WeHaKee Featured Alumna: Jeanne Pursley
At WeHaKee Camp for Girls, we are so proud of the fact that our campers and staff come from all over the world to create a community together in Winter, WI. We are even prouder and always impressed by what those WeHaKee women do in their own communities, and how their time at camp brings a little bit of WeHaKee wisdom out into the rest of the world!
A couple of times a month, we would like to feature a WeHaKee Alumna so you can share in the pride and joy of your camp community!
Our Featured WeHaKee Woman is Jeanne Pursley (Wanzek).
Jeanne is alum who has done everything at camp, from camper through multiple roles as a PA and on staff, and now has a stepdaughter who attends WeHaKee! She stays connected to camp friends and is a testament to how long those friendships can last!
In Jeanne’s own words, more about camp and how it impacts her life today…
Approximately, what years did you attend camp and in what capacities? (What is your “camp connection?”)
1984-1995, 1997 (camper 1984-1986, program assistant (PA) 1987, CIT 1988, counselor 1989-1991, program director 1992-1995, 1997)
What are you doing now? Work, family, where do you live?
I live in Nashville, TN where I’m a professor in special education at Vanderbilt University. I do research on reading interventions for students with reading difficulties or learning disabilities. I also teach classes on how to teach reading. I am married to a wonderful husband who is a lawyer and law professor. I have 2 stepchildren, Avery (age 14) and Hannah (11), and one son, Emerson, who is 2 years old. Hannah attended WeHaKee for the first time last year and will be back again this summer.
How has your WeHaKee experience impacted your life?
WeHaKee helped me learn how to be more independent and understand myself and my place in this world. I learned a lot about working with others, being kind and helpful, trying new things, and solving problems with others.
What are some of your favorite memories of WeHaKee?
Definitely the people and the friends. I am still friends with several people I went to camp with. I always laughed the most at camp, especially during the activities that were unplanned due to weather or things not going exactly as planned. Camp taught me how to make the best of everything. I also loved the international flavor of the camp and learning about different cultures.
What were your favorite activities at WeHaKee?
Waterskiing, gymnastics, sailing
What would you say to a camper thinking about going to WeHaKee for the first time?
Give it a try even if you’re nervous or don’t know anyone. The community is so welcoming and you never know how much you’ll like it until you try. I thought I’d just go one summer and then do other things in the future summers, but I ended up going for 13 years!
What you would want current WeHaKee campers to know?
You’re at the best camp there is!
We are lucky to have Jeanne as a part of our community! Connect with Jeanne and alumnae like her in our WeHaKee Alumnae Facebook group.