“No” is a word that children hear a lot. No talking in the classroom. No running in the hallways. No playing ball in the house. No to anything that gets clothes dirty. No. No. No. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that “yes” is one of the many reasons that children so eagerly anticipate camp each summer. Of course safety is always a factor, and children also have parameters at camp for that reason. However, those parameters extend much further at summer camp than they do at home and school. At summer camp, campers are encouraged to climb walls, zip down ropes, run, get dirty and play ball. Even when they express doubt in themselves, they are encouraged with, “Yes, you can.” There is no pressure to be the best at something or to even be good at it, simply to try it. With such encouragement, many campers venture into previously unexplored territory and discover that they can, in fact, do things they previously thought they couldn’t.
The benefits of such encouragement extend beyond the development of courage to try new things. Children become more open to possibilities. They develop the skills to venture out of their comfort zone and examine situations from different angles. A refined sense of creativity helps them attack tasks that previously seemed difficult or even impossible. They learn to comprehend the importance of trying, particularly when the time and place is right. With such perspective, “no” and “yes” become words less associated with ability and more associated with restraint. If they’re talking in the classroom, they can’t understand what the teacher is saying. School is not an environment that makes running in the hallways safe. Things tend to break when they play ball in the house. The clothes they wear when they’re not at camp are just a little nicer than the ones they tend to wear at camp. In contrast, camp is a safe environment for them to talk, laugh, run, play, climb and get messy in ways that are productive. In short, it’s an environment with less restraint in mind. Once children are able to understand the symbiotic relationship between “yes” and “no,” they are better able to accept “no” for what it actually means: It’s not in your best interest.
March is here, which means spring is just around the corner. More importantly, summer is only a few months away, which means it’s time to begin checking off that annual camp preparation list. No doubt, the idea that it’s time to begin thinking about summer is a welcome respite for many following a winter that regularly included terms such as “polar vortex.” So whether you’re preparing your children for their first summer at camp, or are still thawing out after a frigid winter, here are five things to think about as the snow begins to melt, temperatures begin to rise and vegetation blooms:
1.) Order camp clothes. Some camps feature catalogues and websites that cater to supply lists and sell logo merchandise. Although most camps do not require parents to order supplies and clothing from these catalogues, a few items are never a bad idea, particularly for children who intend to be part of sports teams. Also, camps sometimes require children to wear a specific colored logo shirt on certain occasions, such as out of camp trips. These clothing catalogs are the best resources for these items.
2.) Start talking about camp. For returning campers, chances are that they’ve never completely stopped talking about it. It’s good, however, to begin preparing first time campers a few months ahead of camp so that they are not completely overwhelmed when departure time for camp actually arrives. For all campers – returning or not – it’s good to set some goals for the summer. Some parents find that their children are a step ahead of them when it comes to goal setting, while other campers need a bit of assistance with organizing their thoughts and prioritizing. Either way, it’s good to begin a dialogue now so that you and your children have time to think about expectations for the summer.
3.) Begin stockpiling. Some parents actually pull out camp duffles and begin packing in the early spring while others just clear off a shelf in a closet and begin picking up basic supplies such as sunscreen, shampoo, and socks whenever they are out shopping. Gradually building a stockpile prevents that last minute scramble that inevitably ends in a phone call either from or to the camp about forgotten items.
4.) Schedule pre-camp checkups. This is particularly crucial if your child’s pediatrician tends to be one that is perpetually booked and scheduling appointments a month or two into the future. Camps are safety focused, and it’s is very important that they understand each and every camper’s medical needs and limitations. For liability reasons, they also need medical and insurance information prior to being able to permit campers to participate in certain activities, such as out of camp trips. Also, be sure to talk to your child’s doctor about any medications that will be necessary for the summer.
5.) Complete paperwork. Camps mail or make necessary forms available online to parents around this time of year. The forms may include information about trips, interests, goals, children’s personalities, etc. Although the purpose of the paperwork may not always be clear, camps put a lot of thought and consideration into the information they request parents to provide, and that information is crucial to facilitating a successful summer for campers. Since this task can seem daunting in the midst of those last minute preparations just before camp, it’s a good idea to set aside a block of time early in the spring to complete forms.
만약 당신이 겨울 동안 캠퍼들의 지리학적 지역이 궁금하다면, 이번 주 윅에이 캠프의 게스트 블로그가 미국의 가장 훌륭한 여름 캠프를 포함한 많은 캠프들의 꽤 좋은 다양한 캠퍼들의 사진을 제공합니다.
대부분의 가족들은 캠프에 대해 배울때 훌륭한 질문을 합니다: 캠퍼들은 어디에서 오나요?
윅에이의 캠프는 20개의 다른 주와 10개의 나라에서 온 캠퍼들을 가진 축복받은 캠프입니다. 특정한 하나의 우편번호 또는 지역에서 모여 캠프를 온 것이 아닌 저희는 모든 곳에서 온 캠퍼들을 갖고 있습니다 – 캘리포니아, 콜로라도, 오하이오, 텍사스 뿐만 아니라 동부해안의 남북까지. 우리는 또한 작은 인구지만 프랑스, 스위스, 베네수엘라, 영국, 스페인, 러시아, 멕시코, 중국, 브라질, 그리고 칠레에서 온 활기찬 캠퍼들을 가지고 있습니다.
이 다양성은 우리의 지역사회에 훌륭한 혜택들을 제공합니다. 첫째, 이것은 아이들에게 캠프에서 멋진 시간을 가지며 미국 내외의 다른 문화에 대해 알게 합니다. 캠퍼들은 그들의 지역의 친구들 뿐만 아니라 먼 거리에서 온 친구들과 함께 캠프에서의 우정을 쌓기를 즐깁니다.
다양한 인구 구성의 두 번째 주요 장점은 새로운 캠퍼들이 우리 지역사회의 필수 적인 구성원이 되는 데 훨씬 쉬운 시간을 갖게 되는 것입니다. 처음의 며칠은 매우 중요하고 당신의 지역에서 온 사람을 제외한 모든 사람과 침상을 같이 하는 것은 쉽지 않습니다. 처음으로 다른 많은 지역에서 온 친구들과 함께 하는 것은 우정을 쌓는데 있어 처음 며칠을 매우 쉽게 만들어 줍니다.
우리는 모두가 계속해서 우정, 새로운 능력을 향상시키고 우리 인생에 있어 최고의 여름을 가지며 윅에이 캠프에서 우리의 다양성을 계속해서 성장하는데 매우 설렙니다.
Experts unanimously agree that there are benefits to pet ownership for children. In addition to teaching them responsibility, pets also entertain children, keep them active, alleviate stress and teach them about life. For some families, however, busy lifestyles make pet ownership impractical and even unrealistic. Enter another little known benefit of summer camp: summer pets. Many camp nature, exploration, and eco-science programs include an animal or two. Because of allergies, camps tend to shy away from common household pets such as cats and dogs. Rather, animals with naturally reserved demeanors that are easy to handle like reptiles, rabbits, turtles and guinea pigs are preferable when it comes to camp pets. As a result, even campers who have pets at home get the opportunity to handle, care for and observe – to their comfort level – animals they may not frequently encounter. Those campers who do not have pets at home get to experience the joy of pet ownership and all of the benefits of it while those campers who do have pets at home tend to miss them less when their camp has animals. Camp pets sometimes double as mascots and campers come to view them as part of their camp. Best of all, everyone at summer camp, regardless of whether they have pets at home or not, has the opportunity to have a pet for at least a few weeks each year.
We look forward to celebrating our 62nd summer at Camp Weequahic starting this June. Founded in 1953 by an incredible family of educators, CW was built to be an amazing community in which children can learn, laugh, and grow. And, while CW has changed a little over time, we continue to focus on one thing: caring for our campers. We would like to tell you about a great tradition that helps us accomplish that goal.
Following dinner and our 45-minute ‘Free Play’ time, all of our campers and counselors gather at the Flagpole in the middle of Main Campus. Lined up from youngest to oldest, our campers and staff learn about the upcoming evening activities and get a quick preview of the following day’s fun. Before we move to EA, however, we open the floor to Nominations.
Nominations are made by staff members to recognize campers who have done something that was gracious, helped someone else, and/or was courageous. Maybe someone got a cheer going for a friend trying to successfully climb the 50’ climbing tower for the first time. Maybe a camper was found cleaning up a program area at the end of an activity without being asked. Perhaps a bunk created a colorful thank you note and left it for the cleaning staff.
Whoever is nominated gets to come forward to help lower the flag that evening. We normally have 8 to 12 kids, and the older campers help the youngest to lower the flag while the camp stands quietly.
We are excited to end the day as a whole camp celebrating campers who have done something remarkable. We love ‘catching’ our kids doing something great and pointing this out to everyone at camp!
The Sochi Olympics took place last month, and even though the athletes competed on snow and ice, the games were surprisingly reminiscent of summer camp, particularly from a staff perspective. Many athletes were there for the first time. Some, however, were competing in their second, third, or even fifth Olympic games. Each summer at camp, likewise, attracts many fresh staff faces – eager but not quite sure what to expect – and returning staff who are back to lead the way and improve upon their past performances, even if those performances were already gold medal caliber. Oddly, a lot of camp blogs and articles address the qualities and expectations of new camp staff, but few address those of returners. How do staff approach camp if it is their second, third, fifth, or even tenth summer? The answer most veteran camp staff provide is that they intend to be better. Even great summers, in retrospect, have room for improvement. Like campers, returning staff always arrive with an agenda and, like athletes, always strive for that perfect 10 summer. Every summer is an Olympic year for camp staff.
Many returners actually begin goal setting for the following summer before the current summer ends. Some simply visualize areas in which they could be better while others actually comprise a physical list. Veteran staff members learn, over the course of several summers, that there is a maturation process to working at camp. Because camp tends to be such a microcosmic environment in which staff wear many hats, it’s almost impossible not to develop multiple perspectives of camp and how it can be made even better. Like athletes, veteran camp staff know that there is always room for improvement. Even the smallest of adjustments can elevate a summer from excellent to outstanding. In part, that is what draws returning staff members back year after year.
Regardless of whether each summer begins with a written or mental list of goals, it ends the same for all returning staff – with careful evaluation of their own performance. The desire to be better is a unique quality of returning camp staff, and a quality that makes them very appealing as job candidates. The enthusiasm of happy campers is infectious. Mediocrity is simply not an option when making campers happy. Returning camp staff are so willing to dedicate themselves to the task of creating gold medal summers that they come back year after year, physically and mentally ready to take on old challenges as well as new ones. At camp, they eat, breathe, sleep and live what they’ve been envisioning since the end of the previous summer in their quest to simply be better at something they love.
When you spend any amount of time at Camp Weequahic, you cannot help but run into Rocky. You’ll find him peeking out from a camper’s window or hanging out by the bunk’s front door. You may even see him playing in the breeze on the porch.
The good news is Rocky will stay right where he is until the next week when he goes to spend time with another bunk. You see, Rocky is our oldest award and each division has two: one for the cleanest bunk of the week and another for the GAC Award winner.
Awarded to each division in front of the entire camp at our Fright Night Campfire, the bunk or camper gets to sign the back and place their Rocky in a prominent place back at the bunk. While the GAC Rocky gets passed around all summer long (We could have 300 of them!), the bunks do their best to keep the ‘Cleanest Bunk’ Rocky with them all summer long.
We hope when you come to camp you’ll do your best to have Rocky spend some time at your bunk. He’s a great companion to have for a week (or more!)
Camp is definitely an “all-in” environment. There is very little that is considered too extreme when it comes to demonstrating enthusiasm, wackiness, even fun. No one ever wants to “kind of” do something at camp. Camp is all about going big before you go home. In that vein, it’s time for a list of things of which there is no such thing as too much (or too many) at camp:
There No Such Thing as Too Much (or Too Many)…
Laughing. Seriously, you can’t laugh too much at camp. It’s impossible. Whether it’s over an inside joke with your bunkmates or cabinmates or at one of your favorite counselors doing something goofy on stage in front of the whole camp, laughter is a camp constant.
Cheering. At camp, you do it at sporting events, while watching a fellow camper dive into a whipped cream pie while showing team spirit, as a show of divisional or camp unity, to making meals more fun, even when your favorite dessert is rolled out. Cheering is just something you do at camp…pretty much all of the time.
Singing. Like cheering, singing is okay pretty much everywhere at camp. It spices up meals and campfires. Most camps even have their own songs. And there is always that one song every summer that practically every camper and staff member finds themselves humming or singing at least once every day.
Spirit. Speaking of spirit, it goes way beyond showing support for a team at summer camp. Camp spirit is all about demonstrating why your camp is the best camp—all day, every day. Every camper and staff member comes to camp prepared with sufficient clothing in camp colors. It is perfectly acceptable to paint your entire body camp colors in a show of spirit, and temporary tattoos with the camp logo or colors are pretty much standard at every camp activity.
Sun. Sure, rain happens sometimes and, when it does, campers and staff alike deal with it. But sun is the ideal setting for fun at camp, and you can never get too much of it. Sure, indulging involves lots of sunscreen, but anyone who has ever spent a lazy afternoon lying in the grass while chatting with camp friends knows that life doesn’t get much better.
Camp. That’s right. It’s pretty much a unanimous consensus at camp that there is no such thing as too much camp. That’s why most campers and staff members drive those around them nuts with camp stories during the 10 months when we can’t be there. Most campers and staff agree that life would be so much cooler if “10 for 2” was actually “2 for 10.”