An Overnight Summer Camp in Hartford, Maine
When it comes to the perfect setting for a great summer, all roads lead to Maine, but only one leads to Camp Wekeela – the premier overnight summer camp for boys and girls age 6-16 located on Little Bear Pond in Hartford, Maine.
Our goal at Wekeela is to provide a fun, exciting summer camp experience that helps your child discover new talents and interests, builds self-esteem and confidence and gives them the opportunity to establish lifelong friendships.
What makes Wekeela special are the strong, loyal bonds we create. Our campers become like family. Long after camp ends for the summer, we remain in touch. Year after year, the vast majority of Wekeela campers return to renew the close friendships they have made and many of them return as counselors.
If you have any questions about our summer camp, please do not hesitate to call us. We look forward to speaking with you!
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- Mid-Point: Moments to be present during summer camp Posted on Tuesday 16th July, 2019
College Weekend has come and gone. It was fantastic! And now, mid-summer weekend is a few days away! Sibling Overnight is this Thursday and so is the much- anticipated production of Shrek! And did I mention Visitor’s Day is this Friday?!! Summertime always go way too fast. It’s hard to believe campers depart this Saturday and our second session starts this Sunday. But first, let’s talk about this Friday, Visitor’s Day! It’s an opportunity to welcome our campers’ parents onto our magical world for the day. Visitor’s day allows our campers to reconnect with their families and for the families to meet the staff that have taken care of their children this summer. It also gives our guests time to enjoy our beautiful campus and to experience what their children have achieved thus far at camp. We will discuss mid-summer weekend further at our upcoming staff meeting. Mid-summer is a great opportunity to remind our staff to not take their time here for granted and to present in the moment. Here’s what else we shared with them.
Moments to Be Present During the Summer Camp Season
Remember that first night at dinner with your new cabin? The nervous excitement of your campers? The antics the campers did to figure out how they were going to fit in?
The campers … but what about you as the staff member in charge of these kids?!
Well, you made it! Nice work — you are still standing and in one
piece. Congratulations! Now it is time to ramp up for the last three weeks. You are tired, hungry, haven’t been on social media much, and you probably need to call home and maybe pay a few bills. Your campers presented you with a wealth of challenges, headaches, moments of greatness, and some serious conversations that you never dreamed of having — especially with children.
You have a few hours off and in addition to getting some serious (necessary) sleep, you can’t get the parting words from one of your campers out of your head. As they were leaving, they came up to you and shook your hand and with tears of exhaustion and a huge smile, they hopefully said “thank you, I had the best time of my life.”
You probably didn’t expect that, especially from that particular camper. But you had a tremendous impact on that camper and so many others. Your campers watch everything that you do and while their actions may not always show that, your kids cared about you and admired your greatness. You are their camp hero and you mean the world to them.
So, stop, breathe, listen, and look around. Pause to reflect on your work. All your hard work and sacrifices paid off. You have enriched a child’s life . . . forever. Best of all you get to do again for a whole new group starting camp this Sunday and keep making memories and keep it going with the our full season campers. So here’s to the final and best three weeks of the summer!!… Read More
- July 4th: The Official Start of the Summer Posted on Thursday 4th July, 2019
Creating A Feeling of Profound Belonging at Camp
I’ve always felt the 4th of July is the unofficial start of summer. Staff training week gives our counselors the tools they will need to take care of other people’s children. Then the best day of the year, opening day, campers arrive! For the past ten days everyone is getting familiar with the routine of camp. On Independence Day everyone is in full camp mode. In other words, Camp feels like home.
At Camp Wekeela, we build belonging. Camp Wekeela changes children’s loves by creating fun and exciting experiences that give them the opportunity to explore and discover the best version of themselves. Some of the principles we utilize in supporting our campers is creating a feeling of profound belonging. Our goal is to be super thoughtful in our approach. A few of our principles we feel are worth sharing with you are how we shape our program and culture to build belonging:
Embodying our belief that there are many ways to be a woman and a man. We give boys and girls a diverse array of role models — men and women (many former Wekeela campers are now counselors) in whom campers can see aspects of the selves they seek to develop. When the people around us model the same humility, humor, talent, and compassion that we seek to develop in ourselves, they help us to recognize the sturdy roots of those same virtues within us. In such moments, we know that we are in a place where we belong.
Focusing on what is personal, real, and lasting. Too often children learn to gauge belonging through external signals: the music they listen to, the brands they wear, the devices they own. The result can be toxic, especially for children, who learn to measure themselves against dangerously narrow standards of masculinity. By embracing simplicity — in the clothing we wear, the music we make, the technology we leave at home — we foster deeper connections with each other and even within ourselves.
Emphasizing honesty as the most direct path towards a life of substance and meaning. Ultimately, belonging is not an external validation, but an authentic way of being. Honesty — and its companion, vulnerability — are signs of strength and signals of openness. Honesty elevates relationships beyond the superficial and invites us towards friendships in which we have the courage to be imperfect and the compassion to accept ourselves anyway. At Wekeela, as in life, there is no more powerful belonging than to each other.
That there are many ways to be a woman, that femininity can be misconstrued that you can empower them by embracing their independence, that expressing themselves is a strength.
That there are many ways to be a man, that masculinity can be toxic, that vulnerability is strength. Hopefully when our campers hear these ideas more often it will benefit them and make them feel like they truly belong.
Summer camps encapsulate the most amazing things about life; friendships, love, nature, freedom and tradition. Wekeela is rooted in the idea that as our society increases in speed and information availability, Wekeela will always be a place kids can go to escape from everything.
From our bunk to your we wish you a safe and fun 4th of July and a great rest of the summer!… Read More
- What’s Your Favorite Color? Green, Green, Green! The 10 R’s! Posted on Sunday 2nd June, 2019
What’s your favorite color? GREEN GREEN GREEN!
This summer, Wekeela is going to be greener than ever, thanks to campwide efforts to live sustainably. We want to ensure Pioneers will enjoy the shores of Little Bear Pond for years to come, so we’ve implemented new programs and partnered with local organizations to help us do just that. But, we need your help to see this through! Real change only occurs when dedicated individuals, such as yourselves, lead by example. In fact, Maine is leading the way too, by becoming the first state to ban Styrofoam. While the state prohibition goes into effect on January 1st, 2021, Wekeela is committed to not utilizing Styrofoam this summer. We’re excited to hop on the green train, and are so thankful you’ll be joining us!
We invite Pioneers to go beyond the 3 R adage (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and focus on waste reduction as a whole, rather than just reducing, reusing, and recycling. By focusing our efforts on the actions at the top of the waste reduction hierarchy below, we will work together to significantly reduce consumption and waste, and therefore our need to recycle. Below you will find Camp Wekeela’s 10 R’s for 2019!
Refuse: If you don’t need it, say, “no thanks!” Taking more of something than we need wastes not only the product, but also the resource used to create and transport the product. For example, why use a disposable cup when your reusable water bottle (with your name written in permanent marker!) will serve the same purpose, and can be used over and over again?
Reduce: Take only what you need, not extra. While we recommend using a reusable hand towel to dry your hands, this is not always possible to do when you’re outside the bunk. Before reaching for the paper towels, use the shake and fold hand drying method: shake your hands over the sink twelve times before toweling off with a folded paper towel. Why twelve? Twelve is the highest number that is just one syllable, and will reduce the amount of water on your hands, therefore reducing the amount of paper towels you’ll need. But of course, Camp Wekeela has electric hand dryers in each public bathroom as well!
Reuse: Use it, and then use it again. This can relate to disposable as well as reusable items. Did you receive a package? Use the box to store the items neatly in your cubbies or under your bed. Use your towel multiple times before laundering, just be sure to shake it out and hang it on the line to dry between uses.
Repair: Give an old item a tune up. In the event your towel or shirt ripped, take it to Creative Arts to learn a new skill by mending it yourself (with some help). There’s no need to discard something when it can be fixed.
Recover: Salvage what you can! Did you really enjoy last week’s pasta dinner, but ended up with a sauce stain on your shirt? Don’t worry, this is the perfect shirt to tie-dye!
Repurpose: Get creative and find another use for an item you thought you no longer needed. Are you glad to hear from Mom and Dad, but don’t want to keep your Wekeela Notes around all summer? Bring them up to OA, and use them as kindling to start a fire. Better yet, use that fire to repurpose the graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows hanging around!
Rehome: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Find someone else who would love your unwanted items. Share the magazines you received in a package with your bunkmates before throwing them out. If you have little bits of toiletries left over before you go home, leave them for your bunkmates to use up for the duration of the summer instead of throwing them out, or donate them and Camp Wekeela can offer them to different organizations in Maine.… Read More