"Say You're Sorry"
Separating the Identity of the Child from the Behavior : At Hawkeye We Don’t Make Campers Apologize   Have you ever been made to say you’re sorry?   That’s not even a reasonable question… we all have.  The more apt question is: How many times have you been made to say you’re sorry?  Once (ha!)?   One Hundred Times (hmm)?  More (yup)? The reality for most people is that as children, and sometimes even as adults, we are forced to say sorry many times over.  Sometimes we are sorry but not ready to say as much.  Other times we’re not sorry at all.   I remember many many times as a child and young adult being made to apologize to my brother.  I have a younger brother, which makes me an older brother and yes like many (most?...all?) older siblings I was not always kind to my brother.  Anyway, I was often made to apologize and many of those times that forced apology made things worse between us.  I am not saying I wasn’t wrong, I often was, but saying I was sorry didn’t help in the short run nor in the long.   We don’t make kids say they are sorry.    At Camp Hawkeye our approach to w... MORE
Stache for Cash - The Untold Story
Eight years ago, I inserted myself into a mustache growing competition fundraiser; Stache For Cash.  Started by 3 guys around a camp fire one night while drinking beer and trying to think of fun, competitive ways to help deserving kids attend Camp Hawkeye.  A1-M1 (April 1 to May 1)was the tagline. The idea was they would get a handful of men to grow mustaches, post pictures of their progress, and ask people to donate based on how much they liked or disliked their mustache. They would spend the entire month of April growing a mustache and at the end of the month a judge would decide who won the coveted Stache Trophy! I have never been someone to shy away from competition, even if it seems like I have no business being in it. At the time I was 25 years old, I had zero hope of any hair growing on my upper lip. Later in my Stache For Cash career I would be threatened by a woman who told me to just wait my turn; I was guaranteed to have a mustache when I was her age and it wouldn’t be so funny then. (she clearly didn’t stop to find out why I was wearing a real hair stage mustache). Did I mention that a woman wearing a mustache is an amazing social experiment?   The first year I wasn’t really su... MORE
National Program Excellence Award Nomination
Camp Hawkeye is a small program in a big world.  I like to think of Hawkeye as "The Little Camp That Could" (like the classic kid's book The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper). With 350 million Americans running around it seems that 200 staff and kids each summer working, playing, learning and growing is less than a drop in the bucket.  However it is nice to know sometimes that the word, and more importantly, the work is reaching farther.  Like the exploratory tendrils from the roots of healthy plant looking to get a deeper, firmer hold the Hawkeye message extends out.  This happened last year for the first time on a national level in the camping industry.  Camp Hawkeye was nominated for a national award; the Eells Awards for Program Excellence. In September of 2016 a pair of representatives from the Board Stewardship Committee for the American Camp Association New England (ACANE) section brought Camp Hawkeye forward as a candidate for nomination for a national award in camping; the Eells Awards for Program Excellence.  This was simply the first piece of communication about being nominated by our regional section.  It was an honor to considered at even this most introductory level a... MORE
My Chicken Friend.
'Chicken Friend' 'tʃɪk.ɪn - fren(d)' noun: Chicken Friend 1. A Chicken Friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg, even though they know you are slightly cracked. You both help each other to stay sunny side up. Your strength, your determination and your courage together is egg-ceptional. This type of friendship is  pretty much impossible to beat.   The parent trap is probably ONE of my FAVOURITE films. I think that’s how I started liking Oreo's. Heath would understand you see, because, well, we are each other’s twin! We met at camp and we come from different worlds. I happened to be the English twin, and...well she wasn’t American twin but our own South African one! We met at camp and bonded over our love for the Lion King. She also taught me this weird dance move. Think of a zebra crossed with an antelope....anyway that was in 2012, my first year at camp and hers too. We said goodbye like everyone does at the end of the summer; tearful and hopeful at the same time, having shared such an intense and meaningful experience.  I always hoped we would meet again, someday. Each year I became less hopeful. I returned to Hawkeye each of the n... MORE
Follow Up Interview with Chevy
Chevy was part of our staff group in 2017 and is back with us for 2018. Chevy is a transgender male, he has written a blog about his previous experience as a camper growing up on the west coast, and, as a counselor with us (click here to read). We wanted to ask Chevy a few more questions about why Hawkeye is different from other camps and why diversity matters to him as a member of the transgender community.  Here is the interview we had with Chevy in January of 2018:   Why was it important to you to find a camp that had experience with the transgender community? "Finding a camp that already had experience with transgender counselors was something that took one fear off of my plate. In my first year as a counselor I was worried about a lot of things, and I didn't want my identity to be one of those things I worried about."  Why do you think having a diverse community is important especially at a summer camp?  "I think it's important because the world itself is diverse. Summer camp especially is a place that I know to be diverse. No matter which camp I went to, I met and befriended people from all over the country and world, with all types of backgrounds and interests. At summer camp we don't want ... MORE
My Experience as a Transgender Staff Member at Hawkeye
This post is courtesy of Chevy Whitson, a first year counselor at Camp Hawkeye in 2017 and a lifelong camp person.  It is based on Chevy's experiences growing up going to overnight camp, applying for a job at overnight camp, and flying across the country and working at Hawkeye last summer.  Great thanks to Chevy for sharing a little about his experience.  We've already rehired Chevy for Summer Staff 2018 and look forward to seeing him at Hawkeye then! The first day of school is always going to be nerve-wracking. You're meeting new people who you'll spend eight hours a day with, five days a week, for thirty six weeks. As a new counselor, and new to Hawkeye, I couldn't help but flash back to those feelings on the drive from the bus stop, up the road to camp. I admit, I was scared. I had flown across the country to work with a ton of people from all different backgrounds, and I barely knew anything about any of them. I was already worried about who I would end up friends with. However, the worries were all for nothing. The car door opened, and I was seemingly rushed by a group of people, who I vaguely recognized from Facebook pictures or pictures off the website. That was the beginning of what was, without a doubt... MORE
What a Wonderful World!
  ‘I see trees of green, red roses too I see them bloom for me and you And I think to myself what a wonderful world’ (click here to listen to the song)     Stop that song on the radio.  Don’t turn over that photo.  All of the things I do to avoid reminiscing about camp. I won’t be able to feel then. I won’t feel the sadness of being away from everyone. I won’t miss the love and affection you get from so many people, everyday. I won’t miss the fresh air, that beautiful surrounding. I take a look around where I am at the moment, everything feels so cold. The people standing next to me, look lost. Lost in their uncertainty and their doubt. Politics, religion, ethnicity and gender create more walls between you and I. It's easy to think this is how life must be. Now and again, I stop myself and remember that place that appreciates and accepts us all.   When I feel ready, I open that photo, I listen to our summer song.  I open the letter I wrote to myself.   I let myself think, I let myself feel, I let myself be reminded of the incredible 10 weeks I had.  I feel the wave of different emotions hit me and the... MORE
Where are you really from?
Where are you from? ... No, I mean where are you really from?   On my travels, people look at me and seem to have an idea of who I am. Where I come from, what my name must be and what I must sound like. They seem sort of confused by what I wear nonetheless they seem to have a pretty good idea of what makes me ‘me’. Until I open my mouth. When people hear me speak, I see the flash of confusion spread across their face. I see their eyes wonder, their mind going around in circles. I count down the time until I’m asked my favourite question….‘Where are you from’ - if I could get a penny every time I hear this. Despite me insisting I was born and raised in England, I see the doubt linger on peoples' faces. I know they are unsettled by my response, considering I clearly have brown skin. They ask me again, just checking to be sure I’ve heard them right. My answer is still the same. They ask me again but adding the world ‘really’ as if that changes something. Yet, I understand the ‘subtly’ in their question, their meaning behind my ethnicity and digging at the history of my ancestors. I decide to give them the answer for which they have been waiting. I ... MORE
Blog Excerpt - Carol G Stratton
This post is courtesy of Carol Stratton, journalist and author of two books including Lake Surrender, and, Changing Zip Codes.  It is based on an interview with a Junior Counselor in summer 2017, the subject of the post, Nicholas Keough, as well as her degree in Recreational Therapy and experience working with young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Great thanks to Carol for her patience working with Camp Hawkeye during the busy summer, the time she took with Nick, and her willingness to share some of her writing with us here. The post can be found in its full and original form at the following web address: http://www.carolgstratton.com/camp-hawkeye/   Camp Hawkeye I love to hear stories of organizations who make camp a reality for special needs kids. Camp Hawkeye, is one of them. I’m highlighting one unique camp that opened their arms to a boy from Canada. I hope you are encouraged as to how they made a difference.   This last summer a young man named Nicholas Keough had a dream come true. The high school student from Montreal, Canada became a Counselor in Training at Camp Hawkeye, located on beautiful Lake Kanasatka in New Hampshire. It might seem like an ordinary dream to many but a... MORE
Cross the Line
If we look inside a classroom (or as you see in the films Mean Girls or High School Musical), you see particular groups sitting on separate tables. We see a 'sporty' group, a 'nerdy' group, an 'international' group, most of these cliques keep to themselves. We are either part of it, or feel very excluded from all of them. Now let's take a look at life outside of school. The funny thing is, nothing has changed. We still have very closed communities. Communities of religion, race, sexual identity, social status etc... Hearing and seeing these communities can make us feel very distant and different from the people that belong to them. But then, how are we meant to know what we could share with them?  “I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.”   Ani DiFranco  At Hawkeye, we celebrate diversity by creating an inclusive environment for different people. How do we stop people judging one another based on what we look like, what we say, what we do? Well that takes work, being open-minded is tough. That is one piece that makes it valuable; the struggle... MORE
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