Akeela offers two camp locations for boys and girls: Vermont (for campers completing grades 3 – 10) & Wisconsin (for campers completing grades 6 – 10). If you have any questions about which program is best for your child, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 866-680-4744. In the meantime, here’s a quick look at the similarities and differences between our New England and Midwest camps.
What’s The Same?
Community, Growth, Friendship, Pride and Fun!
Regardless of whether they attend camp in Vermont or Wisconsin, Akeela campers know that they are a part of something very special. Our camp mission and philosophy permeate everything that we do, from program design and activity instruction to cabin groupings and counseling strategies. Campers in both locations feel an equal sense of joy, belonging, accomplishment, independence, and connection.
What makes Akeela unique is that we’re selecting a very specific group of children and immersing them in an intentional community that is designed expressly for them. Debbie and Eric Sasson, along with their year-round staff of directors work closely with parents and professionals throughout the camper application process, with the same criteria for both camp locations. All of our campers are extremely bright, independent and well-behaved kids and teens who are eager to build meaningful friendships with like-minded peers.
Selecting the Akeela location that works best for your family will not affect the level of care that your child receives at camp. All of our staff meets the same standards of experience, professionalism, attention to detail and sheer passion for the work that we enjoy together. The mutual trust and respect that campers develop with their counselors is the foundation from which they achieve such dramatic social growth in their short time at camp. Likewise, parents who entrust us with the care of their children can expect the highest levels of accessibility and open communication with all of Akeela’s directors and Senior Staff.
In Vermont, campers live in cabins with up to 8 same-age peers and 4 counselors. In Wisconsin, campers live in double rooms in a college dorm. These dorm room assignments and the corresponding staff placement are carefully arranged to create halls of same-age cabin groups that mirror the bunk experience of our Vermont campers. In both cases, a small group of campers and a consistent set of caring counselors becomes one’s family over the course of a camp session. While campers have ample opportunity to connect with boys and girls of all ages, the cabin group is where the majority of lifelong friendships are forged.
While eating in a camp dining hall has a different feel from dining in a college food service facility, the end results are the same: all of our campers are well fed! It’s important to us that Akeela campers are empowered with multiple food options so that they can stay happy and healthy, regardless of their dietary needs and preferences. Aside from healthy, kid-friendly entrees at each meal, campers can always choose from an extensive breakfast bar in the mornings (cereal, bagels, yogurt, fruit and much more) and a variety of alternatives at lunch and dinner (including hamburgers, hot dogs, plain pasta, PB & J, salad bar, etc.) Both camps also have cooking staffs that are passionate about offering great meals to campers on special diets (including gluten and/or casein free, vegetarian/vegan, lactose intolerant, and of course food allergies).
For the most part, the programs at our two camps are the same. We proudly offer campers lots of choice, within a structured program. Campers explore new activities and gain mastery over old favorites. All of the following activities are offered at both camps
- Arts: visual arts, drama, music, rocketry and cooking
- Swimming: instructional and free swim
- Sports: basketball, fencing, frisbee golf, martial arts, soccer, softball, tennis
- Outdoor Adventure: gardening, weekly day hikes/trips, optional overnight camping trip
- Plus: Community service, LARPing (live action role playing), special events and evening activities
Location, Location, Location!
One of the factors that will likely influence many families when selecting a Camp Akeela program is the location of our two camps. Many East Coast families (as well as those parents who attended a New England camp when they were campers) think of Vermont as a more traditional camp experience. Those from the Midwest and West Coast (and everywhere in between!) know that Wisconsin has an equally rich history in summer camping. Other parents may consider factors such as proximity to home or family members, or ease of travel. At both camps, we have many campers who attend from all over the country, and in fact a small number of international campers, as well. For Akeela Vermont, we provide transportation from both New York and Boston. Akeela Wisconsin campers can be met in either Chicago or Milwaukee. In either case, parents can elect to drive their children to camp.
This is perhaps the biggest difference between our two camps. Akeela in Vermont offers two sessions, each of which is three and a half weeks long.
In Wisconsin, we offer two sessions, each two weeks long. This option of a shorter session is ideal for campers who may not feel ready for almost a full month away from home. At the same time, there is an opportunity to extend their time away for 4 weeks. This flexibility allows our Wisconsin camp families to schedule their summer in way that best suits them!
Housing & Campus Setting
In addition to the geographic distinction between our two camp locations, the living arrangements and immediate surroundings are also quite different. Our property in Vermont consists of 400 wooded acres on a secluded lake, approximately 20 minutes from the nearest town. To arrive at camp is truly to enter a sacred place, far from the noise and distractions of the outside world. That said, it is by no means a “rustic” New England summer camp. Campers live in modern cabins with “real” windows and doors, comfortable beds and private bathroom facilities. Our dining hall, athletic fields, arts studios and other program areas are all recently renovated and meticulously maintained.
Living on the campus of Lawrence University is certainly a more urbane experience. Instead of cabins, campers sleep in a college dorm with modern amenities. Campers will enjoy ample personal space and more creature comforts in their shared dorm room. Our program facilities, from the art studios and theaters to the athletic fields and indoor pool, are all state-of-the-art. Campers and families who are more hesitant about the outdoor nature components of camp life will find Akeela Wisconsin to be the perfect fit: it’s a campus-based program with all of the warmth, community and magic of a traditional summer camp!
Each of our camp properties offers features that naturally lend themselves to certain activities. As a result, there are a few ways in which the two camp programs differ:
- Arts & Media: Woodworking is available only in our Vermont camp, while media activities such as computer programming is available only at Akeela Wisconsin. (Please note that while there are computer-related instructional activities at Akeela Wisconsin, both camps are otherwise “technology-free zones” for campers. We know this makes many of our prospective campers uneasy to consider at first, but it truly is a non-issue once camp begins. Most importantly, it’s critical to the way in which Akeela facilitates community and life-long friendships!)
- Aquatics: Akeela Vermont is on a lake, where campers enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing and stand-up-paddleboarding. They swim in the lake, as well as in our outdoor heated pool. In Wisconsin, campers swim in Lawrence University’s olympic-sized indoor pool. Boating and fishing are available only as part of optional outdoor adventure trips.
- Sports: While neither camp focuses on athletic competition, instead emphasizing teamwork and skill-building, campers who enjoy sports will find the facilities at Akeela in Wisconsin to be more modern and polished than those on our Vermont campus. In terms of variety, only Vermont offers archery and a golf driving range.
- Outdoor Adventure: Our facilities at Akeela in Vermont include low & high ropes courses, climbing wall and zip line. There are also on-site farm animal care activities tied into Akeela Vermont’s garden program. While both camp programs include weekly trips for every camper, the Vermont trips are more traditional mountain hikes, while Wisconsin campers enjoy nature exploration of local lakes and trails at a slightly lower elevation! Lastly, in Vermont, Akeela partners with a nearby stable to offer optional therapeutic horseback riding.
Not Sure Which To Pick?
We’re here to help! The first step is to complete our quick Inquiry Form and then give us a call. As we get to know you and your child, we can talk together about which of our camp locations might be the best fit for your family.