Sunday Snippet: Why Is WeHaKee Just For Girls?
I have often shared the story about the summer before Maggie and I assumed the directors’ role at WeHaKee. I was visiting the camp during that summer to soak in the nuances of the WeHaKee experience. After spending some time at the barn, I was making my way back across the basketball courts when a young camper came up to me and asked “Are you going to be the new director of Camp WeHaKee?” I replied, “Well yes, along with my wife Magge”. She then blurted out “I heard you want to change WeHaKee to a boys & girls camp and that stinks” and ran off, denying me the opportunity to assure here that was not going to happen!
With two daughters of our own, we are well aware of the unique pressures adolescent (and younger) girls are under and the importance of having places and experiences that counter the unreasonable and often unhealthy expectations thrust on girls. In fact, that was one of the primary reasons we were drawn to the opportunity to direct this remarkable girls camp in northern Wisconsin.
To understand why WeHaKee is just for girls it is important to go back to the 1840’s when Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, a Dominican missionary priest founded the Dominicans of Sinsinawa – the Catholic order of Sisters who started and still own WeHaKee Camp for Girls. Fr. Samuel was a strong advocate of the education of women, something not widely accepted at the time. Despite the prevailing sentiment, he successfully started Rosary College for women, which for many years had one of the best equipped laboratories in the nation and was considered one of the nation’s best universities.
Embracing the eduction of women, the Dominican Sisters built several schools for girls throughout the Midwest, so it was only natural when Sr. David O’Leary and others wanted to create a summer camp that it would be for girls and young women! They had the vision to combine the empowering environment of an all-girls school with the compassionate and exhilarating community of a summer camp, creating WeHaKee Camp for Girls in 1923.
The commitment to girls and young women has remained consistent through the 93 seasons and generations of women. It is a place where girls can feel comfortable exploring who they really are, meeting girls from around the country and the world, and try new things not readily available to them at home. Through these experiences, they build their confidence, independence and leadership and go on to have a greater, more significantly positive impact on the world!
The research supports the critical value of all-girl experiences, but we thought we’d share an article that articulates the importance of girls camp recently posted by Ana Homayoun on the American Camp Association website. It is entitled Girls and Camp: Fostering Community, Causes, and Confidence. She explores through relevant data and her own personal camp experiences the transformative power of girls camp. From that article, we’d like to share her ‘Five Ways Camp Is Good For Girls’ through the following image:
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week everyone!