All posts by reflectionsfromcouncilfire

About reflectionsfromcouncilfire

Chenet is one of the directors at Camp Wa-Klo for girls in New Hampshire. Chenet took what she learned as a theatre teacher and infused camp with innovative programming ideas. She serves on the board of the NH Camps & ACA-NE program committee; she is also an ACA visitor. Chenet has authored four resource books for camps and kids: INCORPORATING THEATRE INTO THE CAMP SETTING, 50 NIFTY THEATRE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS, ANOTHER 50 NIFTY THEATRE ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS, and 101 BUNK ACTIVITIES.

THE WA-KLO WEBSITE MAKEOVER!!

Wa-Klo has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to having a website that parents, kids, and alums all love! Through our website, we have found wonderful families that have decided to join the Wa-Klo family. To usher in our 78th summer, we decided to go for a “new look” … a makeover of sorts.

Coco Chanel said, “You can be gorgeous at thirty, charming at forty, and irresistible for the rest of your life.” Wa-Klo was gorgeous at thirty and still is at seventy-eight; charming at forty and still is at seventy-eight, and everyone knows that the Wa-Klo spirit is irresistible forever more. The “look” is one thing, for beauty is only “skin deep.” The heart of Wa-Klo is unchangeable, for the people that come to Wa-Klo year after year, keep that irresistible, irrepressible, iridescent spirit glowing. What makes Wa-Klo beautiful is all the smiles that enter its gates summer after summer.

Enjoy the new face of Wa-Klo and join us this summer to keep the true beauty shining!

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EARTH DAY & WA-KLO

ImageToday is Earth Day.  April 22nd has been the prominent date to celebrate Earth Day since 1970 with its founding by Gaylord Nelson, a USA senator from Wisconsin.  Nelson came up with the idea for his environmental “teach-in” following a trip he took to California right after a terrible oil spill off the coast in 1969.   Nelson was very upset with the devastation of the coast and Washington, DC’s lack of passion for the environment, so he proposed a national teach-in on the environment to be observed by every university campus in the U.S.  Teach-ins are meant to be practical, participatory, and move people to action.  In 1970, Earth Day had a participation of 20 million people in the USA;  today, Earth Day is thought to be observed by 500 million people in 175 countries.

Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist (the academic study of humankind), said this about Earth Day:  “Earth Day is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord…”

Part of Wa-Klo’s mission is to “develop a girl’s connection to the environment;” we are blessed with natural beauty found in the trees, underbrush, water, mountains, and wildlife.  The most precious gift we can give to Wa-Klo is to preserve, protect, and tend to the earth and all living species that dwell on it.  Celebrate Earth Day and remember that the future of the world is in your hands. 

ImageThe symbol for Earth Day is the Greek letter “theta.”  The theta sign is a combination of the letters “E” and “O,” which stands for the words “environment” and “organism.”  Egyptians used a symbol for the universe in the form of theta with a fiery circle representing the world and a snake spanning the middle representing Agathos Daimon, which means “good spirit”.   Think of the “O” in Wa-Klo as representing the camp, which is filled with happy and caring women.  Wa-Klo girls are truly stewards of the environment.

The beauty of Wa-Klo depends on all working together in small and big ways to save our natural resources.  Give special attention to the earth on April 22nd, but celebrate Earth Day every day of your life.

The Mountain changes every day…

Susan Chenet

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

2013 WaKlo fall11

While I was driving home from work yesterday, I saw it.  The trees are beginning to bud.  There’s no denying it, life is beginning to pulsate through the trees, the shrubs, and I’ve seen a few flowers appear in the oddest places.  While Jaffrey (Dr. Maurer’s dog and my best friend slash boyfriend) and I take walks, Jaffrey loves to find the random flowers amongst the ivy and weeds and leave his mark on them.  I suppose it’s his small way of showing appreciation to the newness sprouting all around us.

I lived in Louisiana most of my life; I only moved to New York in 2007.  In Louisiana, the cold weather would come and go during the winter months.  Louisiana would definitely get cold, but it wouldn’t stay cold.  As a Louisiana girl, I could wear shorts many times during the winter, and I was able to spend a great deal of time outside year round.  I suppose one of the biggest adjustments to living in New York, especially this year, has been getting quality time outside during the winter.  I’ve always known that fresh air, sunshine, and nature are as vital to me as bathing, and being stuck inside for the last few months has been taxing.  I always enjoyed spring when living down south, but now as a northerner not only do I enjoy spring, but I also appreciate it so much more.

I notice the renewal that spring brings now more than I’ve ever before.  I truly see the brown turf turning into a sparkling, green field; I can’t wait to see that special lily show its color amongst the twigs and branches that have fallen during the winter storms;  and watching the trees come to life is nothing short of a miracle.

Yes, I miss the Louisiana winters, but the spring rewards make New York winters bearable.  My challenge for you is to find new appreciation for something that you love.  I’ve decided that a bitterly cold winter exists to make spring feel so much better.

Spring leads to summer which leads you to the gates of Wa-Klo…

The mountain changes every day,

Susan Chenet

To our friends in Venezuela, Ukraine, and Russia

I was born right in the middle of the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States.   The villains in the movies were KGB spies, and athletes from communist countries seemed to be unbeatable in the Olympics.  In my eyes, Russians were elusive, superhuman, unattainable, impervious.

I was studying in England when the wall came down in Germany.  A friend with whom I was studying in England went to Germany right after the wall came down.  He brought me back a piece of that wall, and it is one my favorite possessions, for it represents the world’s opening when the wall came down.

At Wa-Klo, we have been hiring international staff since the late 80’s from the United Kingdom, Poland, Australia; nations that the USA has had great relations.  But in the mid to late 90’s, Wa-Klo hired its first Russian for our maintenance staff.  His name was Mark.  I remember sitting in our iconic green chairs along the waterfront conversing with him.  He was Russian yet he was approachable, real, normal, kind, and we had great talks throughout the summer.  I told him, “Mark, I never thought this day would come where I could actually talk to someone from Russia much less get to know.  To me, this conversation is a miracle.”  Since then, we have hired so many wonderful girls from Russia and Ukraine.

At Wa-Klo, we have also had campers from all over the world join us.  That’s what Wa-Klo is—people from everywhere finding their way to us, a little corner of the world,  in order to become a joyous, functioning family.  We are truly a home away from home.  Through the years, campers from Venezuela have spent many wonderful summers at Wa-Klo.  As these campers have grown, they have sent their children to us and their friends.  The legacy from Venezuela has been a deep and rich one.

The world events going on now that affect our friends in Venezuela, Ukraine, and Russia has not gone unnoticed by your Wa-Klo family.  Our healing prayers and wish for sober minds are being sent your way to protect you and keep you safe.  And we continually hope that you will be able to find your way back to your summer home; we are waiting with open arms and collapsed walls.

The mountain changes every day…

Susan Chenet

HOW DO I KNOW MY CHILD IS READY FOR CAMP?

When the New Year starts, so starts the parent’s search for summer camps and so follows the many questions when finding a camp.  One of the most common questions is, “How do I know if my child is ready for sleep-away camp?”

I started camp when I was 9-years-old, and it truly was life changing for me.  I had no idea at the time that my life’s direction would begin at that age.  My parents knew I was ready for camp, so they signed me up.  The ideal age for a child to start camp is completely subjective and varies from child to child.  I was ready at 9-years-old; however, we have had first time campers at Wa-Klo begin at 15-years-old.

Your child may be ready for camp when he or she:

  • Is asking to go to camp or asking about camp,
  • Has heard exciting stories about camp either from friends or family and shows interest about camping,
  • Enjoys attending sleep-overs with friends or family,
  • Or shows a natural independence and curiosity about life.

These hints are somewhat overt; however, sometimes a child needs a gentle nudge in the camp direction.   Start searching for a camp the moment the child asks about it, or if you think your child would benefit from the camp experience as my parents did.   If parents sit down with their child and investigate camps on-line, mutual excitement and education can be discovered together.    Teach your child about camps, talk about what camps might be perfect for the child, and explore together.  A more specialized camp may be perfect for one child while another may enjoy the all-around experience more.  Sometimes parents narrow down the camp choice, and then give their child the final decision.  Sometimes a decision is reached together as a family.  Sometimes parents pick the camp without the child’s input, but keep their child’s best interest at heart.

If you’re not sure if your child is ready for sleep-away camp or if the child is hesitant to go, start with a 3-5 day session length and see how that goes.  However, understand that it takes a child a few days to get acclimated to the camp life, so if you choose a longer session that will give her/him time to truly be immersed into the camp environment and want to go back the following summer.  The longer the stay is at camp, the deeper the connections that are made.

Any age is a good age to start camp; how quickly the child accepts his/her new surroundings depends on how the child and family prepare for the summer.  Attitude is everything.  With enthusiasm even the shyest kid can blossom at camp.

There’s a perfect camp out there for everyone.

Pass the Spark on…

Susan Chenet