Category: News from Weequahic

Sad News about Camp Dog Mac

Kate and I have sad news to share. After 10 glorious summers at Weequahic, Camp Dog Mac has passed on. Unfortunately, the last trip to the vet revealed multiple, inoperable tumors. After a last few good days with us at home, we put Mac to rest this afternoon.

Camp was easily Mac’s happiest place. He’d start each summer excitedly sniffing the air as we pulled onto Woods Road following the 13-hour trek from Georgia. He’d bark and howl and run all over camp. All of the animals who had called Weequahic home for the previous few months took notice – the “alpha” was back.

Once the kids arrived, Mac spent each morning waiting patiently at the flagpole for the day to start. As soon as we dismissed, he headed straight for his favorite spot: the fishing dock.  He loved to challenge the campers to see who’d get the fish off the hook first. Sadly for the fish, Mac won a few of those contests.

He was a big fan of the UPS driver who delivered treats along with the boxes and an even bigger fan of Chef Daniel and his crew, especially when they forgot to put the trash up into the ‘Mac-proof’ bins. His true love was the attention the campers provided in buckets.

A few prospective families refused to come to a camp with dog allowed to roam.  With a smile on my face, I’d always reply that I understood and that, considering Mac was way more popular than me, he’d be staying just as he was: free and trusted. Why didn’t he ever leave camp? There was too much love and too much to do.

When not traipsing around camp, Mac would be found in Kate’s office or my own. He was the first to give a tail-wagging greeting to any camper or staff who walked in, instantly putting everyone at ease. Many a free play, he was found in the company of a home-sick camper, barking at the video drone, or, more recently, gallivanting around with the Nugent’s dog, Gus. At flag lowering, he was ready to ‘help’ any camper who miss-judged their birthday cupcake catch.

At Lights Out, Mac would follow Kate through the younger girls’ bunks saying goodnight. What could be better than a high-five from Camp Director Kate followed by a sniff and nuzzle from Mac?

While he started camp with a huge grin, he ended it each summer by hiding from us, refusing to leave. Just like our campers, he spent the first few days back home moping, mourning the loss of the connection and community of Weequahic. He truly loved being at camp.

We’ll be sad to miss our four-legged friend. He’s been a big part of our family for a long time. Rather than mourn too long, we’ll do our best to move to the ‘celebration’ phase of remembrance. We’ve so many memories to rejoice over and will remain ever grateful for his time with us.

God speed, Augustus McCrae Kelly. You were a damn good dog.

we are all neighbors

The Start of Our Summer 202One Journey

When you think of summer camp, you rarely think ‘hero.’

Words like fun, friends, tradition, s’more, and color war normally come up first. The ‘hero’ moniker is reserved for those people who go above and beyond, who help and serve, who overcome, lead, and teach.

It’s been a year of heroes, has it not? Our front-line healthcare professionals certainly jump out when thinking of the term ‘hero’ in relation to 2020. Many teachers who went above and beyond the call of their normal duty to educate and engage their students from a distance. Those who peacefully and fervently raised their voices against some of the ills present in our society. These and many more rose to the lofty height of heroes.

Yes, there have certainly been some who could easily be described as villains, too. I choose to focus on the positive, though, in hopes of instilling a drive and desire toward the light.

Hero’s Journey

You may or may not have heard about the ‘Hero’s Journey.’ It’s a phrase coined by Joseph Campbell, a teacher and writer who researched historical and current day myths from around the world. Heroes, to Professor Campbell, go through a similar journey no matter who they are or from whence they come.

(Here is a great, short video that explains the whole idea from TedEd.)

Here’s the long and short of it: a hero is called to an adventure, something to battle and overcome. The process includes finding a mentor or guide, leaving what they know behind, bumping up (repeatedly) against challenges that require the hero to grow and change, a major crisis, victory over that crisis, and the return to home a changed person.

From a summer camp perspective, this actually fits beautifully with the camp counselor experience. It’s hard to describe just how much our young staff grow and change as they learn through their summer with us.

Sure, it’s incredibly fun. But it’s also really, really hard. Crisis does come for each of them at some point. They all hit a wall whether it be ‘out of a comfort zone,’ patience, not knowing how to help or something else. When they overcome that crisis, they leave camp different: more confident, competent, empathetic, patient, and humble.

Summer Camp’s Journey

From my perspective as a camp owner, I can honestly tell you ‘camp,’ if you think of it as a person, is certainly on its own Hero’s Journey right now.

Having missed a summer – something Weequahic has never done through wars, recessions, and previous pandemics – we’ve left our normal routines of ‘home.’ We’ve got wonderful guides who are helping through the next parts of our journey. There are challenges we’ve not faced before. And, we see the light of Summer 202One and know we will arrive back ‘home’ a better camp for our campers, staff and families back home. We’ll certainly be changed… for the better!

Summer 202One Theme: Heroes

Having gone through this year as we did, I feel it is time to focus on heroes: their journey, their questions, their challenges. Of course, we’ll explore how they express gratitude, determine their attitude, and develop their courage throughout the process.

Can we all be heroes? Yes! Why? Because we all have challenges to confront and overcome, wonderful mentors ready to lend a helping hand, and the need to learn, and grow and change in order to face the next challenge – whatever that may be – with GAC.

From a camp perspective, we are journeying off to a new world. Weequahic will need a whole bunch of heroes to help make next summer incredible. Want to join up? It’s going to be AWESOME.