We are so excited to be able to continue the WA WA Segowea Camp experience for the 90th year here at Smith Park! Last year, we began the journey of not only managing the facilities but also doing the hiring, running the program, and having total responsibility in all camp matters! It was such a smashing success of “doing it ourselves”, this summer we are continuing the journey and seeing how much more we can create together! Read more about this and other things going on this spring check out issue #7 of the Firefly below.
It may not feel like it right now, but spring is on the way, and with it the 9th Annual WA WA Wally Waddle 5k and kids run. This Mother’s Day tradition will once again take place at Vassar Farms and features 3 races: a 100 yard dash with Wally for kids 6 and younger, a 1 mile race for kids 13 and younger and a 5k for anyone who can run/walk/hop 3.1 miles. Preregistration ends at midnight Friday May 11th.
- Vassar Farms corner of Raymond and Hooker Ave. Map
- Sunday May 13th, 2018 (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
January brings many things: hopes and goals for the New Year, a return to school from holiday breaks, and for many of us, the beginning of our countdown to summer camp!
This January, we were fortunate to get a special note from a parent whose child attended Camp WA WA for the first time last summer. We are happy to share the letter in it’s entirety below. This letter beautifully highlights the experience thousands of campers have had at WA WA over the past 90 years, and is such an awesome reminder of how powerful our program can be for an individual camper. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Dear Camp WA WA…
I’m writing this letter as if you were a dear friend… because – it feels like you are. We don’t “know each other” personally – you know my daughter. Do you remember her because SHE REMEMBERS YOU! In fact, she talks about YOU all the time! You see, last year – my daughter had the blessing and gift of receiving a scholarship to visit you. Did you know you changed her life?
Let me tell you Wa Wa – you are MY friend for life now too.
You might not know this but the little girl who left and the little girl who came back were two very different people. You are a very good friend to have – you give little girls so many things. I sent you a little girl with anxiety and fears and some broken pieces… I had no idea you would send me back a child who was brave and self-confident – who learned skills to fix her OWN broken pieces.
This little girl has not had an easy life. She was so scared to travel to WA WA where she knew no one and had no friends. She had never been away from me for more the 2 nights! She balked 2 weeks before camp started but we talked a lot about being brave and we packed… OK we over-packed.
On drop-off day she was scared – I was terrified. Who were these people I was trusting with my little girl with her broken wings and fears? Would you know that she can get nervous sometimes when she doesn’t have a friend by her side? Would you know she practiced swimming for 2 weeks because she was terrified of the water test? Would you know that she wanted her bunk to be pretty and that she was didn’t like certain foods? She cried when I left and I almost took her back home but I gave her a pep talk and then I cried all the way to my car and sat in a parking lot wanting to go back and get her. And then for 2 weeks I chewed my nails off… and I too learned how to be brave.
I trusted you WA WA and you didn’t let me down. I got the first letters and they were hesitant but they were happy. I got more and they became joyful. She made friends – she became part of a family of people I never knew but they were HERS. YOU ARE HERS. You are not mine – you never WILL be mine except that through her – you are eternally mine. Because the day I picked up that little girl she cried again and so did I. But then – she cried on the way home – because she hated leaving her WA WA family. That’s what she calls you – her WA WA family. You became family last year. You changed a life. You helped a scared little girl become a brave little girl.
It has taken me months to write you this letter – to thank you… but you see last week the letter for WA WA came and I saw her face explode in joy again and the stories started again and the calendar went on the wall and the pictures on Facebook that have shown me memories that I am not a part of reminded me that I hadn’t written you to tell you – WA WA – you are amazing. There will never be a way to properly thank you for all the beautiful joy, love and care you give – you are not a camp – you are a family – and you change lives one at a time. Thank you for becoming part of our family.
One happy camper’s mom
Summer 2018 “Make it Ourselves Camp” will bring out the best in our staff, campers, and facilities!
Summer 2018 at Camp WA WA Segowea will feature the theme “Make it Ourselves Camp!” This theme will add additional excitement to our “Classic WA WA” experience and give campers even more of what they love most about “WA WA!”
“Classic WA WA” group activities such as capture the flag, the overnight, game night (known traditionally as “Casino Night”), carnival, and the olympics, along with individual skill choices such as swimming, boating, archery, and arts and crafts will again be offered as the basis for our 2018 programs.
“Make it Ourselves Camp” will add opportunities for campers to deepen their “WA WA” experience and build a tree house, maintain and harvest a camp garden, learn outdoor survival skills, and participate in enhanced classes to make textiles, build and cook in a solar oven and much more! When we reflected this fall on the success of summer 2017, what stood out as central to the WA WA experience is our ability to do things in the wilderness together. As “WA WAs” we saw a clear tradition of making and trying new things, and of building community while away from what we consider necessities during the rest of the year.
For Summer 2018: “Make It Ourselves Camp,” we are going to see how much further we can take our adventures at Camp WA WA Segowea! We want to consider how much more we can create together, what new challenges we can tackle, and even in what ways we can better care for our community!
The following programs and sessions will be offered for Summer 2018: “Do it Ourselves Camp” at Camp WA WA Segowea:
Session 1: July 15- July 28, 2018
Session 2: July 29- August 11, 2018
*1 week “Mini Sessions” are available for Base Camp during both sessions
Family Camp Labor Day Weekend: August 31- September 3, 2018
Base Camp, 8-14 year olds:
- Campers thrive in a community environment that encourages self-expression, friendship building, risk taking, and outdoor play. Campers participate in twice daily all-camp activities, daily swim lessons, and choose afternoon skill building classes. Together with five to eight other campers and two experienced counselors, base campers create a cabin home that is an integral part of the larger Camp community. A sleep out under the stars is a highlight of the first week of each session and a camp dance closes the experience at the end of the second week.
Teen Camp, 12-14 year olds:
- Teen Camp, Session 1: “Base Challenge:” Enjoy day outings into all the beauty that surrounds Camp WA WA! Special programming will include day hikes & a canoe outing, weekly overnights, and skill building experiences customized for our teen campers.
- Session 2: “AT Challenge” Embark on a two-night, three day hike on the Appalachian Trail! Additional special programming will include day hikes and a canoe outing, and select skill building experiences customized for teen campers.
Leadership Camp (LITs & CITs), 9 & 10 Grade Graduates:
- Leaders in Training (LITs) are 9th and 10th grade graduates who are beginning their journey towards becoming counselors. LITs can attend for 1 or 2 sessions and live in an independent cabin while assisting Base Camp counselors with the camp program.
- Counselors in Training (CITs) are 10th grade graduates who join a month long program (Sessions 1 & 2) that prepares them to become Junior Counselors. CITs also have the option of becoming Certified Lifeguards and will be trained in First Aide and CPR. Both LITs and CITs engage in a leadership program that teaches the basics of camper development, skill instruction, and leadership potential.
To learn more about Camp WA WA Segowea, and for more information about our “Campership” scholarship program that provides tuition assistance to campers in need, please visit www.smithpark.org/campwawa! Registration will open just as soon as we finalize our 2018 updates. Register before January 15 to receive $100 off camper sessions!
It’s December, and we CANNOT WAIT for July to arrive!
We hope you join us and bring your friends!
[Posted by Lisa Perks]
Thank you to the many people who made our first Giving Tuesday fundraiser a success! With your help, we were able to surpass our goal and raise $1685 for camper scholarships. Wow!
That fundraising total can help several kids spend two weeks at camp. Many of our families need just a bit of financial help to make camp possible. They’re saving through the year. They’re doing payment plans. Our scholarship fund is often used to just close the remaining gap. That little bit of help is what I needed my first summer when I fell in love with WA WA and asked my parents if I could stay an extra two weeks! It’s a common story you’ll hear from many alumni.
If you missed Giving Tuesday, have no fear! We have several fundraisers and events coming up this winter and spring that could really use your support:
- Gift Wrapping at Barnes and Noble in Poughkeepsie (12/2 from 3-9pm; 12/16 from 9am-9pm)
- The Smith Park Board Annual Campaign
- The CrowdRise Online Fundraiser
- The Segowea NCAA Online Basketball Pool in Mid-March
- The Wally Waddle 5K Walk/Run and Free Kids Runs on Mother’s Day at Vassar Farm
With Summer quickly fading behind us, Camp WA WA Segowea is looking forward to celebrating the beauty of Fall on Harmon Pond!
Alumni and new friends will be making the gorgeous drive to Fall WA WA Family Day on Saturday, October, 7th for a day with activities for everyone in the family!
Fall WA WA Family Day activities are scheduled from 11 AM until 3 PM and will include pressing apples into cider, fire wood collection and fire building, a fall art craft, and canoeing if the weather is sunny!
The historic camp facility is located on one of the most beautiful ponds in the Berkshires, down a dirt road hidden just outside of the small township of Southfield, MA.
The Camp’s lodge, lake-side porch, and outer grounds will be open for ballgames and leaf gazing, and a simple hearty lunch will be served at noon.
Fall WA WA Family Day is a free event and is open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring apples for pressing!
Please RSVP via the Facebook event or by emailing our Camp Director, Lily, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Camp WA WA Segowea, please visit www.smithpark.org or like us on Facebook at Camp WA WA Segowea!
New Beginning, New Sign! There have been many signs that have welcomed campers to our wonderful camp through the years mostly created by volunteers. With this year, 2017 being a new beginning for Smith Park and camp, we thought, “We need a new sign!” So the ideas began flowing, and most of them were based on our logo, found in most everything Smith Park does and/or creates. Read all abut the sign and other WA WA news in Firefly #5 .
Family Camp is Back for Labor Day Weekend!
One of Camp WA WA Segowea’s most treasured traditions is the summer ending “Family Camp.” Over Labor Day weekend 2017, families will come to Camp and enjoy all the things we love most about Camp!
Back in the early days of camp, a few ambitious young staff members decided to create their own newspaper for Camp Segowea and thus began what they called “The Firefly”. It highlighted what took place at camp; the daily sporting events, the hikes around camp, an occasional announcement and even pictures drawn by the editorial staff! It continued on into the 1930s and beyond. We’ve recently resurrected the name “The Firefly” as the Camp newsletter and present to you:
2017 Firefly Newsletter #4