“I have become a better listener, leader, and communicator.”
Didi, Alumna & Staff
To help underscore what makes a summer at camp so important in today’s world, we thought that we would share just a few examples of the intentional leadership opportunities that are built into each camper’s experience, here… At Wawenock, all campers are encouraged and coached in making announcements or sharing their thoughts with large groups of people – fostering confidence and skills in public speaking from an early age… Our Lodgers (youngest group) welcome prospective campers and then bring them around to their activities for the morning… Middlers (5th and 6th grade) act as ‘buddies’ to Wonder Week campers – eating lunch with them, helping them to select a Hobby Hour activity and then participating in it with them… Sub-seniors (7th/8th Grade) and younger Seniors (9th Grade) lead Camp Service Projects – where they first come up with creative skits to advertise their programs and then sign up volunteers, create schedules and assignments for each team member and then take responsibility for following through with their ‘team’… Seniors act as table hostesses in the dining room – modeling healthy eating and good table manners, explaining upcoming events to first-time campers, assisting the counselors in keeping conversation going, and helping each table member feel included and welcomed… Older Seniors work together in leadership of the Tribes, give visiting prospective parents guided, informative tours of Camp, and generally set the tone for everyone in the Camp Family at weekly campfires and other times… Campers working towards Advanced Skills and Instructor’s Aide recognition levels in their activities are given opportunities to plan and teach parts of classes to other campers…
Our oldest campers participate in a summer-long Leadership Training Program – meeting weekly with their program director and one of the camp directors to participate in workshops that highlight or develop diverse leadership skills and then discuss their practical implication via debriefing the ‘real-life’ situations encountered in their roles as leaders – both in and out of camp.
These progressively more challenging, structured opportunities found at Wawenock help young people learn, practice and then take away into the world a whole range of new skills – skills that will help them to be comfortable stepping up, speaking out, and leading: in their schools, communities, colleges and future employment situations. This ‘transference’ of skills and confidence, from Wawenock to life outside, is often highlighted by campers, parents, staff and alumnae, in letters and conversations, but remains one of the camp experience’s greatest ‘secrets’ when it comes to the world outside!