New Person's Info

  Newcomers' ABC Guide to Winni – by the editors of GEMS

  Winni Community  >  New Person's Info

Hi and welcome to Winni! We are thrilled that you are with us and hope you will have a wonderful week. Please remember that we have all been in your shoes or sandals and been "first timers" here and appreciate that it can be awkward and a bit challenging. However, we think you will find the natives to be friendly, the atmosphere relaxing, and everyone to be inviting so join on in! As a public service to our friends joining us for the first time here at "Winni", here is our brief guide to some of the landmarks, jargon, and customs that you may experience. 

A -  "Animals"  –  Here at Winni, we like the animals, even the bats. They are the ones keeping the mosquito population down and dropping reminders on our shirts that they probably need to be washed. They rarely if ever mingle with the humans except to remove an occasional mosquito from the barn. Don’t feed the animals, especially the ones in your cabin.

B -  "The Business Manager"  –  All things that involve a dollar sign are the business of this manager. If you do not see her by the end of the week, she will find you. She made the housing roster, she knows where you live, you cannot run, you cannot hide, and you cannot bounce checks more than a couple of times without her noticing. 

C -  "The Chaplain"  –  Your spiritual guide through the religious melting pot of Winni is your chaplain. The Chaplain is the spiritual tour de force behind the organization of the Evening Watch services and attending to the spiritual growth and concerns of the community. If you have lost your spirit, the Chaplain not only knows where it is but probably can help you cut a deal to help get it back. 

D -  "The Dean"  –  Seeing as the conference you are attending is indeed an educational conference (to which you used to pay tuition rather than registration), it is only right that the figurative head of the community should be our Dean. Rather than rising to power through obscure PhDs and political maneuvering, the Dean is a beloved member of the community who sacrifices a good deal of time and mental health to making sure that the week goes smoothly. 

E -  "The Evening Coordinator(s)"  –  They are responsible for planning and putting on the evening programs, such as the Sunday Barb N Bill Concert, Barn Dancing, the Campfire Songfest, The Hoot, Movies, etc. Do tell them about your ideas for having fun, as fun is their middle name.

F -  "Folk Music"  –  Welcome back to the land of the sing-a-long. There are lots of opportunities for singing with people here. Play or sing informally around your cabin, at vespers, in the Hoot, at the bonfire, or on the porch. Bring out your instrument and make a joyful sound and eventually people will gather round!

G-  "The GEMS"  –  The name of the esteemed daily newspaper you are reading. Next to the New York Times, the GEMS is the second most requested newspaper here at Winni to clean up spills in the cabin. The GEMS editors are people to be feared for the power of the press is awesome. However, they are people who are often in the most need - of help, coffee, and mostly, integrity. You have what we most need, copy… and the fingers to type it. Come by and visit and watch us turn your most trivial characteristic into front page news.

H -  "The Hoot"  –  The Hoot, or Hootenanny, is our annual talent show where everything and anything goes as long as it is in reasonable good taste (negotiable) and less than 3 minutes long (non-negotiable). If you are in the Hoot, prepare your act with focus, care and a stopwatch. If you are not in the Hoot, prepare yourself with a good chair and a cushion for your derrière. 

I -  "The Inn"  –  Our gathering place for meals and home to the few, the proud and sweaty Inn residents. The Inn Porch is the mecca for the pre-meal singing and schmoozing. The Dining Hall in the lower part of the Inn is the actual place where we eat. The heat and humidity are often quite high in the dining hall in order to keep the food hot. You can eat inside, on the picnic tables under the tent, the Inn Porch, or wherever you are most comfortable so you can digest peacefully. While some campers believe that place is somewhere in a restaurant in Center Harbor, we staunchly maintain the delusion that the camp food is a delicious and nutritious wonderland. 

J -  "Jupiter, Mars and Lots and Lots of Stars"  –  You are here during the peak season for watching falling stars so don’t be surprised at night to see people laying horizontally on the green. The ones looking up are watching for falling stars. The ones facing down are people from Dock Road trying to find their way back to their cabin. 

K -  "Kudos, Thank You, and Appreciation"  –  This is a large community of volunteers here at Winni that make everything happen. Nobody is paid big bucks to do anything around here so a "thank you" is always in order.

L -  "The Labyrinth"  –  The Labyrinth is a beautiful path of stones designed to create a walking meditation. Follow the path and it will lead you into the center of the Labyrinth, and vice-versa is the way out. Walking the Labyrinth, may lead you to an "aha" moment about your life or it may just be a pleasant way to wind down and be mindful about your day. Your journey to the Labyrinth is best begun by following the marked path that is on the road to the Lake past Gibbes House.

M -  "Morning Watch"  –  A lovely service held around 7:30 am in the outdoor chapel (just down from the Inn). It is a wonderful time to have a quiet gentle worship service with a magnificent backdrop of the lake catching the morning light. Try to go at least once during the week. (Also known as "Morning What?")

N -  "NNESRE" (pronounced NEZ-ree)  –  ‘Tis the Northern New England School of Religious Education, the formal name for the conference you are attending. It started out as a leadership training school for lay people working in the church and has evolved into an ecumenical community gathering for folks who know folks who have known folks who have come here. The conference center that you are actually at is GPC or Geneva Point Center.

O -  "Oooooooooo to GEORGIE"  –  Every morning, at more or less half-past eight, we go ooo-ooo-ooh to Georgie. Or at least so goes the song that we traditionally sing every morning. Whilst it is nice to imagine that the tune was written about a little tyke going to cabin to cabin, historians have burst that little bubble by alleging that Georgie is actually Mt. Washington (Georgie Washington — get it?) and the song is about waving to a pile of rocks with trees on it. This interpretation makes perfect sense, except that Mt. Washington is not in fact visible from Geneva Point Center.

P -  "Porch Potatoes"  –  Life forms found on the Inn Porch. These native creatures are intensely focused on having a relaxing week at Winni, and thus are a model for the entire community. Their activities include chatting, greeting,and a demanding regimen of almost non-stop rocking n’ singing. 

Q -  "Queue"  –  See Scoop Shop. This is the line you will be waiting in for ice cream. 

R -  "The Red Barn"  –  This is the wonderful gathering place for dancing and games led by our recreational leader extraordinaire, Barb Siftar. It is also a great place just to hang out and sing, talk, or see what a little bat poo can do for the luster of your hair. The barn is located for your convenience at the end of the green.

S -  "The Scoop Shop"  –  GPC has two major retail outlets. The first is the gift shop which is often open around meal times and the other, which is most coveted, is the Scoop Shop. Nothing helps cool off a hot day or buy off an anxious child like the promise of quality ice cream or creamy milk shake. 

T -  "Trees and Nature"  –  Be sure and take some time during the week to take a walk. Venture into the beautiful grove of Pines behind the Chapel. Or take the long road down to the beach by Dock Road. This is a beautiful piece of property and GPC has worked hard to maintain its pristine beauty.

U -  "Underwear and Laundry"  –  We here at the GEMS highly recommend that you change your underwear everyday. We do, with each other. However, if you should ever want to wash said underwear, do note that to the right of the Scoop Shop is the laundry room. Bring quarters, detergent, and the willingness to fold the clothes you find in the dryer you want to use.

V -  "Evening Watch"  –  Our evening worship service previously known as "Vespers." This is often held at different sites during the week -- the chapel, the pines behind the chapel, etc. This is a wonderful time to reflect on the beauty of our surroundings and community. On Wednesday afternoon, we hold a traditional Memorial Service by the lake at the Council Ring. Our Chaplain, Shelley Stackhouse, organizes Evening Watch and welcomes your input (readings, ideas, music, etc.) and participation. You might hear some folks refer to it as "Vespers" which was its traditional title but we have adopted the title "Evening Watch" to be more inclusive.

W -  "The Watermelon Seed Spit Off"  –  This annual event is held on Friday right after dinner and before our Shabbat Celebration. If you see people spitting during the week, just tell your kids that they are practicing for the big game. If people tell you this is a light-hearted old-timey contest, don’t believe ’em. The grudges and hard feelings formed here last the whole year through and participants come back prepared to "spit to win". If a seed flies your way you should not take it personally unless you are five feet or more away from the spitting platform paper. This is just one of the many athletic activities you can take part in. Others include the Winni Softball Game, Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, and the Winni Swimmi.

X -  "X-Rays"  –  Don’t say we didn’t tell ya so…. Wear sandals or shoes lest you end up spending the day in Meredith waiting for a doc in the box to tell that you should have done so in the first place.

Y -  "Young People"  –  We here at Winni love our Young People. This is an extraordinary place for them to grow personally and to experience the joy of an intergenerational community. While it "takes a village" and we all look out for one another, talk about your expectations of communication and behavior with one another. Tell them before 7 am and after 10 pm is quiet time, lest they wish to experience the dark side of the Dean.

Z -  "Zeitgeber  –  Rhythmically occurring event that cues organisms' biological rhythms. This is what makes people come over to the barn when they hear "Jiffy Mixer" get cranked up or Trygnala Rumjana. Trust me, you will know these dancing in your biological rhythms by the end of the week…


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