Overnights are one of the most memorable moments of the camp experience.

During staff training our counselors learn all about the technical skills that make overnight camping trips fun and successful. We teach and perfect the art of fire building, shelter building, and learn all about the 7 Leave No Trace Principles:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of other visitors

As a Leave No Trace Master Educator, I feel very confident that our staff are set up for success. Here are two photos of different groups enjoying fireside chats as they digest their pita pizzas and s’mores.

Not pictured: An incredible display of stars. You’ll have to wait to see them with your own eyes!

Stu Sherman, long-time Wawayanda guy now (and for many years) living in California, has been going through his old files and has found some great photos from his summers as a camper and counselor (mid-1960s through early 1970s). The two photos are were taken during the summer of 1966 when Stu (and I also) were campers in Forest village. The second (in color) is a cabin photo—of the residents of cabin 9. Stu is in the middle front, in white shorts. Notice the camper to our far left has a “canteen card” around his neck. We carried those cards around as a kind of ID—it was used for the buddy board at waterfront but also to enable us to spend 5 or 10 or 25 cents for an item at the “canteen,” which was housed at the north end of Hayden Lodge. The counselor’s name was Walter “Cloud” Sullivan. I only knew him as “Cloud.” He got the name because cabin 9 was his cabin for that summer and at least the next summer also: the cabin itself was sometimes called Cloud 9. I mostly remember him wearing a big slouch hat and being very soft-spoken. The first (black and white) photo was taken by one of Stu’s parents on the final day of the camp session. The boys are standing just to the northwest of Hayden Lodge. You can see behind them the field now sometimes called “the Hayden soccer field.” One of the boys proudly shows his archery certificate. Another holds up the patch he received at closing campfire the night before—for achievement in swimming. I believe he’s showing us his “Flying Fish” patch. The gradations started with Minnow and went up through Fish, Flying Fish, Shark, etc.

I’ve been telling a story at camp for years. It was first told in 2008 in honor of the 100th year of Camp Wawayanda at Frost Valley (1958). It’s called “Sawmill, 1958,” and by this point thousands of young people, some now not so young, have heard it. This is not the place to tell the story—not even hint at it. My stories (and I think all good camp stories) are oral history. They are told, not written down. They are remembered (sometimes vaguely) in the minds of children until they are old and figure out it’s time to pass them along. At Frost Valley stories convey our history and even (though they are sometimes “scary”) our values.

Anyway, by this point I have a dozen stories in my repertoire. “Sawmill, 1958,” which I told two nights ago to Sacky (around a fire, under the stars!), features Scott Sanborn, a great swimmer, Wawayanda lifeguard, much-liked staffer in the early days of the camp here at FV. He was part of the Westfield NJ crew. I found a photo of Scott on duty as a lifeguard at the waterfront (notice the docks are near the boathouse) and am pleased to post it here. It happens that one of the little guys sitting on the dock is yours truly. Scott is the guy facing the camera with his left hand behind his back.

Happy Wednesday All!

 

It has been a warm start to November here in the Valley, and we are excited to kickoff #CoreValuesInAction for this month highlighting COMMUNITY! Community is represented by the color orange, and was one of the more recent additions to FV’s list of values. We added community (along with diversity, stewardship, and inclusiveness) a few years ago, to make our list of values stronger. We feel that community is a strong and positive value that encompasses a lot of what we do here in our programs: teambuilding, living in a cabin with strangers, and being part of something greater than yourself.

 

Here is how community is defined by some of our campers from Summer 2016:

“Community: I love working together to make things happen” – Sophia, Susky Village
“Community, because everyone here gets along and acts as a family… This camp is the definition of fun… I love this camp so much and I feel like myself around other kids my age” – Justin, Outpost Village
“On the night of my overnight, the threat of thunderstorms loomed overhead, making it unsafe to sleep outside. So, as a result, my cabin (Turrell) all slept in our main room, on the floor, and talked all night. We really bonded, and a powerful sisterhood was formed.” – Lakota Camper
“I displayed community by helping the first year campers in my cabin.” – Outpost Camper
“I like community because all of the core values fall under it. To make or have a good community you need to hace all of the core values!” – Roxana, Susky Village
“It let me bond with all of my new friends that I couldn’t have without a community.” – Beckett, Outpost Village
“Helping to create a welcome atmosphere in the cabin and village” – Milo, Forest Village
“I like community the most because all the campers and the counselors felt like a mini community inside of camp.” – Jack, Mighty Village of the Trees
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The Session 1 Camp Wawayanda Community!

If any campers have a story that puts community into action in your communities, please send them to me at lhutchinson@frostvalley.org. I will feature your story in our blog and send you an orange core values tshirt!
Looking forward to hearing your stories!
Peace, Love, Bibbley,
Lindsay

#CoreValuesInAction has been brought to life in a big way at Woodstock Day School, thanks to the hard work by a few of our Outpost Campers. Zach, one of our campers during Summer 2016, wrote to me with an awesome story of how he and his classmates, also Outpost Campers, were putting Core Values into Action:

 

Hi Lindsay This is Zach 3rd Session cabin 39. I wanted to tell you this story and it might work for this month’s caring core value. There was a new girl in our class and she is sick and can’t come to school. We are going to send a video card to her each week as a class, and 1 kid will send a hand written card. Also we will cook meals for her family. The two students who came up with the idea Paix and Niko both Outpost session 3 campers . Jerome (Cabin 38) and Ben (Cabin 39) will be a part as well because we are all in the same class. We feel that by doing she will get to know her class better.

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Outpost Campers Niko, Zach, Ben, Jerome, and Paix

This project has been designed entirely by the students of the class, making this a very special  project. Regularly, the students of the Woodstock Day School complete Community Service projects, but this one is very unique and very personal, showing how much kindness and generosity our campers have. Here is a picture of the campers with the letters that they have written. They were making cards with lists of movies, books, tv shows etc. for the student who is sick to watch or read so she doesn’t get bored. They came up with some really good (and funny) ideas!  Last Friday, the parents of the students in the class dropped off a load of food for the family as well!

 

When everyone at Frost Valley heard this story, we knew that we had to share it with the rest of the community!  Zach, Paix, Niko, Jerome, and Ben, you have been an inspiration to everyone here, and we hope that you know how much of a positive impact you and your classmates are making in your community! You have demonstrated so many of our Core Values, especially caring, and we are so glad that you shared this story with us!

 

 

If any of our campers have a story about putting the #CoreValuesInAction, please email Lindsay at lhutchinson@frostvalley.org and you too could be featured in the Frost Valley Blog, as well as receive a Core Values TShirt. During the month of November, we will be featuring the Core Value of Community! Looking forward to hearing your stories!

 

 

Peace, Love, Bibbley,

Lindsay

#CoreValuesInAction

Yesterday was the first brunch of summer 2016. On Sundays each session, campers (and hopefully counselors!) get a chance to sleep in and go to brunch at 10am. Brunch is one of the most anticipated activities for campers, because during brunch campers are treated to the “Island of Dreams,” an ice cream sundae bar that accompanies waffles and other brunch options. It’s a great way to kick of Sundays, for Wawayanda brunch is followed by morning reflection. Morning reflection is a time where campers and staff perform songs and skits that go along with a theme selected by the counselors in training (CITs). Wawayanda’s morning reflection theme for this session was “covalent bonds”. After morning reflection cabin groups went back up to their villages for double rest hour, before heading down to the staff soccer game which is followed by the 1st session all camp activity, Small World. Small World is a culture sharing event where international staff members plan booths for campers to explore the food, music, and history of different countries. The afternoon was sunny but not too hot, perfect all camp weather! In addition to the booths at Small World, campers were able to try healthy snacks from our snack truck, cool off under the hose of a local firetruck, and play in our bouncy castle.

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Summer camp was in full swing for the first full day! During a beautiful and sunny morning, campers played Geronimo, learned cheers, played tag and went to waterfront orientation. Some campers were able to complete their swim tests, and the rest will be taking them tomorrow. At dinner, cabin groups got together to take their cabin photos! The photo featured here is Outpost Cabin 38, all of the boys were excited to have their photo posted so all their friends and family could see what a great time they’re having at summer camp!

We’re looking forward to an amazing rest of the week and session! Check back tomorrow for more blogging and photos.

Peace, Love, Bibbley,

The Wawayanda Directors,

Phoebe, Lindsay, Sian, Sevani

Tonight we wrapped up our Nickelodeon Theme Day with the FV Kids Choice Awards, complete with counselor sliming, t-shirt tossing, and musical performances! This banner was in our dining hall during the meals, and the kids had fun posing for photos. Overall, the all camp theme day was a great success, with campers and counselors getting dressed up and actively participating in the day’s activities.

Grace from Mini-Mac is showing her artwork to several Forest campers during the annual Mac Art Show. This awesome mainstreaming activity allows campers in Mac to show off their artistic side and explain their work to others. The art show was part of tonight’s evening activity, but is often the highlight of the day for many campers and counselors!

family

 

Here at Frost Valley, we all feel like part of a big family, and some of us actually are family! Here we have the Boynton family, all siblings, in Pokey Totem village, Forest Village, and Mustang Village. How many family members do you have at camp or know who went to camp?

A camper from session 1 quoted, “I came in to camp feeling like a stranger, and came out with a family.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves!

Thank you to all the families who made it possible for our campers to be at camp. We are having such an amazing time, and are feeling so lucky to have your campers here with us! What a respectful, funny, and full of energy group we have!