Sunday Snippet: Why Two Weeks?
“Do you offer a one-week session? I’m not sure my daughter is ready for two weeks!” A fairly common question uttered from parents considering sending their daughters to WeHaKee for the first time. With that in mind, we thought we’d take some time to examine why a two-week WeHaKee stay is so much more beneficial than a 1-week session at camp.
First of all, please know that there are many benefits to camp, regardless of the length of stay, so we encourage every family to find the camp that best fits their child’s needs most closely. This is the most important factor in ensuring your child has a fun, successful, and safe experience at camp!
The American Camp Association offers tips on choosing
the right camp for your child. Click HERE to learn more!
When WeHaKee Camp for Girls was founded in 1923, they offered a single, summer-long (8 week) session – there were no other options. In the 1980’s – as more and more offerings became available for girls and young women – WeHaKee recognized that the two-week session was an optimal length for most girls. They determined this well ahead of other camps, many of whom are only now beginning to offer a 2-week option. Many of our girls choose the option to link two 2-week sessions together, creating a month-long WeHaKee experience.
WHY IS A TWO-WEEK SESSION AN OPTIMAL LENGTH?
1. Stronger Relationship and Community Building
2. Greater Variety of Activities with More Indepth Instruction
3. More Effective Social Skill Development
4. Increased Independence and Confidence Building
STRONGER RELATIONSHIP AND COMMUNITY BUILDING
While a lot of fun happens during even just one day of camp, spending more time connecting and building bonds with counselors, cabin mates, and other campers is one of the benefits of a two-week stay.
The first week of the session, there is an adjustment period for the first couple of days, when campers are getting settled and getting to know one another, the schedule, and the activities. By the third or fourth day, campers feel settled and comfortable at camp, and relationships blossom and deepen. Friendships can definitely be formed in one week, although they will grow stronger and deeper with more time together.
Because all of the campers in the cabin group are at camp for the same length of time (two weeks), there are no departures and arrivals in the middle of the session to disrupt the group’s cohesiveness and the bonds that have developed. Everyone arrives together and departs together. And our 4-weekers enjoy a break between sessions and truly enjoy the arrival of the new community for the second half of their experience at WeHaKee.
GREATER VARIETY OF ACTIVITIES WITH MORE IN-DEPTH INSTRUCTION
WeHaKee is proud of the nearly 40 activity choices our girls have before them – they select their own program based on what they enjoy as well as trying new activities they have never experienced before. Girls receive 5 hours of instruction & participation time in each of the 10 activities. We repeatedly hear from older girls and alumni how they discovered a love of photography, horseback riding, tennis, water skiing, sailing, and so on while they were at WeHaKee. That is simply not possible in a one-week setting.
Within those 5 hours, campers are able to receive in-depth instruction, support, and plenty of time to develop their skills beyond the introductory level. It is remarkable the amount of progress we see in our WeHaKee girls in all of their activities!
MORE EFFECTIVE SOCIAL SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Girls benefit from cabin living, working together in groups, and community involvement while at camp. At WeHaKee, we are intentional in how we train our staff so they are intentional in how they help our girls improve their communication skills, work together as a team, build positive relationships, become more responsible community members, enhance their conflict resolution skills and gain a sense of belonging that reaches far beyond their two weeks at camp. Like the activities, the two-week session allows our girls ample time to reflect on and build their skills as they become contributing members of their communities beyond WeHaKee.
INCREASED INDEPENDENCE AND CONFIDENCE BUILDING
Director, Bob Braun is fond of saying “Camp is a great place to fail!”. In saying that, he means WeHaKee provides girls and young women a place where they can try new things, perhaps struggle as they learn, but feel a sense of support and belonging as they improve their abilities and discover their gifts. This is by far the most effective way to help girls build their independence and confidence!
By giving girls the time and space to improve their activity skills and enhance their social skills, they are able to work through the process – the struggles – that skill building requires for meaningful success. And a two-week time frame provides the opportunities to do just that!
What a wonderful gift you can give your daughter – deeper relationships,
a greater depth & breadth of skills & abilities, more effective social skills
and a greater sense of independence and self-confidence!
Knowing that for many of our girls their first year at WeHaKee is the first time that they have ever been away from their parents & family, our staff are trained to help each girl acquire a sense of belonging the moment she arrives. She is greeted at the camp gate, her counselors greet her as she steps out of her car, she is escorted and assisted as she brings her belongings to her cabin, all the while her counselors and other camp staff are getting to know her and helping her get to know the other girls. This has proven to be remarkably effective in nearly eliminating homesickness among our campers.
In closing, we know that embedded within that question of “Do you have a one-week session” is often the parent lamenting “I’m going to miss her so much if she is gone so long”. Our staff at WeHaKee are also prepared to help our parents as they adjust to their daughters being at camp. We welcome your calls and emails asking how she is doing and we are happy to check in with her counselors and activity leaders to confirm that she is thriving and doing well at WeHaKee. And in the rare case, she may be having difficulties adjusting, we will contact you sooner than later to strategize approaches to help her thrive and succeed!
We thank you for reading and hope you have a wonderful day!