Words that Guide Us

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Nov 9, 2015 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Last year, we set out to clarify just what the term “Winnebegan” means and strove to identify the values that we feel most important at camp while intentionally cultivating them both among the staff and campers.

By identifying respect, empathy, resilience, leadership, integrity, community, effort and creativity as the 8 key values at Camp Winnebago we hoped to be more specific in how we teach and form community.

Director of Camp Winnebago  teaching fishing to campers

Director of Camp Winnebago teaching fishing to campers

Our guiding principle in training staff is intentionally creating a safe and healthy environment for campers to connect with positive role models. By clarifying the Winnebago values, counselors more easily understand that with each interaction they have with campers, whether it is in the bunk or teaching an activity, they have an opportunity to instill positive values and attributes. We want our staff, both returning and new, to explore their relationship with these values and how they can internalize them as part of being exemplary role models for the campers.

Throughout our staff training counselors engaged in thoughtful conversations regarding each of these values and shared their personal relationship with them.  In small groups, and as an entire staff, we developed a deeper understanding of the words and then began the process of integrating values into activities.

Each counselor had the dual task of becoming prepared to teach a skill while also understanding the more subtle lessons, which may be taught in the process. For example, the athletics staff pondered how to help campers learn how empathy and effort are two key pieces of competition; how treating a teammate who is struggling respectfully instead of negatively brings cohesiveness to a team. Boating and Canoeing counselors developed communication strategies to help a camper understand the resilience they are developing and how such an effort will aid them when out on their trips.

Throughout the summer we returned to these core values to keep our staff focused. In various staff meetings we explored camper’s experiences through the lens of respect, community and effort. Counselors shared ways in which campers were struggling and succeeding and received support from fellow staff members.

These words also helped provide an awareness of the depth of the Winnebegan experience and by continually focusing on teaching skills and values in unison, our staff gained a broader and deeper insight into the impactful role that they play while maintaining strong motivation to succeed.

We are dedicated to our core values in every phase of camp and are excited to continue to examine and hone in on the perfect set of words that best reflect the Winnebago experience. Please take a look at these 8 words: respect, empathy, resilience, leadership, integrity, community, effort and creativity.

Feel free to let us know which words seem most integral to you and if there are values you believe we are missing? With your thoughts and input, we will continue to drill down into the Winnebago values and implement them in every facet of camp.

New Trips and a New Patch

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Feb 16, 2015 | Uncategorized | 4 Comments


Winnebago Trip Program

Camp Winnebago Summer Camp Outdoor Adventure ProgramSince 1920, when Winnebagans took their first steps on a trail leading up a remote mountain peak and dipped their paddle into a pristine Maine lake, they began profound and life changing multi-day adventures. On every trip seemingly insurmountable challenges are overcome while the boys realize untapped potential and newfound skills in deep and meaningful ways. With the help of caring and skilled counselors, boys navigate through uncharted physical and emotional spaces to emerge stronger, more resilient and capable. We regularly examine our trip program to identify ways to edify and enrich the experience. Currently, the Bows (rising 8th graders) have had the opportunity to hike a 24-mile portion of the Appalachian Trail (AT), arguably the most famous hiking path in North America if not the world, and Senior Arrows (15 year olds) culminate their Winnebago career with an ascent of Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine and the northern terminus of the AT. In an effort to create a more thoughtful and sequential journey, we are excited that now the Bows through Seniors will have the opportunity to experience a 100 mile hiking journey, spread over three years, along the AT culminating in the summiting of Mount Katahdin. In camper’s Arrow year there will be three trips (AT Backpack, Acadia and St. Croix River) of which they will choose two. Campers who choose the Arrow AT Backpack will be awarded the 100 Mile Patch in their Senior Arrow year after summiting Mt. Katahdin. This patch will recognize the monumental feat of backpacking 100 miles on the AT over their final three years at camp. Our hope in creating this series of trips is to provide a peak experience for campers that will result in them having a deeper understanding of their potential for extraordinary accomplishments.

Camp Winnebago 2015 Summer Theme

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Feb 12, 2015 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Summer Theme Announcement

CW2_2741Each year we find a theme that serves as a through line for the summer. The 2015 theme is “The Summer of the Echo”. An echo in nature is not an exact replicate of the original sound; it is a unique reverberation of its own shaped by various external factors. We look at each summer in a very similar manner. Chief’s original vision of bringing boy’s to the beautiful backwoods of Maine where they can play, build character and grow as individuals has served as a clarion call that has resonated with individuals from all corners of the globe. For 95 years boys have come to Winnebago to share in fun, adventure, friendship and personal growth. With the centennial of camp approaching, we hope “The Summer of the Echo” will tie this summer to Camp’s rich history and to the multitude of boy’s who have grown into men having been positively influenced by their Winnebago experience. As dreams of spring begin to percolate, we are already planning the summer ahead. We eagerly await camp’s beginning and a camp full of boys ready to experience the most amazing summer of their lives!

Homesickness at Camp

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Jan 20, 2015 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

What if my child is homesick?Boy's at summer camp cooperating in activity

Homesickness is a relatively common issue that usually lasts no more than a few days. Our staff is trained to deal with homesickness by acknowledging it and then helping boys adapt to the Winnebago routine through a variety of methods. We do our best to keep homesick campers busy and well supported by staff and other friendly faces and look at homesickness as an opportunity for boys to build and realize their developing resilience while adapting to a new and dynamic environment.

- See more at: http://campwinnebago.com/parent-faqs/#sthash.b10NzT9x.dpuf

Building Relationships…

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Dec 17, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Friends that last a lifetime!

Making lifelong friends at summer camp

Above all else, the relationships created and reinforced each summer at Camp Winnebago are what make the camp experience so profound. At campfires each summer boys state that the friendships forged at camp are where boys feel most comfortable being themselves. The friendships built at Camp Winnebago are honest, compassionate and long lasting!

Learning and Innovation Skills for your Son

In our previous blog we discussed our plan to explore P21′s plan to help children become competitive in the global marketplace.Camp Winnebago Building Skills for Success

P21 divides the skills into what they call the 3 R’s and the 4 C’s. The 3 R’s are core subjects which include English, reading or language arts, world languages, arts, mathematics, economics, science, geography, history, government and civics. We assume the majority of work in these disciplines is concentrated in school and other more traditional modes of education.

Learning and innovation skills, or the 4C’s, is the area in which Camp Winnebago intentionally helps prepare boys to be happy and successful young men. According to P21, “learning and innovation skills are what separates students who are prepared for increasingly complex life and work environments in today’s world and those who are not.”

They include:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration

We begin by examining the first bullet point, creativity and innovation, and talk about Camp Winnebago’s ethos and programming that helps foster creative and innovative thinking among the campers.

Camp Winnebago offers  a broad experience for campers: sports, swimming, overnight wilderness camping, and a cache of other non-athletic activities including Selected Activities. Campers choose 8 selected activities over the course of the summer focusing on them for 10 days at a time.

This allows campers to build an appreciation,  a base of skills, and an expertise in each of the activities that they can return to each successive summer. There are more than a dozen choices including archery, canoeing, sailing, theater, video production, radio, photography, newspaper, woodworking, and pottery.

As in other areas of camp, campers learn through active instruction, by doing and by following the example of fellow campers and staff.

Many of the selected activities intentionally allow campers the opportunity to foster, realize and express their unique perspectives on the world . The staff, a diverse group with experience both in the activities they lead and working with children, focus on helping campers develop these new skills while encouraging them to use new found skills in a creative manner. By learning multiple methods of expression through various mediums, campers hone in and clarify their own perceptions of the world and use creative ways to express it.

Fostering children’s confidence in their unique perception of the world and reinforcing the value of finding ways to express those perceptions paves the way for campers to transmute into innovative young thinkers. Like any skill, innovative thinking must be role modeled and reinforced, which is done by the counselors who campers look up to and lionize.

Camp Winnebago counselors are creative positive individuals who express themselves in many ways other than simply the individual activity they teach. For example, an athletic counselor may sing a song at a campfire or a swimming counselor will teach a Sunday workshop on rocket building.

Campers quickly notice the creative diversity of their role models and strive to copy this admirable and engaging quality.

The development of creativity and innovation in campers is an organic process. Winnebago’s administration and staff are intentional in creating an environment that fosters these qualities, and campers develop these skills through exciting and engaged learning and fun, mostly unaware of their transformation.

The broad range of activities offered at Camp Winnebago coupled with talented creative and caring counselors is a perfect breeding ground to develop key skills for your son(s) long-term success!

Camp Winnebago Trips

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Dec 2, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments »


A New Challenge Every Year


Camp Winnebago Summer Camp Outdoor Adventure ProgramCampers have two separate trips each summer at Camp Winnebago. One trip takes them hiking, the other canoeing. As campers return from summer to summer, the trips become more challenging. Campers begin as 8 or 9 year olds camping for 2 nights, becoming comfortable and confident in the outdoors and gradually progress to their final year as 15 year olds hiking the highest peak in Maine, Mt. Katahdin and canoeing 9 days on the Allagash River! Many a young man has returned to camp as an alumnus noting the confidence built within them through Camp Winnebago’s trip program!

Camp, Preparing Boys for a Successful Life

Boy Playing ChessIncreasingly, parents make decisions for their children in an effort to boost chances for their children’s success in both the short and longer term.  Over ten years ago the U.S. Department of Education and a number of industry leading businesses (Apple, AOL/Time Warner, Cisco, Dell, among others) came together to form the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).   P21 identified a comprehensive set of skills, which all sectors of business recognize as essential for success in the global marketplace.  These skills include what they call the 3Rs and the 4Cs. They are as follows.

·       The 3Rs include: English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics; government; economics; arts; history; and geography.

·       The 4Cs include: critical thinking and problem solving; communication, collaboration; and creativity and innovation.

As the 3Rs serve as an umbrella for other subjects and core content, the 4Cs are shorthand for all the skills needed for success in college, career, and life.

In our next few blogs we will examine how Camp Winnebago intentionally cultivates the 4Cs (critical thinking/communication/collaboration/creativity) and will explore how both the ethos of camp and specific activities are aligned with P21 to help children “successfully face rigorous higher education coursework, career challenges and a globally competitive workforce. “  We will examine how camp creates and reinforces skills needed for boys to become intellectually agile independent young men prepared for the challenges of entering college and eventually the work place and discuss how both the skill sets and social aspects of the camp experience are aligned with what industry leaders and policy makers have identified as essential.

We are excited to explore these topics and welcome your thoughts and perceptions. Please comment on Facebook, Twitter or our website!

Camp Winnebago Waterfront

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Nov 13, 2014 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

The Vibrant Waterfront at Camp Winnebago

Lake Waterfront with boy's kayaking, canoeing and swimming

Waterfront at Camp Winnebago, A Boy’s Camp in Maine

Camp Winnebago occupies a portion of shore along beautiful Echo Lake. Our waterfront is an exciting and vibrant hot bed of activity each and every day throughout the summer. Campers swim twice daily, one period of instructional swim and one period of free swim. Our docks are an explosion of activity, campers receive instruction in paddling both rowboats and canoes as well as kayaks. In addition boy’s receive expert instruction in sailing and windsurfing.

Visit our Selected Activities page on our website to learn more about the myriad of activities Camp Winnebago offers.

How do you handle bullying?

Posted by: Ej Kerwin | Nov 11, 2014 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

CW1_8202Camp Winnebago takes bullying very seriously. Because we are a relatively small camp, and a community that is open and trusting, there is not much that we do not find out about fairly quickly. When a conflict arises between campers, we strive to nip it in the bud through honest direct communication. Campers are encouraged in various manners to communicate with staff or administration any time they feel unsafe. Emotional and physical safeties are our #1 priorities!

Check out more Frequently Asked Questions for Parents at  http://campwinnebago.com/parent-faqs/