Month: October 2010

BOO! The Similarities between Halloween and Camp

Ah… Halloween us is upon us again. The kids are dressing up, planning their routes to the houses with good treats, and thinking of mischief… sounds like camp!

Actually, there are a lot of similarities between a great Halloween night and a great camp. Both allow kids to dress up a bit. On October 31st, this happens literally: vampires, cowboys, or superheroes (a staple around the Kelly household) roam the neighborhoods. At camp, kids to try different activities and are surrounded by other kids they have to get to know. It’s a fresh start for many, a time to ‘dress up’ up a bit.

Both Halloween, with its spooky music and haunted houses, and camp, a first time away from home and all those new people, seem scary at first. However, you quickly realize you are having a blast and, at the end, look back on the experience with both surprise and joy.

Finally, you have to approach both the correct way or it will not be a great experience. For October 31st, this means planning your route carefully and not stuffing all of those sweets in your mouth later that night. At camp, it means taking an active part in the experience and understanding that you are an integral part of a community, not the one being everything revolves around.

When done well, both Halloween and Camp can start with that fun nervous feeling in your stomach and end with delight. The good news about Camp: it won’t leave you with any cavities!

Have a Happy Halloween everyone.


PS: Jerry is already planning another Haunted House for next summer!

Taking Your Shot: Building Independence at Summer Camp

A good friend recently told a great story about his first encounter with basketball as a young boy. His father had put up a backboard and goal for his oldest son to practice upon. My friend, the younger brother, watched until his older brother was through and in the house before he gave it a try.

Holding the ball in his very young hands, he looked up at the goal “which looked like it was 100 feet in the air.” After standing there for a while and just staring at that far off goal, he noticed his father standing next to him.

“Son, are you ready to take your shot?” his father asked.

“Dad, it’s so far away. There is no way I can make it,” my friend dejectedly responded.

“Son, I didn’t ask you to make the shot. I asked if you were ready to take it.”

My friend went on to explain the beauty and power of studying, preparing, and then taking your shot. There is honor in a well-intentioned attempt. There is much to be learned in simply taking the shot: knowledge, increased skill, and, perhaps above all, independence. These factors combine to form the foundation and fuel for true self-esteem.

All of our first time campers are ‘taking their shot.’ It’s a very big deal to go to camp. For most, a session at Weequahic represents the first time they have been away from the comforts of home.

Surrounded by excited children and engaged staff from all over the country, our campers have the time of their lives while doing things they’d never have a chance to experience at home. They are taking their shot inside a community committed to helping it be a successful attempt. We can’t promise our campers will have fun because we can’t control what they think. We promise, though, if a child decides to take a shot, they’ll go home more knowledgeable, powerful, and independent.

So, here’s to taking the shot. Give it all you’ve got. We can’t wait to help.

Hat Tip to Chuck Hodges.

Cole Kelly, Camp Director

The Best of the Best

Many returning campers will tell you that the best thing about camp was the people, and they don’t just mean their bunkmates and fellow campers. Campers also develop strong bonds and relationships with their counselors and camp coaches. At Camp Weequahic, the camp director works year-round to find the highest-caliber professional staff, and these dedicated adults devote their summers to your kids and their development.

In addition to many of the staff being former campers themselves, they are also graduate students, teachers, coaches, and even some professional athletes, all of whom want to mentor and teach kids in the amazing environment of summer camp. Being a teacher isn’t enough, nor is being an experienced coach. The camp staff have to connect with camp-age kids and form the bonds that make the weeks at camp so special and productive.

We all know that kids learn better from coaches and teachers they like and respect and will retain the skills and lessons much longer. How many of us can still remember our favorite mentor and something specific they told us all those (many!) years ago?

While camp isn’t school, as we all know, your child’s camp program is specially designed to make the most out of the experiential/informal education nature of a summer in the woods. Many of the coaches at camp have spent many years working at camp, perfecting their programs and curricula. They know what works in a camp setting (and what doesn’t) and have shaped their programs so your kids get the maximum benefit.

Camp coaches also go above and beyond the normal expectations of parents. Many of the coaches, for example, will communicate with the kids’ coaches back home so the transition and skill-building is seamless. The kids don’t miss a beat.

At Weequahic, the coaches are dedicated to developing advanced skills in many areas, including soccer, lacrosse, tennis, basketball, and swimming. Shorter season programs allow kids to try out something new, while longer six week sessions give them just the right amount of time to develop new skills and continue to build on them as the summer progresses.

Please visit the rest of the Weequahic website to learn more about the fantastic group of people waiting for you!