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
She Got Stache
You know that moment. The one where, your favorite song comes on the radio as you’re coasting to who-knows-where, and maybe the sunroof is open, and maybe the sky is torching up like a campfire. That moment, when the beat hits your blood, blooms electric. That is what it is like to know Jessica Colgan-Snyder. Magnetic & dynamic, her generosity infuses everything she touches. (It’s TRUE!) This year’s Stache-for-Cash Dynamo sat down to answer a few questions, and shed some light on how this camp life has become her oyster.   Oh. And did I mention she STACHED her way to $4500 in donations for under-served youth to attend Camp Hawkeye during this summer?   “Stache for Cash gives me an opportunity to talk with people about Hawkeye’s mission to make camp possible for families who without scholarship wouldn’t be able to attend camp. I think it gives people a pretty good idea about how committed I am to our campers and the Hawkeye community”, Jess tells me. Since 2010, commitment has been part of her every morning routine throughout the whole month of April.   Where some wake & slog through the early morning “what heels go best with this dress” debacle, ... MORE
How Our Kids Can Embrace Their Best
Self-Care & Summer Camp: How Our Kids Can Embrace Their Best   A few nights ago, as I looked up from the mirror, minty kaolin mask on my face, I stopped and wondered: if we take the time, to care for our skin, nourish our bodies, grow them in a way that lends itself to health and joy, why then, wouldn’t we do the same when choosing a summer camp for our children?   Stay with me. Magnanimity is best defined as being of great mind and heart. It rejects pettiness and embraces danger for the purposes of being noble. Generous. Kind. Charitable. Every day we wear a multitude of masks. In classes, the mask covers smirks or smudges out worry. Walking down the street, we layer on armour to shut out urban vulnerability, personal anxieties, anxt. At the dinner table, in our homes, in the dance studio or on the rugby pitch, we present mask after mask. We outfit our personas, as young people, as parents, as students, as leaders. Masks clog our pores, shield us from toxins, they lift us up, they seep into our skin, until….we aren’t sure where they/we begin, how to dissolve the clay. And when we do, we hope for glow. We hope for fresh perspective and a feeling, like new. Like summer bloom. Like, whoa,... MORE
Poetry in Community
Can’t Hold Us   This place. It’ll lean on the eaves of your ribs long after summer fades.  Smoky ochre sunrises, rising to meet the tree canopy, underscored by endless stars, so many stars, filling the night with so much luminosity.   The first time I went to overnight camp, I was nervous.  I overpacked. I underestimated the beauty. I didn’t know how to make fortune cookies (and still don’t, but that’s another story for another day) or how to play Capture the Flag.  I was pretty certain I’d get eaten by a bear (or an inordinately large spider). I’d never written a skit or created a dance on the fly. And I certainly had never been sorted into a tribe.   By the end of my week, I felt I’d been part of the community for 7 weeks. I carried campfire songs in my hip pocket. I loved Capture the Flag & playing pickup soccer since someone was always kicking around. I loved hearing about England & Spain & France & Massachusetts & NYC. The world was everywhere, and everywhere was here, in the dining hall, on the playing fields, on the dock. We were poets, painters, builders, singers, actors, athletes, unicorns, rappers, astronomers, lingu... MORE
My Mom Made Me
My Mom Made Me Go To Camp (Thanks Mom!)   …and it was one of the best things that ever happened!   When I was a kid there was a disagreement in my house about whether my brother and I would go to camp.  In this case I’m talking about sleep-away camp.  We were already attending a local day camp and sports camps too. My mom wanted me to go to camp and my dad…not so much.  The reasons why were obvious for each of them.  My mom had gone to camp and my dad hadn’t.  She “got it” and he had never had the chance. One of the things I thank my parents for now, and it took me well into adulthood to understand (and being a dad helps too), is that they made these types of decisions for me.  When they knew something was good for me, even if I didn’t, they would decide for me…make me do things.  Every parent does this with small things; eating vegetables, going to bed early, brushing teeth, doing homework.  I appreciated that my parents did this with larger things too; auditioning for the city chorus (embarrassing), trying out for the better soccer league or baseball all-star team (nerve-wracking), and going to camp (terrifying). Thank you... MORE
The Solar System Metaphor
The Solar System Metaphor   Social development and the creation of a shared identity in the cabin.   Camp Hawkeye is great for growth, learning, friends, independence, maturity, self-realization, differentiation, and FUN.  Let’s take growth and learning as it relates to social development and group skills for now and focus on one piece of the puzzle here at Hawkeye: THE CABIN GROUP Even more specifically I want to share about the development of a group identity within the bunk.  By bringing together lots of different campers from lots of different places with lots of different backgrounds you can end up with kids sitting around thinking about…well…how different they are.  This is why it is vital to provide them with a set of shared experiences, create a sense of camaraderie and acceptance, and, foster a sense of ownership over the physical and social cabin space. One metaphor we use to discuss this process of group identity development is the Solar System Metaphor.  This is something we discuss with staff and also with parents too to do three things: 1.       Demonstrate more concretely the idea of the cabin group  2.   &... MORE
A Chapter in My Story: Why I loved camp & became a counselor
Late 1980’s: It was an all-boys camp.  Not too far from the highway but far enough that it was a world all its own.  We all felt it, we knew it; we were a thousand miles from everything.  The bell, its familiar tone was the only thing to carry across the tree tops.  The lake, although I am sure there were houses across or around it, was our own. We probably could have even seen them from the beach but we weren’t looking.  Or maybe the girls from our sister camp, and their counselors and waterfront staff, were the only ones who shared our stretch of nirvana-like beach.  I think I noticed them because there weren’t any girls in our universe, no women to speak of.  I am sure that there were female counselors… actually I am not sure.  I can’t remember, all the counselors have faded away; except for two. I remember MY counselors.  Yes, MY counselors.  They were mine, and ours, in the cabin.  I remember our CIT as well.  Even though I was there for two summers, well, two mini-sessions during two consecutive summers, all else has melted away.  Perhaps it was the continuity of being in the same cabin or seeing some of the same boys but it has... MORE
You Can Do Whatever You Want!
You Can Do Whatever You Want! At Camp Hawkeye we spend as much time in the off-season as possible meeting and spending time with parents and kids.  We do this in lots of different ways; home visits, organic encounters at community events, and camp fairs.  It is great!   No really, we love it!  Jess and I relish getting out of the office and being with the families and kids that make the Hawkeye community so amazing!  Each of these opportunities for interaction carries with it a separate set of social parameters.  It is always very interesting.  When we participate in events open to other camps or similar youth focused organizations I always listen closely to how the programs present themselves.  Even when we get a chance to listen to parents talk about other camps or programs I pay close attention.  In these instances it is very easy to discern what both the parent s value as well as the organization’s core philosophies. One such opportunity had us next to a camp with more than a few basic similarities to Camp Hawkeye.  This camp is also located in New Hampshire, it has a coed program, the campers live in cabins, the sessions are similar in length, and the kids spend... MORE
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Recent Posts
Where are you really from?
from Ekta on 11/17/2017
Blog Excerpt - Carol G Stratton
from Garrett on 10/28/2017
Cross the Line
from Ekta on 10/22/2017
She Got Stache
from Jacey Blue Renner on 05/05/2017
How Our Kids Can Embrace Their Best
from Jacey Blue Renner on 04/11/2017
Poetry in Community
from Jacey Blue Renner on 02/02/2017
My Mom Made Me
from Garrett on 12/31/2016
The Solar System Metaphor
from Garrett on 12/06/2016
You Can Do Whatever You Want!
from Jess on 11/03/2016