Dance has become such a popular activity that campers are increasingly seeking dance camp experiences. Some Weequahic campers are serious dancers while others just want to take the opportunity during the summer to improve their skills. Camp Weequahic’s dance team also competes in Wayne County dance camp competitions. Most children say that it’s easier to try something that might be difficult when they’re in a place where they feel like they can be themselves, and many like to explore dance during summer camp because they find the fun, accepting environment easier to endure the bumps that inevitably come with learning new things.
Not every camper who enjoys Dance at Camp Weequahic is an aspiring dancing star, however Many venture into dance for the first time because they’re curious to learn the latest moves, and their enthusiasm grows when they find those moves come in handy during camp shows and special activities.
Dance is popular because it’s a fun activity that everyone can enjoy. All choice camps like Camp Weequahic give campers an opportunity to make almost their entire camp experience a dance one or to just learn a few new steps and tricks here and there.
Summer Camp cooking programs like Camp Weequahic’s help campers learn their way around the kitchen by teaching them how to make fun snacks. Eating a warm chocolate chip cookie that one helped bake makes a second home feel even more like home, and it’s a special treat to which many campers look forward. In fact, some of the treats campers whip up in the cooking studio have become part of Camp Weequahic tradition. Camp Weequahic cooking instructors also teach campers tips for making some of their favorite snacks more nutritious as part of an overall effort to help campers maintain a healthy lifestyle while at camp. Here’s one of our favorite recipes from the Camp Weequahic cooking studio:
No Bake Choc Chip Truffles
1 cup soft butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp water
1 (6 ounce) package mini chocolate chips
· Cream butter and sugar together.
· Add remaining ingredients and mix well by hand.
· Roll into bite-size balls.
· Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Store in a plastic zip-type bag in the freezer.
· Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes before eating. (Makes 4 dozen)
Hi everyone. My name is Chad Razey and I’m 22 years old and attend the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! I will graduate in May of 2012 and look to continue my education at Auburn University. I first came to camp as a basketball instructor and bunk counselor and am now moving into the Basketball Director position. I can remember my interview for the job so clearly. I was able to meet Tony and Sue Baldwin in their home and we had a great conversation. I was convinced that camp was the place for me and I would really be able to apply my physical education major. And I got so much more from the experience!
I love the atmosphere at Camp Weequahic. I have never experienced another place where you can walk in and feel like nowhere else in the world has to exist. Weequahic has it all, from great people to great facilities; whatever you look for in a camp, Weequahic has it. I was not just a counselor or a basketball instructor. I was a part of a family. The staff got so close that many of us formed relationships that will last a lifetime. The children that I worked with looked up to me as a big brother and a role model; they never saw me as their boss.
Weequahic is its own world. While at camp, there are no weekdays or weekends, there is just camp. No one is stressed from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and everything seems to always flow smoothly. The people you are surrounded with always attempt to make your day better in some way. Weequahic is like a utopia, nestled in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania.
I am thankful for new leadership opportunities, and the chance to return to my summer Utopia! Go Weequahic 2012!
You may have heard the Weequahic directors and year round staff were college athletes. It’s true. Well, Cole played golf at Virginia, so he was almost an athlete! Between the four of us, we’ve coached baseball, soccer, and golf at the NCAA Division 1 level for more than 20 years.
So, Weequahic must be a pretty competitive place, right?
Our focus is activity and skill development, rather than outcome. Competition is a wonderful tool for developing teamwork, community, and communication. It also helps determine areas for improvement. In essence, when done correctly, a little competition can really help a camper.
Weequahic is a part of the Wayne County Camp Association. Among its other duties, the WCCA organizes tournaments throughout the summer for our 31 associated camps in almost all of our activities. From swim and track meets to flag football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and lax games, we have just about anything a camper could want. We will even take campers to local USTA tennis tournaments so they can compete with kids from all over our region. While we have fun with a little competition, we are BIGGER believers in fun, skill development, and play.
If a camper wants to play on one of our teams, he or she simply needs to raise a hand and say ‘I want to be on the team.’ Once campers commit, they are good to go, regardless of their skill level. And, as long as they are supportive of their teammates and putting forth their best effort, they’ll play!
With one exception, we do not have tryouts at Weequahic. We require tryouts for tennis only because league rules restrict tennis rosters to eight players. If more than eight campers want to play, we hold a ladder tournament to determine the roster.
That said, sports competition is not for everyone. That is why we have incredible aquatics, adventure, and arts programs including things like Magic, Skate Park, Robotics, Radio, Music and more.
Not all of our camp competition, however, is relegated to WCCA events. What summer would be complete without a Color War type of competition?
Campers in our first session enjoy Tribals, a four team multi-day spirit competition. Vying for the “Deed of the Land”, campers play, sing, cheer, and laugh as they compete in spirit competitions in which everyone adds value to their Tribe. Campers in the second session enjoy Olympics, a five day competition between Army and Navy teams that dates back to our founding in 1953.
So, whether you are an athlete who wants to improve or an artist that is thrilled to explore the creative side of camp, Weequahic has something fun to offer. See you at camp!
If your child is dreaming about camp, it’s not too soon to make a choice for summer 2011! Many campers are counting the days until they can return, anticipating seeing friends and staff, and looking forward to another super summer. Others are wondering about camp for the first time. For everyone, there are a number of resources and ways to find out more about each camp.
Here are a few suggestions for choosing which camp is the best fit for your camper:
1. Talk to friends and family who have already been to camp. One camper recently chose Camp Weequahic to follow in the footsteps of a cousin and a friend. Since the seasoned campers had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about their adventure, the new camper decided to go and experience things for herself. Other first time campers go to camp with a special friend or cousin who is also a first-timer. Some campers follow in the footsteps of an older relative and start a new generation of alumni—so, make sure to ask for suggestions from family and friends who may have been campers!
2. Watch camp videos, attend an information night (or both), and it will be easy to visualize the fun ahead. It often helps to picture the experience and imagine a specific setting. Campers can watch a video more than once and report that the video often gets them “hooked”. They start to see themselves at camp. A home visit is also a great way to make personal contact with actual campers and staff.
3. Explore each camp website to find out what’s distinct about that camp, check faqs and read firsthand accounts. You’ll find links to social media conversations and get a feel for each unique location. The websites are also a good place to check out changes and additions from previous years—there’s a lot going on.
4. For questions about homesickness, safety, how to tell if your child is ready for camp or more, read previous blogs that are packed with information and answers. If you’re wondering, someone else is probably wondering too!
5. If you’re planning for Summer 2012, make arrangements to visit camp this year. You can tour Camp Weequahic during the summer. Throughout the summer, Camp Weequahic your child can also sample the Weequahic experience through the Camper for a Day and Camper for a Week programs. Camp Starlight offers tours, as well.
6. Always remember that there are no dumb questions. Make a list and don’t feel that you can’t ask. Now is the perfect time to communicate with camp staff before camp is in full swing and fun is in full gear!
A Camp Weequahic parent recently shared with us that after seeing camp pictures, she immediately felt jealous and wished she could go too. That summer, her daughter’s first letter from camp arrived asking if she could stay 6 weeks instead of the 3 she had signed up for! Those first instincts from looking at photos online and a little research had helped find a perfect fit. Moral of the story: You don’t have to go far to find out more about camp. Don’t be surprised if the process turns out to be a lot of fun—everything about camp has a way of being that!
Do you have a story to share about selecting a camp with a friend or relative? Who would you choose to take to camp?
Every day at summer camp is exciting and busy, but every camper looks forward to those special camp events and traditions that are unique to each camp. I still have vivid memories of our camp talent show and the wonderful skit our staff put together using a sheet, a bright flash light and their own shadows. It took place thirty years ago, but it still brings a smile to my face, and that one memory triggers a hundred others. Every camp has their own special camp traditions that bring the entire camp together for friendly competition, unique bonding activities, wonderful gourmet treats, and a chance to show off talents and teamwork.
At Camp Weequahic, a main event is Tribals, which takes place at the end of the first session. The campers are divided into four teams, each representing the four classic elements: earth, wind, fire and water. The previous summer’s winning team keeps the same name (i.e., Seneca) while the other three teams have new names. The events include everything from athletics to spirit events. Other events campers can look forward to are Ms. Weequahic – girls dress up male counselors who then put on a talent (or lack thereof) show; Ron Dagan has been performing at Weequahic for over 20 years; and enjoying different evening activities created over the years: Weequahic Goldrush, Panic, and others.
Such special events are the memory-makers of summer camp, where kids, staff, counselors and bunkmates come together in friendships that will last a lifetime! So when will you be joining in?
How would you describe the essential elements of a summer camp? Do the adventures of spending days with peers, learning new skills, trying new activities, bonfires and skits, great counselors— all the fun of the whole experience— first come to mind? These are definitely important elements of summer camp from a camper’s perspective, but there are a lot of other elements that have to be in place for a camp to be successful year after year. Have you ever wondered what it takes to set the scene and develop communities where good times can take place? I have.
The camp experience is part of the heritage and culture of the United States, and for generations, American families have sent their children to camp—about 10 million children last year alone! As you can guess, each camp has it’s own story and distinct cultural and physical environment, so each camp experience is unique.
The ACA is the professional organization tThe American Camp Association (ACA) is the professional organization that educates camp owners and directors in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, program quality, and the health and safety of campers and staff. The ACA also establishes guidelines for policies, procedures, and practices when running a camp. Of course, Camp Weequahic is a fully accredited member of the ACA. Each year, camp professionals gather for a national conference to discuss their work. Last year’s conference title alone, 20/20 Toolbox: Tomorrow’s Camps, Today’s Realities illustrates how camps are focused on creating the very best experiences for today and also into the future.
The staff at Camp Weequahic works all year to make sure that facilities are maintained and prepared for when camp is in session. There are so many details to take care of— from making sure that buildings are cared for, to improving camp facilities, adding or updating equipment and ensuring that health and safety codes are met. Camp owners and managers also have to keep up with changing demographics and expectations from their clientele. So long before campers arrive, camp staff are learning about new practices, meeting up to date regulations, putting current ideas into practice and working towards providing the best of the best. There are activities and events to plan, qualified counselors to recruit, ideas for even more fun than last year to implement and new campers to meet around the country. As camper’s needs and tastes change over the years, camp staff are dedicated to making each year as special as the last–and while traditions are an important part of camp life there is lots of room for fresh programs too.
At Camp Weequahic, we have instituted a Total Choice Program, allowing our campers to develop their own individual summer experiences. Our motto: Your Summer. Your Choice! Each Weequahic day will provide a balance of program periods where campers have the opportunity to explore their own interests through daily choices. This exciting approach to daily programming will make it more interesting for our campers and allow for even better skill instruction led by top NCAA former athletes and current coaches. In addition to the exciting program changes, we have renovated our bunks with new bathrooms and new beds and cubbies. Our facility has also been expanded with the addition of a new Skate Park. It’s out-of-sight!!
As parents, we often hear predictions about the necessity for our children to prepare for a new and “global” world. While some people explain that the roots for global interactions were planted centuries ago, current electronic and transportation technologies make people across the globe even more connected and interdependent. So how can we prepare our children and give them experiences to help them become globally literate?
Of course, travel is an obvious way to help children increase their cultural currency, but going to camp also helps foster global thinking and skills in specific ways. Summer camp is a place where children from around the world and different parts of the United States connect with each other, build lifelong friendships, try new things and practice living together. At Camp Weequahic for example, campers have recently travelled from France, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela to join in the fun. On average, about 5% of campers come from outside the United States but wherever your child departs from, they can benefit from the diverse mix of kids at camp. They can practice a language and will definitely learn about different customs with daily interaction and time to soak it all in. Most importantly, they will learn how to respectfully engage with people with different views, who may not approach everything the same way.
In her book, Growing Up Global:Raising Children to Be At Home in the World, Homa Sabet Tavangar says that the first step towards developing a global outlook requires “embracing the mind-set to make a friend and be a good friend.” Making friends means practicing universal qualities like empathy and respect, and building lasting friendships at camp is a huge part of the total experience. Counselors and staff are trained and at the ready to help campers grow in this area, build new skills when necessary and model caring for others. Tavangar explains that versions of the Golden Rule, or “treat others as you wish to be treated,” permeate all cultures and faith traditions and elaborates on these in her book. When children embrace the universal values of caring for each other, they employ humility, curiosity and compassion which then leads to making true friends—and that’s what makes a world citizen.
So, wherever we go in the world, it’s the experience of breaking down the elements of diverse cultures and seeing what makes them similar or distinct, that prepares us for relating to each other. For kids, a baby step towards negotiating new cultures can be overcoming the fear of new foods or being away from home at camp where things are “different”—after all, every camp, and each year, has it’s own special character or culture. For example, many campers bond over the issue of learning to like new foods and it’s that kind of experience that prepares children for the future.
Growing up global is not just about preparing to do business in the world economy. It’s about having the comfort and desire to connect with the Kenyan dad who coaches a local soccer team, a Turkish neighbor with distinct fashion style or an American who expects consistent electrical power! Ultimately it’s about being curious about differences instead of afraid of them and valuing making friends with the diverse people we meet. Psychologists link friendship to an individual’s health and ultimately to the ability to survive—so friendships are key to feeling at home in our individual skins as well as feeling at home on our planet.
Our experiences at summer camp are a key component in raising globally aware and confident children. The friendships and lessons learned at camp will last long after camping season ends as campers continue to expand their horizons, stay connected with friends across time and geography and find their life’s passions. How do you plan to raise global kids and make camp a part of their preparation? Have you read Growing Up Global or used any of Tavangar’s suggestions? We’d love to hear how camp contributed to defining your world view!
“The greatest asset of Camp Weequahic is that we have put together a full traditional camp experience and power packed it into three-weeks,” says Cole Kelly, Camp Weequahic’s co-director. The camp runs two three-week sessions (June 26-July 17 and July 21-August 11 in 2010) and you’ll be amazed at what they manage to to squeeze into a mere 21 days. Campers get to experience two-day specialty camps with guest instructors; participate in county tournaments in eight different sports; go on off-campus trips; and take part in special events (backwards day!) and evening activities. Families also have the option of sending their kids to both sessions for a total of six weeks of camp. To make the super-six option completely stress free, there are activities at camp for those staying over the break. “It’s an amazing summer, whichever option families choose,” says Kelly.
Location, Location, Location
Camp Weequahic is nestled on 100 acres in picturesque Lakewood, Pennsylvania, which is located just 2-1/2 hours from New York City. “Our central location allows us to be the gateway to children who want to come from around the country and around the world for a great camp experience,” says Kelly. Children fly into JFK from all points foreign and domestic and are met at the jetway by camp staff and escorted to air-conditioned motorcoaches for the ride to Lakewood.
History and Tradition
While campers have access to the best of the best in today’s camping world (more on that later), the camp staff and campers never lose sight of the long, storied tradition of the camp, which goes back more than five decades. The camp was established in 1953 and it’s recreation hall walls are covered with plaques from the past 50 years of camp olympics. The camp motto, “Where Caring is a Tradition,” is still the guiding principle of all things Weequahic. Nothing takes a back seat to creating a supportive and caring community for campers, Kelly says.
Ideally, summer camp is a place where there is always something new and different and something special for everyone. At Camp Weequahic, choice rules. “We have 50 different activities for campers to experience, and everyone is encouraged to try new things and improve their skills at old favorites,” says Kelly. Whether your child wants to move up to the next level in tennis, master the newest sweet water skiing trick, or cook a gourmet meal, Camp Weequahic provides top-notch professional instruction in all their core areas. There are six activity periods throughout the day and every camper gets to pick their activities for at least two of those periods. (As the campers get older, their number of choice periods increase.) Weequahic also features cutting edge facilities, including a brand new roller hockey rink, gymnastics center and outdoor adventure course with climbing walls and a zip line. (Makes you want to enroll yourself, doesn’t it?)
Unfortunately, we moms (and dads) can’t enroll ourselves for all the fun Camp Weequahic has to offer. But if you’re interested in finding out more, you can take a virtual tour on the camp’s website by clicking here, and you can get in touch with camp staff, including Cole Kelly and his wife Kate, who serves as co-director, by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kiersten Johnson, the head of our girl’s lower camp is a woman on the go! A mother of three herself, it is no surprise that she is able to shepherd our 29 youngsters so swiftly. She works deftly to assure that the campers and counselors are happy, healthy and safe. And, are they ever! Kiersten treats the kids as her own and can be found arm and arm with one girl or surrounded by a gaggle of five to ten. There is no doubt that her sunny disposition and warm heart help win the affection of those around her. While this is her first summer at Weequahic, she has spent many of her adult years working in camping, in addition to a lifetime spent at family camp. Her favorite part about working at camp is witnessing the personal growth of both campers and counselors. Kiersten is a consummate professional; her instincts are spot on and she works hard to do things right, the Weequahic way.
A self-proclaimed gypsy, Kiersten is an explorer. Since college she has literally moved every three years seeking adventure for her and her family, living in Ohio, South Carolina and Florida, to name a few states. When she returns from camp she intends to put her house on the market and set off for another home. Her three children are home schooled which makes this journey together easier. Their lives are surrounded by service and music as the Johnsons often perform musically at church or in senior homes, for example. A handy woman indeed, Kiersten is happiest when tearing down walls, installing bathrooms and remodeling homes.
When not at camp, Kiersten is deeply committed to working as a consultant for autistic children. She has earned a certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis and as a leading expert in the field she speaks nationally at conferences. She has been responsible for training teachers as well as entire school districts. She also devotes her time contributing to the enhancement of non-profit organizations. Her proudest accomplishment to date is her recent production of a documentary film that she hopes will have widespread impact on the lives of autistic children.
A few of her campers from Bunk 23, Athena, Charlotte, Jenna and Rae had the opportunity to interview Kiersten and this is what they learned:
What is your favorite tv show?
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
What is your favorite movie?
-Any Jane Austin movie
What is your favorite color?
Where is your favorite place to travel?
-Ireland, any rainy weather place
What is your favorite hobby?
-Arts and Crafts
What is your favorite food?
What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
-Dislocated my thumb
Thank you, Kiersten! Camp Weequahic is grateful for the work you do each day.