Camp News & Blog

Camp Weequahic Summer Sleepaway Camp in Pennsylvania

The Expectation Antidote

Bold claim: We have an epidemic-level of ‘expectation’ running through society and it’s making us miserable. What do I mean? Here are a couple possible examples. Maybe they fit your life:

You wake up and open the app on your phone and expect a few new ‘likes’, news that confirms what you already think or a dozen snaps from snap-friends. You expect the ride to school to be easy or breakfast to be warm, tasty and already prepared. The test you took last week – you crushed it and expect a good grade when it’s returned.

What happens when reality doesn’t match those expectations? When those expected notifications on your phone are missing? When it’s another bowl of stale cereal? When that grade is well below what you expected?

You get disappointed, angry or sad. If you aren’t careful, these feelings can build up and make you forget something we learn and practice at camp each summer: we get to choose how we react… to anything.

My Own Expectations – An Example

When we expect, we are already planning our reaction to that event. When I expect a new family to enroll after meeting with them, I’m already planning on throwing a party, sending a fun t-shirt out to the new camper and adding them to the bunk list in my head. It’s going to be great!

However, when they decide to go to another camp (which does happen every so often and I hope they have a fabulous summer), my future party plans have been foiled and my emotions turned into a bit of a twist.

While I may have some influence over that family’s decision, do I have control over it? Nope. They get to decide what they’d like to do and will simply tell me. Should I expect that they will enroll? No, not really. That can lead to those hard feelings.

What’s the antidote to the negative emotions of fail expectations?


When we approach new situations – and even old ones – with appreciation, it changes things for the better. From the examples above: ‘Wow – I’ve got a phone and all these apps that literally connect me to 85% of the world – crazy!’ Or: ‘Lot of kids don’t have anything to eat – I appreciate this meal before school.’ With the test – and this may be the most challenging: ‘Ok, this s a good lesson and opportunity to learn what I didn’t really know.’

One of the most successful humans in recent years is Oprah Winfrey. Here’s what she has to say about appreciation:

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Here’s a little exercise that you can put into practice whenever you’d like: look around at your situation and ask yourself: what have I not noticed before. And then appreciate what you find. That means you need to think for a moment about how it makes your life a tiny bit better.

So… No Expectations Then?

Nope! Expectations can be really helpful… as long as you can control the outcome. In my ‘new family’ example above, I would expect that I had prepared to the best of my ability, answered all of their questions honestly and thoughtfully, and did my best to build a relationship with them in the time we had together.

Then, whether they enroll at camp or not, I’ll have met my expectations… of what I can control. And if they do decide to enroll, I should appreciate their choice. Should they decide on another option, I should appreciate the time we spent together and learn from it. And then move on.

Campers, let’s be thoughtful on how we approach our days. Do so with expectations for yourself and appreciation for all else and you’ve got the start of a winning formula.

The Arts Studio

One Plus One Equals Three

We had so much fun as last week’s Winter Gathering in NYC. Over 170 returning and new parents joined us for some bowling, laughing, fun and connection.

That last word is important, especially given what has transpired in our world for the past few years. During the Summer of 2020, the vast majority of us lived very separate lives – something that really has never been done in our modern era. We lost a bit of the connection that makes us who we are.

A Dawg Lesson

No surprise considering where I grew up and spent some time at school, but I’m happy the Georgia Bulldawgs won (another) national championship this past week. I happened to watch a ‘pump up’ video from the team with Coach Smart talking with the locker room. What was the theme?

Connection. Togetherness. One plus one = three. The love for each other. The sacrifice and support for each other.

That’s the secret sauce that takes a (whole lot) of great individual athletes and turns them into an incredible team. Connection. That’s the antidote to being alone, on an island: developing a group of people around you with whom you connect completely.

A Tree Lesson

I learned something else about connection this past week. Did you know the redwoods found in California, the largest living things on planet Earth, have very shallow root systems? You’d think, like the skyscrapers we build, their foundations, their roots would dive deep into the earth.

Instead, the roots of the redwoods spread out. They overlap one another. The literally connect into to grow taller, to become something no one has seen before. There it is again:

Connection. Togetherness. One plus one = three. The love for each other. The sacrifice and support for each other.

Thank you, Dr. King

This being the weekend we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life, I’d be remiss to not bring up one of his powerful and important quotes:  

“We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools.”


He’s right, you now. And, it’s a forward-thinking statement. Yes, there have been troubles in our past. That does not mean the future has to be the same. In order to grow, to build… we have to come together.

Connection. Togetherness. One plus one = three. The love for each other. The sacrifice and support for each other.

I hope y’all have a great weekend. Make sure to connect to those around you and even those who are not. It’ll make their day… and your own.  

Fun summer camp experiences

Lessons of a Future Skinned Knee

I’ve written about Dr. Mogel’s Blessing of a Skinned Knee before… and most likely will again. The work she put out into the world is useful and applicable, regardless of what is going on in the culture around us. But that’s not exactly what I’m thinking about today.

I’m thinking about homesickness and how thinking about a future ‘skinned knee’ can help.

Missing Home is Real

Let’s the obvious thing out of the way – the vast majority of kids will miss home at some point while at overnight camp. It doesn’t matter if you are at Weequahic or some other great camp in Wayne County or North Carolina or California.

How campers experience these very normal missing home feelings will differ. Some will hold it in and ‘soldier on.’ Others will let all the feeling hang out for everyone to see. It may happen when you in the Health Center, getting ready for bed or even walking back from the waterpark.

One thing that is consistent across campers: looking back on them, these feeling always seem much bigger than they actually were.

This is a normal reaction. If our brains hadn’t developed this habit, we humans wouldn’t have made it past the sabertooth tigers in our past. Being overly aware of negative, potentially dangerous things is important!

The problem is that now the vast majority of risks that could have done us harm thousands of years ago aren’t around… but that warning system in our head is still really, really good at blowing bad feelings out of proportion.

That’s why the future skinned knee idea is so important.

The Lesson of a Future Skinned Knee

I had a great conversation with a younger camper the other day. He was concerned about coming back because he had missed home ‘a couple of times’ last summer.

I get it. Those feelings are big! And… there is always more to the story. When I asked him, he had missed home when he was feeling sick one afternoon and one other time. But, he loved camp… kept saying that over and over.

I believed him – I saw a guy last summer having a blast! He wanted to come back but didn’t want to feel sad again.

When I asked, he agreed that he felt sad for maybe 5.5 hours over the course of the three weeks, most of it coming when he felt sick.

“Jorge (not his real name), you love baseball, right?” I asked. “Sure do.” “Ok, think about playing a game tomorrow. If you knew right now, without a doubt, you’ll skin your knee during the game tomorrow, would you still play? It would hurt, it would be real… and you’d get to play the game you love.”

“Sure, I’d still play,” he said to me almost incredulously.

“Well, Jorge… it’s the same thing with camp. You know you are going to miss home. It’s going to be real and not feel great… for a little while. But you still get all the other good things, too.”

Balancing the Future and the Past

We all have bad experiences in the past. Someone was mean to us, we scrapped a knee. Those are real hurts and can affect our future… if we let them. The challenge is to imagine those possible or certain future hurts and weigh them thoughtfully about the good we’ll get even when dealing with the bad or difficult.

I know enough now that, though I don’t want to exercise all the time, I feel better after having done so. I also know that, even though my son’s piano recital or football game may not go perfectly, I’ll have so much fun watching them play.

Campers, when you think that missing home will hold you back from going to camp, I completely understand. It’s a real, honest feeling. Just do me a favor: think about all the fun you’ll be missing and then make a decision.

Just an idea from a future skinned knee. Have a great weekend!