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Though people arrive at Wawenock through a variety of paths, Wawenock is primarily a “word of mouth” camp, which means the majority of our camp families hear about camp from other people. Below are some examples, from the families themselves, of how people found their way to Wawenock. As you will read, the ripple effect of referrals is instrumental toward our camp family’s growth!
The Bewkes/Cunningham Connection
Suysel Cunningham, camp parent: “I met Stacey Bewkes almost 6 years ago when we were both starting our businesses in the interior design world. I met her family in Nantucket and was immediately impressed at the poise and maturity of all of her children. When Cecilia was 6 years old, David and I began discussing the possibility of sleepaway camp. Though neither of us were campers, we knew the gift that a camp experience would give Cecilia. I remembered Stacey talking about how much she loved Wawenock and how impressed I was with her two daughters, Julia and Caroline, both Wawenock girls!
We visited Wawenock in the summer of 2013 when Cecilia was 6 years old and got a tour of camp from Julia herself! Cecilia spent an entire day with two Lodgers. We were supposed to pick her up after lunch. Well, Cecilia ended up staying at camp until around 5pm because she loved it so much! It’s a good thing there is an amazing view and comfortable chairs on the back patio of the Point because Dave and I sat there for four hours waiting for her to be ready to come home with us!
She did Wonder Week in 2014 and became a Lodger this past summer. Julia was a camper in the Leadership Training Program for Cecilia’s first full summer as a camper. Cecilia is now a camper for life and grew leaps and bounds emotionally at Wawenock. She tried out and got a solo in her school chorus because of the confidence she gained at camp being in the musical!
The power of word of mouth is so instrumental to recruiting new campers. We are the perfect example of that and we hope to one day pay it forward the way the Bewkes family shared Wawenock with us!”
The Neubert/Steffens/Felsher/Raporte Connection
Julie Felsher, camp parent: “Year after year, we heard nothing but the most amazing stories of friendship and fun coming from our niece Haley Steffens (whose mom is alumna Missy Neubert) and not long after, from her younger sister Sarah Page.
When our daughter Riley was 8 years old, we got a mailing from Wawenock about Wonder Week. One week was something we could wrap our head around. When we pulled into camp on the last day of Wonder Week, Riley was happily singing with a group of girls. Riley begged us to let her stay. She was glowing. It truly was a WONDER WEEK for her. The following summer, Riley returned to camp for the full season and has been back every summer since, for 6 years!
It’s hard to put into words how we feel about Wawenock. To think that Riley almost missed out on this opportunity because we had an idea that 7 weeks was too long. Camp Wawenock is the highlight of Riley’s year and the confidence, empathy, perseverance and joy that has grown inside of her each year is a direct reflection of time spent at camp.
Of course, we couldn’t keep quiet about Wawenock. When people ask us what Riley is doing for the summer, they often get more than an earful. The first summer Riley was away, Jon and I ran into the Raportes on our way out to dinner one night. What kept coming to the surface was the simplicity and values we love so much about Wawenock. The Raportes were intrigued!
We invited the Raportes, along with their daughter, Julie, to the Gathering in our area that winter and they got a taste for what we had been enthusiastically sharing with them. Julie boarded the bus to camp with Riley the following summer and the two girls have had several great summers since. Wawenock is a gift in Riley’s life that will continue to bring her joy long after her last camper summer.”
Jim Raporte, camp parent: “It was Julie Felsher who first told us about Camp Wawenock. We were looking for a place that emphasized the development of strong relationships and values, like kindness, respect, and teamwork, and a supportive environment in an attractive camp setting. We found that at Camp Wawenock, which has far exceeded our expectations and has been a magical place for our daughter the last five summers. It’s already clear that the friendships she has developed at Wawenock will be life-long.”
The Beekman/O’Brien Connection
Adele Beekman, Camper ’97-’02, Staff ’03, ’05, ’07-’08, with input from Delly Beekman, camp parent: “Having three brothers who all went to camp, I also wanted to go to a camp of my own. My mom asked the Director of my brothers’ camp for recommendations and in the summer of 1996, my mom and I went on a tour of Maine camps.
At Wawenock we met June and Pat. I ended up staying for the whole afternoon, dinner, and Middler program, which was a carnival that I got to participate in! As we got in the car to head home, my mom and I looked at each other and immediately agreed that Wawenock was the one. I was enrolled at Wawenock for the summer of 1997, and spent 10 magical summers thereafter.
As for the O’Briens, their grandmother and my grandmother were best friends for over 60 years. One day Annie’s grandmother was talking to mine about wishing Annie could find something she loved. My grandma mentioned Wawenock and my great experience and suggested that Annie’s grandma tell Annie’s mother about it. My mom dropped off a Wawenock brochure and that summer the O’Briens went to Maine to look at camps. The following summer both girls enrolled, and Wawenock became their own ‘very special place.’ Mrs. O’Brien wrote that she ‘had no idea that a conversation between 2 old friends would lead to such an incredible experience.’”
Annie O’Brien, Camper ‘07- ‘13, Staff ‘14-‘16: “After hearing about camp from my grandmother (who heard it from Adele’s grandmother) we ended up going to a winter Gathering and then visited Camp that summer. Maddy and Celie, who later became my good friends at camp, were actually the campers that gave me a tour! I remember being very nervous in the months leading up to camp so my mom arranged for me to meet with Adele. Adele showed me all of her scrapbooks and old friendship gifts and also let me watch some camp videos. I was much more at ease knowing I would recognize a familiar face once I got to camp!”
Do you have a story to share? Email us at email@example.com to tell us about how you heard about Wawenock!
A camp experience is part of a child’s education, and a vital part of a girl’s education. As one Wawenock alumna attested, “An investment in Wawenock makes more financial sense than an investment in college. Wawenock taught me invaluable life skills. I just wish the whole world was like Wawenock.”
So, choosing a camp may feel like a big undertaking, where do you begin?
When considering camps, we suggest you look for professionals who seek to partner with you in the growth and development of your child. As camp directors that’s what Andy and I consider you are doing when you send your daughter to camp – you are entrusting us with one of the most important people in your life. You should feel that the camp you choose is an extension of your values and of who you are.
Think about what you are looking to get out of a camp experience for your child. There are camps that are created to be fun, with a focus on entertaining, and there are specialty camps which focus on building skills in one particular area. There are also camps, like Wawenock, that offer a wide range of activities and place an emphasis on human development and community building, while teaching valuable 21st century life skills, such as communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. At Wawenock, we believe in a camp experience which is focused on developing the whole child, because this affords children opportunities to challenge themselves and to grow as individuals, as well as members of a group. We are dedicated to creating a safe place for a girl to explore and discover her strengths and to take healthy risks that build skills. We strive to create a place that empowers her to be her best self, both at Camp and in the world beyond. Of course, we ALL have FUN in the process!
So, if you’re seeking a camp experience for your child, we encourage you to ask friends and families for recommendations, take a look at some websites and see which ones have messages that resonate with you. Then, call and speak with the Director to hear what their philosophy is and how it plays out in the camp. Ultimately, as camp directors, we want you to find the right fit for your child, so she can have a happy and successful growth experience. If you would like to discuss Wawenock for your daughter please call us at 207-655-4657 and ask to speak with Catriona (pronounced Catrina) or Andy.
Another great way to get to know a camp in the off-season is through Camp Gatherings. We will be hosting gatherings from as far North as Quebec and as far South as Virginia this winter. Wawenock Gatherings typically last about two hours, and are a relaxed and informal way to learn more about the camp experience. Prospective families have the opportunity to meet a number of people from the camp family – Andy and me as Directors, camp parents, current campers, staff, and alumnae. After a brief presentation about Wawenock, you will have a chance to engage with others and ask any questions which may be on your mind. In addition, your future camper will meet and interact with other girls in a structured and fun way.
Camp Wawenock Gathering Schedule:
December 21st: Madrid, Spain, hosted by Fatima Velez
January 16th: Montreal, Canada area at the home of Melanie Simard
February 14th: Winter Gathering and Sledding at Wawenock
February 27th: DC and VA area at the Carroll Family home in Falls Church, VA
February 28th: NY, NJ, CT area at the Fernandez Family home in Larchmont, NY
March 19th: DE, MD, PA area at the Greenville Country club in Wilmington, DE, hosted by the Gallagher family
April 3rd: MA and RI area at the Scheerer Family home in Duxbury, MA
May 28th: Spring Fling Clean Up Day at Wawenock
If you don’t see a gathering in your area, and would like to get to know camp in person, let us know so we can try to schedule a home visit. To R.S.V.P. and for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (207) 655-4657.
“The Wawenock staff is totally aware and supportive of each camper in her daily life at camp, giving her love and confidence and success.” – Alumna and Mom, Nancy M. H.
It is the staff that makes the Wawenock experience so impactful – full of fun, learning and growth. I couldn’t possibly say it better than the campers themselves. Here’s why they love the Wawenock staff:
- They are committed to help you succeed & willing to help you accomplish your goals
- They are responsible, but they know how to have fun
- They are easy to talk to; you can always ask them for help without being judged
- They’re always friendly and respectful and positive about everything
“I can’t begin to explain how much my time at Wawenock shaped who I am. Being able to explore who I was becoming with a group of supportive, intelligent and compassionate women was so invaluable.” – Alumna, Nadege R.
As children and adolescents ebb and flow through different stages of development, their lives are filled with challenges and mini-lessons to learn along the way. As parents, we have all had our share of moments, struggling to know the right way to respond to our children, how to encourage them, perhaps even steer them in the direction we feel will help them become successful adults, all the while holding our breath and hoping they will respond positively. We feel responsible for our children’s actions, whether it be performance in school, social interactions with others or behavior at home and in our community. That is a big weight to bear all alone.
Andy and I feel so fortunate that we, as parents, have had the opportunity to have many partners in raising our children along the way. They have been impacted and influenced by a whole host of adults and young adults, and these people have become like family to us. We’re convinced that our unique position to have a constant stream of high school and college-aged women interacting with and mentoring our daughters has had a lasting impact on their development into well-adjusted young women.
I was intrigued to read an article by well-known psychologist and author, Michael Thompson, entitled Why Camp Counselors Can Out-Parent Parents, in which he supported this concept. He states: “In our age-segregated society, camp is the only place in America where an 11-year-old can get the sustained attention of a 19-year-old. In return for the attention of these ‘older children,’ campers will make sacrifices. They will follow all kinds of rules and adhere to all kinds of rituals that they would likely fight at home. When children return home from camp, parents are amazed. ‘She is so grown-up,’ they observe. ‘He is so responsible!’ a startled father exclaims. ‘He cleans up after himself.’ Another mother, amazed at her child’s growth in only a month, remarks, ‘He tries so many new foods!’
There’s just no contest between parents and counselors. The college students are vastly better looking than we are; they are truly cool and they have dazzling skills. When children need a summer filled with growth and change (not to mention fun and glory), I tell their parents to give camp a chance.” No wonder Wawenock campers love and admire, and aspire to be like their counselors! Read more about the Camp Wawenock Staff.