“Wawenock provides a nurturing, happy, kind atmosphere for girls to learn and grow. My daughter describes it as seven weeks of magic. It has been such a blessing in her life – her friendships are deep and lasting and joyful, she has opened up, taken risks and grown into a more confident young woman who is striving to grow every day in her leadership skills. We highly recommend Wawenock to others!”
Amy Fitzpatrick, camp parent
A ‘full season’ at a camp like Wawenock offers many advantages over shorter stay programs.
Settling in to Camp takes some time – whether the first or tenth year we attend – and, over the longer (7 week) camp season, relationships between campers and their peers have time to develop and unfold naturally. At Wawenock, camp begins with more focus on getting to know and bond with cabin mates and then campers are encouraged to branch out into the broader age group and beyond, as the days unfold. Relationships built and sustained over longer periods tend to be more stable, deeper and based on the ‘real’ person – rather than their projection of a particular image for a shorter period of time. Relationships are also able to develop at their own pace and to a greater depth within the whole Camp community – with campers and staff of all ages getting to know each other well as summer progresses. Relationships built over time tend to stand the test of time best.
Campers are grouped with others who have chosen the same activities and the same staff members work with these activity groups all summer long. This allows detailed group and individualized planning to be done by staff members who have the time and consistency of contact to help each camper work toward broader programmatic goals, as well as her individual goals in that activity. The same principles apply to cabin living, where a stable group of campers and staff live and laugh (and sometimes cry) together for seven weeks. Social skills and different approaches to group membership and leadership can be identified and encouraged by involved, caring counselors and senior support staff. Seven weeks gives campers the time to relax and settle in, to learn about each other, and even to try out new approaches to building trust and friendship within their cabin groups and units. This unhurried, intentional approach to skill acquisition in all areas of Camp life cements learning and promotes confidence among the campers – confidence that spills over into other areas of their lives.
Feeling of Belonging:
At Wawenock, everyone is considered “new” every summer – as we all grow, change and experience new things in our lives between summers. (Those who are spending their first summer at Camp are simply referred to as ‘first timers’.) To avoid cliquishness and to promote broader friendships within the unit age groups, cabin groupings are shuffled each year (so every cabin, by default, also becomes ‘new’ each year.) As summer progresses campers and staff get to know others outside of their cabin, unit or existing circle of friends. There is a tradition of welcoming all people to Camp and nowhere is this more evident than when first time campers and staff join the Camp Family. The seven week season allows us to change dining room seating each week, where we mix campers of all ages and interests with different staff members. Each week the campers get to know a different group of campers and staff. An awareness of knowing many people from different places in Camp and being greeted by older and younger friends from previous tables in passing permeates the psyche of first timers as the weeks unfold. Traditions and rituals are repeated multiple times, allowing familiarity and ownership to develop in first time campers. After seven weeks a sense of belonging to the Camp Family is well established!