New Cabins, New Spaces Open in June 2020
Chewonki Neck has been a bustling hive of activity since last fall and as we launched a major set of upgrades and additions to the Wiscasset campus.
“We are expanding with new buildings and facilities on the east side of the peninsula,” explains Nancy Kennedy, vice president for Camp Chewonki. “And this June will mark the first season of Girls Camp on the Neck. It’s an incredibly exciting moment.”
Five new cabins accommodating 40 campers, plus a support staff cabin, a washhouse, and a field for activities will give Camp Chewonki for Girls a place of their own. Girls will also enjoy a new waterfront area, updated kitchen and dining facilities in Chapin Hall, and their own health center.
The Camp Chewonki program team (Girls Camp Director Emily Bell-Hoerth, Boys Camp Director Charlie Fear, and Wilderness Trips Manager Jen Adams) is busy working with Kennedy to plan every aspect of the camp programs. They are aligning Girls Camp and Boys Camp around a common curriculum.
“We want to make sure that every camper who arrives here will experience Chewonki’s fundamental strengths,” Kennedy says, “natural history and connection to place; overnight camping trips; community-building; farm, food, and sustainability; outdoor living skills; excellent educators; and a chance to become one’s best self.”
While campers will share a similar curriculum, most camp experiences–living, dining, activities, and overnight trips–will still take place in separate Boys Camp and Girls Camp spheres. The two programs will take turns sharing core facilities including Salt Marsh Farm, the Challenge Course, campsites, and Packout.
“It’s only the first step,“ says Kennedy. ”The long-term goal is to add additional cabins in phases to achieve balanced programs, with up to 160 girls and 160 boys in residence at any one time.
Support from generous donors in 2019 moved the project from planning into action early last fall. “We are building on our mission and vision,” says President Willard Morgan. “This is not just about camp. These new facilities support all of Chewonki.”
“We are very carefully planning how we protect and use this beloved peninsula, with far more understanding of environmental science than when Clarence Allen founded Camp Chewonki over 100 years ago,” says Morgan.
“Modern building codes, environ-mental standards, and our own commitment to stewarding the property have shaped every aspect of the design and construction.”
“For example,” says Morgan, “in the construction process, we built around a specific wetland areas to avoid any damage, and decided to call attention to a vernal pool as a feature, making it a special place to enjoy and learn about nature.”
It helps that Chewonki is working with excellent partners (see stories on the following pages). “They have given us perspective and skills that we haven’t had before on staff,” says Morgan, “helping us think holistically about what the land is capable of, what the environment can do for us if we tend it with care. We are especially focused on minimizing visual and ecological impact, so we have taken more than five years to develop the plans we are implementing now.”
Looking ahead to opening day of Camp Chewonki in June 2020, Nancy Kennedy says, “I feel grateful. The beautiful winding path to the Girls Camp will be an invitation to continue this journey with renewed energy and inspiration. I can’t wait to welcome the campers on opening day.”