The Vineyard Haven ferry terminal was overflowing with joy Sunday morning as a parade of camp counselors wearing vibrant costumes, feather boas and glitter face paint welcomed the 10:45 a.m. ferry from Woods Hole to celebrate Camp Jabberwocky’s first session of the summer.

As the ferry arrived at port, the group of dancing Jabberwocky volunteers greeted new and returning campers with shouts of excitement, exuberant hugs and fist bumps.

“Pound me, baby,” said camper Matthew Casavant to his counselor Dylan Nowd as the two greeted each other.

It is Mr. Nowd’s first year volunteering at the camp, but Mr. Casavant, who is in his eighth year, promised to show him the ropes. The two bumped fists, a fast friendship in the making.

Camp staff and nine-year-old camper Ethan Thomas set the celebratory tone. — Ray Ewing

“I’ve been waiting for this day for so long, and I am so glad it’s already here,” Mr. Nowd said.

Founded in the early 1950s, Camp Jabberwocky, the Island’s international camp for individuals with disabilities, is made up of more than 170 volunteers, ranging from counselors to cooks to nurses. Every two weeks in July and August, Jabberwocky welcomes a new group of campers, all of whom attend free of tuition and do not age out.

At Jabberwocky, the camper to counselor ratio is almost one to one. Pairs are often kept consistent through the years as long as volunteers and campers return.

“My favorite thing is watching the campers grow up, year after year,” said nine-year counselor Caroline Miskovsky, whose camper, 17-year-old Ava McGlaughlin, is spending her sixth year at camp. “We form a really special connection. I was at Ava’s Sweet 16.”

Ms. McGlaughlin arrived at camp with her guitar strapped to her back and her tap shoes in her bag. Last year, she won the camp’s Spirit of Dance award with her contemporary solos. This year, she says it is Ms. Miskovsky’s turn to perform, promising she will mentor her apprehensive counselor.

A summer of love begins again. — Ray Ewing

Nine-year-old Ethan Thomas, Jabberwocky’s youngest camper, greeted counselor Oscar Cignarella. The two said they are excited to spend their second summer together. When asked his favorite part of camp, Ethan did not hesitate.

“The beach,” he declared.

This year marks the first summer for the camp’s new executive director, Adam Perry. He said he is looking forward to bringing back old traditions that were lost to Covid regulations. Campers will be able to go horseback riding at Misty Meadows again and sailing with Sail MV.

“I think many old traditions will feel new again,” Mr. Perry said. “I think this year, there is a real sense that we’re back.”

Campers and volunteers said they also look forward to traveling in the iconic red Jabberwocky bus to State Beach for swimming and evening drum circles, performing in musicals at the camp and eating together at cookouts.

Rebekah Evans, Adam Perry (director), Ronnie Bennett — Ray Ewing

Camper Kaila Macleod from Plymouth is returning for her second summer. She is most excited to visit a goat farm again, she said.

Ms. Macleod’s counselor, Rei Maldonado, pushed her wheelchair up the road from the ferry terminal to camp. Ms. Maldonado said she was thrilled with the sunny day, a perfect start to her fifth summer at Jabberwocky.

“It’s the best day of the year,” she said.

Jabberwocky would not be possible without the continued support of volunteers such as nurse Ronnie Bennett, who is spending her sixth summer at the camp.

“This place, and all of its joy, makes you want to keep coming back,” Ms. Bennett said. “It’s home.”

Counselor Sophie Tesson said she feels a similar sense of belonging at Jabberwocky.

“There is nowhere my heart feels more full,” she said. “The love here is palpable, and it is the most amazing thing in the world to be a part of that magic.”