It is the quality of the people who choose to work at any camp that ultimately determines the success of the camper experience and Wawenock’s staff members are of the highest caliber.
The Wawenock Staff is comprised primarily of former campers, though we love welcoming ‘first timers’ to the Camp Family, too! Most are college aged, though we are privileged to have many people who have already graduated from college, too, each season! Each year, we also are privileged to be joined by a number of parents and grandparents as support staff. These experienced, nurturing people often lead program areas and are each ‘connected’ to a particular living unit – where they are able to provide wonderful back-up to our cabin counselors and unit heads, as well as providing a mature, parental presence for the campers who get to know and love them.
Many campers aspire to become staff members when they are old enough because of the incredible impact their counselors and Camp’s support staff have had on their Camp experiences over the years. Whether saying an ‘individual goodnight’ (having a conversation about what’s been happening during the day), setting goals with a girl to help her develop her social or activity skills, or encouraging her to stay behind for extra help after class has ended, Wawenock staff members are able to form deep personal relationships with campers they interact with and care for. This is made possible by assigning the same staff members to work with the same camper groups all summer long – in both the cabins and activity areas. In activities, staff members can plan specifically for each child and her learning needs, as well as ensuring that a solidly-presented, consistent curriculum is followed with each class group over the course of the seven week season.
It is wonderful that so many of our first year staff have grown up in Camp and enjoyed the experiences of our Leadership Training and Counselor-in-Training Programs. As we have seen them live with others and develop their passions for specific activities – along with many of their leadership and teaching skills – we can place them in the activity and cabin groups where they will be most successful and happiest, benefitting the campers.
One of the most important daily functions of each camp director and support staff member is the meeting with and supporting of other staff members. We have found that investing this time and energy in developing each staff member, at every level in Camp, provides Wawenock with strong, capable, self-assured role models for the campers and other staff to look up to. The expectation bar is held high, in terms of how staff members are expected to approach their teaching, personal conduct and their relationships with campers, and they take great pride in rising to these expectations – having seen their peers and predecessors do so for many years. It has been our experience that staff members who experience support and nurturing in their work and life – both in and out of Camp – will, in turn, support and nurture their campers.