Author Steve Almond Credits Tawonga with Best Advice of his Life on Dear Sugar Radio


Just a few weeks ago, the popular WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, a show that offers “radically empathic advice” from award-winning authors Steve Almond (Against Football) and Cheryl Strayed (Wild), gave Camp Tawonga a major shout-out. Almond was a Tawonga camper in the late 70’s.


During episodes of Dear Sugar, Strayed and Almond give advice to their “lost, lonely and heartsick” listeners based on their questions.


On the November 20th episode, a live recording in Cambridge, one listener flips the script and asks Strayed and Almond to share their best advice ever received. It turns out, the best advice that professional advice giver Steve Almond ever got was provided by his counselor at Tawonga! 


Listen to the two-minute clip below to hear this touching anecdote.


Listen to “Dear Sugar Radio: Live in Cambridge” clip below, from November 20, 2015:



We followed up with Almond (after jumping up and down in Tawonga’s San Francisco office), to learn a bit more about his Tawonga experience. Almond wrote that he was happy to mention Tawonga but couldn’t remember the name of his best-advice counselor. He did, however, remember his Tawonga counselor from a few years later, Steve Hunter, who, according to Almond, “laid some heavy life wisdom on me.” 


Sidenote: Steve Hunter also made a significant impact on the Camp itself. In the 80’s, he built many of the iconic structures of Tawonga, including the Moadone, G-9, the pool cabana and the Bear Shack. Hunter established the rustic aesthetic known at Tawonga as the “Hunter Craftsman Style”, characterized by heavy timbers and exposed beams.


Tawonga appears in Almond’s 2005 book Candyfreak as well as in his essay collection (Not that you asked): Rants, Exploits and Obsessions – specifically memories of his old camp girlfriend, Juliet Stone. Almond inquired about doing a reading up at Camp in the future – stay tuned!


To listen to the full “Dear Sugar: Live in Cambridge” podcast, click here. Steve shares his Tawonga story at minute 53:18.