsha, basketball and football, a studio night where campers entertained each other with singing and dancing, participation in the church service Sunday at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven, and repeated visits for sun and fun at State Beach.
Today, they are scheduled to make their annual appearance in the Edgartown Fourth of July parade, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Edgartown school and winds through downtown streets.
Behind the scenes, however, there has been a shift in Camp Jabberwocky's directors. Gillian Lamb Butchman, daughter of Jabberwocky founder Helen (Hellcat) Lamb, has left the Vineyard operation to start a camp on Nantucket for people with cerebral palsy. Ms. Butchman ran the July camp on the Vineyard for many years.
Her new camp, known as The Tulgey Wood, is based at a beach house on Nantucket owned by the University of Massachusetts, Boston. According to a general letter sent out by Ms. Butchman in April, a number of counselors and campers from the July Vineyard camp are switching to The Tulgey Wood. A field station spokeswoman said the camp is slated to run from July 22 to about Aug. 6.
Ms. Butchman yesterday declined to comment on the separation from Jabberwocky and the creation of The Tulgey Wood.
On the Vineyard, Jabberwocky veterans Arthur Bradford and Johanna Romero de Slavy are running the July camp. Mr. Bradford said that most of the counselors for the July camp are new.
Meanwhile, John Lamb, Helen Lamb's son and Gillian Butchman's brother, will stay involved with Jabberwocky as a trustee. Mr. Lamb stepped down as director.
And so this year marks the first summer that a Lamb family member is not directly involved in either the July or August camps on the Vineyard.
Gillan Butchman stepped down as director of the July camp last summer. The previous year, John Lamb stepped down from his longtime post as director of the August camp.
Their mother, Mrs. Lamb, started Camp Jabberwocky in July 1953, when she brought five children to a cottage in the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs. Jabberwocky today has a permanent facility off Greenwood avenue in Vineyard Haven, and Jabberwocky campers have become a familiar fixture in the summer landscape on the Vineyard.
Twenty-four campers are attending the July camp, down 10 or so from a full complement, Mr. Lamb said. He said Jabberwocky deliberately kept the number down so as to better assist the new counselors working with the campers. The August camp is booked solid at about 35 campers.
Mr. Lamb said his sister decided to go out on her own following a disagreement with other Jabberwocky officials over certain policies, central among them the issue of whether to allow alcohol use by the counselors. She favored allowing alcohol, long a quiet tradition at the July Jabberwocky camp. Her brother and other Jabberwocky leaders, concerned about liability issues as well as the possible dangers to campers through accidents or emergencies with counselors impaired by drinking, decided to prohibit the use of alcohol at Jabberwocky by counselors.
"We wanted to run a safe camp," Mr. Lamb said. "Not that anything ever happened."
About 25 people work at each month's camp: 20 counselors who receive no pay for their work beyond the reward of the work itself, backed by five or so other people, including a doctor or a nurse, a cook and a van driver.
This year, Jabberwocky also has created a blog, jabberwocky06.blogspot.com, where the Vineyard community and parents of campers can learn day-by-day what's happening at the camp.
Mr. Bradford said Jabberwocky applauds the start-up of other camps modeled on Jabberwocky ideals.
"We're 100 per cent in support of other camps," he said. The Jabberwocky blog, in fact, has a link to The Tulgey Wood.
Jabberwocky campers began preparations yesterday for their participation in today's Fourth of July parade.
"Our theme this year is ‘Carnivale,'" the blog reports. "We're not sure how that relates to the 4th of July, but we'll figure that part out later."
Mr. Lamb predicted a good summer ahead for Jabberwocky. "We're going to have a wonderful camp, a lot of fun," he said.
Mr. Bradford agreed. "We really appreciate the support of the Vineyard, everyone cheering the red bus as it drives through town," he said.