COVID-19: Preparing for another safe and fun summer at Camp WA WA!

Smith Park Logo
As Spring starts to peak out here in the Northeast, we are busy planning for summer and have some updates on enrollment and how we are responding to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
I’m happy to share that we have crossed 50% capacity filled for this summer. Teen Camp for sessions 1 and 2 is almost full, and I anticipate a waiting list will start any day now. Base camp for those two sessions is also filling fast. 
 
Session 3 still has plenty of bunks open and I encourage folks to check out that awesome week. This is all great news for our small camp!
 
We are also still enrolling for our two adult and family programs: Altheisure Camp & Family Camp. We are excited to be holding such varied ways to get outside this summer!
 
Thank you so much for helping to get the word out. We are so happy to see many campers returning and bringing new friends along for another epic season in the Berkshires.
We are also currently monitoring the spread of COVID-19 virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, and any potential impact on the summer. If you click HERE, you will be brought to the State of Massachusetts website that includes information on what your family can do today to prepare for this virus. The CDC is another place for up to date information from anywhere in the country.
 
As you have probably heard, washing your hands regularly for at least 30 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice!), staying home if sick, and covering any sneezes or coughs, are all strong practices to incorporate at home in order to aid in prevention.  
 
In regards to this summer, please know that Nella, our Health Care Supervisor, and I, along with our Board of Directors at Smith Park, keep the health and safety of our campers at the very forefront of our minds at all times when preparing for camp, and during the summer. 
 
As a camp licensed by the state of Massachusetts, we are already required to have an infectious disease policy in place and we work closely with the State of MA Department of Health each season to make sure our campers are healthy and protected while at camp. As summer approaches, we will take instructions from the department of health in regards to any and all approaches needed in response to the coronavirus. 
 
Nella and I are actively reviewing our health screening, check-in protocol, hand-washing and sanitizing systems, and other policies and procedures at camp to improve for this summer. 
 
We are partnering with ACA New England, who have a strong presence in the region and work alongside the American Camp Nursing Association to give guidance for best practices for health standards at camp.
 
We are fortunate to have our camp located in a state with so many summer camps- our support system is robust and allows us to provide phenomenal safe experiences in the summer.
 
I encourage families to be in touch with any specific questions or concerns at this time. A new update about this summer and coronavirus will be sent via email on May 1, if not sooner, after we meet with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for our annual Spring Massachusetts Camping Association policies and licensing review. We are confident that our partners in public health will be doing everything possible to assist us in having a safe summer. 
 
We continue to be very excited about the chance to spend summer outside in nature. Just yesterday it was warm enough for our facilities committee to work at camp on our new handicap accessible bathroom in our multi purpose cabin, Hart Lodge. Things are moving along!
 
And please keep sharing about our programs with your friends and family, there are many great memories to be made and we want to make sure we are reaching everyone that needs some Camp WA WA magic this summer. 

 

Spotlight on Teen Camp

Mountain View
For us at Camp WA WA Segowea, overnight camp sessions mean long, beautiful days in the Berkshires where we get to swim, boat, play, and HIKE! 
 
Our hiking tradition starts at Camp WA WA Segowea during our Base Camp day hiking program that is a tradition for the first week of every session. 
 
And teen campers get to take on a whole new adventure by embarking on a two night, three day hike on the nearby Appalachian Trail. 
Hikers
Don’t miss out, Teen Camp fills up fastest of all of our programs so register today to secure your preferred spot. 
 
The AT Hike is a special highlight of our Teen Camp program that offers many awesome summer opportunities for teens including…
 
– Day Hikes to nearby popular waterfalls and mountains.
– Overnight Camping at our lakeside campsites or other local sites here in the Berkshires. 
– A Canoe Trip to a local lake or river.   
– Team Building and leadership activities. 
– And a Teen Camp Favorite: Cupcake Wars! 
Camp Fire

Teen Campers also enjoy all the benefits of living as part of our Base Camp population when they are not out on trips taking in new views! 

Mountain View
Cabin options are available for campers of all genders and campers live with 6-8 other campers and 1-2 counselors. 
 
Our kitchen is trained in allergy awareness and is happy to make accommodations for vegetarian and vegan campers, as well as dietary restrictions for other special needs. 
 
Campership Scholarships are made possible thanks to our parent non-profit Smith Park of New York, the Annual WA WA Wally Waddle 5K Race and Walk, and the generous support of our alumni and friends. An application can be submitted HERE
 
Please reach out to info@smithpark.org with any questions. And connect with us on Facebook

Summer is coming. We Promise!

Base Campers
Summer is coming, we promise! 
 
Week by week, our Camp WA WA Segowea team is putting together a summer in the Berkshires that is packed with fun, adventure, creativity, friendship, and hours and hours outside. 
 
It all starts with our Base Camp program. Designed for campers ages 8 to 14, Base Camp is our entry in to overnight camping and provides plenty of ways for campers to grow as they age.
 
This is where our “Small Camp, Big Family” motto begins and we are always delighted to welcome new campers into one of our eleven historic cabins each summer. 
 
Don’t miss out, register today to secure your preferred spot. 
 
 
Base Campers
Highlights of Base Camp include:
 
Small Cabin “Home Base” Groups: Cabins typically have six campers in similar age and gender groups, and one to two counselors. Cabins eat meals together, rest and sleep in the same cabin, and are together for some daily programs.
 
– Afternoon Skill Class Choices: Archery, arts and crafts, pottery, boating, sailing, board games on the side porch, and nature hiking are some of the choices for campers in the afternoon. During the first week they pick new activities every day, and in the second week they will choose two classes and complete week-long projects. 
 
– Swimming Every Day: Open swim is always an option in the morning and everyone takes swimming lessons in the afternoon. As campers grow to become stronger swimmers they will have the opportunity to swim the length of our lake.
 
– Overnight Camp Out: For one night all campers and counselors will head out and explore our larger 450 acre property and sleep in tents. This is a special opportunity for teamwork, bonding, and plenty of s’more making. 
 
For campers 10 and under, there are limited spots available in our one week “Mini Session” program. Register HERE! 
 
And a few things to note for all of our programs for youth ages 8 to 16…
 
Overnight camping at Camp WA WA Segowea is unplugged! Our facility does not have wifi or cell reception and campers are asked to leave electronics at home.We do have a landline phone and we pick up mail in town every day so parents can be rest assured that we are reachable. 
 
Cabin options are available for campers seeking to bunk in a “girls,” or “boys,” cabin, and transgender or non-binary campers can also choose a “mixed gender” cabin option in adition to the two other cabin options. 
 
Our kitchen is trained in allergy awareness and is happy to make accommodations for vegetarian and vegan campers, as well as dietary restrictions for other special needs. 
 
Campership Scholarships are made possible thanks to our parent non-profit Smith Park of New York, the Annual WA WA Wally Waddle 5K Race and Walk, and the generous support of our alumni and friends. An application can be submitted HERE
 
Register before February 15 and receive $100 off all youth overnight camping programs. 
 
Learn more at www.smithpark.org. Please reach out to info@smithpark.org with any questions. And connect with us on Facebook
 
Day Camp Swimmers

It’s time for Family Camp Weekend!

Dear Camp WA WA Families and Friends,

As our last overnight camper session of the summer wraps up, we are looking forward to extending our summer on Harmon Pond at Camp WA WA Segowea as long as possible!

Labor Day Weekend is our final weekend of summer programming and we will be bringing together families and friend groups of all ages for the best end to summer.

Labor Day weekend Family Camp features numerous ways for families to unwind, including:
    •    Delicious made from scratch meals three times per day.
    •    Unlimited boating and swimming on our spring fed pond.
    •    Hikes, ball games, and daily activities perfect for all ages of kids and adults.  
    •    A break from electronic entertainment, wifi, and cell reception (we do have a landline!).
Group cabins are $500 (for up to 8 guests) and include all programming and meals, individual bunks are $125 per person. Registration is found at app.campdoc.com/register/segowea. Please note bunks are limited to our 11 cabins, and registration will close on August 14. 

For questions, email our camp director, Lily, at lily@smithpark.org or call 413-229-9110 by August 10.

Happy Camping!
Lily Mercogliano Easton
Camp Director
Camp WA WA Segowea

Campers in front of lodge

2019 Why We Give…

Candle light circle

Campership scholarships have been a part of the Camp WA WA Segowea tradition since the camp first started in 1913.. Back then, an ad posted in the Poughkeepsie Journal reached out to “Boys in need of assistance to get to camp” (because it was an all boys camp way back then…). Those youth in need could write to the camp director and secure their spot in a cabin for the summer.

Today, I am so proud that camp is continuing to ensure that kids make it to camp each summer regardless of their family’s ability to pay the full fee.

In the past year, Smith Park of New York, the parent non-profit organization that operates Camp WA WA Segowea, increased the campership fund to $40,000. With camp just a month away it is time to raise the last funds needed to get all the kids to camp!

Last year before we launched this final campership scholarship push, I wrote a blog post about why so many of us give to make Camp WA WA camperships possible.

And this year, I wanted to focus on what we receive when we remain committed to camperships.

Camper Pyramid

Including campers from diverse economic backgrounds at Camp WA WA means we get to run a bustling program in the summer that creates a true form of community, one built on support, understanding, perspective-taking, and empathy. It introduces everyone to the ways we all live, play, and learn together on our 450 acres of Berkshire woods.  

When I was a camper at Camp WA WA, receiving a campership scholarship meant I got to learn how to swim, and become a strong enough swimmer to swim across the lake and back. It also meant I got to grow friendships that are now going on 27 years old. And, perhaps most importantly, I was given a stake in a program and set of traditions that strengthened my character in more ways than I will ever be able to count.

Girls in front of cabin

For this summer, giving to camperships means we ensure that youth who have experienced homelessness, major family changes and losses, big ups and downs in school, and pulled through numerous other challenges during this past year, can count on Camp WA WA to be a timeless and consistent part of their summer experience. Giving is our tradition. It’s the WA WA way.  

Starting on Monday, June 10 we will launch our annual Director’s Campership Drive to raise the last funds needed for this summer’s camperships. You can make a donation to the Director’s Campership Drive via our Facebook Fundraiser found HERE or by donating through our website below.

You can also send a check to Smith Park of New York, Inc. at P.O Box 4994, Poughkeepsie, NY, 12602.

I will give generously to the Director’s Campership Fund Drive because knowing that I’m doing my part to keep nature, adventure, friendship, community, and endless summer days a strong part of all WA WA camper’s summers means the world to me. I hope you will join me and make a generous donation too!

With Love,
Lily Mercogliano Easton
Camp Director, Camp WA WA Segowea
WWS ‘93

10 Years of Wally Waddling

It started 10 years ago with a question.  How can we bring families together to enjoy the outdoors while raising money for camp? The answer, the WA WA Wally Waddle. This Mother’s Day tradition will once again take place at the Vassar Farms Ecological Preserve in Poughkeepsie, NY and features 3 races. Wally starting the kids race 100 yard dash with Wally for kids 6 and younger.  1 mile race for kids 13 and younger. Running the 5k 5k for anyone who can run/walk/hop 3.1 miles. The Wally Waddle comes alive with the help of WA WA Segowea alumni and current staff members, members of the Mid-Hudson Road Runners Club, and community business sponsors. The Waddle features not only 3 races, but also face painting, balloon animals, and arts & craft projects led by Camp Segowea staff. Child with balloon animals As we enter our 10th year we have raised over $30,000 to help send children to Camp Segowea. Registrations for the events, day-of raffles, and donations collected around this healthy, community event go towards sending children to Camp WA WA for two-week sessions. Your participation at the Waddle is not only important for the fun of having more friends to join us, but also to help us send more kids to Camp each summer.
10th Annual WA WA Wally Waddle 5k and Kids Runs.
    • Vassar Farms corner of Raymond and Hooker Ave.  Map
    • Sunday May 12th, 2019 (Mother’s Day)
    • Race Day registration 7:30-9:00 am
    • Kids 1 mile 9:00 am (free if you preregister $5 on race day)
    • Kids Rugby Field Rush 100 yards 9:15 am (free)
    • 5K Run/Walk 9:30 am ($20 preregistration $25 race day)
    • Awarding of the Pies around 10:30 am
    • T-shirts to the 1st 150 Registered 5k runners
    • Free games, face painting and balloon animals for the kids

Register online here

Visit www.wallywaddle.org to learn more.

Getting to Know “The WA WA Way” in 2019!

For those that spent time at Camp WA WA Segowea, located on over 450 acres of secluded land in the “5 Towns” area of New Marlborough County in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, there are a whole bunch of things that can seem like a fairly normal part of a summer vocabulary.  There’s doing “Campers Kapers” (chores) every day, hiking to “Ump” (Umpachene Falls, the nearest waterfall), walking on the log (it floats, and rolls, in the camp lake), and looking forward to the “Gold Rush” (a popular game that involves searching for gold painted rocks) to name just a few. 

To people that have never been to Camp WA WA Segowea, all of this can be pretty new and confusing!   It is common for new friends and families to notice the unabashed love alumni have for our special summer home and also wonder, “What is ‘WA WA’ and what do kids do there?”

And while camp’s website has lots of information about Camp WA WA’s summer programs, getting to talk with someone close to Camp WA WA about the underlying culture of the camp and about what they understand to be, “the WA WA way” is usually the most helpful route to understanding the answers to that question. 

When asked, “What do you love most about Camp WA WA?” on their surveys, many campers write in, “EVERYTHING.”  For them Camp WA WA is much more than a sleep-away camp, it is the place to meet new friends, see old friends, and build memories that can be indescribable to anyone that wasn’t with them for their time there. 

Alumni have said that their take-aways from Camp WA WA are life-changing, and see the impact of being together in community with campers within a similar age range and also from a wide-range of backgrounds as a cornerstone of the program.  More than the small details, like what skill classes they chose to take in the afternoon, it is the larger traditions of sleeping in simple cabins to the sounds of crickets (and pirates- but that’s a whole other blog post!), increasing self-sufficiency skills like how to build a fire, or swim, or row a boat, and the tremendous amount of singing and laughter (sometimes at the same time!) that fill summer weeks that leave a lasting impression.

As Camp WA WA’s 91st summer in the Berkshires approaches, everyone is looking forward to many more families joining the Camp WA WA Family. Those interested in learning more can meet our Lily Mercogliano Easton, our Camp Director and an alumna of the camp from 1993, at one of the following upcoming information sessions:

BROOKLYN, NY: January 12, 12pm-3pm, “Schools Out for Summer” Fair at P.S. 321 in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. 

CAPITAL DISTRICT: March 13, 6pm-8pm, “Slingerlands Elementary School Camp Fair” at Slingerlands Elementary School in Delmar, NY.

DUTCHESS COUNTY: April 28 & 29 at “Kid Venture” at Dutchess County Community College in Poughkeepsie, NY.  

DUTCHESS COUNTY: May 15, 9am-11am at the 10th Annual “WA WA Wally Waddle 5K Race and Walk” at Vassar Farms, Poughkeepsie, NY. 

BERKSHIRES: June 1, 11:30 AM- 3 PM at “Planting Day Spring Open House” at Camp WA WA Segowea in Southfield, MA.  

At the end of each two week session, camp is closed with a candle light ceremony and the words, “May the light of Segowea stay with you all year long and bring you right back here next summer!” Summer 2019 will be tremendous, and welcoming new families and youth will be one of the biggest highlights.

Family Camp Gives Time for Real Family Down Time

Camp WA WA Family Camp over Labor Day Weekend is an opportunity for everyone in a family to unwind and take in the very last moments of summer! 

Our Camp Director, Lily Mercogliano Easton, brings her family of four to Camp WA WA Family Camp and in this latest blog post she shares her three favorite features of this unique summer escape.

1.  Building Community With Other Families!  A vacation with other people for my kids to meet and play with is my favorite kind of vacation because it is easier for my husband and I to relax while they are off having fun!  

2.  Natural Wonders Provide Endless Entertainment!  Searching for frogs, tossing rocks in the lake, running across the field, watching for beavers, taking out a canoe, and collecting sticks provide my kids with endless ways to have fun.  It is magical to watch how that final walk down the dusty camp road into our lakeside valley pushes away digital needs and replaces them with the strongest desire to explore outside! 

3.  Cooking is Optional!  Camp WA WA’s Camp Cook prepares delicious hot meals all day Saturday and Sunday, and breakfast on Monday.  All meals are served family style in the dining hall.  A cereal and yogurt bar at breakfast, and lunchtime and dinner salad, soup, and PBJ bar in addition to the main courses means everyone can find what they want.  Campers help set and clear the tables, and can join in with meal prep only if desired!

Camp WA WA Family Camp 2018 is Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3.  Day passes are available for Sunday, September 1.  Rent a family cabin for the whole weekend or come visit for the day!  

Registration for Family Camp is completed online at campdoc.com.  Group Cabins are limited to first come basis. For questions, please email our Camp Director by August 12.

Why We Give…

Kids on Steps

The idea of giving back is central to the “WA WA Way,” our unwritten code of how we treat each other, and our beloved camp, when we are at Camp WA WA Segowea (and hopefully, when we are out in the wider world too!).

We all participate in chores every day, and we all extend the gift of friendship to our fellow campers.  We also keep in mind that camp is home to wildlife for the entire year and we are only guests during the summer, a notion that requires we give our furry friends and local fauna both space and respect at all times!

And we extend the camp experience to as many campers as possible each year, regardless of financial ability to cover all of the costs of a camp session.

Smith Park of New York, Inc., the non-profit organization that runs Camp WA WA Segowea, gives generous “Campership” scholarships ranging from over $1,000 to $100 to meet the needs of our families.  In 2017 Smith Park gave out over $25,000 in Camperships to 36 campers! This year our program capacity has expanded, and over 40 campers have applied for campership support to attend camp.

We continue the tradition of “Campership” scholarships because we know that every camper that comes to Camp WA WA will give back in one way or another.  And with this in mind we celebrate each and every camper that makes the effort to attend for the very first time or return for another year!

Starting this Monday, June 18, we are launching our second annual “Director’s Drive”- a special fund intended to get our final campers to camp this summer!  You can donate to the Camp WA WA Director’s Fund via our fundraiser on Facebook HERE or directly through our paypal account found HERE.

I will give generously to the Camp WA WA Director’s Drive because I was once a kid who needed campership in order to attend and I want all campers to have the same chance to experience Camp WA WA!  I hope you will give generously too!

With Love,

Lily Mercogliano Easton

Camp Director, WWS ‘93