Posts Tagged ‘camp for kids’

Do You Know the History of Camping?

Posted Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by

Do you know the history of camping? Most people don’t and it is too bad. It’s an interesting story and I’m happy to give you my take on it.

Back in the early 1900’s, several individuals and families, seeing the swelling slums in the northeastern cities, began to think of ways to get kids back to nature. Striking out from New York and Boston, these camp pioneers found pieces of land with lakes, trees, clean air, and a lot of space on which to build the first ‘residential camps’ in the US.

Mostly school teachers and coaches, these early camp leaders built relationships with families who chose to send their children to camp. The founding purpose of camp was to provide an environment of wholesome activity in which the values of independence, teamwork, gratitude, and community were transmitted, both overtly and subtly, to children.

Looking back at over 100 years of organized camping, I think these early professionals were on to something. Camping is nolonger just for children from the northeastern major metro areas, though they still make up a large proportion of campers. Camp has spread across the country and world and now is a big part of lots of peoples’ lives.

There are a lot of reasons why camping has thrived over the years. The main reasons, at least in my opinion, are the relationships built between campers and the staff at camp, being a part of something special, and the skills (physical, psychological, and emotional) that are developed. When you combine value-driven adults who are eager to lead with campers excited to learn, grow, and build new friendships, you’ve got an incredible start for creating a remarkable camp experience.

Can’t wait for camp!

Cole Kelly

Director, Camp Weequahic

Competition at Camp Weequahic

Posted Thursday, February 17th, 2011 by


You may have heard the Weequahic directors and year round staff were college athletes. It’s true. Well, Cole played golf at Virginia, so he was almost an athlete! Between the four of us, we’ve coached baseball, soccer, and golf at the NCAA Division 1 level for more than 20 years.

So, Weequahic must be a pretty competitive place, right?

Wrong.

Our focus is activity and skill development, rather than outcome. Competition is a wonderful tool for developing teamwork, community, and communication. It also helps determine areas for improvement. In essence, when done correctly, a little competition can really help a camper.

Weequahic is a part of the Wayne County Camp Association. Among its other duties, the WCCA organizes tournaments throughout the summer for our 31 associated camps in almost all of our activities. From swim and track meets to flag football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and lax games, we have just about anything a camper could want. We will even take campers to local USTA tennis tournaments so they can compete with kids from all over our region. While we have fun with a little competition, we are BIGGER believers in fun, skill development, and play.

If a camper wants to play on one of our teams, he or she simply needs to raise a hand and say ‘I want to be on the team.’ Once campers commit, they are good to go, regardless of their skill level. And, as long as they are supportive of their teammates and putting forth their best effort, they’ll play!

With one exception, we do not have tryouts at Weequahic. We require tryouts for tennis only because league rules restrict tennis rosters to eight players. If more than eight campers want to play, we hold a ladder tournament to determine the roster.

That said, sports competition is not for everyone. That is why we have incredible aquatics, adventure, and arts programs including things like Magic, Skate Park, Robotics, Radio, Music and more.

Not all of our camp competition, however, is relegated to WCCA events. What summer would be complete without a Color War type of competition?

Campers in our first session enjoy Tribals, a four team multi-day spirit competition. Vying for the “Deed of the Land”, campers play, sing, cheer, and laugh as they compete in spirit competitions in which everyone adds value to their Tribe. Campers in the second session enjoy Olympics, a five day competition between Army and Navy teams that dates back to our founding in 1953.

So, whether you are an athlete who wants to improve or an artist that is thrilled to explore the creative side of camp, Weequahic has something fun to offer. See you at camp!

Cole

Start Here: Find out More About Camp Now

Posted Monday, February 7th, 2011 by

If your child is dreaming about camp, it’s not too soon to make a choice for summer 2011! Many campers are counting the days until they can return, anticipating seeing friends and staff, and looking forward to another super summer. Others are wondering about camp for the first time. For everyone, there are a number of resources and ways to find out more about each camp.

Here are a few suggestions for choosing which camp is the best fit for your camper:

1. Talk to friends and family who have already been to camp. One camper recently chose Camp Weequahic to follow in the footsteps of a cousin and a friend. Since the seasoned campers had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about their adventure, the new camper decided to go and experience things for herself. Other first time campers go to camp with a special friend or cousin who is also a first-timer. Some campers follow in the footsteps of an older relative and start a new generation of alumni—so, make sure to ask for suggestions from family and friends who may have been campers!

2. Watch camp videos, attend an information night (or both), and it will be easy to visualize the fun ahead. It often helps to picture the experience and imagine a specific setting. Campers can watch a video more than once and report that the video often gets them “hooked”. They start to see themselves at camp. A home visit is also a great way to make personal contact with actual campers and staff.

3. Explore each camp website to find out what’s distinct about that camp, check faqs and read firsthand accounts. You’ll find links to social media conversations and get a feel for each unique location. The websites are also a good place to check out changes and additions from previous years—there’s a lot going on.

4. For questions about homesickness, safety, how to tell if your child is ready for camp or more, read previous blogs that are packed with information and answers. If you’re wondering, someone else is probably wondering too!

5. If you’re planning for Summer 2012, make arrangements to visit camp this year. You can tour Camp Weequahic during the summer. Throughout the summer, Camp Weequahic your child can also sample the Weequahic experience through the Camper for a Day and Camper for a Week programs. Camp Starlight offers tours, as well.

6. Always remember that there are no dumb questions. Make a list and don’t feel that you can’t ask. Now is the perfect time to communicate with camp staff before camp is in full swing and fun is in full gear!

A Camp Weequahic parent recently shared with us that after seeing camp pictures, she immediately felt jealous and wished she could go too. That summer, her daughter’s first letter from camp arrived asking if she could stay 6 weeks instead of the 3 she had signed up for! Those first instincts from looking at photos online and a little research had helped find a perfect fit. Moral of the story: You don’t have to go far to find out more about camp. Don’t be surprised if the process turns out to be a lot of fun—everything about camp has a way of being that!

Do you have a story to share about selecting a camp with a friend or relative? Who would you choose to take to camp?

A Whale of a Lesson

Posted Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 by

Have you ever heard of Humphrey the Humpback Whale? Before our campers (and many of our staff) were born, Humphrey’s odyssey held our nation’s attention for many, many days.

Humphrey, as his name suggests, is a humpback whale. Getting turned around one day chasing plankton or following a misguided hunch, Humphrey found himself in San Francisco Bay. A few days later, he was in the Sacramento River. If you are trying to get to Sacramento, it’s a great plan. Just not it if you are whale.

Rescuers and researchers tried everything they could think of to stop Humphrey’s progress up the river. He escaped traps, ignored the pleading, and continued his meander up river all the while showing signs of physical distress and confusion. Thankfully, one researcher had a great idea.

With the help of the US Navy and a local boat owner, Dr. Bernie Krause started sending out whale calls through the water. (If you’ve not heard them, they are really interesting!) Within no time at all, Humphrey appeared. The astounded rescuers had called to Humphrey and he came to them!

Taking the boat with its whale calls down river, Dr. Krause and his team led Humphrey out to the San Francisco Bay and then to the Pacific. It was a great rescue that captivated the nation that actually advanced science. We found out it takes a whale to speak to another whale.

That’s a lesson camp teaches every day. In this age of video games and iPhones, PSP’s and tweets, we mustn’t forget one of our most basic requirements: It takes people to speak to other people.

Great camps surround children with great mentors and develop a community in which everyone is valued and cared for. At Weequahic, finding and training the best staff possible is, along with safety, our most important priority. The more interested, exciting, patient, and prepared a staff, the more likely it is for our campers to have an extraordinary experience. This, I might add, also provides the staff with an incredible experience as well!

If you know of someone interested in joining a community of people who want to provide an extraordinary experience for campers, please ask them to apply here. We’d be thrilled to speak with them!

Hat tip to Chuck Hodges (and Humphrey) for the story.

Cole Kelly, Camp Director