Author Archives: Welch Narron

A Fond Farewell to Welch

Dear Wildwood Family and Friends,

Welch, holding his infant son, Tate

I am reaching out to you today to share the news that my time as the Director of Wildwood comes to an end this month. I consider myself very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve as director of such a meaningful and long-standing camp program. My departure comes as the result of an opportunity for my family to relocate back to our home state of North Carolina. We look forward to being close to home again, with our extended family nearby.

The team at Wildwood is incredibly strong, and they have all been a pleasure to work with. Meredith, with her passion and experience in her role as Program Coordinator, joined by Kyle, with his tremendous amount of outdoor education knowledge, will continue to guide the program in new and exciting ways while maintaining the high quality you have come to expect from Wildwood. Astro literally keeps the lights on, and Amy continues to build support and tell the story of what makes Wildwood so special. The newest member of the Wildwood team, Heather, is already loving the opportunity to connect with many of you as you register for camp. Supporting all of that work at Wildwood is Mass Audubon, an organization which continues to lead the way in inspiring nature heroes of all ages.

Kris Scopinich, Mass Audubon’s Director of Education, is leading the search for Wildwood’s next director. She has reminded me that Mass Audubon will call upon its far-ranging and deep connections with many camps and environmental and educational organizations to find a great director for Wildwood. The search, which has already begun, will be nationwide, and will likely include both internal and external candidates.  I am confident that Mass Audubon will find a director who will embrace the spirit of Wildwood, and lead the camp forward. If you have comments or questions, or would simply like to chat, please be in touch with Kris. She would be happy to hear from you and can be reached at [email protected] and 781-259-2122.

Connecting with so many of you and hearing about the positive impact camp has had on you and your family has been the greatest joy of my work here at Wildwood. I hope you will join me in continuing to support Wildwood and its mission of connecting campers with nature.  My deepest and most sincere thanks to all of you. I hope our paths will cross again.


Welch Signature




Welch and Campers

Hubbard Pond Campers Come to Wildwood!

In 2017, six young people and one family came to camp thanks to a new partnership between Wildwood and two social service agencies located in urban areas of Massachusetts. These agencies identified under-resourced children and families from Lawrence and Cambridge and introduced them to Wildwood. Together, we worked to address all possible barriers to participation by providing significant financial support, assistance with completing forms, help with transportation, and camping gear to borrow as needed. We are calling campers who come to Wildwood through this program “Hubbard Pond Campers”, after the majestic body of water that lies at the center of our camp.

Hubbard Pond Campers enjoyed the true Wildwood experience. They went swimming and kayaking. They learned about plants and birds and bugs. They sang silly songs and challenged themselves on the ropes course. They began to see themselves as stewards of the earth. After camp they wrote to us:

“I got to do a lot of fun things, and I got to feel as though there are other grown-ups who care about me.”

“Our children had a lot of fun while exploring new and different activities not usually within the reach of inner-city kids…Being away from all kinds of technology helped our family enjoy nature’s beauty and each other’s company.”

“This camp experience was honestly one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

We plan to expand this program in 2018 so that we can accommodate both new and returning Hubbard Pond Campers. As so many of you know, one summer at camp can be fun and transformative. The benefits multiply when a camper returns year after year.

If this particular program speaks to you, please consider making a gift to our Kids to Camp Scholarship Fund. Your gift—helping a camper come to Wildwood—can have a lasting positive impact in the life of a child.

Session 6, 2017 – Part Two

Session 6 is coming to a close and everyone is making the most of their last day at camp. Archery, ropes, and art all enjoyed the morning sunshine and sailing ended up with exceptional conditions on the pond with a cool breeze keeping everyone moving.

Since it is the last lunch of a two-week session, that means it is cook-out day! Everyone gathered in front of the dining hall for a delicious cook-out meal. It was perfect weather for it, too! The Trek group will be arriving back at camp later this afternoon finishing off a great week of hiking in the beautiful White Mountain National Forest.

We will be busy enjoying our final afternoon and tonight’s campfire for the rest of today. For families arriving tomorrow for pick-up, please arrive between 9:15 and 10:00am to be on time for the closing ceremony at 10:00am. See you there!

Session 6, 2017: The Eclipse! and More

Did everyone at home get a chance to see the eclipse? We sure were lucky to enjoy this amazing phenomenon at Wildwood, complete with eclipse glasses generously donated by a few of our campers’ families. Not only were campers able to check out the eclipse with the glasses, we also learned about light projection by making pinhole cameras to have another view.

Tuesday brought with it clear skies, warm temperatures, and the first full day of programming. Each IG got off to a great start as they got to know each other and framed the week’s activities. This afternoon in DGs we kept it cool while participating in a number of other great  programs. Some highlights included Archery, Water Games (with water cannons), Scrap-booking, and lots more.

The Leaders-In-Action departed today for a two-night overnight at Mt. Ascutney State Park in Windsor, VT. They will be doing some hiking, service projects, and visiting some local sites while they are out there. We also received some photos from our Trek program who is out backpacking the White Mountain National Forest north of Gorham, NH. They will be starting the bulk of their hike today and making their way to an AMC hut at Cabot Mountain this evening.

Stay tuned for another update later this week!

Session 5, 2017: Part Two

August is such a wonderful time to be at Wildwood! As the end of summer approaches for campers and staff, we are so fortunate to have such great weather and enthusiastic campers. There’s no chance that you all at home are having as much fun as we are here at camp.

As always, today included a big variety of activities for everyone to enjoy. The waterfront was of course a popular destination at OATs with plenty of campers sliding off the iceberg, jumping off the lily pad, and paddling around the pond. You may also notice in some of these photos some campers enjoying a spa, complete with natural facial treatments. They used ingredients found both in the kitchen and in nature to create a soothing concoction.

As this week draws to a close, our one-week Session 5 campers will be departing on Saturday, with families arriving between 9:15 and 10:00am. For the Abbey and Dillard campers here for two weeks, they will be headed to Mt. Monadnock on Friday for their 2-night campout, with their hike up the mountain scheduled for Saturday. Other two-week campers will be headed out for campsites at First and Second Point for one night on Saturday evening.

Stay tuned here next week for an update from Session 6!

Session 5, 2017 – Part One

It’s finally here – Session 5 has begun at Wildwood! Our campers here this week have been waiting all summer for their turn to come to Wildwood and that time has finally arrived. We began our week as we usually do with orientation day which includes swim and health checks, a camp tour, and a visit to the Nature Center with Aisha and David. One of the most fun parts of the swim check is the “tippy test” where two campers practice capsizing and righting a canoe.

Tuesday brought with it the first full day of camp activities. That includes the first day of the week’s Interest Groups (IGs) which included great activities like New England Explorers, Drama, and Leadership. The afternoon Discovery Groups (DGs) included Archery, Sailing, Yoga, and much more. All in all it has been a great start to the week. We look forward to the days ahead with lots more fun and plenty more exciting activities.

The Leaders-In-Action kicked off a big service project this morning. They are planning to repaint the entire floor of the Arts and Crafts building to give it a fresher, cleaner feeling. We’ll be sure to post the results once that project is finished up.

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Session 4, 2017: Part Two

It is the final day of Session 4 and it feels like everyone just arrived! We had a special day at camp on Thursday as we flipped the schedule on its head This meant we started our day after breakfast with what is typically an evening program, and finished our day with nighttime DGs. It was a fun change which allowed us to do some different evening programs than we would normally, taking advantage of the earlier sunset.

The LITs have also continued to be busy learning from other staff on camp like Hannah at the Ropes Course who provided them an in-depth look at experiential learning. They also spent part of their afternoon on Thursday with Welch transplanting a White pine into the Fossey Unit.

The Exploring the Champlain Valley trek spent their Thursday evening rowing on the lake with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and camped on the waters edge that evening.

We’ll be busy enjoying our final full day at camp today. I hope you are able to enjoy some sunshine wherever you are as well. For those of you picking up campers on Saturday, we will see you between 9:15 and 10:00am. Safe travels!

Session 4, 2017: Part One

What a way to start off Session 4! On Monday we were treated to a wonderfully dry day which allowed everyone to get through all of the requirements for orientation day: health checks, swim checks, a camp tour, and a nature center introduction with David. Once all of that was out of the way, it was on to the Predator / Prey Evening Program. Afterwards everyone settled into bed as it cooled down and a rain storm passed over, making it the perfect conditions for a great night’s sleep.

It was a good thing we had such a great night too as Tuesday brought with it the first full day of camp activities. Our morning’s highlights included Dirt to Dinner, where campers began learning about soils and what helps plants grow successfully before illustrating those concepts. The Ropes Leadership IG spent the morning working on two separate low-ropes challenges and focused on identifying personal leadership qualities which they will be developing throughout the week ahead.

The afternoon brought sunshine and a diverse sampling of Discovery Groups (DGs). One of our favorites included Wetland Kayaking, which was the perfect activity for the great weather this afternoon. Others included Pickle Making with Alena who looked like a mad scientist as she created pickle brine before giving campers the chance to mix up their own blend of spices for pickling.

The Leaders-In-Action also started on one of their first service project of the session, building benches for the Walden’s Woods area by Carson. Thanks to their efforts over the last few years, that area continues to become more inviting for campers and activities! They have a lot more service scheduled during their three-week session.

That’s all for now! I hope wherever you are that you are enjoying the back half of your summer. Stay tuned here for another update later this week!

Special Trek Update: Bike and Beach Edition

Today we bring you a special update from this summer’s Teen Adventure Trip – Bike and Beach at Cape Cod and Nantucket. This year, we partnered with the Linda Loring Nature Foundation on Nantucket for service projects and education. The group learned all about invasive pine trees on the island, and helped remove some that were present on the property. The foundation is also involved in research surveying the snake species present on the property. Our teens had the opportunity to catch snakes alongside one of the foundation’s educators and learn about the important role they play in the Nantucket’s ecosystem.

Each of Wildwood’s Teen Adventure Trips is unique, and many of them feature partnerships like this and service projects. Learn more about our Teen Adventure Trips on our website, and keep your eyes peeled for our 2018 summer trek opportunities later this fall!

Session 3, 2017: Part Four

Hello again from Wildwood! I hope wherever you have been this week, you are having half as much fun as we are at camp. The second half of this week has continued in much the same way as the first – with great weather and activities for everyone. This batch of photos features a range of activities, mainly from some of our IG groups.

“Dirt to Dinner” is one such IG featured below which has been a big hit this session. David, Wildwood’s Lead Naturalist, has filled the minds of those campers with knowledge about where the food we eat comes from, starting with the soil in which it grows. The sailing group this week lucked out with sunny skies and breezes each day giving the campers plenty of opportunity to learn the fundamentals of that great activity. An afternoon activity featured here called “Get Lost” was all about learning how to how to read a map and compass.

It’s hard to believe that we only have one more full day of this session. I know after our closing campfire on Friday night that there will be more than a few campers who are sad to leave camp. The great news is that everyone should have lots of great stories to tell. For folks at home who will be picking up campers on Saturday, please remember to arrive between 9:15am and 10:00am with the closing ceremony beginning at close to 10:00am as we can. See you there!