Category: General News

Camp Is Here

Dear Chenny Families,

It’s the day before you send your kids off to us, and we wanted you to know how excited we are here at Chenny to see them in just 24 hours. Our staff is absolutely incredible. They are the most spirited, fun, talented, kind, and all-around great people who cannot wait to spend their summer with your children. We have had an epic orientation getting ready for your kids, and WE ARE READY! The energy on camp is incredible, and your kids are walking into a world full of positivity and insane camp spirit and about to have an enormous amount of fun.

The journey you have set your kids on is the right one; we will take it from here. We are ready, excited, and cannot wait to see their faces as they walk off that bus. Their beds are ready, clothes are all put away, and we are officially ready for Summer 2023. All we need are your incredible kids, and then our journey begins.

Our goal this summer is to Make an Impact, and with the team we have, an impact will most definitely be made. Your kids will try new things this summer. They will laugh a lot this summer. They will make new friends this summer. They will become more independent this summer. They will be silly this summer. They will play this summer. They will be out in nature this summer. They will not be on any device this summer. They will feel connected to a community that will make them feel welcomed and accepted this summer. They will love singing and dancing on the tables in the Lodge this summer. They will have the most fantastic time this summer.

We have a lot to get to, and it all starts tomorrow. After four very long years, it is our joy to say WE WILL SEE YOU AT VISITING DAY!!!

Life is Great at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.

Jon & Elissa

Watermelon, Cantaloupe…

Day 2 of Color War started with a jolt of energy from morning’s psych speeches, which set the tone for a day full of sports. The games were fierce yet friendly, fun and spirited. This is what we do at Color War. We play fair, we play hard and we always support one another. You see the desire to win in our campers faces but you always see respect for the game and for each other. As I walked around camp, I could not help but to be inspired by our campers’ immense spirit and passion for Color War. Kids were decked out in red and gold glitter, tutus, mustaches, glasses, and much more, while counselors are walking around in colored capes. Everywhere I walked there were “PSYCH Circles” with kids screaming of excitement. Whether it was with just their teammates, their friends, or their division, that camp spirit and emotion is just contagious.

Tonight was a camp favorite. Rope Burning and Water Boiling are activities that only camp people get. Build a fire, burn a rope or boil water, and call it evening. Well, it is so so so much more than that. The spirit, passion, and dedication our campers and staff show, when they are continually cheering for those in the fire pits is just the very definition of spirit and enthusiasm. Many think that it’s the wood, leaves, bark, and hay that fuel the fire, but it’s really the team sitting in front of them. The cheers of “Watermelon, cantaloupe, ugh baby burn that rope,” “build that fire higher, higher,” and many many more is really what gives the “burners” the strength and drive to accomplish this challenge. All four teams started their fires quite quickly, which can often be a challenge, and soon thereafter, for the second time in CHEN-A-WANDA history, water boiling finished ahead of rope burning. What can we say, the girls from Red Summer simply rock! It wasn’t long after until the boys from Red Summer and then from Gold Winter had their ropes break from the immense flames.

It was an amazing day and even a more amazing night. Walking down from the hill you could see some of our campers get emotional, holding each other arm and arm as they walked down to canteen, recording yet another amazing memory for Summer 2016. Although the day is over, there is another action-packed day of Color War ahead. The boys will head to Track & Field while the girls head down to the Pool and Lake.

We are two days into this unforgettable competition and everyone’s energy level is just as high as when we started. It just keeps getting better and better, and we can’t wait for another great day.

Chenny Out.

Color War Day One… It Has Only Just Begun…

Our campers could hardly sleep as they were filled with excitement from last night’s amazing breakout. From the reveille bugle this morning, all the way through our oldest campers going to bed tonight, you could feel the color war spirit in the air. It is a feeling like no other, a feeling of competition, spirit, camaraderie, and just pure love of camp and all that it stands for.

Today started with Tugs of War. Seeing the campers march up the hill with faces painted, hair sprayed red or gold, and wacky clothing of all sorts, it is just so apparent that our kids are feelin’ that color war pride from head to toe. The competition was fierce as the rope pulling started. It’s actually quite an amazing site to see our entire camp on one field cheering on their friends, siblings, and counselors. It’s extraordinary to hear that whistle blow and to watch both teams pull as hard as they can, and in the blink of an eye it is over. One team prevails, and then like clockwork, the teams come together an erupt with high fives, cheers, and song, as if they weren’t competing against those very same people only seconds ago.

The action packed morning was followed by an afternoon full of games. The sun was shining, the music was playing, and our kids were just having the most amazing time on the fields with every swing of the bat, throw of the ball, and touchdown scored.

After an amazing afternoon, the evening started with Mass Games and ended with Contest Night. It was a picture perfect evening to have our campers playing Softball and BBG at twilight and participating in relay races as the evening went on. Weather it was the Freshmen, Juniors, Middies, or Inters enjoying the fun contests and relay races in Shields Hall, or the Collegiates, Seniors, Supers, GCs, and CITs on the outdoor court, the music was bumpin’, the spirit was intense, and fun was had by all.

It was just an AMAZING day. This is the best part of camp. Color War encompasses every important part of this incredible journey and this incredible place we call home.

It’s only day one of color war and we can’t wait for more!!!

Chenny Out.

It feels good to be home for the summer!!!

As the buses rolled in and each camper got off the bus they were greeted with open arms, hugs and high fives. The sun was shining bright today on all of us. It’s the first day of camp and you could feel the energy from here too the moon. Our returning campers jumped into the arms of their friends and counselors with tears of joy running down their faces. It is what they have been looking forward to all year long. I heard one camper say to her friend as she jumped from the bus into her friends arms, “It’s really happening, we are back home and we are together all summer long – I am so happy.” Then they hugged one another so tight and ran off holding hands. The pure joy they find in each others friendship was authentic, real and profound. It is why they keep coming back to this magical place, for one another. It was a day that felt good from our toes to our the top of our head. Smiles came from the heart and it was plain as day that Camp Chen-A-Wanda was full of love today.

Our new campers had wonder in their eyes as they saw what was in store for them. They were greeted with a big warm embrace and you could see their excitement as their journey has just begun. There is just so much positive energy and joy here, it just doesn’t seem real but it is. It is exactly what you want your kids to feel and experience all summer long and it’s just day one. After our lice checks, it was playtime and our fields and courts were full of campers running around playing. Exactly what we want our children to do. No stress, no tests, no chaotic schedules. They are in a beautiful place experiencing nature in its purest form and your children are filling their tanks with friendships that matter, kindness that is contagious and a peacefulness that is just indescribable.

There is nothing quite like a meal in the Lodge and tonight was insane. The music was bumping and your children stood up on their tables and sang without fear of being judged. They let go and embraced the Chenny spirit tonight. We danced, sang and ate. Everyone in the Lodge felt it and it felt GREAT. Then it was off to Shields hall to kick summer 2016 with our first evening activity. The hall was packed and the energy from the Lodge just transferred to Shields Hall. It was an incredible day. One that we all won’t forget. An absolutely perfect day. Lights are out and all are sleeping safe and sound. Summer 2016 is off to one amazing start! Thank you for giving us your children for the summer, they give this place its heartbeat.

Chenny out.


Until I See You Again

To you our parents at home that have sifted through 1000’s of pictures, watched all of our videos, read our blogs and let their children spread their wings with us all summer long – we say thank you for trusting and believing in us with your beautiful children. We read this letter tonight to them at our last evening in Shields Hall.  We give them back to you a little taller, a little more confident, a lot more capable and with a ton of more friends and a summer family that loves them dearly.  Thank you for sharing them with us. We will never forget summer 2015.

To our Summer Family:

It’s hard to believe it’s over and that tomorrow we all go back  home to a year of school, work, SAT’s, college applications, school team tryouts, homework, play dates, Hebrew school and spending 10 moths away from our summer family. Everyone in this Hall has shared a piece of him or herself with each another and we are all better because of that. There are never two summers that are exactly alike and this one was definitely a standout. Every single one of you matter and helped make summer 2015 insanely awesome.

At this time of the year I typically stand in front of you and reiterate all that you have done and accomplished this summer but this year I must address the invaluable lessons that you taught us every single day. Spending the summer with a group of energetic, creative, fearless, talented, inspirational, funny and caring people enrich our lives and change who we are for the better. You had no devices to separate you from your friends and your connections to each other were stronger than ever. You didn’t text or tag all summer long but instead you talked and had real conversations. You proved to all of us, even me, that a break from the World Wide Web is the best thing you can ever do. We lived in a “real” world these past 7 weeks not a virtual one. You showed us that with laughter and kindness the world is just a better place.

To our incredibly talented, caring and loyal staff:

We watched you give and give and when you thought you had no more to give, you gave more. You put others first and that will forever change who you are. When your campers fell, you picked them up and held them tight. When they felt homesick, you sat with them, put your arms around them and told them they were going to be ok and they would get through this time with you by their side.  When they struggled and felt things were way too hard, you sat with them on your golf cart until wee hours in the morning and showed them how to face their problems. You made them believe that there was no problem too big they couldn’t conquer. When they cried you were there, when they laughed you laughed with them and you affected their lives in ways you will never truly grasp. We are in awe of your spirit and ability to give of yourselves selflessly to our children. Thank you.. thank you.. thank you, from the bottom of our hearts thank you.

To our campers:

You always bring the heartbeat into this camp from the moments the buses roll in, the party starts and it ends the minute you all board those same buses and head home. So many of you faced things this summer that made you better people. You dealt with being away from your parents for the first time and you got through it. You opened your arms to new friends that came into your life and with each new relationship you embraced, your heart grew bigger. You climbed to the very top of the climbing tower even when at first glance you said you cold never do that, you did and with every step, you were encouraged by a group of friends who told you can!!! You found your voice and sang out loud and you learned that dancing in front of your friends in the Lodge is just plain cool. These things you would not ever dare do at home, you do here. The rules here are just different here.  There is no judgment or fear here and this is where you can be the best version of yourselves. We want you to always remember that you are perfect just the way you are.

And when I stood right on this very spot 49 days ago and shared with you that this was the summer of Kindness and challenged you to do 2 kind acts a day for someone else this summer, YOU ALL turned that small idea into a huge movement. Our hearts exploded seeing that kindness box overflowing with over 1300 nominations this summer. There were 75 kids who are sporting the coolest “I’m an kind camper” T-shirt but the truth is everyone here deserved that same recognition as we read each and every nomination you all put in that box.  When we sat in base camp and sifted through hundreds and hundreds of kind acts every week, tears would fill my eyes as you described the kind things you saw your friends do this summer and maybe more importantly how they made you feel. When you wrote, “She included me when I felt left out” and “He made me smile when I felt sad” and maybe the one that tugged our heartstrings the most was – “My friend saw me crying after everyone fell asleep in my bunk cause I was homesick so he came over to my bed and put his arm around me and told me it’s gonna be ok because we’d get through this night together, just him and me” Those moments define why Camp Chen-A-Wanda is a family. Thank you for sharing those priceless moments with us. We could not be more proud of everyone on this Hall for being so kind to one another. It changes who you are and changes the world we live in. Keep it going and bring kindness home. Spread the love so everyone knows how good it feels to be kind.

So this is it Camp Chen-A-Wanda. Summer 2015 is officially in the books. Don’t ever forget the time we spent together and always, always be the river.  Thank you… Thank you …from the bottom of our hearts, thank you!!!!!

Until next summer….Chenny out