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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.