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Top 10 Things To Do before camp begins & Top 10 hints from a veteran camp mom

Camp Wekeela starts in 30 days! Top Ten To Do’s and To Do’s  

Everyday we hear from our camp families that their children are excitedly counting the days or are asking how few days are left till they are back at camp. Now that summertime and camp is getting closer, here’s what you need to do get your child ready for Wekeela 2019 no matter if it is their first year or their tenth!

10 To Do’s …

  1. Fill out and submit all forms. All forms are digital at the Parent Portal.
  2. Fill out the Health Form and register any of your child’s medications with CampMeds.
  3. Pay final tuition.
  4. Review optional camper activity form as space is limited in activities. This includes any specialty programming you may want for your child that our camp offers such as equestrian, golf, extra tennis, surf trip, etc..
  5. Order clothes from your camp outfitter like Camp Spot (remember, although Camp Wekeela is not a “uniform camp” your child will still need a few official camp T-shirts for out-of-camp trips).
  6. Make transportation plans to and from camp for your camper(s) and for yourselves if you plan on visiting camp!
  7. Book baggage transport with our camp partner Camp Trucking.
  8. Make your Visiting Day weekend hotel and flights/rental car, if applicable. Make sure to check-out our places to stay and  places to eat 
  9. Sign up for Camp Wekeela’s optional service Wekeela Notes to communicate with your child all summer long! Or buy stamps and stationery and address a few envelopes home – especially for younger campers. Our summer address is: Camp Wekeela, 1750 Bear Pond Road, Hartford, Maine 04220
  10. Shop, label and pack – we strongly recommend that camp families try to stick to their recommended lists so campers have what they need for their activities and not to overdo it – remember, cubby space is limited.

10 Tips from a veteran camp mom:

  1. Take your soft trunks out of the attic/basement sooner rather than later to make sure they’re still good with working zippers and no major rips (if they’re not – you’ll still have time to replace).
  2. Label everything! And send your camper with extra stick on name labels.
  3. Wash dark colored items (sheets, shirts) before they go to camp.
  4. Please read the Parent Camper Handbook. Returning camp families and new ones will benefit from reading this important publication!
  5. Equipment – make sure your camper has everything they need for the sports they’ll play which could include small items like a mouth guard for lacrosse and shin guards for soccer.
  6. Crazy Creek chair – I’ve found that multi-color or darker color chairs are best for looking cleaner, longer.
  7. Socks, socks, socks!
  8. Spirit gear – always fun to have a couple bandannas, fun/long socks in several colors. And, if your camper doesn’t have the “right” color for a special activity or team, oftentimes campers can swap.
  9. Don’t waste time, money, or space on things campers can’t have. For example, we do not require one-piece bathing suits for girls, bikinis are okay. Same goes for dressy clothing – At Wekeela, we want campers to be casual and comfortably dressed – focused on their activities and not appearances. Of course no cell phones!
  10. Other “must haves” include: fans, flashlights, sunscreen, bug spray, toiletries and a few fun activities like beads and/or string for making bracelets, Mad Libs, a book or two, and little games like cards, jacks, and pick-up-sticks are good for Rest Hour

 

The best time of year is almost here. We know our campers can’t wait! Neither can we! Summertime and Camp Wekeela 2019 is almost here!!… Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News May 22, 2019

Food, glorious food & Goop Shoutout!

Exciting news! Once again, Goop, a natural health company providing new age advice, has recognized Camp Wekeela as one of the best summer camps in North America. We are privileged and honored. One of the many things that makes Wekeela special is the food we serve. Wekeela serves GREAT FOOD which is made from scratch and served with love! Throughout the year, campers regularly call requesting recipes for our famous granola, hummus, scones, and saying they dream about Wekeela food all winter long. The upcoming summer we have revised our menus and added new exciting meal options.

Under the direction of Chef Carlton Jaquess, our hard-working kitchen crew makes everything we serve: no pre-packaged, heat and eat at Wekeela! Every day we bake bread and build tasty meals. We do our best to see that even the most picky eater always leaves the table fully satisfied. A lot of our fruits and vegetables are naturally organic as they are from locally grown Maine farmers. We take pride in our sustainable sourced ingredients. Take a look at the incredible Camp Wekeela dining hall!

Our summer menu is fresh every week and we encourage our campers to try new foods every meal. Breakfast includes an enormous breakfast bar with fresh fruit such as bananas, fresh Maine blueberries, Chobani Greek yogurt, and Columbo yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, homemade coffee cake, and a variety of cold cereals. We also proudly serve homemade granola and homemade hot steel-cut oatmeal. Campers and staff have a daily choice of fat free milk, lactose-free milk and soy milk, as well as chocolate milk once a week. At lunch and dinner we offer a generous salad bar which everyone loves. It includes items such as edamame, tofu, to name a few as well as an array of fresh vegetables and a variety of Ken’s Steak House dressings. We also offer Sunbutter (a peanut butter taste-alike) with fresh wheat or multi-grain bread. Campers love our juicy hamburgers, Hebrew National kosher hot dogs served on grilled rolls, white meat chicken tenders and golden-brown French fries. Our savory and delicious steak is served weekly. We offer gluten-free and vegetarian options at every meal. Dinner always ends with a fantastic dessert, such as S’more brownies, Wekeela’s infamous cakes, warm chocolate chip cookies, or everyone’s favorite, make your sundaes!

At Wekeela, we love eating our meals family-style. Campers sit at a table with their counselors, who serve the food and lead the conversation, as everyone enjoys the meal together. Some of the best camp friends are made over great food at your table each week! While we eat most of our meals family style, we also enjoy theme meals. These are a fun way to mix up meal time at Wekeela. We tend to go big with decorations, music, costumes, and themed food. Some of the Wekeela favorites are Taco Tuesdays, Gladiator, and Cabaret where counselors dress up and a multi-course dinner is served while campers enjoy a staff talent show. One of the highlights of the summer is our annual Lobster Bake, which is simply a delicious traditional Maine meal with a chill vibe of a night!… Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News May 2, 2019

Wekeela Photos is live!

Two options to see your child’s smiling face at camp this summer! We will be posting daily photos on two different servers: Wekeela Photos & Waldo Photos. 

In an effort to make your child’s camp experience as easy as possible, we are very excited to offer our brand new photo service, Wekeela Photos. Our own service, Wekeela Photos, is located on our website at https://www.campwekeela.com/photos/ and is free to you. You will be able to view all of the magic of camp and share with your family and friends! The password protected site is a new one-stop-shop for all your camper’s photos. 

 

For the parents that want a little extra convenience and be able to find their child’s picture faster, check out Waldo Photos, the amazing facial recognition software that sends your child’s camp photos right to your phone. Waldo is an optional service that requires a subscription.

You can read about each option below:Waldo Logo

Wekeela Photos Flyer

Wekeela Photos

  • Located on the Wekeela website: https://www.campwekeela.com/photos/.
  • Daily photos will be posted and organized by day and week.
  • You will have the ability to search for photos by tags of: activities, age groups, and events at camp;
    • ex: Middie Girls, Waterfront, Color War, etc.
  • You will have the ability to post to social media automatically.
  • High Speed downloads.
  • High quality photos.
  • Post of our daily activities, weather, menu, and more!
  • Free for registered parents!
  • Password protected. The password is the same as the forms and waivers page for registered parents. 

 

Waldo Photos

  • Waldo provides Optional Facial Recognition Software. Waldo is only available for registered families.
  • With Waldo’s exciting and powerful technology, photos of your child will be sent immediately to your phone for instant share and gratification.
  • Your account is shareable for up to 6 family members and friends.
  • Prices per camper, set by Waldo Photos:
    • Full: $59.99; First: $44.99; Second: $34.99; Rookie: $24.99
  • 50% of proceeds are donated to camp related charity opportunities.

Text WEKEELA2019 to 735-343 to sign up.Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News April 10, 2019

Hiking and Tripping at Camp Wekeela! New Mt. Washington Trip available now!

At Camp Wekeela there is no WiFi in the forest, but we promise you will find a better connection.

When thinking of camp, one typically thinks of roasting marshmallows on a campfire under a beautiful night sky, while sharing stories and laughs. We believe that an experience like this is not only valuable for a child but also a memory that can last a lifetime. One of the best places for these types of memory makers can happen on overnight hiking trips that we offer our campers at Camp Wekeela. We believe that campers of all ages should have the opportunity to get off of the Wekeela campgrounds and onto the beautiful hiking trails of Maine. That’s why Camp Wekeela offers an amazing Tripping Program. It’s led by Sway Guerra, who is returning for his 6th summer in 2019. Sway brings his energy, fun-loving mentality, and leadership to teach our campers about the great outdoors and natural world. 

Sway has been an awesome part of the Wekeela family since 2012 and now gets to do what he loves, take campers on hikes every day! “My goal is to return every hiker back to camp safely and in positive space. I want my hikers to take advantage of the fact, that we are in a beautiful part of Maine, during a beautiful time of the year. I want to expand their comfort zone and their appreciation for the outdoors by taking a moment to appreciate the views from the top of the mountain or by stopping in the middle of a trail to enjoy that cool breeze on a hot summer day. I also want to express kindness and positive vibes on my hikes through fun ice breaker and exercises. At the end of each hike we should have taken only memories, and left only footprints.”

The Maine wilderness provides our campers with so many benefits. Spending time outdoors provides: greater confidence, improved creativity and imagination, and reduces stress. There are plenty of trails in the Pine Tree State that are camper-friendly. All of our Wekeela trips are age-appropriate ranging from easy to moderate. At Wekeela, all campers have the opportunity to go on overnight or day trips. We build our schedule to ensure the opportunity for trips 3 times a week.  Kids Camp hikes are to places like Moxie Falls. It features one of the most incredible waterfalls in Maine. Other Kids Camp hikes are to: Bald Mountain/Little Concord Pond, Baldpate Mountain, and Mt. Blue just to name a few. Teen campers can climb Mahoosuc Notch, Caribou Mountain, and Step Falls to name a few. Of course, the rite of passage at Camp Wekeela is the hike up our very own Bear Mt, a 45 minute-mile long hike. The campers get to eat lunch at the top of the mountain and wave to their friends across the pond on the Wekeela beach front. The most avid Wekeela hikers are named Bushmasters. They get to explore Small Falls, a wonderful clear-spring fed waterfall and lagoon nestled between two distinct hiking trails. Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News April 1, 2019

2019 Spring Wigwam Newsletter is here!

Spring is here! It’s time to think about summer 2019. This newsletter is filled with very valuable information, including exciting new programming information for this season.

In this issue, the highlights include:  the Performing Arts Department’s 2019 play: SHREK the Musical; highlights of our amazing horseback and tennis programs; our emotional packing list; and finally, the results of our March Challenge- the 2019 College Weekend Teams! Read the Spring Wigwam attached!

This summer, we hope our campers will learn to stretch their boundaries and experience life through the eyes of someone whose life is not a mirror image of their own. By doing so, camp will increase their self-esteem and confidence and foster their independence. The only way children can grow into independent adults is to have parents open the door and let them walk out. And that’s what makes camp a life-changing experience. With the coming of the beautiful weather and the beginning of spring, it’s time to get excited about Wekeela 2019!

Spring Wigwam Newsletter 2019Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News March 24, 2019

Taking a Break: The Power of Putting Your Phone Away at Summer Camp

A few weeks ago, I got a wonderful (and scary) wake up call from the most unlikely place. Across my iPhone screen on a Sunday night I got a small notification that read, “Your Weekly Screen Time Average was: 12 Hours, 15 minutes.”  The number shocked me. I clicked on the notification and it brought me to the reports that show my exact usage per app, per day. Again, I was shocked. Apple moved all my app usage into different categories based on likeness: Social Networking, News, Sports, etc. When this feature was released in October, the memes alone were amazing. The reactions of people, both horrifying and hilarious, shines a light on how much time we waste on our phones and devices. The feature, luckily, lets you also put time-limits on certain apps. For example, I now have a 1 hour time limit on all social networking platforms. How quickly do you think that goes by each day?

You are probably curious as to why I am sharing this story about my own usage though. It brought me back to thinking about one thing I told my Senior campers as they got off the bus at Camp Wekeela a few summers ago. As I had a quick meeting with them to hand over their phones, I said, “this is the last time in your life someone will ever ask you to give up your phone and that you will have to.” I caught myself. What a sad thought. Imagine someone telling you today, “Hand me your phone and you’ll get it back in a few weeks.” It just isn’t realistic. But there is still one place in the world where that reality exists. A place where phones and electronics don’t rule our day-to-day conversations, take us away from the important things we do, or overall, waste our time. That place is summer camp.

At Camp Wekeela, we don’t allow our campers to have their cell phones. Some definitely put up a fight. I had one camper give me a ‘dummy phone’ and hide his phone in our cabin for 2 weeks. I only caught him because he had downloaded a new hit summer song in mid-July and knew all the words the next day. Today, children and teens can’t leave home without their phones, without their parents knowing where they are and what they are doing at all times. Not that the sense of safety that comes with cell  phones is all bad, but it’s inescapable. Children need a chance to be kids. How often do you go out to dinner where the children are sitting on an iPad playing a game? Summer camp allows children to get a break from this constant stimulation and slow down. There have been many scientific studies on the effects that technology has on our brains. But developmentally? At Camp Wekeela, we are proud to not allow electronics and cell phones. We believe that a summer at camp is a summer away from social networking and video-games and a time focused on nature, friendships, independence, and fun.Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News March 1, 2019

We Work Hard, and then We Work Some More… being a camp counselor at Camp Wekeela – by Rosie Scorer

To all the first time counselors, congratulations you’ve made one of the best decisions you could possibly make … trust me, I made it three years ago. Getting to this point is an achievement in itself, the process isn’t easy, and the list of things to do at times seems endless, but the good times are coming.

As a first time counselor at Camp Wekeela, this summer at camp will mean more to you than you could possibly imagine, not only to you, but to your campers. Now that I am returning to Wekeela for my third year (yay 3 year hoodie), I can offer a little bit of insight into what to expect, but perhaps the most prominent piece of advice I can give is that the experience is entirely yours for the making. Before I arrived for my first summer, I felt I knew a little bit about what to expect. I did my research, watched the camp videos, read countless ‘First time counselor’ forums, and thought I’d established enough of an understanding of what I was walking into. I quickly realized that I really only knew the foundations of what I was set to learned over the seven weeks that followed. So try not to feel overwhelmed on arrival, just be prepared to roll up your sleeves and learn the ropes!

Everyone’s experience varies, but I can say with full of confidence, that there is nothing quite like your first summer. You will have the excitement of discovering for the first time for yourself what it means to be a camp counselor. When the summer is over, there are few days that go you won’t find yourself drifting into your own memories of camp. I often think about the first act of kindness I got from a returning staff member on a chilly June night during Staff Week in 2017. You’ll recall teaching a camper how to paint something that makes them happy in Creative Arts or how you would look down into big hopeful eyes, while trying your best to answer that meaningful question that your camper just asked you. You think of the rainy days that saw you sprint alongside your entire cabin to get to the dining hall only slightly drenched. Or the inimitable feeling of going from strangers to family as you glance around at the faces during the final campfire of the summer; as you feel tears start to slowly flow down your face. But it’s ok because you tell yourself that everything is fine, because you’re coming back. Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News February 14, 2019

Camp Wekeela’s Emotional Packing List for Parents

Last spring we were fortunate enough to meet one of the world’s best mind’s on childhood. As big of a camp champion as you will ever meet, Wendy Mogel, PhD, truly understands and knows the power that summer camp can have on children. Dr. Mogel is an author of several parenting books, including, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, The Blessing of a B Minus, and most recently, Voice Lessons for Parents: What to Say, When to Say It, and When to Listen, “help parents and other child caregivers avoid the pitfalls of perfectionism, overprotection, overscheduling, and overindulgence, and engage with children in ways that nurture, enrich, and encourage.” In her lecture that we attended about Voice Lessons, Dr. Mogel gave some wonderful insight into the language and manner in which we as parents, childhood professionals, and camp directors speak with all children.

 

Dr. Mogel’s recent interview “Voice Lessons for Camp” with Camping Magazine sparked our interest. In the interview, Dr. Mogel said she wished that camps provide parents with a set of things that they would be worried about… but shouldn’t. What she called, an emotional packing list. We thought it was as great idea, so decided to make one for our Wekeela families. Below you will find our comprehensive list of “Camp Wekeela’s Emotional Packing List for Parents”

 

Do you have any communication advice for camp professionals in talking with parents?

I want camps to prepare parents, talk about things they are going to be worried about but don’t need to be. Give parents an emotional packing list before camp starts. Camp directors may fear that if they name the worries, parents will start ruminating on them, but it normalizes and nationalizes the fear. You can say, “You’re going to worry about this and this. Here’s what we have in place to deal with that. Expect your children to voice their concerns.” Then tell them the high rate of returning campers you have.

 

Things you may be worried about but do not need to be…..

Who takes care of my child when I send them to camp?

Counselors, cabin leaders, peers, nurses, directors– we all take care of each other.

 

How do you screen your applicants?

Interviews, references, criminal background checks.

Do the counselors live in the bunks with the children and what is the supervision like?

Yes, there are at least 6 counselors per bunk, and they sleep in the cabin. There is always an adult with the campers.

 

Is there security from outsiders?

Yes, there are gates at each entrance.

 

What happens if my child gets hurt?

We have a health center run by nurses & EMT’s. There are two major hospitals nearby.Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News January 21, 2019

The 2018 Winter Wigwam is Live!

Hello!

We are excited to release the 2018 Winter Wigwam! You can read all the fun Wekeela information at the link below or at the Newsletter section of our website!

Some highlights include: Information on important parent forms; the Visitor’s Day 2019 date; Horseback Riding Info; Activity and Participation; Camp Trucking and travel information; the CampSpot Catalog; and upcoming NYC reunion and Wekeela Wednesday dates!

As we write this a few days before Christmas and a little over a week before the New Year, we are so thankful for our Wekeela family and all the meaningful relationships that Camp Wekeela has brought to so many people throughout the world. Have a wonderful holiday season and a very, very Happy New Year! We will see you all in 2019!

Winter Wigwam Newsletter 2019Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News December 23, 2018

5 ways to rekindle your camp friendships this winter!

Here in the northeast it’s cold. Like really cold. The snow at camp is starting to pile up and our summer home is starting to look like a winter wonderland. But nothing warms our hearts like the thoughts and memories of our time spent at camp. What is the best way to rekindle these memories during the cold months of winter? How about catching up with some camp friends? With social media, technology, and everything else, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with your camp friends more often. Recently, we did a blog post about our former campers who have become roommates in college. We also know that there are many former campers and staff that have gone on to live together in the real world; Wekeela weddings and families; and of course many bar and bat mitzvah’s throughout the year where we all get to re-connect with our camp friends! There really is no place like camp and there are no better type of friends than camp friends, during the summer and year round!

Below are Camp Wekeela’s top 5 ways to rekindle your camp friendships during the winter: 

 

  • Create a weekly video-chat with your camp friends.

So many of you out there do this already or have big group chats with your camp friends. Whatever social media app you use, having a scheduled, weekly conversation to pull together old jokes and memories.  It might make you miss camp, but you’ll get excited to see familiar faces! We recommend using a Snapchat group to get all your camp friends in together or another popular group video chat app.

  • Express gratitude to your camp friends randomly & give them a call!

Close your eyes and think hard about one of your favorite camp memories. What did you do? Who was there? Once you picture these, give a call to that person. As you read in our last blog sharing gratitude is scientifically proven to make you happier. Giving a call to a friend from camp will truly warm both of your hearts this holiday season.Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News December 17, 2018
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