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
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!
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
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
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
Gratitude is such an important pillar of our camp environment. One of our favorite things to do during staff week each summer is our “Gratitude Letters” activity. It is pretty simple exercise, derived from the popular Youtube video “The Science of Happiness“. We ask our staff to take a blank piece of paper and write a letter of gratitude to anyone in their life: their parent, a friend, a teacher, etc. We ask if anyone would like to share. The letters are always beautiful and give a glimpse into the life of our staff, where they come from, and who helped them get to where they are. There are beautiful stories of grandparents who inspire, parents who lead, friends who encourage, and so on. As those who share express their gratitude, their eyes tear up, and they smile. It is very moving. Naturally, because we are at camp, what usually ends up happening is that our returning staff and former campers write about camp. They share letters to their own counselors from when they were campers, or to their co-counselors, who have now become their best friends. The most powerful, as you would think, is when that person is in the room. The tears can flow and hugs are always exchanged. You could think this isn’t a very good training exercise, but we feel it is a great way for our staff to get to know each other, laugh, and bond. At Camp Wekeela we feel it’s important to cultivate gratitude during the summer and throughout the year.
Here are some ways to cultivate gratitude on a regular basis:
- Write a thank-you note/letter: Just like our exercise at camp! What will make you feel even better.. sharing your note with the person.
- Thank someone mentally: No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.
- Keep a gratitude journal: It takes 21 days to cultivate a habit. Writing down 3 things a day is a great way to start!
- Do Rituals as a family: Pick a high-point of the day, do some MadLibs, make up a line-by-line story. It’ll be great!
- Meditate: Meditation has so many positive effects, especially in today’s busy world.
It is officially that time of year again; time to put on your corduroys, grab a Pumpkin Spiced Latte, and jump in some leaves! We hope the turn to the autumn season finds the Camp Wekeela community well.
Here in New Jersey, we have always felt that we are fortunate to have seasons. It’s a perfect opportunity for us to recharge and regroup. Fall is a time to celebrate our summer successes. It’s a time to invigorate and align ourselves to the cycle of preparing for summer 2019 where we will develop healthy, happy, and confident children.
Below are the Camp Wekeela 5 Tips for Enjoying Fall as a family!
- Go to a Farmer’s Market.
Staples of the fall and early winter, farmer’s markets are wonderful places to support your local community, try new foods, and meet new people. Going as a family can be great on a Sunday morning to get out of the house and enjoy the weather, have some good food, and have fun!… Read More
There are certain words, phrases, or lyrics that bring powerful memories into focus.
Any camp that has a Color War contest has their own traditions and histories, rules and regulations about Color War. At Camp Wekeela, Color War is one of, if not the best, parts of the summer. For 4 days our campers and counselors pour their hearts onto the fields, courts, water, stage, and everything else to gain valuable points for their team. Every camper and every counselor has an impact. They scream and cheer, paint their face in Green or White, and compete at the highest levels.
But every game, activity, and cheer leads up to Sing on the last day. At Sing, the banners, programs, and totem poles are revealed; the commercials and dances are performed; the poem is read, the photos are hung up, and of course, the Fight Songs, Cheers, and Alma Maters are sung. Now just reading this blog you may think, well what do these entail? If you haven’t been to any camp but especially Camp Wekeela before, describing Color War is a very tall task. For 3 days, Counselors work hours on end to give the kids the best banner, totem pole, song, etc. that they can. No prior work, they are given a blank canvas, a chopped down tree, or just a guitar and get started. Having worked on several of these myself, it is a daunting process and something that is hard to describe; however, the central ethos to why the hard work is done- why you are awake at 4am carving a tree- is to give the campers something to remember, something to enjoy for years.
In my opinion, however, the Color War Alma Mater is one of the most special. The Alma Mater is a song that “represents all core components of the team.” Traditionally at many camps, an Alma Mater is a re-write of a popular song, for example, when Ephram was a Color War General in the 80’s, his Alma Mater was a version of “Open Arms” by Journey. However, at Camp Wekeela, the Alma Mater is an original song that is written during Color War by a few counselors and sometimes campers.… Read More