Every Moment Teaching
By Guest Author Scott Andrews
Chewonki Neck is where I grew up and matured as a person and educator; it’s where I first felt truly responsible for others. Tim Ellis was there for most of it, guiding, encouraging, and pushing me with a strong moral compass. He was my mentor.
I grew up in a family of teachers and educators and had five years of teaching experience before discovering Chewonki. But, I never fully understood how to teach until meeting Tim. For Tim, everything we did at Chewonki, in every program, was about teaching–from reading to campers at bedtime, to comforting a homesick child, to guiding a group of senior citizens down the Allagash, to confronting dishonesty in a cabin, to helping a group of 5th graders to figure out how to cross the Gulch, to working one-on-one with a semester student on Work Program. During the ramp-up week for camp, I remember him saying that the dining hall experience was part of the teaching curriculum – practicing manners, trying new foods, learning to have conversations, and making announcements. He believed that even the most routine parts of a camper’s or student’s experience are part of the curriculum. Under Tim’s leadership, every staff member was a teacher.
I arrived at Chewonki in 1978, and when I look back over the years before I retired in 2014, it’s almost impossible to compare Chewonki then and Chewonki now. I have an old photo of the seasonal and year-round staff in 1978; I think we numbered about 15. I can’t even begin to guess what the number is today. But I’m sure that Chewonki would not exist if it were not for the vision, energy, entrepreneurial spirit, and will of Tim Ellis. He had the vision to see that along with summer camp, the possibilities were endless to teach about community, the natural world, and personal growth, both on and off Chewonki Neck, and he had the humility to surround himself with smart, passionate, energetic educators. And then he had the energy & will to make it all happen. It was an extraordinary journey. Tim made every day “a vision of hope.”
So, If you love Chewonki, offer a bit of thanks to Tim. To a huge extent, he made it all possible.
Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Tim.
About Stewart “Scott” Andrews
During Scott’s 36 years at Chewonki, he directed Outdoor Classroom and Boys’ Camp, was the founding head of Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki and a beloved history teacher, and served as Assistant Director of the Foundation. In these roles, Scott mentored and inspired countless colleagues and students.
More Tim Ellis Stories
From 1970 through 1991, Chewonki experienced a profound transformation, and in honor of his 86th birthday on October 1, we are honoring the man who steered these monumental changes: Chewonki’s First President, Harwood “Tim” Ellis Jr., by publishing guest-written blogs about Tim over the next few weeks.
Tim Ellis’ lifelong connection to Chewonki began in 1937. He arrived in a bassinet when his father, Harwood “Hardy” Ellis, Assistant Head at the Rivers School, was recruited by Chewonki founder Clarence Allen as head counselor. Tim spent every childhood summer at Chewonki, eventually becoming a counselor. After college, he ventured abroad and met his wife, Margaret Ellis, while teaching in Switzerland in the early 1960s.
As Chewonki, like the rest of the globe, becomes immersed in critical questions of health, safety, and overall wellness, it is helpful to remember that