The Evolution of Our WeHaKee Staff!
WeHaKee Camp for Girls has long been known for its highly competent and caring staff – a staff that ensures the girls receive an exceptional experience in a safe and supportive environment. The lofty standards were set in the initial years as the staff at that time was comprised primarily of Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. Many of those Sisters were teachers during the school year and came to camp to share their knowledge, skills, and wisdom in the beautiful outdoor setting of camp.
Many of the photos from when Camp WeHaKee was located in Marinette, Wisconsin, reveal Sisters in full habit leading volleyball, archery, tennis, canoeing, and most of the other activities offered at the time. A few lay people helped fill out the camp staff, but they were the exception. At that time, the Dominicans of Sinsinawa were experiencing their largest numbers as order and were attracting significant numbers of young women discerning and eventually becoming Sisters themselves.
The number of Sisters on staff remained high when WeHaKee moved to its current site on Hunter Lake in northwest Wisconsin in 1964. And with the influence of the changes brought on by Vatican II, more of the Sisters began to shed their habits in exchange for more common clothing of the time. Change was in the air and WeHaKee would feel this impact as well.
The Sisters, many of whom were traditionally teachers, began to expand their endeavors beyond education to areas such as social work, academic research, law, and others. But at the same time, the numbers of women entering the order began to slow, eventually to the point of not keeping up with the numbers of Sisters retiring and passing on.
Similar to most Catholic schools, WeHaKee began to rely more and more on lay people to fill the ranks of the counseling staff at camp. But throughout the 1980s and 1990s, WeHaKee was still able to boast nearly a dozen or more Sisters at camp throughout the summer, with several living at camp year-round!
In 2004, with the retirement of Sr. Arturo Cranston, WeHaKee hired their first lay director – actually co-directors! – in Maggie and Bob Braun. Sisters continue to visit the camp throughout each summer and several will remain for periods long enough to provide instruction in a variety of activity areas. The camp continues to be owned and operated by the Dominicans of Sinsinawa and several Sisters sit on the WeHaKee Advisory Board ensuring it continues to uphold and embrace the Dominican values and long-held traditions of Camp WeHaKee!
Our current WeHaKee summer staff are made up of young women from throughout the United States and around the world. Many are college students looking to enhance their teaching, mentoring, and 21st-century skills as they share their talents and gifts with the girls of WeHaKee. And more importantly, they continue to maintain the high standards for WeHaKee staff to provide a quality program, a fun environment, and a safe & supportive setting for all of the girls each summer!