Days 1, 2 and 3!

written by the blog team of Meg, Eva and Jan.

On Friday, we welcomed everyone to camp with some games, yoga, (thanks, Marjorie!) dinner, and of course stories!

Meg writes: “It was so great to see everyone again after last year. Mike H told me he had a surprise for me when we arrived at the house. I saw a portable ramp from the porch into the house which makes it much easier getting into the house. I’m so happy and I’m sure others who use wheelchairs are too. This is the first year of having a ramp.

Mostly everyone shared stories at the end of dinner which were all great! Mike L’s story was the most memorable because an incident like this doesn’t happen often. Mike L always carries a stick with a feather on one end and a tambourine on the other. It’s unique because you don’t see someone with a fancy stick like that every day. He uses that to help us direct the play that we are going to have at the end of camp. Mike’s story was he was walking at 12:30am on Martha’s Vineyard and the cops stopped him, saying they were looking for a bald man with a blue shirt, which he was wearing, and asked if he had passed out. The cops took awhile to believe him that it wasn’t him but finally did. However, at some point, Mike was wondering if he was hallucinating and really did pass out. As Mike was walking back from Camp Jabberwocky, he spotted the man with the blue shirt who was passed out laying down. He ran back to get help and called the cops and the cop who stopped Mike was happy he found the man. Luckily, the man was alive and okay!”

Dinner was prepared for us in style by Kathleen, her brother Billy and their friends Blake and Barbara. We feasted on a fresh tomato salad, chicken, beans, rice and cornbread – and we really pigged out! After dinner, there were ice cream sundaes, cookies and watermelon. Maybe we’ll never need a meal again!


After dinner, we started learning songs for this year’s play. We started with “Rich Girl,” which has a great rhythm to dance to. Some of us were surprised at the language. . . Everyone enjoyed singing, dancing, and bonding. We are very excited for the play next week!

Saturday was our first full day at camp. It was cloudy with rain forecast and a little chill in the air. Our gentle awakening was much helped with a yoga class taught by Sally.

At an all group meeting after breakfast, we went around the circle, telling a little about what we love about coming to camp. There were some common themes. One, stated beautifully by Peter: “When I come to Tulgey Wood, you are like my second family. You understand my speech, you understand that I can’t see. Tulgey Wood has made a big difference in my life.” Another was added by Candy: “I like camp. I like to have fun.”

The morning was a classic (and therefore somewhat rare) camp morning. Everyone at camp is assigned a contribution, such as dishwashing, vacuuming, table clearing, organizing the shoes at the entry door and folding laundry. Mike suggested that anyone who had some free time might clean their rooms. Olivia went to her room, saw that it looked like a tornado had passed through it and said enthusiastically, “Let’s clean this place up!” And they did!

After contributions time, groups met to work on songs for the play, or to work on pottery with Elinor, or to have a drama or fitness class. (We'll be adding more pictures soon. . . )

Maggie made us a delicious dinner for lunch, and then we rested before heading to the Boston Pops at Jettie’s Beach. We had amazing seats for the concert. In order to get these amazing seats, we had to arrive several hours ahead of time, which turned out to be very lucky. While we were sitting and schmoozing, a reporter from the local tv network came along and interviewed Steve and Mike L! Steve did a great job talking about Tulgey Wood, and the reporter gave us a great shout out! 

We greatly enjoyed the Pops and the Beatle’s tribute band, Rain. As it happened, just as they began to play, down came the rain, but luckily, not for too long and not too hard. The evening ended with a bang, or many bangs actually! We happily cheered and oohed and aahed as the fireworks danced and exploded.

We were all tired and went to bed as soon as we got home. Katie enjoyed a goodnight hug from Jamie!


We woke up Sunday and went to four different churches. The folks who went to the Unitarian Church were lucky enough to see Elizabeth Warren. She left before they could meet her, but that was a big surprise. A lady sang "Scarborough Fair."

Jack and Ben and Mike went to the Catholic Church, where a Jesuit guest priest spoke about the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Jack thought maybe this was the first time ever on Nantucket that he has gone to the Catholic Church and he loved it.

Eight of us went to the Congregational Church, where we saw a few of our friends from our early days on Nantucket. Steve was outgoing and charming, as always, and invited several new acquaintances to our play on Saturday (at 2pm at Bennett Hall, in case you're wondering!)

The fourth group went to the Siasconset Union Chapel, where they were warmly welcomed and had a chance to invite the whole congregation to the play on Saturday. 

We all enjoyed our services and are thankful to have so many friends to meet at church. 

After the church services, we had a picnic outside of Bennett Hall and then saw "Footloose." From the very first opening chords, we were riveted. Everyone loved all the singing and dancing, and most of us joined in from our seats. A lot of the lines were funny. Peter added his thoughts to the Town Hall meeting, saying that dancing should be legal "because it's fun." After the show, the entire cast came out to the bricks in front of the theater to chat with us. Grace and Billie had their pictures taken with different stars, and Josh got an autograph from the actor who played Wren McCormack. We were told by several actors that we were the best audience they've played to yet. 

Following dinner we brainstormed about the play. Grace and Jamie chose love interests ala Bachelorette. We worked on "Rich Girl" some more, and Katie said the music was great. It always gets Meg into a good mood! 


June 2018 Newsletter

Logo with Name.JPG

Events 2018

  • Tulgey Wood Begins August 10th
  • Sing-a-long
    August 14th, 4pm
    Siasconset Union Chapel
  • Tulgey Wood Musical
    August 18th, 2pm
    Bennett Hall
  • Tulgey Wood Ends
    August  20th

Dear Tulgey Wood Community,

In August 2017, we finished our first summer with new directors. We owe so much of our success to all of you!

Many of you reached out to us with incredible generosity and warmth! Our Nantucket friends embraced us more than ever.

You helped us raise $27,000 this past year. We used your donations to pay for food, transportation costs, rent, costumes for our musical, and insurance. Your donations get us to and around Nantucket, keep us well fed and safe.

Your gifts in-kind added up $25,000 worth of discounts, reduced rent, donated dinners, use of vehicles, theatre space, bike and boat rides, yoga lessons and more. Because of your donations, our Tulgey Wood community enjoys exciting activities and new glimpses of Nantucket every day of camp.

Last summer we were a big group of 37 energetic, creative, talented and outgoing folks with and without disabilities crammed into the rental house and sleeping in a tent on the porch. Our original musical, “Na Na Land,” our sing-along, our pottery, our story-telling after meals and our dancing was all the best ever!

No one gets paid to be a part of Tulgey Wood and this year we are officially eliminating any requirement to pay to be a part of Tulgey Wood. All of you and all of us donate what we can, because we all value our community. Camp works because of everyone’s generosity!

We could not have done this without your support. We thank you and look forward to another summer!

Jan and Mike

P.S. Thank you Jamie Kelleher for designing our new logo at the top of the page!

New Developments

We have big organizational news! After 12 great years as a program of the Katie Johnson Fellowship, we have been successfully ‘spun off’. The intent of the Katie Johnson Fellowship is to launch camps like Tulgey Wood and let them start their own organizations. We leave Gillian Butchman’s organization with lots of love and as close friends. We feel confident that we can thrive independently with your support.

This spring, Tulgey Wood became its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit! The process was complicated but surprisingly fast. We secured IRS approval about two months after deciding to take steps to become an independent nonprofit. For this year, Tulgey Wood will partner with the Community Foundation for Nantucket which will process donations for us. The Community Foundation for Nantucket is a trusted organization on Nantucket that will help us reach new people.

We are also excited to announce that John O’Reilly has joined us as a board member on Tulgey Wood’s founding board of Jan, Mike, and John. John is the father of Katie who has been a part of Tulgey Wood for the past several years. The whole O’Reilly family has been exceptionally supportive of Tulgey Wood over the years. We can already tell that John is a valuable partner.

Jack making 'whaling' and Monik astounded

Jack making 'whaling' and Monik astounded

An Anecdote from Last Summer

Peter was playing a famous actor for our whaling musical. He tried out a part where he would make whale noises in an audition. Peter tried a few times and found that he didn’t care that much for the part.One of our favorite moments of the was in a play rehearsal.

“Why don’t you give this part to Jack?” Peter suggested.

There was a moment of stunned silence – Peter doesn’t give up roles easily – and everyone knew that Peter was 100% right. Jack would be the perfect whale actor.

Peter’s suggestion set up one of the best jokes of the musical:

Jack rolls onstage with his irritated co-star, Monik, as Jack earnestly whales “Oooooh, ooooooooooh!"

Monik yells, “I can’t take it anymore. He won’t stop making whale noises!”

“But he’s a method actor!” responds the surprised director.

Carley, Candy, Kellen, Grace, Talia, Katie, and Jamie dancing to “Shake It Off” in the original musical “Na Na Land”

Carley, Candy, Kellen, Grace, Talia, Katie, and Jamie dancing to “Shake It Off” in the original musical “Na Na Land”

Take a look at our new mission statement:

The mission of Tulgey Wood is to create integrated community for people with and without disabilities to live, create, play and adventure together.

No one gets paid to be a part of Tulgey Wood and this year we are officially eliminating any requirement to pay to be a part of Tulgey Wood. All of you and all of us donate what we can, because we all value our community. Camp works because of everyone’s generosity!

Tulgey 2017: Day 9, 10 and 11

Saturday, August 19 - "NA NA LAND"

Thanks to Meg for writing today's post!

What an amazing play performance we had! All that practice we had all week and all day today paid off! Everyone did a wonderful job. We loved getting dressed in the dressing room and having our makeup put on. That made it feel like a real performance!

A big thank you to everyone who made it all possible, especially the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket, and thanks to our friends and family and the majority of the Mama Mia cast who came to watch us! We would also like to thank Gillian (the founder and former camp director) for coming. It meant a lot to us! Gillian and our friends will always be a part of the Tulgey Wood community.

We all had a lot of fun and we hope to keep a new tradition going of performing in a theater every year. Thanks to Gary Langley, we have tons of pictures to share here -- and hopefully, we'll soon have a link up to the play itself!

After the play, our supporters joined us for light refreshments and congratulated us on our performance and had a group photo of us taken in front of the theater.

Then a group of us went to pick up the yummy pizza for dinner which was a big hit! Thanks so much to Maria of Pi Pizza who donated them.

After dinner, we proceeded outside for a camp fire and had s'mores and sang along to songs. It was a lot of fun but people retired early to bed as it had been a very long day filled with excitement!


Tomorrow is our last full day of camp and we can't wait to find out what is in store for us!


Sunday, August 20 - Last full day of camp!

Once again, thanks to Meg for today's blog post!

The morning of our last full day of camp, we woke up to the aroma of freshly baked bagels for breakfast (thanks, Harry!!!)  and then we cleaned up the house to make it easier to close up camp after many of us leave on the ferry back tomorrow morning.

After cleaning, we set out on a scavenger hunt, starting and ending at Children's Beach. We walked around town to find as many clues as we could from a long list: we had to take pictures or video record them to prove we had found them. We had an hour and a half to do as many as possible.

Some of clues were: find someone wearing Nantucket reds; find someone wearing white pants with a red belt, which it turns out no one does!; ask a stranger to marry you; ask someone to pronounce Tulgey Wood; find a store with some merchandise you can hold priced over $5,000; board a boat . . .

The teams all named themselves. When Team "Kieran's Whalers," which included Meg, asked a stranger to insult Martha's Vineyard (another item on the scavenger hunt list,)the woman said, "God created Martha's Vineyard, but lives on Nantucket."  Steve got married to a stranger and Cameron wore two eye patches! Kieran's Whalers had a little adventure getting Cameron, Steve and Meg onto a boat (one of the harder challenges on the hunt!) because there was a big gap between the dock and the boat. They got on the boat in one minute and 30 seconds! What a record! The man who allowed them to get on his boat gave us a $40 dollar donation, which was so nice! Then, when that team was heading back to Children's Beach, Sean was giving Steve a piggy back ride and he fell backwards and scrapped his knee and back, so Mike L. got a taxi cab and spent $18 of the $40 donation. Man, a taxi is expensive on Nantucket! The good news is the team made back just in time for the hunt deadline.

Every team had adventures to share. Team "Shabooya Ole Fahts" was pretty tired after a lot of walking on uneven cobblestones in the sun and had just decided to take a break and drink some iced tea, even if it meant being late for the finish line, when a gentleman sat next to Rebecca and asked what they were doing. Rachel said they were doing a scavenger hunt and mentioned that they still needed to propose marriage to a stranger. He was instantly game, and when Rebecca asked him to marry her, he answered earnestly, "I know we've just met but I'm already in love with you! Of course I'll marry you!" Then he kissed her on the cheek. That gave their team the energy they needed to rally and hurry back to Children's Beach just in time for the deadline.

Team "Winfographics" took some excellent video of Peter's chair bumping over the cobblestones, which Peter thought might make him sick to his stomach, and found a ship model made of whale bone and priced at $60,000. It was behind glass, making it hard to hold in hand and therefore questionable whether or not it counted toward the challenge, but it was a great find!

Team "Yogis," the eventual winners, as it turned out, accomplished many items on the list. Candy cut right to the chase when it came to the proposal, just saying to the young man (who also had a beard, so that took care of an additional challenge item) the team hailed from across the street, "Marriage?" And without skipping a beat, he answered, "Marriage? Yes!" They were the only other team to board a boat, and their boat of choice had a ramp, so that made it a pretty manageable option. The team asked many of the people wearing white pants if they happened to also be wearing a red belt, but none were. With the hope of winning high in his mind, Harry finally bought a red belt and the team was easily able to coax a passerby to put it on and have her picture taken.

Every team had a great time and did a great job! What a fun way to meet new people on Nantucket. As someone said afterwords, if you tell someone you're doing a scavenger hunt, they'll do just about anything to help you! Thank you Harry for coming up with this idea and  Jamie for making it work so well!

After the scavenger hunt, we had lunch made for us by the Hungry Minnow restaurant on Children's Beach, which was very generous! The owner, Rebecca, had met us at the Whaling Museum last year and kindly offered to give us lunch at the beach this year. Quesadillas, hot dogs, chips and popcorn made a fun meal before we took a swim or went back to camp to rest.

We were all entertained by a folk band after we returned from the beach and then watched a video of our play performance. It was fun to watch!

Then we had a Mexican casserole for dinner and ice cream for desert and said our good byes and how much we loved camp!

This is a piece of those goodbyes. Candy loved the boat ride and the play. Jamie loved watching Peggy and Grace interact with each other. Grace loved the s'mores and the beach and the food. Olivia was very appreciative of being a part of Tulgey Wood. Cameron indicated that he loved hanging out with Sean and got Sean to sing and dance to a Taylor Swift song.

Peter was proud to learn his lines for the play and loved the scavenger hunt. Will said he'd learned a lot about kindness, patience and friendship from Peter. Rebecca said, "I would like to thank all my friends that made my summer special for me!" Ellen sang "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean." Mike L. said that one sign of a really amazing camp is when cleaning the dishes makes him want to cry. Monik loved the music and doing the play and getting to know everyone at camp. Steve said, "When I found out that Gillian wouldn't be here anymore, I had second thoughts about coming, but I found out that you had it in you to make a great camp."

Katie said, "I love this camp. I want to come back next year. I like the Boston Pops Concert and the boat ride. I'll miss Jamie. She's become a good friend to me." Ben said, "I loved that I got to spend time with this incredible man (Bobby). He has so much joy and humor in every moment in his life!" Sean said, "From the first day I met Jack, he showed me so much love, because he knew my dad and my brother already. Now I've gotten to know Cameron and I look forward to having a long relationship with him, too!" Jack said, "This is a good team and I hope to see you all next year!"

Carley said, "All of you have a way of helping me open my heart more than I thought was possible. I'm grateful to be a party of this community!" Francis said, "The community of acceptance has been important to me as a new person. I've learned a lot from the things I've done her, whether they came out right or wrong, and it is helping me be a better person." Eleanor said it was a good summer, and she is so proud of all of us.

We were all sad but can't wait again for next year!"


Monday, August 21 - Leaving Day

Nobody's favorite day. . .


We love you! Hope to see and hear from you all soon!