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
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
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
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