Category Archives: Summer Camp

Advice to First Time Families

Are you sending your little one to overnight camp for the first time? Great! You and your child are both feeling excited and nervous all at the same time. Here are a few tips that will make this first-time experience a little bit easier for you and your camper.

Practice—Before your camper comes to overnight camp, have them practice staying at a friend’s house overnight. This will give your child the confidence that they can be successful away from the comfort of their own home.

Packing—Pack together and make sure that you have everything on the list. Once you have gathered everything, supervise your child as they pack their bag. This will ensure that when your child has arrived at camp and needs their pajamas or their swimsuit, they know where to find it. It is also incredibly important to label everything. Campers always misplace things and if there is a name on it, we can be sure that it gets back to the right person.

Wildwood Overnight Camp Session 2

Promises—When you drop your camper off on opening day it is normal to want to stay and hang out, but this prolongs the inevitable goodbye.  Instead say, “Have a great week, you are going to be fine, and we will see you on Saturday for pickup!” Homesickness is perfectly normal. Please also do not promise them that they can call home. Instead, give them strategies to help them be successful. Send them to camp with stationary and stamps and tell them to write you a letter and put it in the mail.

Just remember, your camper will have an amazing time at camp. They will meet lifelong friends and have new experiences that only camp can give them.

Theme Days Summer 2019

Camp is a silly place—a place for campers and staff alike to just have fun! Each session we will have crazy meals and dress-up days. Bring your most creative things from home or make something while you are here at camp. Silly Sock day? What does that mean? You can mix and match your socks, wear tye-die socks, have socks with capes, or socks with pictures of your dog on them! This is your time to be creative. What sessions are YOU coming to?

Session 1 – Nature Heroes – Dress up as your favorite Nature Superhero! Are you Captain Planet? Do you want to be Wonder Water Woman? Be a superhero in whatever way you can, and remember, not all superheroes wear capes!

Session 2 – Crazy Hat or Crazy Hair Day – Do you have an umbrella hat? How about a top hat? On this crazy hat or crazy hair day, you can make whatever you want to wear on your head. You could even try and stick your hair straight up! Be creative! The 4th of July also falls during session 2, so wear your red white and blue as we celebrate the entire day with American-themed activities!

Session 3 – The Olympics – This special event will be an all-day extravaganza of excitement. There will be different events that you and your “country” will participate in. You’ll make a flag and even get ribbons for the events. We’ll also have Twin Day. Are you coming to camp with a friend? Meeting someone at camp for the first time? Either way, you and your friend can dress alike or wear the same hairstyle—you pick!

Session 4 – Halloween in July – Bring a costume or make one or just be yourself. Will you be an alligator, a police detective, a clown, or even a ninja turtle? Bring a costume and we will be sure to have a great time! Towards the end of the session we’ll have a Pajama Breakfast; Come to breakfast in your favorite PJ’s!

Session 5 – Tropical Paradise – Wear your favorite Hawaiian shirt or grass skirt and bring those leis! Our fabulous floral Friday will be a delightful evening full of fun! We’ll bring the coconuts and pineapples.

Camp Silly Songs!

While camp is a great place to learn and grow, it is also a great place to just be silly! One of the many silly things we do at camp is singing silly songs. Here at Wildwood, it is a tradition to begin each mealtime with a song. We also sing at campfires, while we hike, while we work, and really whenever we get the chance! We’ve reached out to some of the Wildwood community about what their favorite silly camp songs are, and here is what they said:

“Topnotcher all the way! It just keeps going and going…the build-up is so great.”
Livy P – Camp alumna & Current staffer

“Der Orchestra! It gets everyone involved without being a typical repeat-after-me song.”
Kyle Branin – Teen Program Coordinator

“Pizza Man or Ratlan Bog because they’re the best.”
Jenn H – Staff alumna

“There can be only one song!!” (Pizza Man)
Matt R – Staff alumnus

“It’s a beach party, because of yelling!”
Sarah M – Staff alumna

“Little Red Wagon”
Bethany W – Staff alumna

“Ratlan Bog, Sharp Toothed Buzzards was always a favorite, and Baby Shark is clearly going to be massive this year. All three are energetic and inclusive.”
Sam B – Staff alumnus

“Oh I have way too many songs, I think the Princess Pat or the Elephant Song are some of my favorites.”
Becky Gilles – Camp Director

Fun & Games at Wildwood

New for 2019: Wildwood Day Camp!

Fun & Games at Wildwood
Fun & Games at Wildwood

Wildwood is happy to announce we are launching a new day camp program this summer to support the local residents of Rindge, Jaffrey, and other surrounding areas.

Day campers, ages 6–11, will focus on exploring the nature of Wildwood and learning about what literally lives in their backyards! Throughout the day, campers will connect with each other and the environment in a welcoming, supportive environment. Each will have opportunities to make exciting discoveries and learn about making choices with their daily activities. Cozy camp areas create safe spaces for relaxing, sharing, and learning with friends new and old.

And, of course, no camp day will be complete without taking a swim or a paddle in Hubbard pond. Day campers will also get to try archery, arts & crafts, the high ropes challenge course and more.

Day Camp hours are 8:30 am–4:00 pm with optional extended hours until 6:00 pm.  Lunch and snacks are included in the day. 

Work at Wildwood

Have you ever wanted to spend your summer outdoors, hiking, paddling, swimming or camping? Do you love being around kids and want to work with them now or in the future? Do you want to make a difference in the future of our planet through conservation or education? Wildwood gives you an opportunity to do all that and more when you join our amazing seasonal staff!

Wildwood is still building our team for summer camp 2019 and we’re looking for passionate conservationists, educators, and outdoorspeople to fill a variety of roles.

Working at camp is an incredibly rewarding experience for all the reasons above and more: You get to spend a summer in the lovely Monadnock region of New Hampshire on the shores of our beautiful Hubbard Pond; we provide room, board, salary, fantastic training, and more to our summer staff; and most importantly you can make a genuine and lasting difference in the lives of others. The skills you learn at camp—leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, behavior management, communication, and more—are skills and traits that will draw a future employer to your résumé.

We’re still looking for people for a variety of positions, including:

If spending a summer at Wildwood sound like something you want to do, please reach out to us at workatwildwood@massaudubon.org, or call us anytime with questions.

If you’re a camp family, staff or camper alumni, or Mass Audubon member reading this, please share it with anyone you know who might be interested in one of the best summer jobs they’ll ever have.

See all open positions at Wildwood and download an application by visiting our website.

Learn more about working at camp and how it prepares you for the future with the American Camp Association’s Project Real Job.

Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Wildwood Family Camp

Family Camp at Wildwood: Fun for All Ages

Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Wildwood Family Camp
Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) at Wildwood Family Camp

The search is over! What’s the best thing for your family to do this summer? A great family vacation where all you have to do is show up!

Wildwood’s Family Camp offers fun for all ages where you can choose your own adventure: swimming, boating, archery, Arts & Crafts, nature hikes, and more are all on the menu.

And speaking of menus, all your meals are provided for you! Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style so you and your family can come and go at the pace that works for you, while dinner is a fun community gathering each evening, served family-style.

We provide opportunities for adult-only activities, kid-only activities, and those your whole family can do together. Tea Time with our staff from England is a perennial favorite, while the more adventurous folks can take a thrilling ride down the zip line! And what day at camp would be complete without a little swimming in our beautiful Hubbard Pond?

Wildwood's High Ropes Challenge Course at Family Camp
Wildwood’s High Ropes Challenge Course at Family Camp

Your family (up to eight people) can choose from a range of accommodation options. Standard choices include sleeping in your own wooden tent, platform tent, rustic cabin, or yurt, complete with bunk beds and mattresses. This year we are also offering “premium” options
on a first-come-first-served basis in Darwin or Muir staff cabins, which have private bathrooms and bedrooms. Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, you can now bring your own tent!

We can’t wait to meet you and your family this summer during Family Camp! We have the following sessions lined up for this year:

Session 1: Wednesday, June 19–Saturday, June 22, 2019
Session 2: Sunday, August 18–Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Session 3: Wednesday, August 21–Saturday, August 24, 2019

Check out our website to learn more and register for Family Camp.

Feed Your Face Activity at Wildwood

Discovery Groups (DGs) at Wildwood

Feed Your Face Activity at Wildwood
In the popular “Feed Your Face” DG at Wildwood, campers make spa treatments from common kitchen ingredients

What in the world is a DG?

DG stands for Discovery Groups. Each day after breakfast, counselors describe the DG activities they are running that day—everything from activities on the water and field games to nature walks and arts and crafts—and campers get to choose two activities for that afternoon. DGs change every day and we often try out new ones; our staff get just as excited to dream up and run them as our campers do to pick them!

Some examples of popular DGs include:

  • Feed Your Face (creating spa treatments from common kitchen ingredients)
  • Quidditch on the activity field
  • Sailing on Hubbard Pond
  • Zip-lining on our High Ropes Challenge Course
  • Folding Origami at the Arts & Crafts building
  • Building “Gnome Homes” in the forest
  • Herp Hunting (looking for frogs, snakes, and salamanders) in wetland habitats

What DG are you most looking forward to this summer? 

Sailing at Wildwood © Justin Miel
Sailing on Hubbard Pond © Justin Miel
Wildwood Winter Camping Monadnock Summit Group Photo

Trip Report: Winter in the Whites Teen Adventure Trip

This February, Wildwood partnered with Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary and Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary to offer our first-ever vacation week Teen Adventure Trip! We spent an amazing week together exploring winter destinations throughout New Hampshire.

The trip started off Sunday afternoon in Belmont with some quick get-to-know-you games in the nature center at Habitat. We then moved to Wildwood in Rindge, New Hampshire, and settled into our home base for the next three nights: camping out in a Yurt!

Monday morning brought us an almost bird-free bird walk but Paul and Lucy from Habitat were still able to teach us much about the nature of Wildwood and Annett State Forest. One highlight of the day was learning about ice travel and crossing a frozen pond to access normally hard-to-reach sections of the state forest. One teen trekker described the experience of crossing a frozen pond as “surreal” and later called it a highlight of the entire trip.

Hubbard Pond Winter Panorama
Crossing a frozen pond in winter

Tuesday was widely considered a top highlight of the trip as we learned the basics of winter mountaineering with EMS Climbing School during a summit of Mount Monadnock. Everyone had a blast learning the basics of self-arrest and the use of ice axes and trekking poles to help move up steep rock and ice. Despite temps below zero and some stiff winds, we enjoyed lots of sunshine and everyone successfully summited.

Wildwood Winter Camping Monadnock Summit Group Photo
Victory photo at the summit of Mount Monadnock!

Wednesday brought us to AMC’s Cardigan Reservation on the southern edge of the White Mountains. After showers (hallelujah!), a good night’s sleep, and a hot meal prepared by the amazing staff at the lodge, we geared up and headed out for two days and nights of putting our new winter skills to the test with some backpacking.

Thursday afternoon found us traversing the exposed ridge that makes up Firescrew Mountain and Mount Cardigan—a moment many were still talking about at the end of the week. We again faced stiff winds with gusts well above 50 mph and temps below zero, this time without much sunshine to aid us.

Camp cooking in winter
Camp cooking in winter

Much of our time on the ridge was spent on snowshoes as we crossed deep snow or occasionally solid ice. Most of the ridge, including the sparse trees, was covered in rime ice, which occurs when fog, harsh winds, and extremely low temperatures combine to coat most surfaces with a layer of solid ice. Despite the harsh conditions needed for the formation of rime ice, it’s a fascinating and beautiful natural phenomenon. A cozy night at AMC’s High Cabin—a shelter just below the tree-line on Mount Cardigan­—was a fitting ending to a challenging day.

High Cabin was a hit! Not only was there a wood-burning stove to keep the temperature up, there was a Boogie Bass (singing fish) someone had hung above the door to serenade us with Bobby McFerrin. The cabin also provided a sheltered spot for everyone to learn some new card games.

Friday morning we were up before the sun for a short hike out to PJ Ledge to watch the sunrise, for which Mount Cardigan is famous. A mellow hike through beautiful hemlock groves brought us off the mountain and to the final test of our winter camping skills, a night spent outdoors with tents, tarps, and no buildings in sight.

Sunrise Over Mount Cardigan
Sunrise Over Mount Cardigan

A short hike Saturday morning took us back to our van. On the way back to Belmont, we stopped for some hot chocolate and reflections, a great chance for everyone to share their highs, lows, and what they’d learned. The trip culminated with a walk around Habitat and some final reflections on how building outdoor skills and adventures like Winter in the Whites connect us to nature and equip us to explore more of the stunning nature available to us here in New England.

All in all, it was a trip full of rewarding challenges and terrific memories! View the full slideshow of trip highlights and check out the amazing Teen Adventure Trips we have planned for this summer!

View the full Winter in the Whites slideshow >

Hope to see you outside this summer!

Kyle Branin Winter Headshot

Kyle Branin
Teen Program Coordinator

Epic Outdoor Adventures for Teens This Summer!

Calling all adventurers, ages 14–17!

You may be approaching, or have already passed, the end of your traditional camp experience, but did you know there are still a ton of amazing opportunities for exploring nature and adventuring throughout the Northeast?

Do any of these sound fun to you?

  • Cycling the beaches of Nantucket, Acadia, or Long Island Sound
  • Immersing yourself in the remote, self-sufficient world of backpacking or canoe trekking
  • Challenging yourself to scale soaring mountaintops or vertical cliffs
  • Exploring high peaks and hidden caves in the Berkshires and Catskills

Wildwood’s Teen Adventure Trips cover a wide range of interests and abilities from beginner to experienced, and each explores nature in its own unique way.

Teen Adventure Trips are open to anyone entering grades 9–12 this fall. This summer, we’re offering 12 one-week trips and 2 two-week trips to destinations throughout New England and New York.

Our Teen Adventure Trips make great stand-alone camp experiences or can be combined with an overnight camp session at Wildwood. They also make a great place to put into practice the skills you’ve learned in our Leaders-in-Training or Leaders-in-Action programs.

Spots are filling up fast! Please feel free to call or email me with any questions or to register; you can also register online.

Whether you’re new to the Wildwood community or have been joining us in our programs for years, I invite you to join us for an adventure this summer!

See you outside,

Kyle Branin
Teen Program Coordinator
Mass Audubon’s Wildwood Camp

Wildwood campers showing off a "gnome home" they build in the forest

How Camp Connects Us—and Disconnects Us—in the Best Ways

Wildwood campers showing off a "gnome home" they build in the forest

“I seriously don’t think I’ve ever been happier than when I’m at camp. I don’t worry about what’s going on at home or at school. I do things I know I wouldn’t normally do like the ropes course, boating, and Scottish dancing! I am not addicted to my phone like I used to be and it is so refreshing to be all around nature with people you love.

—2018 Wildwood Overnight Camper

Last summer, I asked our campers what they liked about camp. Hands down, the number one answer was that they were glad to have no phones or computers—they really appreciated having no choice but to leave the phone at home and step away from the pressures of social media. Without media at camp, kids can relax and be in the moment in a unique and profound way.

What we do at Wildwood is so important because we connect children to nature and, in the process, show campers how to slow down, breathe, and take it all in, as well as giving them opportunities to make friends, discover, wonder, laugh, play, and explore. A key part of the camp experience is the rare chance to unplug from electronics. Disconnecting from our phones allows us to really connect with each other.

Camp is magical: it is forever changing and dynamic, yet the fundamental values and lessons learned at camp stay the same. My greatest wish in life is that every child has a transformative summer camp experience. We can’t wait to see our campers at Wildwood this summer. We can connect with each other—and disconnect, together.

See you outside,

Becky Signature

Becky
Wildwood Director