It’s a different look for the Firefly! We took a loooong time with this newsletter so we thought it should look a little different! We have a good deal of news for you and some new contributors telling some stories!
Small Camp, Big Family
Summer 2020 is going to be a bit different, but to keep staff, campers, parents and new friends connected during our first summer of not being able to offer in-person programming, we are getting together on-line on Wednesdays and over the weekend.
What is WWS NOT CAMP CAMP?
Camp Wa Wa is a rustic, traditional camping program located in the Berkshires. Our programs are completely unplugged and outdoors on our 450 acre property in Southfield, MA. With a private lake, a row of 92 year old cabins, a giant lodge and so many amazing spots in the woods, Smith Park brings endless joy to our long summer days.
WWS Not Camp Camp is the remote camp program of Camp Wa Wa Segowea for campers ages 8-16. This program can be accessed from anywhere there’s WiFi and the Wa Wa spirit.
So, this online programming is NOT CAMP
But Camp WA WA is also a community of people. Each summer we end our sessions by remembering that more than anything, Camp WA WA is a light that shines on in our camp people. We bring that light home with us and it keeps burning for the year. This year we need to keep it burning for two years.
Therefore, this IS still CAMP……. its NOT CAMP CAMP
WWS Not Camp, Camp is four types of remote resources that our campers, staff, parents, and new friends that they invite to try out Camp WA WA, can use to access the joys of camp while staying in their own communities this summer.
Just like our summer programs at Camp WA WA Segowea, WWS Not Camp, Camp will be a relaxed environment where young people can be seen, heard and valued. Our activities will inspire laughter and joy. We will offer opportunities to choose your own challenges and grow.
Programs will be flexible, and intended to complement other summer activities not fill the day with online activities.
What activities will be available at NOT CAMP CAMP
For Summer 2020, WWS Not Camp, Camp will offer four programs for our families. Registration is required. These programs will be free. Donations to support the work will be accepted and greatly appreciated.
WA WA Wednesdays (July)- ZOOM:
nteractive activity choices led by counselors. Activities will be 30-45 minutes long. Examples include tutorials, games, magic the gathering.
WA WA Weekends (July)
Friday Night Movies (various platforms – families choose)
Saturday Evening Activities-ZOOM
5 Saturday night family activities led by trained staff. Activities will include game shows, trivia and other large group activities that are 1-1.5 hours long and easily accessible for a variety of ages. Held on zoom or zoom webinar (perhaps with Kahoots for games, we’re exploring other plugins for movies).
BONUS Activities: Opening Camp Fire at the beginning (Maybe Sunday, June 28?), Banquet at the end, Friday, July 31.
WA WA Rainy Days – Youtube
Series of videos + written resources on the website that parents and older campers can use to guide activities for rainy days or to support local community activities (like a socially distanced field day, sing down at home, camp cooking classes…).
Get outside and hike 11 miles in July. Send us proof and we’ll send you a prize.
June 8th, 2020
Dear Camp WA WA Segowea Family,
This past week, I explained to my son why it was important to attend an event in support of Black lives, despite it being over an hour drive away. As a camp mom, a Camp WA WA alum, and an American, I have been moved to action because ending racism can’t wait. Racism puts Black lives in peril and effecting change will take all of us. I am reaching out today, to show solidarity with everyone in our community taking a stand for Black lives right now and to let you know how the Smith Park board of directors is engaging.
It is imperative that we not only stand up against racism, but also look within ourselves and at our organization. As an organization devoted to caring for youth and with a commitment to serving diverse and underserved communities, we must do more.
The Smith Park board should reflect the diversity of our broad camp community. We have never had a person of color on the Smith Park Board, and that is something we are committed to changing. Over the next couple of months, you will hear from us about how we intend to diversify the board and our progress towards this goal.
This week, we also solicited input from our staff. We are listening to their camp experiences and their desires about how Smith Park can respond. As a result, here are some steps we are taking:
- Informing our community of anti-racist and social justice organizations to support in this moment
- Increasing our partnerships in Black and minority communities so that more campers of color can access Camp WA WA Segowea.
- Enhancing education about social justice issues and actions into both staff training and camper experience.
We recognize this is a challenging moment to navigate and find connection when we can not physically be together at camp this summer. We welcome communication and are available at email@example.com for any questions or suggestions, or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.
President, Smith Park on behalf of the Board of Directors
“Smith Park of New York is devoted to the preservation and operation of Camp WA WA Segowea, the protection of its natural surroundings and historical integrity, and the continuation of traditional resident camping that improves the spiritual, mental, social and physical attributes of young people in a caring community.”
Dear Camp WA WA Families and Friends,
This past weekend the Smith Park Board of Directors made the heartbreaking decision to cancel our in-person camp programs for the 2020 summer at Camp WA WA Segowea.
The Smith Park Board is a dedicated group of volunteers, all of whom have either attended, worked and volunteered at, or sent their children to Camp WA WA in the past. This decision was made after serious consideration of our mission as a resident camp, and our responsibility to our families and staff during this unique moment.
It was clear that the risk COVID-19 presents to our campers, our staff, and our camper’s families back home made it impossible at this time to proceed with our summer as planned.
If at any point during the coming months a path for offering gatherings at Camp WA WA emerges, we will make every effort to proceed with new programs and opportunities at Camp.
You may be surprised that this decision was made now, and not later this month or at the June board meeting. We have been closely following this health crisis for the past three months and have spent weeks considering how Camp WA WA could adjust and still offer for our families what we all love so much about summer.
However, upon reviewing the recommendations by our staff, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), summer camp professionals and health officials, we knew that suspending camp for this summer was the difficult decision that needed to be made and we did not want to prolong communicating that to our families.
We believe strongly that all of our families and staff deserve proper time to receive this news, and to make alternative plans for this summer if they are available. Also, by sharing this news now, we are able to focus on concrete ways that we can connect with campers moving forward. And we are able to prepare for 2021 to be a tremendous summer return at Camp WA WA.
We hope that our campers will get support at home to process their emotions about this decision. Every summer at camp is unique and every summer is valuable. We know how much our campers wanted to have this summer at camp and that this news, especially after weeks of stay-at-home orders, is extremely hard to hear.
We also recognize that given the global scale of this pandemic, families are facing many different challenges right now and our thoughts go out to all of you.
Below are some resources to support parents and campers at this time, as well as an update on the financial implications of this decision. Nella, our camp nurse and health care consultant is also available to support families with this news and her email is: email@example.com.
We look forward to pouring our hearts into finding new ways to connect now, and being back at camp in 2021!
Please keep in touch, and be well.
Lily Mercogliano Easton
Camp Director, Camp WA WA Segowea
On behalf of the Smith Park Board of Directors
Resources for Camp Families:
Tuition payments, including the registration deposit, for 2020 can be applied as credits towards 2021 camper registrations. 2021 registration will open a week early for currently enrolled campers and 2021 tuition will be offered at the 2020 rate.
Tuition payments, in full or any portion, can be donated to Camp WA WA Segowea, a 501 © 3 non-profit camp, to help offset the expenses already invested in the 2020 summer. Donations of any size will be greatly appreciated.
Refunds of 2020 tuition, including the deposit, are also available and will take up to three weeks to process on campdoc.com. *Please note that we will be working this week on updating camper accounts in campdoc.com. This will take a bit of time as we make sure that each family’s tuition payments are handled correctly and that any credits for 2021 are properly noted. We appreciate your patience and will be in touch more specifically about this in the coming days.
Resources for talking about this decision with your campers:
The Union for Reform Judaism has put together what we think is a fantastic resource for camper families in regards to sharing this news with different aged campers, you can view their resource here: https://urjyouth.org/wp-
content/uploads/2020/04/MESH- Resources-for-Families- Responding-to-Covid-19.pdf
Lily, our Camp Director and other leadership staff will hold the following opportunities to connect this week:
Monday, May 4: Town Hall, 7 PM (zoom): Join Lily for questions and answers about this decision, information about new ways we are working on staying connected this summer, and probably at least a song or two.
Wednesday, May 6: Teen Lunch, 12:30 PM (zoom- link will be sent to Teen Camp & CIT/LIT registered campers). Join teen leadership for time dedicated just for teens to connect, and inform ways we can move forward that are meaningful for our older campers.
Saturday, May 9th: Coffee with the Director, 9 AM (zoom): Parents and alumni are encouraged to join Lily for questions and answers about camp’s plans for the summer, and information on how to best help Camp WA WA and our camper communities during this difficult time.
Lily Mercogliano Easton is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/
84793649645?pwd= d2Z6YWZFcC9qTVJneDI4MFNOSzdMZz 09
Meeting ID: 847 9364 9645
2020 Camp WA WA at Home
Our staff team has begun crafting online activities to support camper engagement and connection over the summer. Though nothing can replace actually being at camp this summer, we are excited to find new ways to strengthen our community now. We hope you will hang in there with us as we try this out! Camp WA WA at Home will be a set of free programs, held online, and open to any youth ages 7 – 14. We will also have an online leadership program, free of cost, this summer for the CITs and LITs that had already registered for our leadership program this summer. New registration will be required for Camp WA WA at Home and information will be forthcoming this month.
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!
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/
For questions, email our camp director, Lily, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413-229-9110 by August 10.
Lily Mercogliano Easton
Camp WA WA Segowea