Training Teen Leaders: Wildwood’s Environmental Leadership Program

Teens Lead a Song and Dance Outside the Wildwood Dining Hall
Teens lead a song and dance outside the Wildwood dining hall

Nature needs the next generation of environmental leaders to be ready!

Over the last few years, the teen leadership programs at Wildwood have undergone some changes to better support the Mass Audubon and Wildwood mission. We are excited to announce that going forward our teen leadership program will be called the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP). This better reflects the program’s offerings and goals and will help to set it apart from programs offered at other camps. The goal of ELP is to equip and encourage teens entering grades 10+ to be effective environmental advocates and conservation leaders in their homes and communities.

The Environmental Leadership Program will mirror the progressive nature of Leaders-in-Training and Leaders-in-Action programs in a single two-year program.* The first year of the ELP program is a two-week camp experience where participants will learn foundational leadership skills and how to be a leader in any role within a group. Second-year ELPs spend three weeks further developing these skills so each individual can hone their own leadership strengths.

During each session, Wildwood staff will challenge teens to develop their individual leadership and community-building skills and support them as they develop their own voice and style of leadership. ELPs will also focus on an environmental or conservation topic and how they can apply their leadership skills to make a positive impact on the world.

*Note: Second-year ELPs are selected by application and interview. Teens finishing 10th or above this summer are eligible for selection. Prior LIT or Teen Adventure Trip participants are especially encouraged to apply. Contact the Wildwood office at 866-627-2267 or email us for more information.

Teens lead a Stock Market game at Wildwood
Teens lead a Stock Market game at Wildwood

Program Details

At the beginning of each session, participants work with their ELP facilitators and each other set goals for their experience together. ELPs will then be involved in team-building activities and workshops that aim to develop their ability to help the group and individuals achieve those goals.

ELPs practice their skills by planning and facilitating a lesson or activity for their peers, helping counselors and camp staff plan and lead an evening program for the camp, and serving as role models for the entire camp community. ELPs may also meet members of the Rindge community, visit other Mass Audubon sites, and explore new habitats.

ELPs take part in a two-night camping trip during which they will plan and implement a day-long hike or other outdoor experience as a group.

Bike & Beach Teen Adventure Trip - Service Project
Teens participate in a service project planting trees and picking up litter

Service Projects

As part of the program’s focus on leadership within groups and communities, ELPs will take part in several hours of environmentally focused service. Past service projects include sustainable agriculture at a local farm, trail building for local conservation lands, and invasive species removal for state parks. Wildwood tracks any service hours performed and early in the fall provides a letter to all ELPs documenting their service hours for progress towards honors service hours, graduation requirements, and more.

Learn more and register for the Environmental Leadership Program on our website.

SAVE THE DATE: Wildwood Alumni Reunion – August 2020!

Wildwood Group Photo, black and white, circa 1984
Wildwood Group Photo circa 1984

Wildwood has welcomed campers to explore nature at four camp locations throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 1950. Summer 2020 marks our 70th anniversary as well as 20 years since we purchased our permanent camp location in Rindge, New Hampshire.

To celebrate, we are hosting an alumni reunion weekend from August 22–23, 2020! Folks can choose to sleepover in a cabin or platform tent, just like back in the day, or come for a single day of fun activities and reminiscing on Sunday. Airport shuttles from Manchester or Boston will be available. 

We can’t wait to see you and hear your camp stories!

Canoeing at Wildwood circa 1996 or 1997
Canoeing at Wildwood circa 1996 or 1997

We’ll have more information soon and official registration will begin in March. Until then, here are a few details:

Saturday, August 22
2:00 pmCheck-in begins
2:15–5:15 pmActivities open: Naturalist walks, beach and waterfront activities, and more
5:30 pmWelcome reception
6:15 pmDinner
7:30 pmCampfire and Evening Program (EP)
Sunday, August 23
7:00 amPre-Breakfast Jaunt (PBJ)
8:30 amBreakfast
9:30 amActivities open: Naturalist walks, beach and waterfront activities, etc.
Check-in begins for day visitors
11:30 amWelcome, Wildwood History, and Songs
12:30 pmLunch cookout and social hour
2:00 pmActivities open: Naturalist walks, beach and waterfront activities, etc.
4:00 pmFinal gathering and goodbyes

Tuition:  $25.00 per day per person; $65.00 for the whole weekend, including lodging

Email wildwood@massaudubon.org with any questions you may have.

Teen Vacation Week Trek: Winter in the Whites

Experience the wonders of winter and learn new ways to enjoy the outdoors year-round during our February Vacation Week Teen Adventure Trip: Winter in the Whites!

Sunset from Mount Cardigan during the 2019 Winter in the Whites Teen Adventure Trip
Sunrise on Mount Cardigan during the 2019 Winter in the Whites Teen Adventure Trip

Trip Overview

This trip embraces the challenges of winter and focuses on the outdoor opportunities unique to the season. We’ll explore Mount Monadnock and the White Mountains by snowshoe and learn about the natural world in winter. We’ll sleep in rustic cabins, yurts, and—weather permitting—spend one night in tents to truly experience winter camping. All food and snacks will be provided and participants will learn outdoor cooking skills while taking on a share of camp cooking and cleaning duties.

Itinerary

The week begins at Wildwood where we’ll build and learn new skills, then hone them with a climb up Mount Monadnock and camping in a rustic Yurt village. Each year, we finish the week out by venturing north to explore a different location in the White Mountains.

This year, we’ll head for the Crawford Notch area near the Presidential Range and the Twin Range. We’ll spend a night in a cozy AMC lodge before setting out to put our new skills to the test with two nights of backpacking and summiting snow-covered peaks, including one of New Hampshire’s famed 4,000-footers. We’ll spend the first night in an alpine cabin, accessible only by foot, and wrap up with a night camping on (or under!) the snow.

Last year we had a great time with five teen trekkers summiting peaks and exploring the snow-covered landscape. One teen trekker described the experience as “surreal”, and has continued to get outdoors, accumulating over a month of exploring the outdoors since our trip!

The Trip Leaders

Winter in the Whites is led by fulltime staff from Mass Audubon’s Education Department who have experience guiding and teaching camping, as well as Wilderness First Aid training and experience. If you attend programs at Wildwood or Habitat Education Center you might know this year’s leaders, Kyle Branin and Paul Kelley.


Paul Kelley is the Onsite Education Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary.

He has a Master’s degree in environmental education from Southern Oregon University and has led backpacking trips on the east coast, west coast, and New Zealand.

His passion is to mix adventure education with natural history, creating opportunities that stimulate both body and mind, leading to a wholesome outdoor experience.


Kyle Branin Winter Headshot

Kyle Branin is the Teen Program Coordinator at Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp. He has a Bachelor’s degree in outdoor education from Southern Utah University and is a Leave No Trace Master Educator.

He has taught and guided backpacking trips across the country. Kyle believes backcountry travel offers a unique chance for deep nature immersion and loves facilitating this connection to nature for others while teaching the skills to move through our natural world comfortably and harmoniously.

During the trip, we will also spend time with other Mass Audubon educators and outdoor professionals.

How to Sign Up

You can register online for this exciting trip of a lifetime or call the Wildwood office at 603-899-5589 to sign up—we would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

Winter in the Whites is led in partnership with Mass Audubon’s Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont, MA.

Winter Hiking With Wildwood

Winter Hiking with Wildwood at Mount Monadnock
Winter Hiking with Wildwood at Mount Monadnock

Starting in November and running through the month of April, you and your family are invited to join Wildwood staff on the third Saturday of every month as we go on hikes throughout Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. Locations and times for our Family Hiking Series will vary, but the fun is guaranteed!

We started off close to home at Mount Monadnock, but next month we will travel to western Massachusetts where we will join with Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary for their solstice celebration on December 21 and an ascent of Mount Tom. Please register online to join us for this trip! Save the date for our first hike of the new year when we head south of Boston to hike Blue Hills on January 18.

When you register, you will receive a letter detailing what to pack, where to park and what time we will start our hike. These hikes will be a great way to get outside year-round and truly connect with nature as we visit new places in and around Massachusetts. Pack a lunch and hike with us every month!

We love our Wildwood Staff!

Registration is Open! (And Other Things We’re Thankful For)

The wait is over! Registration for summer 2020 at Wildwood is now open!

It’s the season for giving thanks and we’re thankful that we can finally start accepting campers for next summer. But that’s not all! We’re also thankful for:

Sunshine & Summertime

We’ll find ways to occupy ourselves and through the long winter—snowshoeing, hiking, even winter camping—but we’re always daydreaming about warm summer days spent soaking up the sun (with sunscreen, of course) at Wildwood.

Two friends taking a walk on the beach in the sunshine

Amazing Tie-Dye Shirts

You can learn all the techniques to make tie-dye designs—spirals, spiders, and even hearts—but you’re still never quite sure how it’s going to turn out until that magical moment when you pull off the rubber bands and unveil your masterpiece! We wear ours all year long to bring a pop of color and smiles to gray winter days.

Tie-dye clothes hanging on a line

Being Ourselves

The best thing about camp is that you get to be yourself. Everyone gets to be as silly, goofy, crazy, or off-the-wall as they want and express themselves through songs, skits, artwork, dance, or any other way they can think of. Here at Wildwood, the community supports each camper to be whoever they want to be, and that’s a pretty special thing, we think.

Campers pose with props for a photo booth

Sunsets over Hubbard Pond

Each one is unique and each one is beautiful. Need we say more?

Sunset over Hubbard Pond

Our Amazing Staff

Our staff are so many things: caring, fun, dedicated, silly, supportive, talented, passionate, energetic, and so much more. They are truly the glue that holds this camp together. We love our staff!

We love our Wildwood Staff!

Summer 2019 Highlights

It’s been two months since we wrapped up camp for the summer (say WHAT???) and even though fall is beautiful at Wildwood, it can get awfully quite around camp in the off-season, making us feel nostalgic for the warm, laughter-filled days of summer. We’re guessing maybe you’re missing it, too, so here’s a look back at some of our favorite moments.

Fourth of July Extravaganza

To celebrate our nation’s birth, we had a slip ‘n’ slide, sponge toss games, giant Jenga, bubbles, temporary tattoos, and face-painting. The party was made complete by some really fantastic music!

July 4th Slip-n-Slide
July 4th Slip-n-Slide

Tropical Paradise Night

Camp Director Becky’s favorite moment was the Tropical Paradise Night. She says, “I stood watching our whole camp swimming, boating, dancing, and doing crafts. Everyone was smiling and being themselves; it was magical to watch. As camp director, I could not ask for more.”

Dance party outside the dining hall
Even Becky got in on the dance party!

The Chill Zone Hammocks

Adding camping hammocks to The Chill Zone really took the relaxation factor to the next level. It was the perfect place to curl up with a good book during OATs (Open Activity Times).

Reading a book in a hammock at the Chill Zone
Reading a book in a hammock at the Chill Zone

Family Camp Beach Cookouts

It was amazing to have a huge bonfire on the beach at the end of each Family Camp session. We made tons of different desserts, including churning our own ice cream, baking gingerbread cake in orange peels, cooking banana boats in foil packets on the fire, and roasting pineapple on skewers.

Hand-churning ice cream
Hand-churning ice cream at a Family Camp beach cookout

Heffalump Hunts

A time-honored tradition, Heffalump Hunts are a favorite Evening Program of many campers and staff. Counselors and LITs get so creative with their costumes and challenges for the campers!

Heffalump Hunting!
Campers gather around a Heffalump outside the Camp Store

Sunday Beach Parties

On the Sunday of each two-week session, we had a camp-wide beach party, including free swim, open boating for all, fabulous music, water balloon tosses and more.

Roasting pineapple on skewers over a beach campfire
Roasting pineapple on skewers over a beach campfire

Finding Forest Friends

There is so much to find on the forest floor if you know where to look! We found tons of Red Efts (juvenile Eastern Newts—also Wildwood’s mascot!) and Eastern Red-backed Salamanders this summer, along with lots of other cool creatures!

Just one of many Eastern Red-backed Salamanders we found this summer
Just one of many Eastern Red-backed Salamanders we found this summer

All-Camp Dance Parties

Need we say more?

Conga line dance party!
Conga line dance party!

Thanks for an incredible summer, everyone! Keep checking the blog and subscribe to the Wildwood eNews to be the first to hear when we open registration for summer 2020.

A spontaneous conga line broke out

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 5 – Part 2

There’s time for just one more update from overnight camp. It’s so hard to believe it’s already over!

We had a Tropical Paradise Beach Party and it was an outrageous amount of fun: Swimming, canoe wars, sandcastle-building, limbo, a photo booth with props, giant Jenga and Connect 4, and one really epic dance party!

Another highlight of the week was “Becky’s Surprise DG” which took a group of intrepid campers to nearby Cathedral of the Pines, a beautiful stone cathedral set against the backdrop of Mount Monadnock. We explored the site’s many beautiful gardens and outdoor chapels and learn about the history of the war memorials scattered throughout the grounds. Plus, there were popsicles!

Check out a few highlights from the last week of summer camp and see the full album on SmugMug.

See you next summer!

Popsicles at Cathedral of the Pines
Popsicles at Cathedral of the Pines
At Cathedral of the Pines with Mount Monadnock in the background
At Cathedral of the Pines with Mount Monadnock in the background
Reading a book in a hammock in the Chill Zone
Reading a book in a hammock in the Chill Zone
Two campers help each other bring a paddleboard to the water
Two campers help each other bring a paddleboard to the water
It's a beach party from a 60's movie!
It’s a beach party from a 60’s movie!
A spontaneous conga line broke out
A spontaneous conga line broke out
Campers try out some of the props in the photo booth
Campers try out some of the props in the photo booth
A perfect night for a dip!
A perfect night for a dip!
Looking good, you two!
Looking good, you two!
How low can you go?
How low can you go?
Giant Connect 4
Giant Connect 4
Take it back now, y'all
Take it back now, y’all
We love our silly, wonderful staff!
We love our silly, wonderful staff!
Airband Heroes
Airband Heroes
Get your dance on!
Get your dance on!
Which unit has the best moves?

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 5 – Part 1

Apologies for the belated post, families! Rest assured, we are having an awesome time exploring the Wildwood property and making new friends. Here are a few highlights from the beginning of the last session of the summer. Also included: Our lead naturalist, Johnathan, provided us with some beautiful wildlife shots he’s taken, including lots of native birds and dragonflies. Enjoy and check out the full album on SmugMug!

Setting up the dining hall for mealtime
Setting up the dining hall for mealtime
Who's ready for lunch?
Who’s ready for lunch?
Chicken tenders for lunch today!
Chicken tenders for lunch today!
Which unit has the best moves?
Which unit has the best moves?
Happy Potato Chip!
Happy Potato Chip!
Dillard campers have spirit, yes they do!
Dillard campers have spirit, yes they do!
Walking up the hill to the waterfront
Walking up the hill to the waterfront
Rolling logs to look for bugs and salamanders
Rolling logs to look for bugs and salamanders
Herp Hunting!
Herp Hunting!
In "Camouflage", your friends may be hidden in plain sight
In “Camouflage”, your friends may be hidden in plain sight
Quick, hide!
Quick, hide!
Sibling Love :-D
Sibling Love 😀
Painting pet rocks in Arts & Crafts

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 4 – Part 3

The end of summer is looming but we’re doing our best to stay in denial and squeeze as much fun out of our remaining time at camp as we can.

There’s lots of music in the air all over the camp; take a walk and you’re sure to run into someone carrying an instrument case. We’ve practiced teamwork and problem-solving on the ropes course, expressed our creativity with pet rock painting and basket weaving, and got plenty of activity and sunshine playing soccer and archery. We even tried our hands at pickle-making! And Monday night’s “Wrath of Nature” evening activity brought us some creative and creepy costumes from counselors and staff along with lots of fun.

Enjoy a few highlights below and check out the full album on SmugMug.

Tic-tac-toe on the archery range
Tic-tac-toe on the archery range
Pickle-making fun!
Pickle-making fun!
Basket weaving from natural materials
Basket weaving from natural materials
Nice tie-dye creations!
Nice tie-dye creations!
Soccer game on the activity field
Soccer game on the activity field
Catching grasshoppers in curly hair!
Catching grasshoppers in curly hair!
Creative costumes and face paint from the counselors for the Wrath of Nature evening program
Creative costumes and face paint from the counselors for the Wrath of Nature evening program
Painting pet rocks in Arts & Crafts
Painting pet rocks in Arts & Crafts
Talk about a leg up!
Talk about a leg up!
A camper showing off an art project
A camper showing off an art project
Singing "Take On Me" in the Arts & Crafts building
Singing “Take On Me” in the Arts & Crafts building
Learning about ecological balance on the Whale Watch
Learning about ecological balance on the Whale Watch
Perfect weather for sailing

2019 Overnight Camp: Session 4 – Part 2

Thunderstorms couldn’t stop us from enjoying a fantastic Heffalump Hunt on Tuesday night—thanks to Becky and Kyle for stepping in to help with dishes while everyone ran off to get the activity started!

Friendship bracelets, sailing, tie-dying and more are filling our days with fun, sun, and smiles! Enjoy these few highlights and see the full album on SmugMug.

So many different knots to try for friendship bracelets
So many different knots to try for friendship bracelets
Nice work on that friendship bracelet!
Nice work on that friendship bracelet!
Perfect weather for sailing
Perfect weather for sailing
Mashing berries for Ink Making
Mashing berries for Ink Making
Testing out our homemade ink!
Testing out our homemade ink!
The camp director and teen programs coordinator stepped in to take over dish duty so we could all enjoy the Heffalump Hunt!
The camp director and teen programs coordinator stepped in to take over dish duty so we could all enjoy the Heffalump Hunt!
Look out! It's Mama Lump!
Look out! It’s Mama Lump!
Gotta catch all those crazy Heffalumps!
Gotta catch all those crazy Heffalumps!