My first year at Circle was Circle’s first year at Circle. I remember my mother telling me that we were headed back to camp. I remember packing my bag. I remember meeting my co-bunk counselor, Grace, and my mom’s first introductory speech welcoming a new generation of girls—for so many of them—to their first camping experience. What I do not remember, no matter how hard I try, is the year leading up to that first Circle summer.
Inspired by to help by the loss of September 11th, my mother wanted to do something. Returning to camp was a no-brainer for her. I know why and how Circle came together. I just don’t remember it. That is how natural and effortless creating Circle was for my mom. She and that first team of camp lovers built the seed of Circle in months, and it grows strong today.
Biking 720 miles is not easy, and my mom will be the first to tell you as much. Climbing onto a tiny seat day after day with hundreds of miles before her has been hard. What was not hard—I am quite sure—was deciding that she would do this ride. Helping Circle, giving it to new and returning campers every year, has never been hard for my mom.
In a few days, my father, brother and I will get a call when my mom reaches Circle of Tapawingo and the ride is over. We’ll hear about the last rainstorm that threatened to slow the ride down or the cold dinner cobbled together the night before because the restaurant closed early. What we will not hear is any exhaustion in my mom’s voice. The moment she rides in to Circle, the campers will fill her with all the energy she needs to tackle the next challenge. And I am sure, as with all things Circle for my mom, she’ll make it look easy.
Jessie Welch Friend, Sandi's daughter
Sandi Lando Welch
Founder, Executive Director,