Camp Friends are Forever Friends at Camp Wekeela
Sending your child to sleepaway camp gives them the opportunity to make friends for life. Wekeela’s recipe to bunk life sets our groups up for success.
Beginning as bunkmates, Wekeela campers stick together. We’ve seen the unique ability that camp possesses to bring people together, and during the school year, our community stays connected. This tight-knit community is responsible for the incredible friendships that are formed. At Camp Wekeela, we believe each bunk operates like a family.
When someone gets to camp for the first time, the bunk life focus that Wekeela has is aimed to make them feel a sense of belonging early on. We feel that our scheduling style, staff-to-camper ratio, and traditions allows them to spend enough time with their group that strengthens their bonds. Forming bonds is all part of the recipe here at Wekeela.
Our formula to amazing bunk life begins with the first night, having the ideal intro to camp. Our ‘first night talk’ is a tradition that’s a staple of each summer. The bunk all gathers as a group and introduces themselves, and the counselors set their expectations for the group for the summer. They set up bunk rules as a group, and set goals for the summer. This opportunity to share about yourself and meet all your new bunkmates we see as the perfect start to the summer.
The next step to our success lies within the Cabin Leader. Each bunk has a Cabin Leader, who follows them to each period all day and runs the group. They also have the responsibility to make sure bunk dynamics are healthy. With this supervision, our bunks all have someone amazing to rely on throughout the day and the summer itself.
Rituals also play an important role in our bunk life, and a bunk that does a steady output of creative rituals each night are some of the closest groups on camp. Rituals are a nightly activity before bedtime in which the groups gather in their cabin and chat about a variety of things, ranging from comedic storytelling to sharing about more meaningful, emotional topics that allow everyone more of a chance to connect.
Throughout the summer, the community as a whole interacts with one another as well. Our calendar is crafted so that we have a different evening activity at the end of each day, and those activities gives the groups a chance to spend time together no matter what their age is. This contributes greatly to our community feeling at Wekeela, since everyone eventually knows each person that’s at camp!
Every summer is unique, but traditions connect every summer to one another, and that’s especially true with Color War and College Weekend. When our groups of campers work together in sports and arts, they feel a strong sense of belonging in these teams. By the time Color War is over and it’s time to return home, these cabins are back together for some time before they go. They exchange social media and ways to keep in touch, which is really important to our campers and staff.
Communication outside of camp is very strong at Wekeela, with camper meetups and ice cream socials run by camp in multiple cities. Something we’ve come to appreciate about the prevalence of phones and social media is that our groups stay connected with bunk group chats and more. Camper communication during the school year was strong in the past without phones, but its stronger now more than ever.
Our Staff also come to camp and form lifelong friendships with other staff and their campers. It’s not an exaggeration to say that friends truly become family at camp, and in some cases married couples even meet at camp. Working in such a healthy and nurturing environment brings good people together and staff truly appreciate the bonds they can form.
One of the coolest things about camp is when we see bunkmates become roommates. It’s just a testament to summer camp’s power of friendship, and it happens more common than one would think. Not to mention, we believe that people who attend summer camp are most prepared for going away to college!
All in all, at Wekeela and summer camps around the United States, we feel that theres nowhere quite like camp to form such special bonds.