That Was Then, This Is Now: 90 Years of WeHaKee! Around The Campfire!
Like so many camps, the campfire is a meaningful and often times a spiritual focal point of the summer experience at WeHaKee Camp for Girls. WeHaKee campers & alumni, time after time, will share the memories they have of the campfires they so enjoyed during their summers spent at WeHaKee. Emotions and feelings run free at each fire ~ laughter and tears, hugs and high fives, ear-splitting enthusiasm and spiritual silence. The time spent around the campfire serves to brand each heart with all that is important about the camp experience.
In recent years, WeHaKee has offered three community gatherings around the campfire during each session at camp:
The Welcome Fire: On the evening of the first full day of camp, the community of WeHaKee makes it’s way down the Chicagami Trail to the Teepee fire circle, coming together for the first time to meet each other and share in community building mixed with some free spirited craziness! The campfire begins with the singing of the WeHaKee Welcome Song for all the new members of our community – and then they are promptly taught this song so they too can sing with the community from that point forward, whenever a visitor joins us at WeHaKee. This is followed by each cabin group taking the opportunity to share their unique cabin call-out as they introduce their cabin members. Mixed in between are some great camp songs along with a couple goofy staff skits. And we conclude the evening with our Evening Prayer around the fire.
The Council Fire: Midway through the session, we again make our way down the Chicagomi Trail for another community campfire. The Council Fire is a time to explore and share the history and legacy of WeHaKee Camp for Girls. We begin the evening with a history of WeHaKee shared through word and vignettes. We then take time to honor each and every camper as we celebrate their own history with the camp. Each camper receives from her counselors a number of beads related to the number of summers spent on the shores of Hunter Lake. Whether they have been coming to WeHaKee for years or it is their first summer, every girl is acknowledged for what she brings to the WeHaKee experience. We conclude the fire as we hand each cabin group a single unadorned stick – their memory stick.
The Closing Fire: On the evening of our final full day together at camp, we gather below the chapel around the lakeside firecircle to celebrate all that we have shared during this time together. Each cabin brings their now creatively adorned memory stick forward so that they can share a special tidbit or two of their cabin family and then toss their stick into the fire . Songs are sung and words are shared and the legend of the bungee cord is presented as a symbol of the lifelong connections created at WeHaKee. As the campers head to their cabins for the last night at camp, they are blessed with a hug from every counselor and staff member.
Again, like many camps, campfire traditions evolve as the years pass. With each campfire at WeHaKee, another group of girls and young women step onto the shoulders of those who came before them. If you are a WeHaKee camper from years gone by, we would love to hear how you celebrated all that is important about camp around the campfire. We look forward to hearing from you soon!