Alexis Grillo

Reunited and It Feels So Good

Last Wednesday, Chewonki Alumni & Friends gathered at Lamplighter Brewing’s newest taproom to happily celebrate spring’s return, rekindle relationships, and sample Lamplighter’s yummy beers and charcuterie boards. The festive occasion – our first since the onset of Covid – was attended by over 40 alumni and former staff members.

Chewonki ABCs from 1934

In our early days, Chewonki campers could earn writing “credits” by submitting content to founder Clarence Allen’s monthly family bulletin, called the Chronicle. Campers reported on camp adventures and wrote jokes, poems, and short pieces of fiction (most of which borrowed plot elements from the era’s action/adventure films). 

Allen included Chewonki ABCs in the August 19, 1934, Chronicle edition. It is unattributed, and likely written by a camper.

Owl In a Day’s Work

“Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, who grew up on a farm,” says Wright. “One day when I was about ten years old, I asked her if she’d ever wanted a different career, and she said she had wanted to be a veterinarian.” Life got in the way, though, and Wright’s grandmother never got to pursue animal care professionally. The story moved Wright. “I’ve always felt connected to my grandmother; we share a deep love for animals. From that day on, I’ve always wanted to be a vet –to fulfill both of our dreams.”

An undated photo from our early days, likely the 1930's

Read “A Woodchuck’s Dream” From 1928

Read the delightful story, “A Woodchuck’s Dream,” an unattributed short story published in one of the earliest Chewonki Chronicles, circa 1928. In the story, a Woodchuck group (the moniker for our youngest campers at the time) is enchanted away from their cabin in the middle of the night by a stupendous discovery. But, their wonder quickly turns to terror as they confront a monstrous foe in the woods.

Meet a Mentor: Jhovaé Irving

Jhovaé Irving is an alumna of Maine Coast Semester 48 and one of our BIPOC Mentorship program volunteers. We created the mentorship program in 2020 to provide additional support for semester students who identify as members of minoritized racial groups by pairing them with neer-peer mentors. Irving says volunteering has been a learning experience for her as well, “I’m in awe of how differently [my mentees] have approached uncomfortable topics. They’ve shown me how to be braver and speak up a little more, even if it’s on a thorny subject.”

Training with the Best to Prepare for the Worst

According to Greg Shute, Chewonki’s Director of Northwoods and Coastal Properties, it was 1992 when Chewonki first hosted a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course taught by Wilderness Medical Associates International.  Since then, Chewonki remains one of WMAI’s longest-standing hosts, and the “Winter WFR at the Wonk ” is considered one of the more challenging courses around.  That’s mostly because of the weather, but it’s balanced by Chewonki being known as one of the warmest and most welcoming host sites anywhere on the circuit.  

Trading a Smartphone for a Scrapbook

It seems crazy, but it’s true: Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki students willingly turn in their smartphones upon arrival, and they don’t get them back until they leave four months later. What’s crazier is that our students love their break from technology. Without a smartphone in their pocket, they have to get creative about documenting their experience–a challenge that semester 67 student Sophia Waterson (The Brearley School, NY) clearly relished.