Dateline, Bear Lake
July 4, 2022
News from Camp Wigwam for boys
Can you believe it! We are within week two on Bear Lake, with “cohorting” a distant memory (almost completely!) and Wigwam Spirit is ruling this place.
As you may have seen on the posted images, we are for the most part mask free and participating in every activity and event imaginable.
Earlier in the week, a group of campers, mixed age, climbed Caribou Mountain in the famed Evans Notch area on the Maine/New Hampshire border. It boasts a spectacular 360-degree view of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, and our hikers also took a chilly dip in the pond at the bottom of that rock.
Three of our classic “spirit” events happened this week. The first was a counselor talent show that brought cheers and laughs that you might have heard out of your back window! The second was our first foray into the International Wigwam Athletic Conference (our new intracamp competitive sports league) with camp tourneys on the Newcomb and basketball courts, an older age group “indoor soccer” round robin on our outdoor St. Hockey rink, and a youngest age group kickball match on the Upper Diamond! Oh yeh… Neal Goldberg provided snow-cones for all, and Brodi Shapiro ramped up the music for the event. It was wild and great fun. Finally, on Saturday night, we opened the Wigwam “Canteen” for treats and drinks, followed by an outdoor showing on our “drive-in movie” venue… of Remember the Titans!
We actually headed back to Portland, Maine this week to see two Portland Sea Dogs baseball games. Wigwam campers (fully masked) were thrilled to be back at Hadlock field to watch our local ball players.
Yesterday… Perfection Sunday-
Before brunch, to kick off the day, some of the campers participated in an early morning swim called The Polar Bear Club. Participants enjoy a peppermint soap bath in a refreshing(!) Bear Lake, followed by fresh donuts! Other campers signed up for a pre-brunch trip to our local orchard for a strawberry-picking venture.
After brunch, letters went out to all parents/relatives and then full camp activities filled the balance of the day.
Later, we played a rousing game of “Capture The Flag,” and then signed up for next week’s activities. Ice cream followed, then a camper talent show… and finally off to bed. We’re exhausted writing about it!!
Oh yeh, we’re right back at it this morn. We’ll be back in touch next week!
And so, in this edition of Dateline Wigwam, we’ve decided to stand in three locations, and describe what is happening around us on a typical day “at The Wam.”
Our first location is on the back side of the lodge, where we park our vans. Today there are vans going to a number of locations.
The first will travel to what we call a “Kimberly” trip. Kimberly Cronin is our “day trip” Director. Her trips typically travel between 20-30 minutes from camp to areas that have waterfalls, or cool hiking trails. Yesterday we went to a Wigwam favorite called Mount Meader, a lovely hike with views of the Presidential Range and a natural spring fed swimming pool at the end of the trail. Today’s trip… the Long Mountain Trail, near Bethel, Maine, follows a mountain stream, complete with waterfalls, to a glorious ledge overlooking a blueberry bog. Tomorrow… bridge jumping! That’s right, jumping off of a remote bridge (about a 10 foot leap) into a beautiful local body of water called Lake Kezar (Steven King has a home on this lake!).
Oh yes, another van just left to travel to our local driving range…golf lessons for a group of 10-12 year old’s. Fore!
Whoa, careful there… a third van just rolled by us following our pickup truck which was trailering the canoe trailer. That group of “anglers” will head for Woods Pond for bass and perch fishing. Good luck to those fishermen.
Location # 2
Now we are standing in front of the lodge, overlooking Bear Lake. A group of lads to the left are playing badminton under “breezy” conditions. Not easy to keep the birdy in play, but fun nonetheless. A team of campers are rolling bocce balls on that court, while another rowdy group are having a “foam sword” battle near the shuffleboard court (We hope you’ve seen some pictures of this crazy activity on the Waldo website).
To the right, a number of campers are knocking a tetherball around the pole, some boys are climbing the Wigwam Climbing Tower (named The Glass Tower after Wigwam Alumnus Matthew Glass), and here’s news(!)… for the first time in two years, Wigwam is sponsoring a tennis competition with another camp (Camp Winona). Two sets of doubles teams are battling it out on the middle tennis courts in the shadow of that Glass Tower.
That sound in the air is just coming from beyond those tennis courts… 2022 finds beginner rugby players just learning that sport from Englishman Oscar Rowley… Oy!
Straight ahead, that’s where the real action is!
There is rarely a time during any day that waterskiers aren’t cutting through the wake or challenging the slalom course… and today is no different. Sailboats are taking great advantage of that wind that’s playing havoc with the badminton players, and a mixed-age group of lads are bouncing and jumping off of our water trampoline and diving tower. Is that a sandcastle being erected?
A Wigwam classic. We are just outside of the dining hall for one of Aaron Gomez’s themed meals here on Bear Lake.
It’s “Food Truck Night!” No, we don’t actually bring in food trucks, but rather fix a variety of delicacies that could well appear at any food truck location around the globe. Tonight, there are tables (stations) with authentic chicken/Caesar wraps, another with various fried items including deep-fried zucchini, cheese balls, and pickles (yummmm….), a third with corn dogs and Philly style soft pretzels (with great mustard), yet another with Cubano-style sandwiches, and finally, there is a full salad bar station with all the “fixins.”
It’s truly an amazing meal for a summer camp, and so if you don’t mind, I’m off to grab another corn dog! Until next week…
And so we move into the latter part of the season. Here is where Wigwam has changed, actually transformed, in recent years, with the addition of the four-week option.
Some of our camper group has gone back home, with promises to their friends and bunkmates of “I’ll be back for the full season next year!”
To keep our spirits up after goodbyes to our buddies, we have decided in recent summers to hold what we refer to as “no parents day,” and that occurred last Sunday here on the shores of Bear Lake.
After a refreshing Polar Bear Swim, and then our amazing Sunday brunch (always complete with eggs benedict, hash browns, bacon, sugar cereal, and fresh fruit salad) we cleaned up the cabins and headed to the lodge area for the festivities.
The music is loud (always with appropriate lyrics) as the fun begins. We bring in a Bouncey Castle for the day as well as an Inflatable Obstacle Course. We have our own portable basketball rim set up beside the lodge (gotta make three in a row to win a prize). There’s a Pirate’s Table as well. This is a small table with quite a few knick-knacks on top. A camper studies the table, then turns around, facing away.. A staff member removes one of the items, and the camper turns back around and has to guess what has been removed. The Kendall Brothers allegedly brought this activity to Wigwam a few years back, and it is an annual favorite.
We also hire a caricaturist for the day, and she is truly busy from the opening bell until we start packing it up. Some great work there, as you might have seen on the posted photos.
Oh yes, there are Shirley Temples and snacks served throughout. Temporary tattoos are applied as we flex our muscles, and there is a tie-dye station for tee shirts, socks, and boxers.
Finally, our most popular event, year in and year out… a ring toss. Old style wooden rings are tossed on “green glass” coke bottles for prizes. Not an easy shot by any means.
The day proceeds to an “all-camp” general swim and then a hamburger/hot dog (with veggie option, of course) cookout.
Full camp “capture the flag” concludes another fun-filled Sunday at “The ‘Wam.”
Oh yeh, scooped ice cream and a discussion of the week’s activities ahead. A slight mention of upcoming “traditional” Wigwam events is also on the agenda. What do those include?…
The Keoka Lake Cup Sailing Regatta, Spelling Bee, Wigwam Fight Night, Hoe Down Night ( a rowdy dining porch affair… ya’ gotta see this to believe it!), The Wigwam Golf Open, and a certain four-day event that involves the Wigwam colors. Some big events are still on the docket!