Month: May 2018

Wolves of Weequahic

I’ve always been fascinated by wolves. They are incredible creatures who thrive and play together. I’ve
spoken about two wolves around the campfire before.

In my reading this year, I stumbled over a wonderful poem from Rudyard Kipling about wolves I had yet to read:

Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,

And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back;

For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.

There is a great deal more to this poem which I’ll leave to you to enjoy. However, I wanted to focus on the last line because it’s vital for any community and especially, I think, Weequahic.

The Camper and Camp

Our campers come from all over. While they are from different backgrounds and have vastly different experiences, they share one thing in common: they want to make a friend this summer.

Our community is only as good as the connections that are built within it. In order for it to be the best it can be, our campers have to come prepared to reach out to everyone around them. It doesn’t matter that we have differences. What matters is that we work together to have a blast.

The strength of Weequahic is in each one of our campers and staff members. From this amazing collection of people comes our joy, fellowship, excitement and adventure. The strength of Weequahic is certainly in each camper.

And, as we come together at camp for three or six weeks, we are bound together by tradition and our values of gratitude, attitude, and courage. Without these shared sentiments, we would have no chance of creating the type of experience we enjoy. Therefore, as the poem suggests, the happiness and strength of each camper and staff member comes from camp.

We cannot wait to get everyone to Weequahic this summer. It’s going to be an amazing summer!

Can’t wait for camp,

Cole Kelly, Director

Time for Tradition

We have A LOT to look forward to this summer. New friends, new adventures, new sites. You even get to enjoy fun food you almost never have – can you say ‘liquid nitrogen slush puppies’ and ‘taco in a bag?’

And, while there will be a lot of ‘new’, you’ll also get to experience a wide number of traditions we enjoy each summer. Some happen every day while others are a little further in between. Two of them happen just at the end. Here’s a bit of a preview….

Daily Traditions

Starting camp by the flagpole with the entire camp is a treat. It’s one of the few chances everyone gets to be together in one spot. Juniors through CITs and all of our staff gather around the flag each morning at 9:40am. We greet each other, play a little bit, hear about the big news of the day, celebrate birthdays, and start the day as one.

Later each day, you can find at least one bunk (if not the whole crowd) dancing on their chairs in the Dining Hall. Music plays at every lunch and dinner and most of it is requested by the kids. Our in-house DJs do their best to keep the lunch and dinner crowds bee-bopping along.

To end the day, we get to spend a bit of time reflecting on all for which we were grateful. We do this by naming at least two of our daily happies. I walk through the boys bunks while Camp Director Kate or our Head Counselor Tiny gets the happies from the girls. I don’t know a better way to end the day.

Every Now & Then Traditions

While not all of our Evening Activities happen as one camp, those that do are special. So special, in fact, that we end each of them by joining arms, facing the lake, and singing Taps and Alma Mater. These songs have been sung together for decades and we look forward to enjoying them together again soon.

(For our new campers, don’t worry – we’ll provide you the words in our upcoming NewsWeeq and at camp.)

We also enjoy other traditions that happen each summer depending on the session. Events like Carnival, Swim the Lake, our AT Hikes and more. While I can explain them, it will be a lot more fun to experience them at camp!

Ending Traditions

At the end of each of our sessions, we enjoy a ‘Color War’ experience – Tribals in the first three week and Olympics in the second. While they rhyme, each has their own traditions, teams, and expectations. Sportsmanship remains supreme in each as our campers ‘battle’ across the arts, aquatics, athletic, and adventure activities.

After we’ve found the winning team, its time to start packing up and saying our ‘good byes.’ There are certainly tears at this point, we remind everyone the wonderful phrase from Dr. Seuss: Don’t be sad because its over. Be glad that it happened!

 As we put our wishboats in the water and make our memories come alight, we get to reflect on what has been an amazing three or six weeks. At the end, we have all enjoyed new experiences while also connecting with traditions that began before us and will last after our time at Weequahic. That’s a pretty powerful combination…

…and we can’t wait to enjoy it with you! See you soon,

Cole Kelly

Preparing Parents

As of this writing, the start of Summer 2018 is just 50 days away. Let me first state the following: YAHOO!!! We can’t wait to get the kids to camp!

That said, there is a lot for our parents to prepare. The packing list, bags, the forms… it’s a lot. We know and wish we could make it easier.

But while ‘the stuff’ that makes camp work has grown over the past several decades, the results – an amazing summer full of fun, friends and growth – is still the goal.

And, you aren’t just preparing the gear but also your children as well! We have 150+ campers attending Weequahic for the first time this summer. Helping them to start on off on the right foot is important.

Focusing on what will be great about the experience, coming up with a plan on what to do when (not ‘if’) they miss home, and helping to build some pre-camp connections are important and useful. We are excited to help with any and all of those ideas.

The same goes for our 500+ returning campers. Parents who prepare their returning kiddos to know that camp will be different some ways helps to make for a more joyful return.

Because they are different kids now than when they left the previous summer, camp will seem changed when the get back to their summer home. They’ve got ‘different eyes’ through which to see and experience Weequahic.

Prepare Yourself, Too!

Finally, parents – you are preparing yourselves! Sending your child off for three or six weeks is a daunting task. I know – just sending our boys off for a ten-day jaunt with a grandfather is hard enough!

First of all, call us anytime. While the kids are at camp, we are happy to help no matter what and no matter when. During the summer, our office is open from 8am to 8pm seven days a week and I’ve got an emergency cell phone on me at all times. (I’ll share the number as we get closer to camp.)

Secondly, please know that everyone who is a part of our team is at Weequahic because they want to create an amazing experience for everyone they meet though gratitude, attitude and courage. And, we train and support them all the way!

We believe it’s important to find team members who will live out these values around our kids. We will all do our best to ensure your camper’s safety and well-being while also building a hugely positive experience filled with awesome moment.

Third, please know that we are going to make some mistakes. We are human, too! That said, we’ll listen, be quick to acknowledge where we have screwed up, and will do our best to fix the situation asap.

Parents, please let us know how we can help to prepare for the best summer imaginable. We’ll do all we can to make sure that both you and your camper has an amazing experience with us!

Can’t wait for camp,