Posts Tagged ‘summer camp community’

Why Weequahic?

Posted Monday, November 6th, 2017 by

Camp is not your ‘normal’ summer experience. Indeed, if done right, it can be an incredible gift that continues to give over a lifetime. Why? Because where else can a seven to 16-year-old girl or boy enjoy everything we have to offer?

 

It’s About the People

First off, camp is all about the people. You can have a great camp in the middle of an empty field if you have the right collection of campers and staff. To us, the perfect camper is one who engages, who gets excited about meeting new friends and learning new activities. While our campers are mostly (90%) from the US, we also enjoy a few campers from eleven different countries each summer.

Our campers spend their time with other children their same age and gender during their program day. In the bunks, campers enjoy spending time with up to eleven bunkmates and three college-aged counselors. (More on them in a moment.) This living arrangement and activity schedule allows our campers to build new friendships and try new activities while at Weequahic.

 

Our staff members are no less important to the great experience at Weequahic. Our year-round team spends nine months interviewing, hiring and preparing the best staff we can find. These young men and women all are in college or are recent graduates and are hired for two main roles: bunk counselor and activity teacher.

 

First, our staff members have to be great at creating a remarkable experience in the bunk for the community of children they lead. Secondly, they have to be able to teach a specific area for our campers to enjoy. Only staff members who can fill both roles are hired at Weequahic.

 

It’s About the Learning

By being away from home and interacting on an hourly basis with great staff members and interested kids from all over the US and larger world, our campers gain several new skills:

 

  1. Independence: Our campers build this invaluable skill under the watchful eyes of fun and patient mentors. Choosing their own activities, making their bed, and building new friendships away from home are important experiences for our campers.

 

  1. Community and Cultural Differences: Our campers begin to know the American culture through spending time with campers and staff members from all over the US. This opens their eyes to a different experience and place.

 

  1. Language Immersion: For campers coming from overseas, there is no better way to improve their use of English than living with our staff and campers. We help to guide them through the process and make sure nothing is left to chance.

 

It’s About the Fun!

Don’t forget the most important aspect of camp – it’s incredibly fun! With over 60 activities from which to choose, modern and wonderful facilities, special events and evening activities, and more than 450 campers to get to know, there are ample opportunities to laugh, learn, and grow at Weequahic.

 

Please don’t hesitate to call or write if we can be helpful with any questions about our three-week or six-week options at Camp Weequahic. Located just 2.5 hours northwest of New York City, we do our best to make the camp experience easy for our campers and their families.

 

We would be happy to learn more about your family and help however we can.

 

Can’t wait for camp!

Kids Don’t Remember the Best Day of Television…They Will Remember Their Favorite Day of Camp

Posted Monday, November 14th, 2016 by

 

weeq1Sitting on fences is not safe. If your kid was sitting on a fence, you’d tell them to get off before they fell backward and hurt themselves. But there you are, sitting on the metaphorical fence, hemming-and-hawing about whether or not to give your kid the best summer on the planet.

 

If your kids don’t go to camp this year, they’ll survive. They’ll watch some a lot of TV, sleep in, eat whatever they can find in the pantry, hang out with their friends (probably in your living room, with their smelly, teenage socks all over your couch) maybe visit grandma, do some swimming, and complain on day 5 of vacation that they are bored. You know it’s true because it has happened every single summer since they started kindergarten.  And now, for one reason or another, they have been begging and begging to go to summer camp and you keep telling them you need time to think about it.  At the end of summer, is it going to warm your heart to listen to them brag about how they binge-watched Netflix all summer, or would you rather hear them gush about the new friend they made, the sports they tried and experiences they will never forget?  It’s time to get off the fence.

 

Instead of watching TV all summer, your child could spend weeks in the mountain, hanging around campfires, making new friends, sailing and fishing and swimming and creating memories of a lifetime.  Instead of you having to yell at them to clean their room or find something to do, you would be reading letters about how they faced their fears and tried something new  at camp.  Instead of struggling to find something for them to do every day of the summer, you could have a little R&R yourself, knowing your kid is having a blast.  Instead of eating junk all day and sleeping in until noon, they could be filling their bellies with nutritious lunches, and waking up early to start their day of fun.  Instead of having a plain old boring summer, they could go back to school with story after story about hiking adventures, zip lines, smores under the stars and inside jokes with all of their new friends.

 

They spend the entire school year sitting down. They sit in their classes, they sit at lunchtime, and they come home and sit and do homework, and they sit and eat dinner and then they sit and watch TV and then they go to bed. And they wake up and do it all again the next day and the next day and the next day. So when summer comes along, why not reward them by giving them a chance to run, play, stretch and really be kids? Summer camp is the best place to do that.  Another great benefit of camp is all of the growing and learning that is done, most of the time without them even knowing it. They learn to compromise and communicate and learn self-discipline and self-confidence, things they definitely don’t learn sitting home in front of the TV all day.

 

If you’re really still on the fence about sending and your kid to camp, think about this: they won’t remember their favorite day of watching TV all day, but they will remember the lifetime memories made every day at camp.

What a Campfire Means to a Summer Camper

Posted Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 by

weequahic-blog

Camp life may thrive on variety, but the traditional evening campfire has remained constant for as long as anyone can remember. The mere mention of a campfire brings back a flood of memories for many summer campers; memories of friends gained, challenges overcome, and a time when all there was to worry about was playing games and growing stronger. Nothing captures the spirit of the summer camp experience quite like the snap-crackle-pop of the hot fire and the magical smell of freshly split logs waiting to get thrown on the flames.

A day at camp is often hectic and wild, and the evening campfire offers everybody a chance to wind down. Camp simply wouldn’t be the same without it. After all, the traditional evening campfire represents more than just a nice way to stay warm on a brisk night; gathering around the fire represents community, the circle of life, and togetherness with friends new and old.

Tradition

Fire has been a life source for all of recorded history, from the first ancient person to rub two sticks together to the diligent camper wielding flint and tinder. For all that time, friends and family have gathered around the fire to tell stories, play games and enjoy good food. (or s’mores, as the case may be!)

Building a fire with only matches, kindling and elbow grease is a chance to pit your wits against nature and enjoy a connection to “the old days” — before light bulbs, or flashlights, or flashlight apps on your smartphone.

Experiencing a campfire, and perhaps even starting one yourself, is a taste of independence for campers, for whom camp is the one of many steps towards independence and self-sufficiency.

Togetherness

Another thing campfires represent is a time for winding down through songs, skits, and theatrical games. Charades is never as funny as just before bedtime, when your best friend is dancing and gesturing desperately to get everybody to guess the right word. Even if you’re feeling tired after a long day of activities, you can count on this to be true: laughter flows freely by firelight. Just watch out for all the camp-related inside jokes!

And of course no mention of campfires is complete without talking about traditional camp songs, especially the kinds that involve audience participation. (“Hey, Burritos!” anybody?) Legend has it that there are campers out there who know so many verses of “The green grass grows all around” that it would take a whole day just to sing it from start to finish. Even if everybody sings out of tune, the harmony comes from the camp community’s commitment to keeping the traditional melodies alive — even the completely goofy ones.

…And of course we can’t forget s’mores!

One part of the fire nobody wants to miss: s’more time! Crafting the perfect golden-brown marshmallow is an art as old as marshmallows and fires. Like any fine art, roasting a marshmallow to perfection is a tricky task that takes hard work and commitment. (Thankfully, perfection is in the eye of the beholder, and truth be told some folks prefer to let them catch fire for a crispy flavor!)

Whether you prefer a classic graham cracker and hershey’s milk chocolate s’more or have your own special recipe — I for one appreciate homemade chocolate chip cookies — roasting marshmallows on a rip-roaring campfire is something nobody forgets.

Plus, it’s just the right amount of sugar to keep you awake for the closing songs, but not so awake that you have trouble drifting into peaceful dreams after lights out!

An Attitude of Gratitude

Posted Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by

The Attitude of Gratitude

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, we here at Weequahic are counting our many blessings. Just to name a few of our “thankfuls”:

  • The most special group of campers in the world.
  • Families who trust us to develop a community in which their children learn, grow, and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • A camp staff passionate about creating the best camp experience possible and talented and humble enough to do it successfully.
  • The opportunity to carry on a tradition that started in 1953 and has positively affected so many lives.

We talk a lot about gratitude at Weequahic. It’s one of three core principles (along with choosing your attitude and courage of the difficult, everyday variety). Our campers hear about it often, see it practiced each day, and learn about it more thoroughly at one of their weekly camp fires.

There are a number of great quotes on gratitude. Aesop, the great storyteller and teacher, said “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” When you find a person expressing true and humble gratitude, it certainly feels that Aesop is right.

However, people have been known to fake it. As La Rochefoucauld said, “In most of mankind gratitude is merely a secret hope of further favors.” I can think of times when, as a young person waiting for holiday gifts, I fell into that category. While I hope La Rochefoucauld is wrong, I know from experience there are many fakers out there.

May favorite quote on gratitude comes from Cicero: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

A person with a gracious heart is normally humble, helpful, and happy. They are not swayed by the swirling winds of society and seem older or wiser than their years suggest. This gracious outlook on life is a habit that leads to happier and virtuous journey. And, though some may argue that gratitude can be found in our genes, I’m a firm believer that an ‘attitude of gratitude’ can be built in each of us.

So, on this Thanksgiving, I challenge you to cultivate a gracious outlook on life. It is a choice and one we can’t wait to talk about more around the campfire!

Happy Thanksgiving, Weequahic.

Cole Kelly
Director