Posts Tagged ‘camper’

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

Camp: Future, Past and Present

Posted Monday, January 24th, 2011 by

Whether your Holiday Season has ended or is about to begin, summer camp season isn’t far away! In fact, on December 8th 2010, next year’s campers wore their camp shirts in numerous cities to mark the 200 Day Countdown To Summer. If you’ve never gone to camp, it may be difficult to understand what drives this passion for camp all year—but campers know that camp is contagious, FUN, and essential! The camp experience helps children develop into well-rounded adults in enormous and complex ways, and that’s really important—but having FUN and intense youthful experiences is how it all happens. That’s the brilliant combination of camp. The experience includes serious AND hilarious moments—often simultaneously! The whole experience is much like the two sides of a single coin, or the double-faced image of Janus, the Roman god who can see into the past and future at the same time—and the origin of the name for the first month—January.

The serious side of camp includes feeling part of a unique community, identity development and participating through the years to make irreplaceable memories. If you don’t understand why camp is such an important American institution, in 1998 Ira Glass and the This American Life radio program attempted to investigate the topic—#109 Notes on Camp. The program addresses why people who love camp say that non-camp people simply don’t understand what’s so amazing about camp and attempts to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people!

It also highlights how fun, tradition, stories, community and being human are all part of identity development at camp. With his signature quirky style, Ira assembled more “truth is stranger than fiction tales,” where real campers tell stories of camp in days gone by and explain why the camp experience is so special. Hundreds of campers responded to his call for stories and the program shares a selection, so if you’re interested in history and interpreting American culture, you’ll find the reminiscences fascinating. Just remember that all camp experiences are not like the stories told—the point of the program is to illustrate the intensity of the experience! It ends with campers talking about becoming camp alumni and how their camp experiences won’t ever be forgotten.

As we all know, time passes and our camp years are limited by the fact that we’re only children once. It’s easy to feel briefly melancholy at year’s end as time waits for no one, but of course, December also means that the promise of a new year is around the corner! In January, we’d like to continue looking backwards and forwards while thinking about camp and we’d especially love to hear from camp alumni. What’s the funniest thing that happened to you at camp? How did camp contribute to your adult life? We’d like to hear about the memories you hold dear and close to your heart, or what you wish for campers next year? If you’re counting the days until camp starts, what are YOU planning?

For now, “Happy New Year” to everyone and let the countdown to Camp 2011 begin!

Deb

Thanks for the images quinn.anya and megawheel360.