Holiday 2023 Newsletter

Read the Holiday 2023 Newsletter Here


Happy New Year!

While we still haven’t gotten any “real” snow here in Philadelphia, up at camp, it’s a winter wonderland! It’s hard to believe that 2023 is over and that camp is less than six months away! We’ve been very busy talking to new families about Akeela and we find so much joy in sharing stories about our community and the amazing development of friendships we’ve witnessed since 2008!

We’re excited to welcome our new campers this summer and can’t wait to see them fall in love with Akeela as much as all of our returning campers have. We’re also meeting a lot of incredibly talented and passionate staff members who will be joining us from all over the US and the world! Our community has always been one of acceptance and that makes us feel extremely proud!

As the calendar turns to a new year, we want to tell you how grateful we are to you – our Akeela community. We feel so lucky to have an extended camp family with whom we can share the gifts of friendship, community, growth, pride and fun! We can’t wait to see you up at camp in 2024!

Love,

Eric, Debbie & Erin


Also in this edition of the newsletter:

  • Photos of some new Akeela swag & camp under lots of snow
  • Our advice for making the holiday season as smooth as it can be

Read the Holiday 2023 Newsletter Here


Akeela Spring Newsletters

With summer right around the corner, we have prepared not one but TWO newsletters for our camp community:

Parent Newsletter, April 2023

and

Camper Newsletter, April 2023

These newsletters contain a lot of important and exciting information about this coming summer, including:

  • What’s New At Akeela This Summmer: new ropes course elements, an amazing inflatable in the lake and pickleball!
  • Where Campers Come From: a cool look at how many states (and countries) are represented by our 2023 campers.
  • Head Counselors: what is their role and camp and who are the 2023 head counselors?
  • Camp Nurses: Meet Pam and Chuck, our wonderful health care team
  • Camper To Do List: A few things campers can do between now and arrival to get ready for the best summer of their lives!
  • What To Expect On The First Day: A detailed breakdown of what that camp arrival day will be like

The parent newsletter also begins with the following thoughts from Debbie:

Both of our daughters (ages 14 and 9) will be away at their camp this summer for 7 weeks. I’m a camp director and we’re very friendly with the camp directors who run their camp. I “shouldn’t” be nervous, right? But I am! I am a worrier and I worry most about my family – so when I allow myself to get caught up in thinking about the “what-ifs”, it can get pretty messy and then my anxiety is obvious to my kids.

I know that my most important task right now is to help instill a sense of confidence in my children before they are at camp on their own. In order to do that I also need to prepare myself, and that takes time and energy – a positive energy. Pushing through our own fears and worries needs to be a priority so we can meet our children with a “clean slate”. They need to feel our optimism and confidence that going to camp will be a life-changing experience – one that will enable them to become more independent and confident, and will hopefully open them up to meaningful friendships that will last a long time. Our children are intuitive and if they sense that we’re afraid about this very big transition, they will take on that worry themselves.

Some things that I’ve found helpful, and some advice for those of you who are worried and anxious about camp this summer:

  • Write it down! Take some time during the day (not right before bed or you’ll never be able to fall asleep!) to jot down anything that’s making you feel anxious. Writing your worries down will allow you to acknowledge them and either use your notes to address the concern, or let it go.
  • This includes making lists – what do you need to do? Have you completed your forms? Sent in the RX from the pediatrician? Looked at the packing list to assess what you might need? And have you gone through last year’s “camp stuff” to see what still fits?
  • Call us! If you’re concerned about something, maybe we can help. Sometimes, more information is helpful in minimizing our fears.
  • Breathe! Go for a walk or take 10 minutes with a cup of tea to just relax. How often do you allow yourself to take time for just yourself? It’s important and it’s helpful.
  • Read “Homesick and Happy” by Michael Thompson. This is a great book, especially for first-time camp parents. It’s filled with helpful information, plus – reading will help you take your mind off of your own worries.

By the way, this is great advice for your anxious camper, too! Once you are feeling confident about having your camper with us at camp, take some time to sit down with them to make a list of their “things to do” before camp. Maybe there’s one task you can do together each week to prepare, for example: address envelopes for letters to family/friends, email Debbie/Eric/Erin a few questions, make a list of books/card games/crafts you want to bring to camp, etc.

You may also want to help your camper make a list or start a journal with things they’re looking forward to doing at camp. Do they have a goal in mind? Something new they want to try or something they want to accomplish? It’s also a great time to start pushing your camper to be more independent in anticipation of being on their own this summer. Are younger campers getting ready for bed and school independently? (Showering, brushing their teeth, putting away their clothes …) Are older campers thinking about non-electronic tasks they can do during down times this summer? Having your camper think about these things NOW will help them feel more prepared as summer approaches.
Finally, as I’ve written about this year on a few different occasions, it’s important to use language that acknowledges a child’s worries but also expresses confidence. Statements like, “I know you’re worried about going to camp AND I’m really certain that you can do this.” These types of statements are the loving push our campers need to feel more secure in this transition.

We’re very excited to see your child up at camp in a very short time – sooner if you’ll be joining us for our Open House in June! Your camper’s head counselor will be emailing you in mid-June to introduce themselves to you and they’ll want to know if there’s anything on your mind. Feel free to start a list now that you can email or call once our team is all up in Vermont. Enjoy your Spring and we’ll see you soon!

Again, you can read the entire newsletters here:

Parent Newsletter, April 2023

and

Camper Newsletter, April 2023


December 2020 News – Happy Holidays!

It’s time for our December 2020 Newsletter!

This edition includes an excerpt from our blog post about setting limits and expectations at home, along with a link to a video of the webinar Debbie co-hosted on the same topic. Also included in the newsletter is camper & staff news and a collage of photos showing our community’s Akeela spirit on National Camp T-Shirt Day!

Debbie and Eric also want to wish everyone a very happy holidays …

We’re now in the final month of 2020 – a year many of us have found difficult. As the days get shorter and shorter, we’re reminded of the many spots of light that get us through darker times. Here at our home in Philadelphia, we have created new traditions – birthdays and holidays have become exciting landmarks in an otherwise empty calendar. Birthday decorations have become more important, afternoon walks around the neighborhood are now an opportunity to talk to other people, Zoom holidays with family and friends from all over the world are now the norm, and there has been a lot of baking going on in the kitchen. All of this family time isn’t always easy – our tween often tells us she just wants to be alone! At the same time, our 1st grader hates to be alone for more than a few minutes! We have watched a lot of movies on Netflix.

Yet we are reminded every day how lucky we are. We are especially grateful for our camp community. We spend every day thinking about being back together this summer in Vermont with our campers and staff. When we’re feeling low, we try to focus on a memory from Akeela: being together with friends at the campfire site, laughing on the slide at the lake, watching the talent show as a community. We know that even if camp looks a little different this summer, the feelings that Akeela gives all of us will be the same.

Our wish for all of you is that you take some time to find a light in all of this darkness, that you’re able to wrap yourself in a warm memory from camp, and that it brings you joy and peace. Please know that we’re thinking of all of you and are looking forward to the time when we can all gather together safely.

Here’s to 2021!

With love,
Debbie and Eric

Read the full newsletter here


Akeela VT Spring Newsletter

The Akeela Spring Circular for our Vermont campers and their families is here!

In this issue of our camp newsletter:

  • A letter from Eric and Debbie
  • What to expect on the first day of camp
  • How we assign counselors to cabin groups
  • A list of first-year Akeela campers!
  • An invitation to enrolled families to attend our Open House in June
  • A snapshot of all the places in the world that Akeela campers come from
  • Introductions to head counselors and program heads
  • A detailed description of the kinds of communication that parents can expect with camp during the summer
  • Important reminders about forms, optional programs, medication at camp, sending bags to camp, and ordering camp clothing
  • Photos and updates from this winter’s construction projects at camp
  • Upcoming birthdays and much more!

 

Check out the entire newsletter here!

 


Akeela Vermont Spring Newsletter

The latest Camp Akeela (VT) newsletter, the Akeela Circular, is here!

This jam-packed newsletter includes a lot of important information for camp parents, introductions to our amazing team of program heads, details on communication from camp, and much more. Here’s a quick look at one article, What To Expect On The First Day of Camp.

Dear Akeela Camper,

Summer is almost here and we hope you are excited about camp, even if you’re also feeling a little nervous about it. Many kids go away for part of the summer. Some visit family, some go on teen travel or community service programs, and some go to sleep-away camps. Almost everybody worries about how they will like a place that’s new to them. It’s OK to feel that way and we’re here to help make your transition to camp as easy and smooth as possible. We think that one way to do that is to help you know what to expect…

If you’re taking one of the camp buses to camp, you and your parents will meet some of our counselors at the bus pick-up location. They will be there to welcome you and to introduce you to other campers. They will help you find a seat on the bus with a new friend and will be there to answer any questions you might have. The travel time from NY is approximately 5 hours and the time from Boston is approximately 2.5 hours. You will bring lunch on the bus and there are bathrooms on both buses!

Those of you flying to Boston on Opening Day will be met at the airport by Akeela staff members. They will be there to greet you and to introduce you to other campers who have also flown in! You and your new friends will be driven by our staff in a camp van directly to camp. It will take approximately 2.5 hours to get to Akeela. If your parents are driving you to camp, you will be dropped off at 2:00. Your counselors will be there to meet you at your car and help you carry any last-minute items you have brought with you that day. You, your parents, and counselors will go to your cabin, where you’ll see all of your belongings have been unpacked and organized for you so you can easily find your bed. You’ll then say goodbye to your family and begin your camp adventure!

Regardless of how you get to camp, here’s what you can expect to happen the rest of that first day:

  • You will have a chance to see what camp looks like and enjoy some planned activities with your bunkmates. You might take a tour, play some games, or jump on the jumping pillow.
  • You’ll also meet our nurses so that they can give you a quick “health check” to make sure you’re healthy!
  • Our great Chef, Catarina, will give you a small preview of her culinary expertise and provide a delicious snack for you and your new friends to enjoy.
  • There will be some time after everyone arrives for each bunk to start spending some time together before we meet for dinner. This is a great time to get to know your bunkmates and counselors, and talk about “bunk expectations,” so you know what to expect from each other.
  • We will all have dinner and Evening Meeting together as a community. You’ll eat dinner with your cabin, just like you will for all your meals at camp! Evening Meeting will be at the amphitheatre and you’ll get to hear from Eric and Debbie, and have a chance to make announcements about the new friends you’ve already made!
  • Then it will be time for our opening campfire and evening snack. We’ll sing songs and do skits as a community by the fire. It’s one of our favorite parts of camp!
  • Before bedtime, you will preview the next day’s schedule and then Debbie or Eric and your Head Counselor will stop by to say good night. Before you know it, your first day will be over and we will all be getting ready for bed!

Many campers worry that they might be sad or homesick on the first night of camp. That is very normal. All of your counselors will be right in your bunk with you to help you. In addition to talking to them, you might want to look at photos from home, write a letter to your family or read a book. We know that after a short time, you will be having such a great time at Akeela, it will feel like your second home.

We can’t wait to see you at camp. Many of you will be joining us for our Open House on June 17th. (RSVP HERE) If you’re not able to attend Open House, you’ll be able to see photos of the event on the camp website. We’re so excited for an amazing summer at Camp Akeela. See you soon!

 

Check out the entire newsletter here!

 


Spring 2017 Newsletter

The latest newsletter, The Akeela Circular, is here!

Here is an excerpt from the newsletter, in which we describe what campers can expect from the first day of camp:

Dear Akeela Camper,
Summer is almost here and we hope you are excited about camp, even if you’re also feeling a little nervous about it. Many kids go away for part of the summer. Some visit family, some go on teen travel or community service programs, and some go to sleep-away camps. Almost everybody worries about how they will like a place that’s new to them. It’s OK to feel that way and we’re
here to help make your transition to camp as easy and smooth as possible. We think that one way to do that is to help you know what to expect…
If you’re taking one of the camp buses to camp, you and your parents will meet some of our counselors at the bus pick-up location. They will be there to welcome you and to introduce you to other campers. They will help you find a seat on the bus with a new friend and will be there to answer any questions you might have. The travel time from NY is approximately 5 hours and the time from Boston is approximately 2.5 hours. You will bring lunch on the bus and there are bathrooms on both buses!
Those of you flying to Boston on Opening Day will be met at the airport by Akeela staff members. They will be there to greet you and to introduce you to other campers who have also flown in! You and your new friends will be driven by our staff in a camp van directly to camp. It will take approximately 2.5 hours to get to Akeela. If your parents are driving you to camp, you will be dropped off at 1:30. Your counselors will be there to meet you at your car and help you carry any last-minute items you have brought with you that day. You, your parents, and counselors will go to your cabin, where you’ll see all of your belongings have been unpacked and organized for you so you can easily find your bed. You’ll then say goodbye to your family and begin your camp adventure!
Regardless of how you get to camp, here’s what you can expect to happen the rest of that first day:
•You will have a chance to see what camp looks like and enjoy some planned activities with your bunkmates. You might take a tour, play some games, or jump on the jumping pillow.
•You’ll also meet our nurses so that they can give you a quick “health check” to make sure you’re healthy!
•Our great Chef, Catarina, will give you a small preview of her culinary expertise and provide a delicious snack for you and your new friends to enjoy.
•There will be some time after everyone arrives for each bunk to start spending some time together before we meet for dinner. This is a great time to get to know your bunkmates and counselors, and talk about “bunk expectations,” so you know what to expect from each other.
•We will all have dinner and Evening Meeting together as a community. You’ll eat dinner with your cabin, just like you will for all your meals at camp! Evening Meeting will be at the amphitheatre and you’ll get to hear from Eric and Debbie, and have a chance to make announcements about the new friends you’ve already made!
•Then it will be time for our opening campfire and evening snack. We’ll sing songs and do skits as a community by the fire. It’s one of our favorite parts of camp!
•Before bedtime, you will preview the next day’s schedule and then Debbie or Eric and your Head Counselor will stop by to say good night. Before you know it, your first day will be over and we will all be getting ready for bed!
Many campers worry that they might be sad or homesick on the first night of camp. That is very normal. All of your counselors will be right in your bunk with you to help you. In addition to talking to them, you might want to look at photos from home, write a letter to your family or read a book. We know that after a short time, you will be having such a great time at Akeela, it will feel like your second
home.
We can’t wait to see you at camp. Many of you will be joining us for our Open House on June 4th. If you’re not able to attend Open House, you’ll be able to see photos of the event on the camp website. We’re so excited for an amazing summer at Camp Akeela. See
you soon!

Read the entire newsletter here


Winter 2017 Newsletter

The Winter 2017 edition of our newsletter, The Camp Akeela Circular, is here! Check it out for advice about how to prepare for camp, an introduction to our program heads and Akeela Vermont’s new head chef, updates on Akeela in Wisconsin, wedding news, lists of returning campers and staff, and the latest alumni profile!

Here is a note from Debbie and Eric, featured on the newsletter’s first page:

This newsletter represents an exciting “first” for Camp Akeela because it’s the first to be distributed to members of our TWO camp communities: Akeela in Vermont and Akeela in Wisconsin. In many ways, we will be two separate camps this summer. As you look through this newsletter, you’ll find some distinctions between our Vermont and Wisconsin locations. The dates differ; some of the facilities and program news apply to one site or the other; the camper and staff updates now include the abbreviations VT or WI. Most importantly, both Akeela locations (and in fact each session at both sites) will be its own rich, vibrant community. Regardless of where or when campers attend, they will feel a deep sense of belonging and kinship with their fellow campers and our amazing staff.

As excited as we are about replicating the magic of Akeela in an entirely new part of the country, we’re equally aware of the ways in which we’re all part of the same camp family. This phenomenon was evident last month at our third annual Winter Weekend Reunion. Because the weekend combined campers from the two different Akeela Vermont sessions, not everyone knew one another before the reunion. We could imagine a weekend that felt like two separate groups sharing the same space. In reality, however, it was amazing how quickly they came together into one unit. With a baseline shared experience of knowing what it’s like to have spent time at Camp Akeela, new friendships were forged almost instantly. A year from now, when we have campers and families who have experienced Akeela both at different times and in different states, we are confident that we will all feel equally connected.

Read the complete Winter 2017 Newsletter here!


Wisconsin Camp Announcement

From The Directors
Dear Camp Friends,
Throughout our nine unforgettable summers on Miller Pond we have seen so much growth, not only in our campers but in the size of our community, as well. We have watched our camp grow from approximately 40 to almost 120 campers per session. Likewise, the number of Akeela staff members has risen from less than 40 to more than 100. Over the years, we’ve added six new camper cabins, a golf driving range, the Lodge, a dining hall porch, gazebos and so much more. We are excited to announce that in the summer of 2017, our community is going to grow even more, with the opening of another Camp Akeela, in Wisconsin!

Don’t worry, nothing is going to change about the Camp Akeela that we all know and love in Vermont. We are just expanding west so that more boys and girls have an opportunity to grow in a loving and fun-filled summer camp community similar to what we have created together on Miller Pond. Debbie, Eric and Kevin will all continue to spend their summer in Vermont, while Dave and Katie Baker will be the On-Site Directors in Wisconsin.

Akeela Wisconsin will be located on the campus of Lawrence University in Appleton, which is about 40 minutes southwest of Green Bay, two hours north of Milwaukee, and three hours north of Chicago, IL. Despite being on a college campus, our Wisconsin camp is most definitely NOT an academic program! In three 2-week sessions, campers competing grades 3 – 10 will enjoy many of the same activities that our Vermont camp has to offer, including swimming, art, drama, music, cooking, tennis, team sports, LARPing, hiking, trips, and nature exploration. All of the camp traditions we have grown to love in Vermont – evening meeting, campfires, bunk songs & plaques, and special event days – will be equally integral to the experience at our new camp. We are going to bring as much of the magic of Vermont as we can to Wisconsin to create yet another incredible, life-changing summer experience for campers and staff!

We are so excited about this new adventure and invite you to follow all of its progress at the camp website, campakeela.com.

Fondly,

Debbie & Eric


Fall 2016 Newsletter

Fall is here and that means that it’s time for our fall newsletter! This jam-packed edition of the Akeela Circular includes:

  • News from the Directors
    A letter from Debbie & Eric, addressing their excitement about the opening of Camp Akeela in Wisconsin!
  • Blayne’s Bulletin
    A site update from Blayne, including a very exciting photo of Bunk 4’s new porch! That’s not the only cabin getting a new porch, either. There’s also some news and a picture of a well-known building in camp being demolished. (It will be replaced before next summer!)
  • Kev’s Korner
    A note from assistant director Kevin Trimble, reflecting on the concept of growth, both personal and professional. He highlights how Akeela has been able to grow while staying true to who we are as a community.
  • Wedding Bells
    Thanks to Greg and Julia’s pre-camp engagement this past June, planning for Camp Akeela marriage number 6 is now underway.
  • POISE-a-Thon Results
    We are so proud of the Akeela campers for their participation in this past summer’s POISE-a-Thons. Between the two sessions, their enthusiastic efforts raised more than $18,000 for a great charitable cause!
  • Winter Weekend & Parent Retreat Announcement
    Information about the third annual Winter Weekend reunion in Western Massachusetts, in late January 2017. At the same time, we’ll be hosting a parent & family retreat at the Cranwell Resort in Lenox, MA.
  • Camper and Staff Updates
    Lots of news from campers and staff about what they’ve been up to this fall, which of their camp friends they’ve seen, and much more.
  • Alumni Spotlight!
    A new feature in which we catch up with a former camper. This time, a distinguished alumnus of Camp Akeela and Beyond Akeela shares some wisdom about his experience in college and how camp helped him prepare for it.
  • Birthdays
    A list of upcoming camper and staff birthdays

Read it all here:

Akeela Circular, Fall 2016


Happy Holidays & Summer 2014 Slideshows!

With the holiday season upon us, we find ourselves missing all our campers and the warm summers at Camp. These slideshows help us remember all the magic of camp!

Summer 2014 Session 1 Slideshow
Summer 2014 Session 2 Slideshow

We hope you’ll recognize some of the songs in the slideshows from campfire. Speaking of songs from campfire, we just created a songbook on the website so you can see the lyrics to all your favorite camp songs! Check it out here: Camp Akeela Songbook

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Love,
Debbie, Eric, and Kevin