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End of Summer 2019: What a special year!

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

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News August 11, 2019

Color War 2019 and Matt Damon!

COLOR WAR!

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!

Read More

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News August 4, 2019

July 4th: The Official Start of the Summer

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

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News July 4, 2019

What’s Your Favorite Color? Green, Green, Green! The 10 R’s!

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

Jonathan Caflun in Camp News June 2, 2019
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