At Camp, it’s quiet. There is an eerie sense of calm. We are “campsick.” We miss the children and staff, the smiles, hugs and laughter that we enjoyed all summer.
August is like the Sunday of summer. It is almost impossible to believe that another year of camp has come to an end! Reactions from some of the parents I’ve spoken to range from “Why so fast?!” to “Where did it all go?!” to “WAHHHH!!” Because even though all parents miss their kids while they’re gone, it is also a rare opportunity in the world of parenting to be alone, recharge, or spend time with just one kid at a time (or two, or three … it kind of depends on how many kids you have).
For the campers, it’s a very different kind of experience. Sure, they missed their families, but for a lot of children, leaving camp leaves them deeply saddened. Their hearts are full of a thousand amazing experiences from the summer – making new friends, trying new things, color war events, field trips, campfires – and their hearts are wrenched from knowing the last few days of camp are upon them. Then come the goodbyes, the ride home, and those first few weeks back home, back with screens, away from all their new friends … it can be a tough transition. Some campers experience something called “campsick.” It’s the opposite of homesick (medically, you’re not actually ill). Intense longing to be back at summer camp. Afflicted persons may show a variety of symptoms, including melancholy, reminisce, and attempts to incorporate camp culture into “real world” life. This diagnosis is all too real. Now that summer Twenty-Nineteen is complete, we are here to help children and their parents make the smooth transition from Camp Wekeela to home.
Here are some tips to help ease the re-entry home if you have an out-of-sorts or “campsick” camper:
Ø Let your child rest! Camp is such a busy, active time and campers need lots of rest after they get home. Make sure they don’t have much on their schedule when they return and let them have several days to “chill” and get caught up on sleep. Many emotional and behavioral issues can be solved by a good night’s sleep.
Ø Encourage your child to talk about camp and share stories. Ask open-ended questions about camp (if they seem open to your inquiries).
Ø Have them teach you a camp song or game.
Ø Use the photos on Waldo and the camp’s website to spur conversation and help them remember. Print some photos and make a collage or album with camp memories.
Ø Encourage your camper to keep in touch with camp friends. Some campers like to write “real” letters to each other to keep the communication “campy.” Phone calls and video chats are also a great way to continue the more “face-to-face” connections they made at camp.
Ø Help your child make plans for a visit or reunion with camp friends (or a video chat if that’s all that works).
Ø Suggest your camper write a thank you note to a counselor at camp who made their stay especially fun. Doing something kind for someone else, like writing a thank you note, will make your camper feel happier.
Ø Have a “campfire” in your backyard and roast a s’more.
Ø Plan and do a family outdoor activity together.
Ø Kids and their parents all have transitions – both as camp begins, and as it ends. A positive adjustment back home means kids not only stay connected to camp friends, but also display skills and values for a lifetime.
Ø Talk about camp plans and start a count-down calendar to next summer!
The trick is to keep those memories alive all year round. If you do it right, the glow of camp stays with you until you’re ready to pack up those duffel bags again.… Read More
See Wekeela in the news recently? A recent article published by former camper Francesca Bacardi gave Camp Wekeela a shout out for our very special Fake Break featuring movie star Matt Damon! The buzz has been pretty great.. but we all know that Color War only happens when the Green and the White Hatchet are crossed. As grateful as we are that Matt did us that favor, it wouldn’t truly be color war until we broke it here at camp!
To read the article, you can click here.
The theme of the break was Lion King! Scar overtook the Wekeela Pride and only Simba, with the help of Timon and Pumba, could defeat him and take his rightful place in the circle of life. However, after Scar smashed it on Pride Rock it looked like Color War would never come, but Mufasa showed Simba that he had to look inside himself and complete the circle of life.
Now arguably the best part of the summer is underway! The Green and the White teams are battling hard in activities, but having a great amount of fun!
Color War at Camp Wekeela is something you can feel in your heart and soul. It is all encompassing. It can bring laughs and tears. You lose your voice from cheering and you get swept up in the excitement and the teamwork. It is all at once exhausting and exhilarating. It brings friendships and friendly competition. It makes campers and staff play hard, fight for their team, and feel alive. It makes campers and staff have pride. It should make everyone feel important and included. In the end, win or lose, all camp unites as one and feels the strength having gone through it together.
Good luck to the Royal Green & White Legion!
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
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!
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
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 …
- Fill out and submit all forms. All forms are digital at the Parent Portal.
- Fill out the Health Form and register any of your child’s medications with CampMeds.
- Pay final tuition.
- 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..
- 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).
- Make transportation plans to and from camp for your camper(s) and for yourselves if you plan on visiting camp!
- Book baggage transport with our camp partner Camp Trucking.
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- 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).
- Label everything! And send your camper with extra stick on name labels.
- Wash dark colored items (sheets, shirts) before they go to camp.
- Please read the Parent Camper Handbook. Returning camp families and new ones will benefit from reading this important publication!
- 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.
- Crazy Creek chair – I’ve found that multi-color or darker color chairs are best for looking cleaner, longer.
- Socks, socks, socks!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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
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
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:
- 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 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
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
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!