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Camp Flying Cloud is a Quaker-hippie-Native American summer camp in Vermont. It is part of the Farm and Wilderness group of summer camps. Clothing is optional; this is known as fifth freedom: Freedom from un-necessary clothing. You could also chose to wear a loincloth, which was kinda neat.

Campers live in tipis. Each tipi has 4 campers and one counsellor. Chores are on a 11 day rotation, and include cooking, gardening, wood gathering, and showering. Showering is a chore, because cold water is piped directly from the stream, through an old radiator. A fire is built under the radiator to heat the water. Of course, no matches or lighter fluid are used - one fire is created with a bowdrill at the beginning of the summer, and it never goes out.

Every day, there's Quaker meeting for worship, east-coast style (with lots of silence). Then there are chores, games, and other normal summer camp activities.

Then, about once every week or two, there's a Wachipi. This involves a really big fire - it takes a whole day to collect logs for the fire - before its lit, it's about 15 feet high. Campers dance around the fire, and sing, and stuff. And there is a naming ceremony.

The naming ceremony is one of the most interesting parts of FC. Before each Wachipi, a few campers are called away by someone in a mask - they were on their Quest. Unlike traditional Native American vision quests, these only last a day, but campers on quests do not eat or drink, or speak.

At the Wachipi , the campers who had returned from their Quest were given a Flying Cloud name, like "Thunder Brother Brings Peace". Before the name was given out, the assembled campers and councelors were asked to describe good things about the person - the person in the mask (who had some name I don't remember) acted as the MC.

This sounds pretty corny, but it's actually pretty cool. The name represents the person's good qualities, so you never tell anyone your name - that would be bragging. Other people can, of course, tell people your name. I guess I don't really mind tooting my own horn - my Flying Cloud Name was "Coyote Pack" - because I had trickster-like qualities and was a good team player.

I think Eric Raymond would like Flying Cloud.
The Flying Cloud was a 19th century American clipper ship -- perhaps the fastest ever built. She was designed and built by Donald McKay -- the most noted of the clipper ship builders. She had an overall length of 235 feet with a breadth of 41 feet.

The Flying Cloud was launched on April 15, 1851 at McKay's shipyard in East Boston. She was purchased that same month by Grinell, Minturn & Co. of New York, for $90.000. On her maiden voyage the Flying Cloud sailed from New York to San Francisco in 89 days and 21 hours (June 2 - August 31) -- at a time when 200 days for the passage was not uncommon. In 1854 she set the record for the New York to San Francisco trip -- 89 days and 8 hours. This record would stand for nearly 150 years!!!

On June 19, 1874 she ran aground on the Beacon Island bar and was condemned and sold. In June of 1875 she was burned for her copper and metal fastenings.

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