…a beautiful summer camp in Maine
Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains on the sandy shores of Bear Lake, Camp Wigwam offers a traditional summer camp program with particular emphasis on tennis, golf, the arts and rustic camping along the spectacular trails of the magnificent White Mountain National Forest.
Camp Wigwam stresses participation rather than strict competition and allows every camper ample opportunity for choice. This encouraging, supportive atmosphere enables each camper, no matter his interests, the ability to reach his highest potential.
The Wigwam summer camp experience is a very personal one with only four boys and one counselor in each cabin. One seven week program begins in late June and runs through the middle of August, with a five week option within that time frame. Campers range in age from seven to fifteen. With a high percentage of returning staff, experienced administrative personnel and the involved ownership of the Strauss family, Camp Wigwam fosters individual, physical and emotional growth in a less competitive atmosphere, guiding each camper to live and learn within a community of his peers.
A Typical Day at Camp Wigwam
Each day spent at Wigwam is different. However, to give you an idea, a typical day in the life of a camper at Wigwam might look like this. Playing basketball, soccer, going for a sail with a friend, fencing, tennis match, a morning at the driving range or an afternoon at one of our local golf courses, waterskiing or exploring their more creative side in ceramics, arts and crafts, sewing or rocketry.
- 7:30am Reveille
- 8:00am Breakfast
- 8:50am Cabin Clean up
- 9:30am – 12:45pm 3 Instructional Activity Periods
- 1:00pm Lunch
- 1:45pm Rest Hour
- 2:45pm – 5:30pm 2 Free Choice Activity Periods\
- 5:45pm Dinner
- 6:45pm Evening Activities
- 7:30pm Camp Fire / Drive in Movie / Full Camp Activity
- 9:00pm Campers begin to get to bed (excited about doing all again tomorrow)
History of Camp Wigwam
Since 1910, Camp Wigwam has remained a thriving, dynamic cultural experience renowned for the high quality of its innovative sports and fine arts programs.
Camp Wigwam, on the shores of Bear Lake in Waterford, Maine, was founded in 1910 by Abraham “Mandy” Mandelstam and Arnold “Pop” Lehman. Together these pioneers of the industry forged a program that would be a model for the summer camp industry for most of the first half of the twentieth century. Pop was an athletic and energetic leader, whose strength was the day to day operation of the camp. Mandy was a creative genius, established in the arts and theatrical community in Manhattan, whose well connected friends were frequent visitors to Camp Wigwam.
In the autumn of 1964, Mandy, who had two years earlier purchased Pop’s interest in the camp, sold Camp Wigwam to Ned & Helen Strauss. Ned & Helen resurrected Wigwam to its former glory, reignited it’s storied traditions and operated the camp until 1977 when their son, Bob, took over its reigns. Wigwam enters the new millennium under only its second ownership as Bob and his wife Jane Strauss continue to carry on the amazing legacy of this marvelous camp. Today, thousands of men from all over the country share a bond born in their childhood that still burns brightly within their soul to this very day, the cherished memories of a Camp Wigwam summer.
Prospective families most often ask the question;”What makes Wigwam so special?” As soon as a new camper passes under the Totem Pole entrance for the first time they become a “Wigwammer” at that very moment. The spirit, the camaraderie, the sense of community and the joy of summer camp happen almost immediately in this nurturing and friendly environment. For generations, boys have enjoyed this magical spot on the shores of Bear Lake, returning year after year as campers, Counselors in Training, full staff members, and ultimately as revered alumni. Cherished memories, and lifelong friendships are forged and preserved in this hallowed and traditional setting in the woods of Maine.
The Wigwam office will help arrange air transportation for any family wishing to have their youngster fly to camp. Wigwam staff will escort campers from every airport, as a Wigwam camper never flies unattended. Camp Wigwam will arrange free coach transportation from the greater Boston area on opening and closing dates each season, and will gladly assist any family in making arrangements to meet that coach on those dates. We may also utilize a train if families are interested. For families who choose to drive to Wigwam, directions may be found on our web site.
At Wigwam, parents and campers are welcome to phone. We feel that keeping the lines of communication open makes every camper and parent, whether rookie or veteran, feel that much more comfortable. Parents are asked to arrange a phone call through the Wigwam office so as to not disrupt the daily schedule in taking a child away from an activity. Homesick camper’s phone calls will be scheduled so that the time in between calls increases proportionally, and before long sad calls become enthusiastic and happy ones. Parents are also encouraged to write, e-mail or fax on a regular basis.
2-way emailing is available to parents and campers all summer long and you are also able to see up to date photos, daily, through your CampInTouch account. Among many other things, you will now have the ability to email any photos to your friends and family, as well as buy photos and other photo gifts directly from the website.
Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends are welcome to send along a care package. One of the great joys of the summer camp experience is receiving a package from home. Please remember to include bunkmates and counselors, as sharing of these packages is encouraged. Healthier snacks are a good way to go, and non-perishables are a must.
Our schedule on Parent’s day starts at 9:15 A.M. Parents, families and friends are encouraged to accompany their camper(s) on their normal morning schedule to get a feel for the normal camp day. At noon, a sumptuous buffet lunch will be served on the lodge lawn while the Annual Wigwam Water Ski Extravaganza is presented. Families are then encouraged to participate in Wigwam’s Parent / Son Decathlon which is followed by our annual theatrical production. Parents may then take their camper(s) out of camp for family time and dinner, and are asked to return by 8:30P.M.
Cell Phones, DVD players, Xboxes, Wii, DS and small refrigerators should be left at home. This is summer camp after all. Campers are welcome to bring iPods or CD players, but remember we are out in the middle of the woods, and Mother Nature is not kind to sophisticated electronic gear.
Can’t rate this camp high enough – my 10-year old is having the time of his life this summer. Camp combines all sorts of activities (sports, arts/crafts) and all kinds of kids from across the US and Europe. Less structured than some camps but kids can focus on what they love during the summer. Counselors are tremendous. Active CIT program. Many counselors and CITS were longtime Wigwam campers so they understand what the camps is about. Bob Strauss (camp director) is superb.
We were hoping a summer camp experience would help our ten year old son learn to interact more with others, boost his self esteem and try new things. We got that and so much more. The changes were apparent after only a few weeks when we saw him on visiting day. He was much more relaxed and easy going; didn’t agitate as easily and demonstrated enormous patience with his younger sister. Now two months later, we celebrate a maturing young man who seems more comfortable in his skin and better able to navigate his surroundings with ease. Wigwam is his new second home and we all look foward to many happy summers on Bear pond.
There are very few special places in this world that capture a time and experience like Wigwam. I am forever filled with great memories, and affection. I can only hope my son enjoys the same experience. But with Strauss’s at the helm, the amazing dedication and passion Wigwam is in good hands for many years to come!
Read more reviews at:
The Wigwam Alumni House – Available year long for rental.
Recently, through the amazing efforts of Geoffrey Daniels, one of our maintenance directors, we have built a brand new post and beam style house, right here on Bear Lake on the edge of the camp property, to be used as a rental house for Wigwam alumni, families, and friends. A majority of the work on this structure has been done with our own hands, and at this time, open for families who have longed for a rental house, on Bear lake.
The Alumni House at Wigwam is a rental property, not a condominium. Vacation rental periods are one week in duration, from Sunday through Saturday. The house has four bedrooms and a loft, and can house and sleep up to 12 people comfortably. Two or more
families may share rental weeks, with a maximum number of participants at 12. Rental weeks during the summer months and during vacation time (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year) are considered “Premium Weeks” and, priced accordingly.
We have outlined the entire plan for rental reservations for the 2014/2015 calendar year. A family may rent a premium week for a three-year term, and will pay, annually, a set amount for that weekly rental plus a premium charge for the three-year term.
Please call Bob Strauss for information on reservations or any other questions. (207) 583-2300.
Alumni House – Photo Gallery