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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

29 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

3 Caitlin C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Never before have I been a part of such a caring and thoughtful community. Both camps (in Wiscasset and at Fourth Debsconeag) attract the most interesting and inspiring people from all around the globe, and I am honored to say that I worked there for two summers. Every trip leader and staff person I have met at Chewonki puts all of their energy and passion into each day.

The Chewonki Foundation is an exceptional community filled with beautiful people. I hope to return to Chewonki as a trip leader again. I would hope too that those unfamiliar to this place would come and join us for the days to come!

30

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Twelve years after my first year working at Chewonki, and I still rank it among my best jobs ever. The extended wilderness trips, the quality of environmental education, the supportive, knowledgeable and generous staff, the beautiful campus, the experiences they offer to staff, campers, trippers, students, etc. all combine to make it a one-in-a-zillion kind of place.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Chewonki's mission is one that has grown within me over the years. The lessons learned benefitted me both as an educator, but more importantly as a person.

24

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been involved in one way or another with Chewonki since 1986. It very simply changes peoples lives in a significant way. Chewonki brings people closer to each other in small intentional communities while focusing on the natural world around them.

26

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked as a summer camp counselor and trip leader at Camp Chewonki for three summers during college and graduate school and would say that I've never been around a more inspiring and dedicated group of professionals -- many of whom are still working there over ten years later! Even though I live on the opposite coast, I keep in close contact with many old Chewonki friends and am planning to enroll my own daughter there as soon as she's old enough. It's simply the best!

25

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In a song called "I Knew This Place," Dave Mallett sings, "This is where my life begins/ This is where I learned to use/ my hands and hear my heart." Chewonki is that place for many of us: students, campers, employees, and visitors who have walked the paths, slept in the cabins, worked in the pastures, sang around the campfire, or studied in the salt marshes. It's a place where every moment seems full of learning and discovery about the connectedness of all people, all living things, all ecosystems. Such a marvelous antidote to the disconnection and isolation of the world!

30

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I worked as a trip leader at Chewonki during the summer of 1992. I have gone on to work in environmental advocacy and policy. I was impressed with the whole approach to developing kids' awareness and appreciation for one another and for nature. As a new staff member, the camp and program leaders made me feel welcome, empowered and valued. Chewonki has a great reputation well beyond Maine as a place that provides kids and adults with a hands-on educational experience on natural history and the environment. And I'd highly recommend Chewonki to anyone who is eligible for its programs.

31

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a former employee, I continue to be enriched by the experiences provided at the Chewonki Foundation. More than anything, the sense of place and outlook on interacting with the natural world and the people around us are the lasting legacies gained on Chewonki neck and beyond. I look forward to sending my own two children to experience some of what makes this place special.

23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I loved co-leading a Chewonki-Alford Lake summer trip in 1992. Now, seventeen years after my Chewonki experience, I love that my 8 year old son is excited about starting camp at Chewonki this summer. One of the things he asked as we talked about his going to camp is if they would expect him to throw away plastic utensils-- of course they don't have plastic utensils ever at Chewonki! Composting toilets are another big attraction for my son!

25

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Environmental Educator at Chewonki, my job wasn’t just about doing remarkable things each day, it was about the deep joy of nurturing other people to do remarkable things each day. The awe I felt at seeing so many youth grow in their awareness of the environment, and of themselves as relational beings opened the path for me toward my calling to the ministry. I shall be forever grateful to the Chewonki senior staff who supported me to grow as a leader, to live with integrity and to work on behalf of the greater good. Though the pay was modest, the learning environment was priceless.

26

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I too agree that Chewonki "walks the walk" and embodies a rare breed of leadership. As a clean energy professional, I have watched this dedicated group of smart professionals take their vision for a cleaner world and make it reality, and then work even harder to engage the public to educate one and all about the wonderful energy solutions already available to us. We need a Chewonki in every state!

23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I don't know of any other environmental organization that walks the walk and talks the talk the way Chewonki does. Chewonki truly leads by example. When I moved to Maine in 1974, Chewonki was one of the first institutions I heard about in my new state. For nearly a century now, it has had a tremendous impact on educating people of all ages -- and especially young people -- about the importance of caring for our world and for each other. There is always something new and creative percolating at Chewonki. It's incredibly inspiring, satisfying, and joyful to work with the folks there.

22

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

A great organization with a diversity of experience and talent that allows them to work effectively in a number of area all while retaining a focus on education and helping young people thrive in their surroundings.

22

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My family has been involved with Chewonki on and off for 50 years and I feel so lucky to have that as part of my background. What I always thought of as "just a summer camp" it turns out is so much more than that. The sense of community they bring to experiential education is priceless to the young people they serve. And the fact that they've kept their sites on continually improving their impact on the planet in both social and environmental ways makes them true leaders in their field. They live what they preach, but the preaching is so wholesome, honest and integrated that it draws people in and encourages better living from all who participate in their programs. I wish there was a Chewonki in every state!

23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Chewonki has pushed me to "live deliberately" in every aspect of my life. I am more conscious of where my food comes from and where it goes, as well as how energy is used. Chewonki understands the importance of wilderness education.

21

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Chewonki has certainly shaped who I am and how I function in the world, and I have seen people of all ages transformed by their experiences with the Chewonki Foundation. As both a summer camp and year round education center, Chewonki is unparalleled due not to the extraordinary setting, but the consistently excellent staff. The people who live and work at Chewonki go above and beyond in everything they do, making Chewonki a powerful and nurturing environment. Chewonki is a home to everyone who has had the privilege of spending even a small amount of time there.

23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I was hired as an Environmental Educator/Trip Leader right out of college in 2004. I worked at Chewonki at total of 3.5 years and those experiences made me a better human being. Life, work, professionalism, love, challenge, modesty, sustainability, simplicity, community, land, integrity, appreciation and stewardship are just a few of the words that begin to describe all of the life-lessons I gained during my time at Chewonki. It was a pivotal point in my life and I am grateful to the community of people and that 400-acre peninsula in Wiscasset, Maine that helped shape the person I am proud to be today.

23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked for the foundation for only the past 5 years. I work on a remote property in the Northwoods of Maine that Chewonki recently acquired. It was once privately owned campground on leased paper company land. Chewonki purchased the campground and eventually the land for the purposes of conservation and protection as well as recreation usage . It is still a campground that welcomes the public, including many avid flyfishermen and family campers. It also provides a great base for Chewonki programs such as whitewater kayaking and hiking to nearby Baxter State Park. Watching the transformation over the past 5 years from tacky, over used and abused river frontage to green, welcoming , responsible ownership of such a beautiful wilderness area, has been a great pleasure. Working with the managers, board members and staff of the foundation has been an even greater pleasure. They are all so focused on what really needs to happen in lifestyle changes to improve the world we all live in and our children will live in. They "walk the talk". This foundation is as responsible as they get, in every sense of the word. To the environment, the community, their participants and students and to their staff. Thank you to those founders who had the foresight to take this "Summer Camp" to where it is today. I hope more will have the opportunity to experience the "Chewonki Experience " in the near future. They have created a multitude of ways to do this. Check out their website soon.

23

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had the great fortune to work at The Chewonki Foundation for one year of my life, from August of 2007 to August of 2008. As a sustainability-focused teaching fellow for the Maine Coast Semester (MCS), Chewonki's high school semester program, I worked with MCS science classes and served as a liason between the students and the Chewonki Sustainability Office. I am now a graduate student in the environmental management field, at a school far from Maine. I think of Chewonki often, and of the great work they are doing to educate our next generation. With top-notch faculty and staff, a beautiful campus, and incredible programs, the organization is able to reach out to so many kids, the majority of whom leave Chewonki with a different outlook and an inspiring experience to carry along with them into the world. I highly, highly recommend this organization. It is an amazing place.

30

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked at Chewonki for three years and send my three Children each summer for camp and wilderness trips. At forty five years of age I have never worked for a more Environmentally responsible organization. This is coming from an individual who has his undergraduate degree in Environmental science, worked in the field and is currently a high school science teacher with a masters in Education. More importantly though is the legacy of stewardship they instill in the future citizens of this world and this planet, our children.