A camp session at Wildwood lasts just 5 days, but we often talk about Camp Wildwood being a 10-year program.
Why? We focus on having campers come back each year because the research shows increased benefits for campers each year they return, culminating in long-term benefits that will impact campers into adulthood.
This year, Wildwood has been lucky to welcome two excellent Americorps VISTA members, Shannon and Katie! Shannon and Katie will be with Wildwood for the next 12 months, increasing Wildwood’s fundraising, volunteering, programming, and camp recruitment and retention capacity.
More specifically, Shannon will be building new camp programs, leveling up our staff training, and planning new ways to recruit and retain camp staff and campers. Katie will be re-building Wildwood’s volunteer program, supporting individual fundraising through community events, and crafting new PR strategy for Wildwood.
They are both making a huge difference at Wildwood already, and we are so excited to have them on board! Welcome to the team!
Wildwood loves summer reading. Research says that kids who read during the summer retain more school-year learning and enjoy reading more.
At camp, kids read everywhere–on rules for fishing, in directions for sunblock and insect repellant, on signs in the cabins.
Reading at camp is more fun and engaging when we add a sense of community to our reading program. That’s why we are so excited to introduce a common read this year, The Wild Robot written by Peter Brown.
Although we haven’t had volunteers on site in the last year or so, we are so so grateful for their work and support. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we’d like to highlight the experience one of our dedicated volunteers, David, had working with campers in 2019.
“My name is David. I work at Cerner. In 2019, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a counselor for a week of camp at Wildwood.
How I Got Involved
You might wonder how I came to spend a week with campers at Wildwood.
I first learned about Wildwood in March 2018 when I was searching for volunteer opportunities. I stumbled across a listing for Wildwood’s fundraiser, Take A Wild Guess, at Boulevard Brewery. Between my background as an Eagle Scout and my fondness for local beer, I knew that this was the perfect volunteer opportunity for me. I volunteered at the event–manning a game station for guests–but I immediately felt I had more I could offer Wildwood than a donation or a few hours of my time.
Making friends is a huge feature of the camp experience. It’s easy to bond in five short days. Campers eat, sleep, and try new activities together. They participate in unique traditions and are encouraged to be their most authentic selves.
As much as we’d like to believe that the most salient parts of camp are the carefully thought out, academically rich activities we construct, it’s the new friends with whom campers complete these activities that they remember most.
So when a pandemic came knocking on our door, we decided to do something to keep friendships bright. Specifically, we decided to create a friendship bracelet kit designed to increase campers’ social-emotional learning, and feelings of connection.
For many parents–maybe even you–this fall will include some degree of homeschooling. Whether it’s full virtual school, a part virtual schedule, or parents leading full homeschool lessons, being tasked with managing a student’s needs can be daunting and stressful.
So, while we might not be able to stay at home with your child, we’d like to offer a few camp tricks to make homeschooling just a little easier.
As a kid, I made “quicksand” out of dirt and hose water; I picked dandelions and made houses for roly-polies; I played “spy” with my brother and two neighbor boys. Little of this play was directly supervised, and none of it was directed by adults.
As an adult however, un-planned play time with kids leaves me with a deep anxiety. I worry that they will be bored. I’m terrified that they will be hurt. I hear myself reflexively cry out “Be careful!” and watch their every step.
I think, “I must be doing this wrong. Don’t kids need structure?”
But they probably need less regiment than I think. Despite my anxiety, kids thrive on unstructured play.
Folks tell me this when I meet someone new and tell them where I work. High schoolers and adults alike remember spending time at Wildwood with their sixth grade class or at summer camp. In fact, we estimate that 160,000 Kansas Citians have visited Wildwood at some point.
What’s wilder is that Wildwood is turning 40 this year!
We created a new 40th anniversary logo, and we think it’s time to re-tell the Wildwood story.
This month, Marcus Kain, one of our most dedicated volunteers reached 100 hours of service for Wildwood.
Marcus is a very active human. He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, trail runner, and public speaker with a passion for mentoring youth. He regularly speaks to Kansas City area middle and high school students about business and ethics, and is currently writing a philosophy book.