Building a resume is important.
But sometimes, the most important thing is simply to have time being a boy.
(Senior free swim at sunset)
Where has the time gone? It feels like just yesterday counselors were standing at the entrance to each of the units eagerly anticipating the arrival of all the campers for Winona’s 109th season. After some time off for the summer, The Winona Camps Blog is back for another year of updates, information, and fun reads about the place many of us call home – Winona! Before we move on and look forward to our 110th season, we thought it would be fun to look back on one of the more memorable moments from the past summer . . .
Winona’s 109th season was one of memories, new events, and friendships that will last a lifetime. This past summer was full of big events, but perhaps none larger than the adapting of an old tradition into the creation of the “Sunrise Showcase”. The Sunrise Showcase began right as all the campers went to sleep – the counselors got to work once it was dark and began transforming the entire camp into a whole new world. As 7:30 AM came around, the campers were awoken and all together we made our way to a location just above the Dining Hall where they were introduced to “Old Man Sturdley” who was trying to overtake camp. Now that the storyline was set-up, and after a brief break for breakfast, campers from all the units worked together to compete in a mix of games such as kingpin dodgeball, obstacle courses, sock pulls, and many others. As each game was completed, the campers with the “power of Winona” continued to grow stronger which ultimately helped Uncle Spencer and Aunt Laura to take back Winona and return justice the shores of Moose Pond! At the end of the morning, a bridge was created out of all of the docks in Intermediate that reached out to Treasure Island where a key was used to lock out all danger. The campers loved seeing all their counselors dressed up as characters from movies, pop culture figures, cartoon characters, and sports players and enjoyed playing their part in defeating those who were trying to take Winona away. The campers competed within their tribes, but the focus was more on the whole camp coming together as One Camp to achieve a common goal. This was an event unlike any other, and hopefully the work done by the campers that morning will keep any (fictional character) danger away for years to come… but who knows what will happen next?
This past summer was one full of many changes, traditions, and memories – there is no possible way in which to fully explain each and every one. We hope you enjoyed hearing a bit about our past summer and a few of the things that helped to make it truly special. The memories made, friendships built, and life lessons learned will be with all of us for our whole lifetime and we here at Winona are already excited for another summer full of them.
We would love to hear from you as well! Email some of your favorite memories to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may share some of them in our next post – check back soon!
Until next time,
One aspect of Winona that separates it from many other camps (and the rest of the world) is that it is completely unplugged for all campers – giving them the unique opportunity to connect more deeply with both their peers and counselors they live with as well as with the nature and landscape that surrounds them. Winona is a member of the Maine Camp Experience which recently shared a post called “Unplugged, Unstoppable: The Power of Powering Down” which does a tremendous job of highlighting just a few of the many aspects of “unplugging” that we find to be extremely valuable here on the shores of Moose Pond. Give it a read and let us know what you think!
Here is an excerpt from the article – to read the rest, just click the link attached below!
“One of the truly unique and wonderful elements of Maine Camp Experience camps is that they allow children to step into a different world for the summer. For up to two months, bedrooms become bunks and pavement surrenders to dirt or gravel pathways as the cities or suburbs melt away to be replaced by the stunning natural beauty Maine has to offer. However, perhaps the most vitally rustic part of the camp experience lies in the fact that, from the moment they step onto campus, children are forced to step away from their electronics, and cell towers ultimately give way to towering pines.”
Until next post,
One of our segments here on the Winona Camps Blog is called “Meet the Camper” and this week we are featuring a Counselor-In-Training (CIT), Nate Rich.
How many years have you been at Winona?
– This will be my eighth summer at Winona.
When was your first year at camp?
– It was back in 2009! I was in cabin five in Junior.
Which unit are you going to be in this year?
– This summer I am going to be a CIT.
What are you looking forward to most about being a CIT?
– I am really looking forward to seeing the other aspect of camp. I have been going to camp as a camper for a while now and I get the chance to see behind the scenes and what it is that makes Winona so special.
What were your favorite activities as a camper?
– I would say swimming was probably my number one. Recently I have been doing a lot of basketball as well as kayaking and canoeing. But I generally liked to try many of the activities at camp, especially the ones I had never been able to do outside of camp before.
Were you ever into trips as a camper?
– I wasn’t a huge “tripper”, but I definitely remember my favorite one. We did the “Moose Pond Adventure” back in 2013 during my last year in Intermediate. That was a blast; I loved that one.
Want to explain a bit about the “Moose Pond Adventure”?
– We started from the Inty beach and we headed across the pond toward Wyonegonic and camped out at Loon Isle for two nights. We then paddled back past Winona towards Newt’s Isle and camped out there for another two nights. It was a bunch of my close friends, my favorite counselors, and it was just an all-around great experience.
What is your favorite evening program (EP) at camp?
– “Capture the flag in the grove” is a classic. But aside from that my favorite evening program is Stratego. I remember having a lot of fun with that when we played it in Inty. Basically Stratego is a huge game of strategy. Every camper – whether Red or Gray – is assigned certain roles that correlate to what they do in the game. The captains of the teams pick who the flag is, who the bombs are, and who the other roles in the game are played by. The ultimate goal is to protect the flag while using everyone else’s roles in the game to capture the other team’s flag. It was a lot of strategy and a lot of fun too which definitely made it my favorite evening program.
Which of the special events at camp is your favorite?
– I was a big fan of Treasure Hunt. I did it two years and I got to run both extremes of it – ‘A’ which includes easier clues but longer distance runs and ‘C’ which includes more challenging clues but shorter distance runs – and I loved both years so, yeah, I would definitely say Treasure Hunt.
Do you want to describe some of the friendships that you’ve made while at Winona?
– I have to say, it is just so different because you have this bond with the guys around you that comes with living together and seeing the same people all day, every day. In many situations you are forced to like someone that you may not even like from the start, but eventually you become very close to the point where they even become your brother. That basically describes the relationships I have with my friends from camp – they are my brothers.
I know this may be a tricky one, but what is one of, if not your favorite, memory of camp?
– Back in 2013 I had just broken my arm and I was really concerned with what I was going to do about camp. Despite my concerns Uncle Spencer and Aunt Laura, along with my counselor, talked with me and reassured me that it was the right decision to stay at camp. The support from them and mentorship that I had gotten from them was a theme that I can look back at and see in almost all of my times at Winona, whether it was from my counselors or the other campers around me. So it isn’t necessarily a specific memory, rather something I can look back on regarding my time at camp and consider it one of my favorite things.
As many of us know, the night before camp is very exciting – can you explain some of the feelings you have the night before camp?
– Oh my gosh. Yeah, the night before camp is a really, really interesting experience. Back when I was in Junior I would be terrified, you know, thinking about a month away from my parents was kind of uneasy, but after that first year I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. I was just so excited, I couldn’t sleep, I was texting and calling my buddies figuring out what we were going to do that summer. To sum it up, I would just say total excitement!
What are you looking forward to most for the upcoming summer?
– I would say, aside from seeing all my buddies, just being able to learn more about being a leader. Especially using those kinds of experiences that I have gained from being at Winona and trying to help other campers be able to experience some of those. I also am just looking forward to learning a bit more about myself – which I do every summer while at Winona.
If you were talking to someone who had never been to camp before, what would you say and what is it that you would want to convey to him if he were interested in camp?
– I would say to start off, to a younger boy that is, that camp is one of those experiences that if you’ve never experienced an overnight kind of thing it isn’t easy at first. It is sometimes a tough thing to adjust to at first, but once you get over that hump every single second of camp is the greatest experience of your life. You get to learn so much from the counselors who are like your uncles, you get to make all these amazing connections with the boys around you and it is such a coming-of-age experience. The way I saw it was that you are transitioning from a young boy into a young man. It’s a really nice process how the counselors, Uncle Al, Aunt Michelle, Aunt Laura, and Uncle Spencer are all guiding you though that and making sure you have the greatest experience of all time.
Brix Brax, Nate!
A new segment starting here on the Winona Camps Blog is going to highlight different Winona events and traditions. This post, we are taking a closer look at a camper and counselor favorite: Banana Split Night! Enjoy.
Once during each session something special happens when the campers are least expecting it: the “World Famous Banana Split Night” banner gets dropped and the cheers from campers and counselors alike can be heard all throughout Maine. When this banner is dropped, it signifies the best night of dessert that Winona has to offer.
While campers and counselors enjoy dinner, the Counselors-In-Training (CITs) set up the Banana Split stations outside. With two rows of tables, four kinds of ice cream and toppings galore, the scene is set for all types of creations to be made. As dinner finishes up, the gummy bears, chocolate fudge, whipped cream, cherries, and any other toppings one can imagine await the campers and counselors, but it takes some effort to earn those “splits”. When the final dinner bell rings, the Unit Directors walk over to their respective units and they become the judges; the judges who decide which table gets the first spot in line to make the highly anticipated Banana Split. In order to be selected to get in line, the tables of campers and counselors decide what kind of act, skit, or scene they want to perform at the table. In the past tables have transformed into parties with a choreographed dance by each camper, balancing spoon on nose competitions, police officers looking for the perpetrator who stole the ice cream, and something as creative as campers voting for their favorite candidate “Splits” while “Splits” gives a speech to the table (pictured below). It’s unknown what factors the Unit Directors use each time to make their decisions, but when they see something they like, they select that table to go outside which is always greeted with cheers as the members of that table rush outside in excitement for the Banana Split creation station that awaits them outside. This process continues until all the tables have been selected and make it into the line outside the Dining Hall full of eager campers and counselors.
When the campers and counselors reach the first stop at the tables, the CITs greet them with smiles and ask them which flavor of ice cream they would prefer. The choice is among chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and cookie dough – sometimes the decision is so hard that two flavors have to be chosen (and that is totally allowed)! After the banana boat is filled with three scoops of ice cream, it is time for the toppings. As seen above, campers and counselors continue down the line and fit as many of their favorite toppings as they want on top of their ice cream. When the end of the line is reached, a CIT holds up a can of whipped cream and offers to top-off your Banana Split. A cherry is then sometimes thrown on top and the time to dig into the mountain of ice cream and toppings is just moments away. When back inside the Dining Hall, everyone sits back at their tables and enjoys the Banana Splits with laughter and joy in the air.
At Winona, we have learned that there are typically two different kinds of Banana Splits. The first kind is the classic. The classic Banana Split has the correct proportion of ice cream to toppings and is usually able to mostly be kept within the banana boat throughout the whole process from the creation to the walk back to the Dining Hall. An example of the classic can be seen in the photo above of Uncle Al. The second type of Banana Split can be compared to that of a mountain. As seen in the picture on the left, George’s whipped cream and toppings mountain over the edge of the banana boat. This type of Banana Split is definitely the more common kind here on the shores of Moose Pond and a trail of toppings can often be seen following the camper or counselor who is holding it. Both kinds are widely accepted here as long as fun is had throughout the creation process, as well as the eating (devouring) of the Banana Split.
We hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about one of Winona’s favorite traditions -Banana Split Night! Keep checking back periodically to see which tradition is posted
Until next time,
One of our segments here on the Winona Camps blog is called “Meet the Counselor”. Last time we got to meet one of the BATs from the 2015 summer, this week we get to hear from the BAT in 2010, Uncle Benjie Messinger-Barnes. Enjoy!
When did you begin at Winona?
– My first summer was 1996. I was in Junior cabin five.
Where did you go to school and what are you up to now?
– I went to Wesleyan University and I have been teaching math ever since. I teach at the Friends Seminary school in New York City – 5th grade math. I previously taught high school math where I also coached high school boys and girls tennis. So, yeah, teaching!
Do you believe camp helped contribute to that desire for teaching and coaching?
– One hundred percent. So, a few things – I never even thought about teaching until I had a conversation with Senior Unit Director Clay Miles. After college I had always thought I wanted to be pre-med, but then I wasn’t really feeling that, I didn’t have a passion for it, and I had little clarity on what it was I wanted to do. I was having a casual conversation with Uncle Clay on the porch of the Totem Cabin porch when he mentioned that I would be “one heck of a math teacher” and that I was obviously good with the material and good with the kids. It wasn’t something I had ever though of before, but by putting the idea of teaching into a camp perspective I realized it could be a real possibility for me and that it made so much sense. Certainly, the experiences I had at camp as a counselor helped give me many of the skills that would be integral for being a successful teacher. Just interacting with folks, experiencing how to carry yourself and knowing you are always a role model at every moment really set me up well for a career as a teacher.
Here is an easy one: what tribe and color are you?
– Oh, come on, like you don’t already know that? I am a Red Mohawk – the most successful combination in Winona camps history!
Which activities were you most into as a camper, where could you be found most?
– Definitely canoe trips. Canoe tripping was definitely number one for me. I would say campcraft was number two and then tennis and archery were two other activities I loved.
Obviously Winona has tons of life lessons that can be learned on a day-to-day basis, but what do you believe to be the most important one that you’ve learned that helps you now?
– The two biggest lessons that are closely related are: One, attitude is a choice. You can take any situation and choose to be happy in it. It’s as simple as puddle jumping on a rainy day or somehow deriving great pleasure from the worst sore on a canoe trip. You know, going out when it is blisteringly hot, sweating, and buggy and just taking pleasure in felling a tree and dragging back firewood. Definitely the number one lesson is how to always hold a positive attitude and have a great time no matter what you are doing. Lesson number two is that everything you do you get out exactly as much as you put in. I learned that in a number of ways from being a camper on canoe trips. The understanding that the harder you work, you realize the trip is so much better if you really put everything you’ve got into it – from paddling hard, to cleaning up well, to gathering firewood – it is just so rewarding to put your all in and get out exactly what you put in. So those are two lessons that are definitely still used in my life today.
What is your favorite part about camp?
– The opportunity to exceed even your own expectations and to impress yourself. For me, growing up in the city, canoe trips were a great opportunity to do something that I never got to do. To be in the middle of a lake, in the middle of nowhere, do it and to try was something that was hard for myself; it forced me to push myself way out of my comfort zone. Camp’s knack for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and causing you to grow, be scared – whether it was rolling a kayak, being on top of the rock wall, or the idea of paddling one hundred miles on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway – and to not know whether or not you would be able to finish. Rarely do we try something that we don’t know we are going to succeed at and camp constantly gives us ample opportunity to do that. Having the risk of failure and being able to succeed is so much more rewarding.
Of the many traditions that Winona continues on each summer, which would be your favorite?
– I think my favorite tradition would be Red-Gray week. I actually really love all the
individual parts of Red-Gray week. Red-Gray basketball – I love that. Red-Grey baseball – I love that. Just in general that there are all these individual culminating activities and competitions is something special. And now that I think about it: Treasure Hunt. Especially Treasure Hunt in Senior. That aspect within Red-Gray week is definitely my favorite. It gets me pumped up just thinking about it.
What’s then most valuable part of camp that you hold onto while outside of camp?
– The easier answer to that, also the truthful one, is the camaraderie and the friendship – especially for the younger folks. The relationships that you form and the intimacy of those relationships is so strong. It’s incredible that in just a couple of weeks you can form these super tight bonds. For instance, I went to a day school all through high school and the relationships that I made at camp were much more strong than those with my best and closest of friends at school. The commitment to those around you, the camaraderie, and the friendship are definitely what I hold onto most outside of camp.
If you were talking to someone who’s never been to Winona and was considering a summer on the shores of Moose Pond, what would you want to be able to tell them?
– If I could tell one thing about Winona to a potential camper it would be that they will have so much fun in ways that they never could imagine during the year. It’s easy to have plenty of fun during the school year hanging out with friends and doing those activities, but there is just a whole new quality of fun at Winona. To say that it will be the best time is true, but it will also be just be a whole new sense of quality time – it will be so much fun and you will come out of it feeling really good. If I was speaking to the parents I would want to tell them that their son may very well grow and mature more in those seven weeks than he would in the other forty-five throughout the year. He will grow personally, he will grow socially, his confidence will grow, and he will come back with a more mature sense of responsibility and sense of self.
Is there anything else you would like to add about camp or about your Winona experience in general?
– Yeah, you know what I also think is awesome and is so incredible? I think it is remarkable that the extreme sense of completion at camp is also only healthy competition. You have young men battling it out on the EP field and moments later they are doing things like helping each other up, yelling out the loudest Brix Brax cheer they can, teaming up in camper-counselor rounds, or buddying-up during free swims. I think that it is incredible that there is this strong sense of competition and competitive spirit, but it is such a classy way of chivalry that lives at Winona and people all carry themselves in this honor. It is remarkable how well Winona has set this as a tradition summer after summer.
Brix Brax, Uncle Benjie “BMB” Messinger-Barnes.
Welcome to the new blog for Winona Camps! This page is going to bring you a variety of fun information on Winona; from meet the counselor, to meet the camper, to various updates on camp as the seasons change. It’s hard to ever have too much of Winona, and we hope to bring you your fill of Winona year round. We encourage you to check back periodically to see the many types of updates posted here. Camp is just around the corner; just as we are, we are sure you are counting down the days left until camp opens on June 29th! Keep warm!
Until next post,
One of our segments here on the Winona Camps blog is called “Meet the Counselor”. This week, we are featuring one of this past summer’s Bats, Uncle Andy “A-Frame” Frame. Enjoy!
Alright, we will start off simple. What tribe and color are you?
– I am a Grey Ojibway; only the finest!
Where did you go to school and what are you up to now?
– Well I went to college at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana where I studied recreation management. I’m taking my love for the outdoors that I gained at Winona and trying of bring it to a career path which I am now pursuing here in Boulder, Colorado. I am working for a non-profit called First Descents and helping young adults battling cancer get outside and recreate in the outdoors.
When did you begin at camp?
– My first year was back in 2002. I was a junior camper at the top of the tent line in tent 12.
As a camper what were your favorite activities?
– As a camper I was definitely about hoops, canoeing, and a little bit of swimming. The flather was always my spot, but you would definitely find me up on the basketball courts or down on the t-dock in senior most as a camper.
What activity do you teach as a counselor?
-Well, I used to primarily be a basketball counselor in Senior. For a few summers I was lucky enough to help out with the trips program and lead mountain trips with Uncle Fobes throughout the mountains of Maine and even the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Most recently I have led the mountain biking program in senior which takes the campers all around the woods of camp as well as on some trips throughout the woods and mountains of Maine.
So, obviously Winona has tons of life lessons that can be learned on a day-to-day basis, but to you, what is the most important one you have learned during your time on the shores of Moose Pond that helps you nowadays?
– Yeah, for sure. I could probably write a small novel but what comes to mind is the importance of friendship, the importance of family, and the idea that attitude is a choice. There are not a lot of things that we have control over in our lives but one thing that we do always have control over is our attitudes and our perspective. I think that, you know, being at camp every year people realize that. Being under the pines you feel grateful and you realize how happy of a place it is. It’s all because people realize what camp has to offer and how they can contribute positive energy to help make it a more fun and adventurous place.
Of the many traditions that Winona continues on each summer, which would be your favorite?
– I think that Sunday Service would definitely be my favorite tradition. Getting everyone in camp together from all the different units. We don’t always see each other during the summer besides at meals, but bringing everyone together on Sundays under the pines to reflect on what we love about camp, the lessons we’ve learned, and to carry on new lessons probably has to be one of my most special times at camp. Often when I reminisce about camp I think back to those quiet Sundays under the pines listening to Uncle Spencer, Aunt Michelle, Aunt Laura, and back in the day Uncle Al.
What is your favorite part of camp?
– Well, I think I would probably get some laughs, but the Legend of the Bat. I will never forget the first bat showing I ever witnessed. I was in junior in the shallow end of the H-Dock and the bats came down from the CIT right there on the beach and got right into the shallow end of the water and were screaming at us. I remember chasing them up the road towards the wiggy and from that day on I have always been in love with the tradition. Obviously including last summer, which I don’t even have words to describe how meaningful it was to be the bat, the Legend of the Bat is definitely my favorite part of camp.
Have you ever been close to catching the bat?
– [Laughs]. Umm, yeah, you know I grabbed the cape back in my first year in intermediate. There was a bat showing that was during an evening program of steal the bacon, I want to say. They came up right behind us on the rock wall and I grabbed the tail end of the cape right before I was gracefully put down on the ground. The bat will never be caught [laughs].
What’s then most valuable part of camp that you hold onto while outside of camp?
– The friendship. The sense of friendship and family there and the idea that you can be whoever you want to be there and not feel like you’re being judged. The fact that it pulls together so many different people from so many different corners of the world and forms this sense of community and friendship. I can firmly say that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today and those people and Moose Pond Momma are the reason that’s all pulled together.
If you were talking to someone who’s never been to Winona before and was considering a summer on the shores of Moose Pond, what would you want to be able to tell them?
– That you’re looking at the best summer of your life [laughs]. I think I would probably sit them down and explain to them a little bit about what camp has to offer but most importantly getting in the beautiful state of Maine and trying things they’ve never tried before, getting excited to learn, being the person they want to be, and really just adventuring. I feel like Winona has endless opportunities to offer that whether you are going to be practicing sports all summer or doing a little bit of the trip program it is the perfect place. I guess to answer the question I would tell them its endless opportunity to really get out, do you, and make some amazing friends along the way.
Is there anything else you would like to add about camp or about your Winona experience in general?
– Yeah, I would like to quote one of my good friends Gus Polstein. He texted me the other day saying, “There comes a time where we embark on a journey in which we take what we’ve learned at camp and apply it in throughout the world”. It will always be there for us in terms of our friendships and support, but everything we have learned while on the shores of Camp Winona can be used on any adventure we may have in life. Brix Brax!
Brix Brax, Uncle A-Frame!
Just as we have a section on the blog for getting to know some of the counselors better, we have one for campers as well. This week we are featuring junior camper Koa Brown. Enjoy!
So Koa, how old are you and where are you from?
– I am ten years old and I am from Hawaii! But right now I live in Vienna, Virginia.
Awesome! So how many years have you been coming to Winona for now, Koa?
– I think four. This summer will be my fifth summer at Winona – my last one in Junior!
Oh, so you’ll be moving up with the big boys in Inty! What would you say are your favorite activities at camp?
– Ummmm, a lot! But I mainly go to tennis, basketball, soccer, and baseball. I also really love riflery!
What tribe and color are you?
– Grey Deleware!
Have you ever been on any trips while at Winona? If so, which one was your favorite you’ve been on?
– Yeah, I’ve been on a few mountain trips and canoe trips. My favorite was a canoe trip that we took to Loon Isle, which is down the lake right next to Wyonegonic. The best part about it was the marshmallows! We got to eat them and make s’mores!
Want to explain a little about what s’mores are?
– Yeah! They are graham crackers with a roasted marshmallow and chocolate inside. The counselors tell us to go and find a good stick to roast the marshmallows with and when we are ready we get a graham cracker and a bar of chocolate and get to make them. The marshmallow warms up the chocolate and it melts it a little bit. That’s definitely my favorite part of the canoe trips.
I have to admit, Koa, I love them too. So, what’s your favorite evening program at camp?
– I think it would be ultimate capture the flag. It’s a red against grey game where each team has around ten flags on each side of the field. When the whistle blows everyone either runs to get the other flags or protects the flags on their side of the field. If you get your sock pulled while on the other teams side you are out and have to wait until you get tagged back in. When one team gets all twenty flags on their side of the field they win. I love that one!
What are you most excited about for this summer coming up?
– Activities! I think that this summer I want to try some new things. I might try sailing a lot. I haven’t gone to that very much before and maybe this summer will be a good time to try and go.
What is your favorite special event at camp? Those are things like senior cir– (interviewer cut off).
– Banana Split Night! That’s the time when a counselor raises up a big banner that says “Banana Split Night” and that means after dinner everyone gets to make Banana Splits. They set up a couple tables and you get to make your own banana split – ice cream, gummy bears, m&ms… I always put A LOT of cherries on mine and usually get all three kinds of ice cream they have.
What are your favorite memories of camp?
– Probably shooting really well at riflery and breaking my old scoring records. Also I love chasing the BAT!
Have you ever been close to catching the BAT?
– Yes, very! I cut off the bat’s path before. But then a counselor pulled me back before I could get to the BAT. Also, my second year I was on the Saco River canoe trip and the counselors told us to line up for a picture. When we were taking the picture the bats snuck up behind us and one of them grabbed me and bear hugged me from behind! They took the picture then the BATS ran off.
Woah! Not many campers can say the Bat has picked them up before! Have you ever had a fun tent party before as a reward for good tent work?
– Yeah, I remember one time Uncle Matt made us do extra tent work before lunch. He told us that because we were late for lunch he had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches waiting for us in the wiggy. When we got up there it wasn’t peanut butter and jelly – it was sprite, coke, pizza, skittles and more. It was fun to be able to have that tent party during lunch and just spend it with my counselors and my friends who were in the same cabin as I was.
– Ga! Ga! Ga! It’s this game that like every camper in the unit plays during free time. We have this soft ball and try to hit it at each other’s knees and below. If it gets you below the knees then you are out and the last man standing wins. It’s just really fun and sometimes the counselors play with us and all of the campers try to team up and get them out. It’s one of the best parts about junior.
Are you the best in Junior at “Ga! Ga! Ga!”?
If you were talking to someone who has never been to camp before but was thinking about coming to camp, what would you want to say that would make him excited about Winona?
– Camp is a really good place to be at during the summer! Everybody is friendly; there are a lot of activities to do that are fun. All the activities are different; you don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again. There is a huge lake at camp and camp is really big. It is one of my favorite places in the world to be!
Brix Brax, Koa!
Packing Your Son’s Trunk
By Laura H. Ordway, Winona Director/Owner
The thing you should keep in mind when packing your child’s camp trunk for the first (or tenth) time is: do not panic. I should heed my own advice because each summer, while packing two trunks for our daughters, I start to feel a little overwhelmed by the process. Then I think of one Winona parent who used to pack FIVE trunks each summer. Impressive, by any measure. I’m pretty sure she’s not available for hire, so this article will hopefully emphasize to you what I find most helpful when packing my children’s trunks: MINIMALIZATION. I’m going to keep this short, adding in only crucial details. When I Googled “how to pack a trunk for summer camp” I found a lot of novella-length articles. Some had good background information, but most just added to the overwhelming feeling of the situation. The purpose of this article is to actually get the thing packed. Helpful things to remember:
You will save time by remembering that your goal is NOT to recreate your son’s living environment at home. If anything, here at Winona we want just the opposite. We want your son to discover in this new environment, without all of the amenities of home, how comfortable he can be. So, don’t pack extra bedding (unless it’s medically necessary) and allow him the chance to learn to wear extra layers to bed on cool nights. (We do allow one throw-sized fleece blanket from home, but that should be it.) Don’t pack three bottles of shampoo. Pack one, and if he runs out he will learn how to ask a counselor for more (Winona resupplies toiletry items). No need to pack one of every item of outerwear from the catalog. Don’t send him books and comics and mini games and playing cards for free time. Just one or two of the items will be fine. Do not send electronics. Allow him the chance to figure out solutions by not offering him an option for every possible weather/free-time situation he may encounter at camp.
You will save time by packing used items from home, rather than making a long shopping list for new items. At first my daughters thought going to camp would be like the first day of school: “Yeah – new items!” They caught on quickly when they watched me launder, and then pack into their trunks the towels we use to dry off our dogs. If a towel has a hole in it, great! Send it to camp. Those Crocs about on their last few weeks, perfect! Off to camp they go. A pair of jeans with holes in the knees, fantastic! In the trunk they go so when they get saturated with bug repellant and marshmallows or used as a hammock I will feel just fine about recycling them at the end of camp. Of course, things should “fit” at camp, so do take the time to ensure shorts, t-shirts and sweatshirts work, but overall save yourself time by packing clothes and toiletries you already have at home. It’s certainly okay to send brand new clothing to camp as long as you realize it has the possibility of being damaged.
Unpacking the trunk, also known as “Stand Back!” We try to get your son’s items cleaned and dried before closing his trunk to be sent home, but it’s still very similar to opening a sealed sports locker in the gym. A Winona parent once informed me that the sandwich she had packed for her son in his carry-on luggage on Opening Day returned in his trunk 3 ½ weeks later (sorry about that Liz!). But what is the most important part of unpacking, in the midst of piles of pine needles and unidentified odors, is listening . . . ask for stories about what your son thought was the silliest part of the summer, ask what made him feel more confident, what was his biggest concern that he overcame. (And if you do have Winona t-shirts & shorts that he has outgrown, please consider mailing them to us here at camp so we can help our Campership boys get outfitted each summer.)
Here are the basic trunk packing steps:
So, now you are ready to pack your son’s trunk!
Good luck and remember: LESS IS BETTER.