We all grow so much during our teen years.
From experience, kids are pretty capable at 10 years old. They can make their beds, choose what to eat pretty well, clean up, handle homework, build relationships. They can do a lot!
But, by the end of our teens, they will have learned to drive, cook, clean, and become (mostly) independent. Every decade shows a lot of growth, for sure. The teen years, though, serve as the greatest launching pad for the future.
As we move into the 2020s, I’m struck by how much Weequahic has grown and changed during the Teens.
During the first summer of the decade, campers from twelve states and four countries arrived at Weequahic for a remarkable summer. This past summer saw those numbers change a bit.
We now have campers from sixteen different countries and the same number of states. The number of campers has gone from… well, let’s just say we went from using half our bunks to building new ones!
Just as our camper population has grown, so has our summer staff. Our staff grew from just over one hundred young men and women to well over 200 young men and women (and a few of us gray hairs….). I may be most excited about this number in regards to staff: we’ve gone from three former campers on staff to over 20 last summer. We can’t wait to watch that number grow.
Summer 2010 was a big year for Weequahic in that so many full-time staff started working for the first time: Camp Director Kate, our Assistant Dana ‘PSP’ Stassen, and our Administrative Director, Cammie Brennan. Associate Director Sue jumped on board for Summer 2011. Dana’s husband, Scrappy, joined us full time in 2017. Chef Daniel arrived six summers ago. Alex Nichols arrived and happily returns each summer. Thankfully, Jerry and Camp Mom Judy never left!
A birds-eye view of Weequahic shows a bit of change: The Cove has been a wonderful addition for our Senior Campers, new toys in the lake and beachfront for the kiddos to enjoy, new courts and fields, a few new docks in Sly Lake, and more.
Our bunks have gone from ‘rustic’ to ‘camp comfortable.’ Instant hot water heaters, new bathrooms, new bunk beds, new siding and windows…. They are a lot nicer without losing their purpose: a place where community is built.
Thinking about the facility, I can’t of a spot that hasn’t been modified or improved in some way. Program areas have been improved or modified, the Dining Hall got a facelift, our fields and grounds have been rebuilt…. Oh, I know – my office hasn’t changed a bit. Fine by me – I don’t like being in their much anyway!
The Rec Hall continues to show the glories of the past in the plaques and banners, the bunk signs and awards. Campfire happens every Friday night, flagpole each morning and evening, and the Tribal and Olympic competitions make for a memorable end to each session.
Weequahic was lucky when the last decade arrived: it had great bones and deep traditions. Our founders and their family built camp around the idea of caring for children. Along with some wonderful long-time staff and help from friends, we took that torch up and added a few new ideas from old sources.
Present & Future
Camp Weequahic hopes to create a remarkable experience for everyone we meet through gratitude, attitude and courage. Just as we did ten years ago, we meet every new family before their camper arrives at camp. We put every potential staff member through a thorough interview, rigorous background check, and extensive orientation. And, we work to build a community which draws out and celebrates the ‘best self’ within each person under the towering pines Mr. Lustig planted seven decades ago.
We have so much for which to be grateful. Our ‘teen years’ were those of growth and change. Alongside so many wonderful campers, trusting and supportive families, and diligent team members, we’ve built a launching pad for the future. And, oh, what a bright future it is!
Thank you for being on this journey with us. We can’t wait to see what happens next. Happy New Decade, Weequahic!