The Chewonki Foundation has educated and inspired young people for almost 100 years! I was a student in a year-round program in 1975, a wilderness trip participant, a wilderness trip leader and now a board member. Much of what I did in my professional and academic life hails back to what I learned about myself and the interests I developed at Chewonki. The foundation has a wonderful, vast campus and fantastic staff. Its teachers lead by example to impart their reverence and knowledge of the natural world, high school academics, wilderness adventures and leadership - the list goes on. I, like most folks who've had the good fortune of being in a program at Chewonki, was transformed by my experiences there.
We discovered Chewonki for our sons through Boys Camp and Wilderness Trips. Not only did the boys have a great time through repeat programs but they also learned about themselves, the natural world, and the community of people - especially counselors and program directors - who loved their company and their universe, who formed honest, personal relations with the boys. We now have personal experience with nearly all of Chewonki's programs through the friends and family we have introduced to its programs. I became involved to give back but it's Chewonki that gives back so generously to me. My hope as a board member is that we can keep Chewonki strong - and help make it even stronger - while making its programs available to even more children, teens and adults. Chewonki is a superb advocate for a joyful but also a thoughtful, intentional relationship to social communities and the natural world. The world needs Chewonki and I am so very honored to be a small part of such a powerful and transformative organization. There are many best parts of Chewonki but one of the very best of all that superiority is the people.
What makes Chewonki a great organization is the people who lead it, and the space where you are when you help at Chewonki. My most memorable afternoon in recent years was when I turned myself over to the staff at the farm and did what I was told. I had a chance to help prepare a field (and learn the difference between rock walls in New England), collect eggs from the hens (and have one for breakfast the next day) and milk a cow! The sky above us that beautiful afternoon is not one I will soon forget. And the lessons I learned from Megan are not soon forgotten!
Chewonki is an amazing place where children and adults can learn more about the natural world and the future of sustainability while also learning more about themselves! The organization is filled with dedicated professionals who spend endless amounts of time and energy improving the environment around them.
I have been involved on the board for over 10 years and was a camper in the 1960s. My sons have been wildness trippers and my daughter a semester school graduate. I can say unequivocally that Chewonki changes lives and it does so in all of its programs. It reaches thousands of young people every year and instills in them a love of nature; teaches them responsible stewardship of our natural resources; leadership skills and respect for others.
There is something for every young person at Chewonki. They will be a better person for it.
I worked at Chewonki supervising the kitchen & dining room and then doing the bookkeeping as well for 10 summers. It was during that time that family prgrams and then school-year programs were started. Chewonki was, and remains, a vibrant place to be. A few years later I became a Board Member and finally had some other advisory responsibility. But there really is no "finally" with Chewonki. It is a place that imprints values on young people and adults alike. I have an Ed.D. in Sociology of Education but none of the lessons learned in all that schooling is as important as one of the basics learned at Chewonki: the human body is water-proof! And we humans are respon-sible for the mountains, the forests, the lakes, and the rivers~~as well as our fellows.
My first job when I graduated from college was with Chewonki's Maine Coast Semester program. It launched me into a career in teaching and working with students that has given me great joy for the last eighteen years. Chewonki changes lives through its demonstrated commitment to community and the natural world. It teaches environmental stewardship, positive human interactions, and instills a sense of possibility and responsibility in its participants. It is, simply, an extraordinary place that draws exceptional people to it.
I have been a part of Chewonki in one way or another all of my life. I have helped and watched Chewonki grow through the efforts of many dedicated staff, trustees, and participants. It has encouraged participants to grow to know themselves better and seek improvement, and to explore their relationship to others and to the natural world. In this effort it continues to do a fantastic job.
My exoeriences at the Chewonki Foundation span a period of over 60 years. First as a camper, then as a counselor, then as a parent and now as a trusteee Chewonki has historically set the bar in natural history studies, environmental studies and sound environmental practices that include a bio- diesel plant, hydrogen power,energy conservation and monitoring, recycling, organic gardens and more. Chewonki not only engages in good practices, more importantly it shares and teaches everyone around them Recognized worldwide for their contrinbutions, Chewonki will only continue to blaze the trail and be on the cutting edge in the years ahead.