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2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Chewonki Foundation Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Environment, Environmental Education, Literacy, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection

Mission: Chewonki inspires transformative growth, teaches appreciation and stewardship of the natural world, and challenges people to build thriving, sustainable communities throughout their lives. Chewonki serves people of all ages throughout the year. The living is simple and our communities are always small. We teach and learn in settings that take advantage of indoor and outdoor classrooms, the woods and water of Maine and beyond, as well as the land and buildings of our 400 acre campus.

Target demographics: Students from K-12, adults, families, active senior citizens.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 20,000 young people have an educational experience that taught them about the natural world.

Geographic areas served: Maine, New England, United States, Abroad

Programs: a semester school for high school juniors, summer camp programs for boys and girls, wilderness trips for teenagers, outdoor classroom programs for school groups, traveling natural history programs.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful organization that does well by the local and broader community it serves. Takes its mission of environmental education and creating nurturing learning environment seriously and succeeds.

2 Carol Ann P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki offers campers and students opportunities to unplug, reflect, learn and grow. My sons have had the challenging and rewarding experience of participating in Wilderness Trips. And we have a soon-to-be-Semester student in the house!
I had the privilege of volunteering in the Development Office for about 3 weeks. I remain impressed w/ Chewonki's crystal clear mission statement, generous scholarship awards and the exceptional quality of people that Chewonki attracts and retains.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki fosters an appreciation for the simple things, for the environment, for meeting a challenge head on, and for living and working in community with others. This appreciation often shifts a person's (especially a young person's) entire worldview. This is the magic of Chewonki. You hear over and over and over again: former Chewonki participants say that Chewonki has changed their lives. It changed my life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki is a fantastic organization that I hope to stay involved with. One of their programs is a Semester School for high school juniors, of which I was a student this past spring. It was one of the best things I've ever done!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked for Chewonki for three summers at their boys camp. It changed my life. It's hard to put into words, but I will never forget my experiences there.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with Chewonki for over 50 years as a camper, employee, board member and now an advisory board member. Operating a boys camp, girls camp, co-ed wilderness trips, a semester school for high school juniors and an outreach natural history program that reaches thousands of students each year school,the organaztion provides a foundation for young people to grow, mature, learn and interact in the natural world around them. Lessons learned here have been passed on from generation to generation as well as world wide.

1 Terry45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering since November 2011. I come to Chewonki for one day(sometimes two) a week to help create The Chewonki Archives. Chewonki was founded almost one hundred years ago. It is a really fun project as we have amazing albums, photographs, the papers of the founder Clarence Allen, plus movies, audio and memorabilia. All the staff at Chewonki are so positive and enthusiastic, it is a joy to be part of the organization. As I am there so much, I have gotton to know many people and work together. Chewonki lives the values that it is teaching, and being part of that is what makes volunteering at Chewonki great. We listen to each other and respect each other. The people that work at Chewonki are cheerful, caring and always ready to help each other and pitch in. We have dish crew where everyone takes turns cleaning up after lunch. Usually 5 people have signed up and its actually really fun, because everyone is working together in harmony.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki changes lives. I first became involved with Chewonki as a young teacher more than twenty years ago, and I think of the lessons I learned there as my second graduate degree, or far better, the place that best taught me about how to treat other people, how to pursue intellectual passions, and how to better live in balance with the natural world. I was always an outdoorsy person, but Chewonki taught me to look at and listen to the natural world with more precise senses just as it taught me how to be a caring teacher and a hardworking colleague. Chewonki is always my gold standard for what it means to work in a healthy job, but more than that, it defines what a strong, vibrant community can be.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki changed my life starting at age 9. My first experience was as a camper and it left me with a profound appreciation for nature and a significant boost in self-confidence. It was the first place that I ever strapped on a backpack and hiked several sections of the Appalachian trail. They also took me to remote island off the coast of Maine with a naturalists who could identify just about everything we saw, from plants to birds, to species in tidal pools. I later returned with a school group and then worked there as a counselor. With each step I've taken deeper into the organization, I have been more and more impressed. The quality of education they provide, the sincerity and drive of the hard working staff and the vision that they both teach and live is inspiring and impact-full. Chewonki is a spectacular, top-notch organization, well deserving of every accolade it receives!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki Foundation consistently walks the talk of sustainability. It finds and retains some of the most energetic and compassionate staff of any organization, whether nonprofit or for profit. Sometimes, the experience of being on site seems almost magical. With self-deprecating humor, the Chewonki staff and campers refer to the comforting "Chewonki bubble" to remind themselves that the experience is to be shared and enlarged beyond the confines of Chewonki Neck, not only to be enjoyed while there.

24 Sagadahoc

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki shapes the lives of future leaders in conservation and sustainability. Lessons learned at Chewonki translate into more conscientious life choices that are better for human and natural communities.

23

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My semester at Chewonki proved vital to my understanding of myself and the world around me. The program facilitates a comprehensive understanding of the connections between humans and the earth, combining practical experience with traditional education in a positive and holistic manner.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent the fall of my junior year in high school at the Chewonki Foundation at the Maine Coast Semester. I had the best time of my life. My eyes were opened to an entire world of possibilities and of global awareness. Chewonki takes its role of spreading the importance of the environment very seriously; the Chewonki Foundation brodened my scope of vision beyond measure.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this place and the people working and living there. Chewonki makes a difference in many peoples lifes, including mine.

22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

great foundation. They have a real commitment to the environment, and educating kids and adults about green choices and everyday changes people can make to help the environment. overall an great place and a wonderful foundation.

25

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Next Spring, I'm going to Chewonki as an MCS student. In preparing for this, I've learned a lot about them. They are a wonderful program with an amazing outreach program that changes lives. I believe their environmental sustainability work is going to change our world.

22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It's not an exaggeration to say that Chewonki provided a rare and truly life changing experience. I was a Maine Coast Semester student 17 years ago, and I still carry the confidence and positive energy I gained from those times with me today. Chewonki is an organization that says "yes" to new challenges and lives up to its ideals.

22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a staff member at the Boys' Camp and in my travels across the country, I often run into people who know of Chewonki or who had experiences there. I think it says a lot that Chewonki is a place where people want to come back to year after year. Campers become counselors and counselors become full-time staff. Chewonki fosters the development of environmental stewards, from teaching kids how to harness solar energy to leaving no trace in the wilderness. As the organization continues to grow, they do so in an environmentally responsible way. Chewonki will buy land for more camps and conservation and new buildings are built following strict green guidelines.

24

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Chewonki helped me rediscover my love of learning and taught me many hands on skills that I would never have experienced otherwise. I believe that this foundation allows each person who attends to discover or rediscover facets of both themselves and the world around them.

20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was part of MCS 34 at Chewonki and it was easily one of the best times of my life. I learned so much about myself, about the environment, about sustainability, and about life in general. I also met great people, kids and adults alike. My teachers were fantastic, academically and socially. I would recommend spending a semester at Chewonki to anyone!