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 firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about how you heard about Wawenock!