Summer Camp FAQs
Our guiding philosophy is to ensure that children grow and learn in an atmosphere of warmth, freedom, togetherness and security.
Getting to Wekeela is a snap whether traveling by group or individually. We provide recommended flights and ask that you book through the camp’s official travel agent.
There are three chartered air-conditioned Wekeela coach buses that pick campers up in:
- Rye, New York picking up at the Rye Hilton Hotel
- Boston, Massachusetts picking up at Logan Airport
- Portland, Maine picking up at PMW airport
Those close to the area can drop off their children at the bus or those flying into those airports will join the bus. Generally, most campers travel by airplane for the first part of their trip to Wekeela. Campers arriving at Logan International Airport in Boston or the Portland Jetport in Portland, Maine are transported to Wekeela by chartered air-conditioned coach buses, vans or camp SUVs.
Campers from the NY area can fly to Portland Jetport. The majority of our NY metropolitan area campers choose our chaperoned chartered coaches from Rye, NY.
Traditionally, we have had chaperones on flights from airports serving the Washington, DC and South Florida areas.
Whatever their point of departure, all campers are met by Wekeela staff upon flight arrival.
There is also an option to come see Camp Wekeela for yourself and drop your child off. We welcome you to come meet the directors/staff, and to help your child get situated!
Please feel free to call regarding your child’s specific travel needs.
The cabin community. Every Wekeela cabin is of sturdy wood construction, completely weather resistant and in top condition. Designed specifically for summer camp use, our cabins have foundations raised above the ground and ample screened windows and doors. All cabins have electricity, sinks, showers and toilets as well as night lights, which are left on through the evening.
All Wekeela cabins are arranged in villages to group campers of the same gender and approximately the same age. This fosters a strong sense of community and facilitates positive group dynamics. And because each cabin is designed for an optimum number of occupants, campers develop a fuller sense of individualism. The average cabin accommodates 10 to 12 campers with 3 to 4 staff members.
From Portland, Maine and points south:
Take Maine Turnpike (I-95) to Exit 75-Auburn. At the end of the exit ramp, make a left hand turn onto Route 4 North and travel about 20 miles through the City of Auburn towards Hartford, Maine. Travel on Route 4 (North Bound) to the intersection of Route 219 (Bear Pond Road). At this intersection, make a left hand turn. You will travel 4.2 miles, pass the Wekeela Service entrance, and make your next right where you will enter the through the Wekeela Main Gate.
From Bethel, Maine and points north:
Take Route 26 South to Bryant Pond and Trap Corner approximately 18 miles. Turn left onto Route 219 towards Hartford and Bear Pond. Go about 16 miles and the camp is on the left. Pass camp “Staff Entrance” and enter at “Main Gate”.
From South Paris, Maine and points west:
Take Route 117 north out of South Paris. Bear right around rotary. Staying on Route 117, turn left over the bridge towards Buckfield. Approximately 10 miles to Buckfield Village. Bear right through town still on Route 117 past Tilton’s Market. Proceed 7/10 of a mile, then cross a bridge and turn left onto East Buckfield Rd. (no sign) Pass the Buckfield Mall on the left. Continue 6 miles until coming to Route 219. Turn left and go 1 mile. Pass Camp “Service Entrance” and enter at “Main Gate.”
From Augusta, Maine and points east:
Take Route 202 west out of Augusta through Manchester and Winthrop past the Sea & Land Restaurant on the right. Travel approximately 5 miles, turn right on to Bog Rd. Follow approximately 4 miles and go over a railroad track. Bear right onto 219 and pass DeCoster Feed Mill on the right. At the stop sign turn left onto Route 219. Continue approximately 4 miles and cross over Route 4. Go about 3.5 miles. Pass camp “Service Entrance” and enter at “Main Gate”.
Wekeela campers come from 24 states and 18 foreign countries. Some areas are better represented than others, principally an outgrowth of friendships with camper families. The largest concentration of campers are from the states of California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While these areas represent the largest concentrations, we welcome campers from all over the United States as well as Europe, South America and the Pacific Rim.
Wekeela’s trips program satisfies campers’ urge to explore within our borders and beyond.
All campers participate in regular nature excursions such as hiking, canoeing and fishing trips. These outings take full advantage of the challenges and abundant beauty that Maine provides. Such trips include thrills such as white water rafting on the Kennebec River or the challenging hike of Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
Throughout the camp schedule rotation there is a “Trip Day” during which the camp goes on an out-of-camp trip. Out-of-camp destinations generally involve tourist attractions such as festivals, amusement parks and unique points of interest.
In each session, Teen Camp excursions take Inter, Junior, Senior and LIT campers to exciting locales such as the Maine coast and Bar Harbor, historic Boston and the North Shore, the mountains of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Montreal and our LIT volunteering trips to Camp Sunshine and New Orleans. These trips include hotel accommodations and afford campers opportunities such as sightseeing and touring, bowling, shopping, sporting events, “Broadway” shows, music concerts and much more. These trips extend from 3 to 4 days, whereas New Orleans is a week-long volunteer and cultural emersion trip for our oldest campers.
Our guiding philosophy is to ensure that children grow and learn in an atmosphere of warmth, freedom, togetherness and security. At Wekeela there are no A or B or C teams for activities, if your child wants to try something, we encourage them to try, learn, while the goal is to have fun. Our approach to scheduling and camper’s role in shaping their own schedules facilitate these goals.
Each day at Wekeela is a custom-made ticket to fun and adventure. Campers establish individual schedules based on our daily activity schedule. All campers participate in required and elective programs with their bunk and their division. Some activities are separate by gender based on space at the activity area. Some activities (such as Instructional Swim) are for Kids Campers only. An example of a typical Wekeela schedule can be seen below:
Kids Camp Sample Schedule
*Period 4 is an Elective Hour that changes each day.
Teen Camp Sample Schedule
*Period 4 is an Elective Hour that changes each day.
Their schedules are derived from programs in six developmental areas: athletics-a unique emphasis on soccer, water sports, tennis, wilderness/outdoor adventure programs, creative arts and performing arts. Cutting across all campers’ schedules are individual options relating to horseback riding, cooking, ice-skating, S.C.U.B.A., and inter-camp and outdoor adventure trips.
The purpose of instructional programs is to help campers learn skills and competence in a program area. Campers who crave competition have numerous opportunities to test their skills in team and individual sports. Wekeela offers extensive competition via the inter-camp tournaments contests. At all times, Wekeela emphasizes sportsmanship, fair play and enjoying the experience.
Q and A’s with our CAMP DIRECTORS
Lori and Ephram have worked at Camp Wekeela since 1997. Prior to Wekeela, Lori was a school Guidance Counselor and Ephram was a school Social Worker as well as a youth Director at a JCC. They bought the camp in 2008. Currently all three of their children work at Wekeela. Please find out more at the Meet the Directors page on our website.
Currently campers come from 25 states and 18 countries from around the world.
WHAT DO THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS OF CAMP LOOK LIKE FOR A NEW CAMPER? HOW DO YOU ORIENTATE NEW CAMPERS AND PROMOTE BONDING IN THE BUNK/AGE GROUP?
From day one, we have a lot of bunk activities which are bonding exercises to make sure the transition to camp is easy and fun. The campers participate in getting to know you activities to make sure everyone feels welcome and included. The counselors also go over the daily schedule and also discuss their bunk theme for the summer.
We have a four-day rotation (A-B-C-D schedule) and there are 6 different activities each day. There are three meals with the bunk as a whole and a rest hour. One of the six periods is an elective period where each of the program areas create a fun choice activity. Campers will often have choices within each program area as well.
WHAT IS THE CAMPER-COUNSELOR RATIO? WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AGE OF THE COUNSELORS? WHERE DO MOST OF THE COUNSELORS COME FROM? HOW ARE THE COUNSELORS SELECTED AND TRAINED?
There is close to a 2:1 ratio camper to counselor. Counselors are at least a freshman in college and Junior Counselors are seniors in high school as well as former campers. Staff come from the US and around the world. We use agencies who do criminal background checks and in person interviews, and we do interviews of our staff as well. For two weeks before the campers arrive, we have an extensive camp training period.
Over 91% of campers return summer after summer.
WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE? (E.G., TENTS, CABINS, ARE THERE BATHROOMS AND SHOWERS INSIDE THE CABIN, ELECTRICITY, ETC.” HOW MANY CAMPERS AND COUNSELORS LIVE IN EACH CABIN/TENT?
We have wood cabins with new bathrooms and real pine wood bunk beds, private showers, toilets, and electricity. On average, there are 12 campers in each side of the bunk. All of our counselors live with and supervise their campers in the bunk.
WHAT ARE THE CAMP’S VISITING AND COMMUNICATION POLICY? HOW DOES THE CAMP COMMUNICATE WITH PARENTS (DO THEY POST PICTURES DAILY, HAVE A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT, HAVE A BLOG OR NEWSLETTER)? WHAT IS THE CAMP’S POLICY ABOUT CAMPERS RECEIVING PACKAGES, PHONE CALLS, AND EMAILS?
Visitor’s Day takes place at the end of the first session. It’s from 9am-4pm and the campers share with their parents a traditional day at camp. We post daily pictures on a password protected part of our website of our campers in action. Parents get one call for every two weeks of a camper’s stay. We also have Wekeela Notes where a parent can send an email to their camper each day. In addition, the camper can handwrite a letter back to their parents and our staff scans the letter back to their email address. Communication is ongoing throughout the summer.
We do not allow any electronics of any type that have access to the internet. Music players are allowed as long as they don’t require WiFi.
We have a weekly campfire where staff and campers perform - it is always a camp favorite. We have an optional Friday night candles lakeside service. Everyone is invited to participate. We also offer a shuttle to the local Roman Catholic Church for Sunday Mass.
WHAT ARE THE TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS TO/FROM CAMP? CAR, CAMP BUS, PLANE? WHAT IS THE MOST POPULAR METHOD?
Depending on their location, campers arrive at camp in a variety of ways: parent drop off, chartered coaches from Rye, New York, and select chaperoned flights into Boston Logan and Portland Airports. If campers arrive via plane, we charter a van or bus to get them to camp.
We are a traditional sleep away camp and have a varied and amazing schedule of programming in water front, water ski, outdoor adventure, tennis, landsports, creative arts, performing arts, culinary arts, and environmental education.
HOW DOES THE CAMP INTERACT WITH OTHER CAMPS? ARE THERE INTER-CAMP GAMES, SOCIALS, OR BROTHER/SISTER CAMP EVENTS (HOW OFTEN WILL GIRLS AND BOYS SEE EACH OTHER), TOURNAMENTS?
We have inter camp sports games against other camps in Maine and NH several times per summer. Since our camp is co-ed there is a good mix of activities with both boys and girls all day long.
HOW WILL MY CHILD EXPERIENCE OUTDOOR ADVENTURE? HOW OFTEN AND WHERE DO THEY GO ON TRIPS? ARE THERE OVERNIGHT EXPERIENCES AS WELL?
We have an outstanding Outdoor Adventure program on campus with a climbing wall, rock wall, high and low ropes, zip line, fire building, and hiking. In addition we have off campus daily hikes and overnight trips for our campers.
WHAT MAKES YOUR CAMP UNIQUE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE OVERALL CULTURE, PHILOSOPHY, AND VIBE OF THE CAMP?
We are unique in that we are a family run, co-ed camp which bases its philosophy on kindness, problem solving, nurturing, and fostering independence. We believe in inclusion, having fun, and just being a kid. We are not over-the-top competitive or pretentious. We have amazing children from awesome families where lifelong friendships are made and become part of our family.
We have a College Weekend competition in the first session and a Color War in our second session. In both of these traditions, the campers are split up into teams (either colleges or one of our colors) and participate in a variety of activities that are athletic, silly, and creative.
No, we believe we’re in the business of building kids up, not cutting them down. Everyone who wants to participate is encouraged to do so.
WHAT ARE THE MEALS LIKE AT CAMP? ARE THEY FAMILY-STYLE, BUFFET, OR BOTH? DO CAMPERS EAT WITH THEIR BUNK OR SWITCH AROUND WITHIN THEIR AGE GROUP? HOW DO YOU HANDLE FOOD ALLERGIES?
We have a very experienced groups of chefs who prepare by hand all of the meals. We have family-style meals where everyone eats as a bunk with their counselors and bunk mates. We have table service and an enormous salad bar at every meal with appropriate choices for the time of day. We also have special theme meals throughout the summer. We can handle all allergies and are a nut free camp.
WHO ARE YOUR MEDICAL PERSONNEL (E.G. ROTATING DOCTOR, 24 HOUR NURSES, CONSISTENT DOCTOR ON CALL)? WHAT ARE THE ONSITE HEALTH CARE FACILITIES LIKE? HOW CLOSE IS THE LOCAL DOCTOR’S OFFICE, HOSPITAL, DENTIST, ETC.?
We have a doctor on call 24/7, nurses, EMT’s, and student health professionals on our staff at camp all summer. We have a full-service health center and have two leading Maine hospitals nearby.
We have electronic gates at our entrances and patrols very late into the night.
We are not a uniform camp, but we do ask that campers purchase Wekeela Wear from our store to be worn on arrival days as well as any time we leave campus. We find that many of our children wear their Wekeela clothing with pride throughout the calendar year. There is a packing list with specifics on our website.