Category: Summer Camp

Skateboarding

It’s Starting

Before we get too deep into this, I want to be totally honest about two points.

First, I’m an optimist. The glass has always been not only half full of water, but totally full. (Because it’s got air in it.)

Sure, I’ll see the realistic side of things, too. That’s a big reason why we did not open last summer. Could we have hosted camp? Yes. But the unknown was too great at that point. Which leads me to the second point.

Our three boys have been in face to face schooling since middle August. One of the boys was ‘contact-traced’ for a week but, otherwise, we’ve had no problems with COVID-19. In a school district with more than 8,000 students, the highest weekly positivity rate has been .49%. We’ve averaged closer to .14% throughout the year. 

We mask when we go into a store. We keep our distance from others. And, because we are getting ready for summer, we read and ask questions and study everything that comes out of the CDC and the National Institutes of Health concerning COVID.

Based on everything I’m reading – plus the fact that the Governors of both New York and Massachusetts have recently said they’ll be opening camps this summer, we’ll be ready to go. Especially since Pennsylvania is already in the ‘green’ phase!

Let’s Go to CAMP!

Our kids need it. (So do our parents!) We’ve learned a lot of lessons through this experience and one certainly is the absolute need for kids to be outdoors, connecting with friends, and exploring new things.

Another lesson is that camp can be run safely, especially with testing before arrival, upon and 6 days in, social distancing of pods, mask wearing, having most activities outside, and keeping good hygiene going.

(By the way, you can see how we are approaching things here.)

Are we ready to say exactly what we are doing across every aspect of camp? Not yet. Though we’ve spent (literally) 12 months planning for it, we’ve still got four months between now and our campers’ arrival. There will be some changes, modifications and fine-tuning of the plan.

And, I must give some props to the entire industry and especially our friends in the Wayne County Camp Alliance. Everyone is pitching in to share knowledge, ask questions, and learn together. We’ll all be ready for this summer, all the more so because we’ve prepared together.

Let’s Start Planning Now… Together

Weequahic, it’s time to start planning in earnest for a fantastic summer. Most of our camper forms are available on your CampMinder account. The Campanion app will be a very useful tool for you for the spring and coming summer. Please download it to your phone or other mobile device.

We’ll be hosting monthly conversations on our private Weequahic Families Facebook group starting this Sunday at 8pm est. I hope you’ll join us and ask as many questions as you can. If you don’t do Facebook, let us know and we’ll send you a link to the video to watch elsewhere.

Answers about traveling to camp, our activity choices, and a few other details will arrive as we move through the Spring. So will a few new ideas… and some pictures of our new floating Water Park!

As always, please don’t hesitate to call or write anytime. This is all we do and we love talking with you.

Ah… let’s go to camp. See you this summer, if not before!

Together

There is a lot going on right now in the world which is confusing, concerning, and scary. This is true for our campers as much as it is for the adults.

Want some good news? We’ll get through it. Especially if we work together and focus on that which we can control: our attitude, our courage, and our connection with others.

The Dalai Lama, one of the great leaders of our time, said this:

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

Personally, I believe the problems in the world today are fixable. Either way, let’s not worry. Let’s do something about it. Many are already leading the way.

The scientific community has done an amazing job at creating vaccines that will work. The healthcare community has been outstanding in their efforts to keep us healthy. Our teachers are doing so much to provide as much continuity as possible. Parents are doing their all to keep things light and fun at your home. Many kids, including several you know, are giving back to their communities.

What we need now are same things needed for communities since we humans first gathered around a campfire: connection with each other, hope for the future, and the willingness to do what it takes to get to that future together.

A Camp Solution

At Camp Weequahic, we are fortunate in many ways. Though we have campers and staff from all over the world, we have the ability to focus just on each other rather than everything going on around us. That’s one benefit of the low-tech camp environment.

We have our core values which provide a foundation for all that we do.

The combination of these two elements lead to something is greater than the sum of its parts: a fantastic community in which unleashes our best selves.

Weequahic, let’s take these two aspects of camp and put them into practice back home, in school, and in the rooms and fields and pools of play. With a bit of effort and a whole lot of grit, you can actually influence the little world around you.

If we all do it, imagine the good we can create… together.

Building Courage

We talk a lot about building courage at Camp Weequahic. Why? Because we agree with Maya Angelou:

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is the handle onto which every other value is fashioned and used. It takes courage to be kind in every situation, to practice gratitude when all seems dark, to be generous when you are so concerned about your own day to day needs.  

So, it’s really important! But how do you build courage?

Building Courage

Courage is a perfect example of the ‘binary opposition’ idea I talked about last week. A scene from a recent pretty popular stories explains it perfectly.

Young Bran Stark is speaking with his father who is ‘King of the North’, a fierce warrior, and loving father. They were having a conversation about being brave.

“Bran thought about it. ‘Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’

‘That is the only time a man can be brave,’ his father told him.”

A Game of Thrones

Every act of courage has at least a kernel of fear in it. In fact, without fear, you can’t have courage.

Think about getting to camp and making some new friends. That takes courage for most of our campers. Why? Because they are afraid they won’t be accepted. (Thankfully, the campers and staff of Camp Weequahic are courageous enough to open themselves up to welcome all in!)

The neat thing about fear and courage is that they don’t affect each person the same way. We’ve seen kids who scale the 50’ climbing tower with ease have a very hard time overcoming their fear of performing on stage in front of others. We’ve had others who jump up on stage without a care who were petrified of trying to make a new friend.

In each of these cases (and all others), the larger the courage grows, the smaller fear becomes. Like missing home or my desire for Chef’s chocolate chip cookies, fear never really goes away. But, with practice, perseverance and support from those who care about you, courage will begin to swamp those fearful feelings and get you moving in a new direction.

Overcoming Fear

We let it. Two great philosophers had something to say about fear. Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching in China about 2500 years ago. He thought:

“There is no illusion greater than fear.”

Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor and author of the widely read ‘Meditations’ said something similar at about the same time:

“If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgement of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgement now.”

Look, sometimes fear is going to win, no matter how hard you try to overcome it. However, rather than thinking that ‘you lost’, think of it as ‘you’ve learned.’

As a parent, I’ve let my fear of failing my boys ‘win’ from time to time. Thankfully, my bride has been there to help me see the experience as a learning opportunity and determine how I’ll handle the same or similar situation next time.

That’s a great way to keep fear from winning: including those who love and support you. In fact, knowing that you are loved will make you courageous better than anything else. That’s why it’s so great to be at camp, surrounded by people who will love and support you through it all.

The Courage/Fear Connection

When building courage, your fears will get smaller. If your fear is bigger than you want it, start practicing your courage.

First, you’ll need to reach out to a loved to help you understand your fear. Then, come up with strategies to work through the fear. Lastly, review how you did and keep the cycle going. Your fear won’t go away but perhaps you can turn it into a friend, something inside that is simply alerting you to an opportunity to do something courageous.

Get out there, Weequahic Hero. Practice your courage in big and little things. It’ll open up whole new vistas you never even knew were there!