Although most campers leave camp an excited, talkative and outgoing ball of energy, not all of them come to camp that way. Camp has a magical way of taking a quiet and introverted child and encouraging them to find their voice and speak up for themselves. Children who came to camp as followers can emerge as outspoken leaders. Every camper is different and comes with their own unique personality, but each camper will spend the summer learning to communicate with other adults and their peers, a vital skill that children need to learn as they navigate through their formative years.
Campers are always encouraged to work through their issues and problems in a healthy and productive manner, and learn various conflict management techniques. They are taught how to speak up for themselves and make sure their opinions and ideas are heard. They learn how to feel confident asking for help, and learn to be their own advocate.
Learning to find their voice is one of the best things a young person can do for their confidence and self esteem. Learning to say no without feeling guilty and feeling confident about contributing to a conversation are valuable life skills. Learning these skills could mean the difference between a student caving into peer pressure and one who can speak their mind. In a world where kids face challenges every single day regarding whether they will be a leader or a follower, a student who spent the summer at Camp Weequahic will have the experience necessary to speak up for what is right, even if they’re the only one speaking.
Campers who learn to speak up for themselves also learn to speak up for others. In a society where bullying is so prominent, the world needs more young people who are able to say what they think, stand up for what is right, and know how to do so in a way that is healthy and productive. A camper who spent the summer finding their voice may use it to help another friend, student or sibling who hasn’t found theirs yet.
Instilling confidence in the youth of country is something that will change the world, and when campers truly find their voice and learn how to express their ideas in a constructive way, they feel confident enough to truly make a difference.
The grass whispers to you as you stride down the hill. When you near the lakefront, you hear kids yelling and laughing with joy. The wind whistles a happy song while the sun smiles down on you. You beam back up and you suddenly feel like playing a game of pickup basketball. Luckily, Camp Weequahic has this, which along with other activities, contribute to its perfection. With these activities come life-long friends and then everlasting memories. As you can see, Camp Weequahic is a place you never want to leave. After three to six weeks of spending time with your second family, your real parents are the only thing taking you back.
The first thing you want to check out once you arrive at Camp Weequahic are the activities. In the morning, you are tired, yet thrilled for the day ahead. Maybe a nice game of tennis or basketball will warm you up. During the first basketball league morning, you get evaluated. Then after the draft, you split into teams and see if you can make it into the playoffs. You want to play in the league so much that you are bummed when you realize it’s only every other morning. But as the sun starts bearing down on you around midday, you want to go snag your bathing suit and cannonball into the waterfront. As you plunge in, the cool water lazily glides over you, soothing the effect of the warm summer day. Your friends jump in and you realize you never want this to end. What with the perfect-temperature water and the incredible experiences, who would? After splashing around and scuffling to get to the top of your favorite floats, it’s time to get out. When you do, the warm air rushes back to meet you. Springing along with your friends, you race to put on your towels and crocs, then to get back up to the bunk. As the day comes to a close, the realization comes that you need to get as many competitions in as you can. Everyone races to behind the boys’ cabins to play mini basketball hoops, ping pong, taps, and kickball. I wonder who will win!
During all these remarkable activities, you meet and make new friends around camp and in your bunk who you’ll keep in contact with for years. For example, JP is one of my best friends. I met him at Camp Weequahic, and we talk and text all the time. When you have your bunkmates, all the activities suddenly seem more fun. Plus, your friends will always be with you: When something sad happens, who’s there to help you through it? When you hurt yourself, who’s there to comfort the pain? When the best thing ever happens, who’s there to congratulate you? The answer is indefinitely your friends. They are the ones you can depend on to have a good time. At lunch, it won’t be fun dancing by yourself to the music; you need to have other people there jamming with you. I mean what’s better than dancing to your favorite song with your chums as the sweet buttery dinner aromas flounce around your nose? But when you sit down as the mouth-watering crumble-in-your-mouth brownies are finally being served, you realize there are also friends you make who aren’t in your bunk. When you are playing a game or taking part in an activity without your cabin, you’re going to have to hang out with other people. You can embrace this during Tribal Wars. Depending on what tribe you’re on, you will be with different campers and counselors. For example, on Seminole (the tribe I was on) was this kid named Spencer. He wasn’t in my bunk, but we still became friends.
With friends come tons of exceptional memories that will never leave you. There are bound to be times where you win your football league or water ski with your friends. And if not, there is always the Camp Weequahic dance, eating ice cream in the enormous trough, and MTV night. The best part about these valuable memoirs is you get to share them with those around you. When you are at MTV night, I promise that you will never forget that moment where you are singing and dancing to a song with your bunk. But strangely, no matter how embarrassing and awkward, you will always have fun. Another great experience is Tribal Wars. Even though through these three tremendous weeks you may be against your friends, it is also one of the more exciting parts of camp. When our co-director suddenly stops the Weequahic Play with a blazing torch in her hand, you know you will never want to go; you never want this to stop. You are only waiting to find out what tribe you are on for about fifteen minutes, but honestly, the suspense kills!
In conclusion, Camp Weequahic is a place you might be nervous about going, but terrified of leaving. Once you arrive, you know you are in paradise and you’ll never find another place like this even if you devote your entire life to it. Once you start engaging in the activities, you make new friends with whom memories are made. After your session at camp is over, you’re begging your parents not to take you away. You try convincing them about how it’s so great. They finally drag you out but you only have one thought in mind: Camp Weequahic is a place you never want to leave.
Sometimes it is good to procrastinate. Sometimes, slow and steady wins the race. But when there are just a few spots left at some of the best summer camps in the country, procrastination is not your friend. If you’ve been on the fence about this summer being the summer where you do something new, big and exciting for your child, here are a few reasons why you should ACT NOW:
Camp Weequahic reaches maximum capacity every single year. The remaining spots will be filled, so why not let your child be the one who fills them? If you continue to put it off, once you finally decide to make the move to get your excited camper signed up, you may have to explain to them that they have to wait until next summer, and help them unpack their tidy little suitcase.
The kids need time to get pumped up! By getting them signed up now, they will have plenty of time to get used to the idea that they are about to have the best summer of their lives. It also gives them time to ask all the questions they have about camp, and gives you time to find all of the answers to ease their anxieties. Knowing ahead of time what the summer plans are will help them feel secure in the decision instead of trying to process everything last minute.
By getting your kids registered for camp early, they have the opportunity to get to know the staff that will be taking care of them all summer. Kids (and parents) receive phone calls from parent liaisons, camp directors and division heads prior to the first day of camp. This allows kids and parents to become familiar with some of the staff they will see when they arrive.
More importantly, kids can connect with other kids who will be attending camp too. Knowing a few friendly faces when your child arrives at camp can ease their nerves, and can be the foundation of life long friendships.
On a less exciting note, there’s a lot of paperwork and preparation to do! Waiting until the last second will only cause stress on your part. Give yourself plenty of time to read the family handbook, fill out the paperwork, get all of the health forms together and of course, pack!
Leave the procrastination to writing thank you cards, going to the dentist and cleaning out your closet, but not for enrolling your child in Camp Weequahic. There are still spots left, what are you waiting for?