Chen-A-Wanda News

In the Middle of a War

Boy’s side had their track meet today and girls side battled in the pool at their swim meet. The kids had so much fun as they relayed to their finish lines getting cheers, praise and encouragement for their hard work and effort. The spirit was high and heat was on. To watch how this community gives one another support and encouragement is really life changing. It starts from our staff as they jump up and down cheering for the campers and that is infectious and it just catches on from there. There is so much positive energy in this camp, it is infectious, it is contagious and it is everywhere.

Knowing what Color War means to our campers, makes these 5 days not only emotional but significant in the entire summer journey they have been on. Every single camper is an integral piece to the whole and they each matter to the outcome. They wear their colors with pride and everyone on camp is putting  their heart into every match, game and meet. You can see it on their faces and feel it in their effort and hard work. Your kids are digging down deep and giving it all they got. You be beyond proud of them. The cheers of victory are deafening and the anguish of defeat is real. This War matters to each of us and it is providing meaningful competition and pushing ourselves when we think we can’t, we are being encouraged knowing that WE CAN. When we think we’re tired, we get up and push harder. This ability to find that fire inside each one of us is an experience that will be with us forever. It will help define who we are and how we grow.

Not a day goes by where I don’t witness a moment that tells a story of why this experience is so profound. In Color War, there is ample opportunity to bear witness to greatness, strength, grit, determination, sportsmanship and selflessness. Today was no different and I was blown away at one of these many moments. It happened at the pool where the girls were competing in a swim meet and one camper was a bit panicked and nervous for her portion of the relay. She didn’t want to let anyone down but was so fearful she would be the reason her team wouldn’t win the race. her fear got the best of her and she tried to tell her team she just couldn’t do it. You saw it on her face, you heard it in her voice and when she was just about to bow out and quit, her teammates got behind her and said ” WE NEED YOU and who cares if we win this race. It’s more important that you swim with us.” It was a moment that defined why Color War is so impactful. I saw this happen, I heard what was said and as I watched that camper get into that pool, the result of the race didn’t matter. She already won!

This Color War is so close and the teams are within a mere  36 points of each other. Red Pixar has earned 1900 points with the Gold Dreamworks just a hair ahead with 1936 points. It is anyones war as these teams head into Quiz night tonight. Tonight was all mental as campers and staff had to answer questions about anything and everything from pop culture to math equations to Camp Chen-A-Wanda facts and everything in between. All day, our bodies were challenged and tonight we stretched our minds.  There isn’t a camper or staff who isn’t giving it their all and pushing it to the limit. It is an outstanding Color War and with just 2 more days to go and the scores so close, it is anyones game. So here is to 2 more amazing days of exhaustion, exhilaration, competition and meaningful moments. Bring it on!

Chenny out.

A Day That Took Our Breath Away

Today was an incredible day for so many reasons. The obvious is that we are having an insane color war. The weather was beyond perfect and we played all day long. But that was not the reason why this day was remarkable. We had our first ever alumni day and we welcomed 250 alum from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s all the way through the 00’s. It was as if a Chen-A-Wanda history book walked through our gates. They were so incredibly happy to be back at their summer home and more importantly, your children were so welcoming, gracious and inquisitive to each and every alum that was on camp today.

There was a gentleman, Tom Wilbert and his wife that went to this camp in the 1950’s and had met here. They have been married for over 60 years and were literally celebrities. Dozens upon dozens of campers surrounded them, listening to stories from way back when. He shared his childhood with us today and and a piece of his heart. He told us all that wherever he traveled to or whichever stage of his life he was in, his time at this camp was pivotal in making him the man he is. He shared stories of his youth and how important this place was for him and for out kids to not take one day for granted. He mentioned that he often thinks about this place and it brings him joy. He hasn’t been back for over 50 years but the feeling is the same. This was nothing short of amazing and your children showed such admiration and excitement with every word Tom shared with them. I watched Tom relive his youth as he told story after story. It was a treasure chest of wonderful moments that we all can relate to. He ended with telling everyone he could, to not waste a moment because time here is finite and all you will be left with are memories.

The day was just emotional and joyful. Our alumni visited their old bunks, searching for their plaques, going building to building reliving the best time of their lives. And your kids were in awe. It was a common bond everyone on camp shared. The thread that linked us all together. From 7 – 95 there was a common bond that linked us all together. Your children are part of a long history of a place that has changed lives and is so meaningful to so many. They too will one day come back and have stories of their own to share. They too will feel the impact of how this place changed them and they too will never forget their summers at this magical place. They may not remember every score of every game or recall every name to every counselor they had but I can bet with 100% certainty, they will never forget the way this place makes them feel. That was the theme today with each and every alumni that was on camp. The way this place made them feel changed who they are for the better. It was a day that took our breath away.

Tonight at Rope Burn, we all sat a little closer, embraced one another a little longer and all took what Tom Wilbert said to heart – embracing each moment we have the privilege of spending here at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.

Life Was Is and Will Always Be GREAT at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.

Chenny Out.

Day 1 Color War Fun

Our campers could hardly sleep as they were filled with excitement from last night’s amazing breakout. The energy from last night’s Jake Miller show wiped us out but we were ready for day 1 of Color War to day. 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. We were dodging the rain but nothing could stop our love of Color War.

The action packed morning was followed by an afternoon full of games. There was newcombe and softball, there was steal the bacon and soccer and of course a fierce BBG game. The kids were head-to-toe in Red & Gold and the serious Chenny pride was out and about.

After an amazing afternoon, the evenings event was Contest Night.  The weather was still a bit rainy so all of Contest Night was inside Shields Hall and though it couldn’t possibly get as loud as the night before, we went round 2 for insane energy in the Hall. The campers raced in relays, flying turtles, tunnels races, balloon pops and hippity hops. Games you only play at camp. Even if you were not competing you got into the groove.  There were Conga Lines that went all through the Hall. No matter what song played, the kids went nuts. Camp inspires us to let go and have fun no matter what we are doing.

It was a great day 1 of Color War ’18. This is by far the best part of camp. Color War embodies every important part of our incredible journey through the seven beautiful weeks we live at Camp Chen-A-Wanda. Day 1 is in the books and there is so much more to go. Not taking one day for granted.


Chenny Out.

The Most Epic Breakout…EVER!

The day started out like any other awesome day, sun was shining, happy kids going to activities and then it was lunch. All kids were enjoying the delicious BBQ brisket sliders when a message popped up on the movie screen in the Lodge. It read, stay in your seat… stay in the lodge…stay in your seat …stay in the lodge… it repeated for minutes until everyone was done with with lunch and their tables were cleared.. Then and just then another video began. It was an incredible highlight vid of internet and pop sensation Jake Miller. The kids were going bananas and then the video cut to a message Jake made for our kids. He said that he was hoping to making to Chen-A-Wanda this summer yadda yadda yadda but he couldn’t get out of LA yadda yadda yadda and it was great bumping into some of the campers in LA yadda yadda yadda then he looked into the camera and told us all to go to Shields Hall… Go now to Shields Hall. The Lodge erupted and everyone ran screaming Jake Miller is here!!!

They entered the Hall and a video played of incredible clips from Pixar and Dreamworks hit films. Then out from the side of the stage came our characters;  Poppy and Branch from The Trolls, Dore from Nemo, Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story, Sully from Monsters Inc. and Toothless from How to Train a Dragon. There was an excitement yet a hush because they thought Jake was waiting for them. After the movie video clip finished, Brian Leahy excitedly welcomed every to Color War 2018 a voice from behind the screen interrupted and said, “How ’bout I help breakout this Color War, It’s Me Camp Chen-A-Wanda Jake Miller. The Hall went CRAZY!!!! The screen lifted and he was here, Jake Miller was at our camp and it was unreal. Most of our younger campers had never heard of him but the excitement from our older kids set the tone. They were in and they knew something pretty special was happening at camp today. Jake welcomed everyone to Color War 2018 and then explained he was performing a private concert for all of us tonight! The crowd again went wild. The teams were announced and it was Red Pixar vs. Gold Dreamworks and with that we have a WAR!!!

Jake went by every single bunk and took bunk pictures with the kids. He was gracious and friendly, he was engaging and approachable. As he traveled all around Chenny, he was in amazement of how lucky our kids are to be at a place like this. He even spent some time tubing and playing in the Aqua Park. He was a camper for the day and loved every minute. Jake was in awe of the spirit here at Camp Chen-A-Wanda and couldn’t get over that a place like this exists. After bunk pics it time for Tugs of War and our kids had the best time pulling for their team. The energy was off the charts. Jake brought the vibe and our kids ran with it. An absolute incredible Tugs of War we had.

The main event was Jake performing a private concert for our camp and it was AWESOME. He played his hit songs  proudly wearing a Chenny Staff shirt and the kids sang along in unison. We had a real live concert that was INCREDIBLE. There was so much spirit, so much love, so much Chenny pride and so many happy kids. It was an epic breakout and everyone knew it. Boys, girls, younger kids and older experienced something pretty special at camp today. We will never forget the summer that Jake Miller broke out Color War at Camp Chen-A-Wanda.

Life is Great!!

Chenny out.

The Perfect Cheeseburger

I was watching the Senior/Super boys softball game today vs. Equinuk and was struck by what I saw. It was a championship game and both teams played really hard and really well but beyond their talent on the field something grabbed my attention. Even as these boys were playing for a championship, there was an ease and joy and they were playing for the love of the sport. They were having fun and it was evident above all else. No pressure when our boys struck out. No harsh words when they missed the fly ball. No yelling at the umpire when they disagreed with a call. It was like watching a field full boys, on both teams just play to play the game. Nothing more nothing less. Chenny was leading until the very end, it was one tough inning that gave away the championship but after each team lined up to high five after one another, I heard one of our kids say, ” Hey guys, we’ve got the Chenny Shack this period and I think were making burgers, let’s go”. They all ran down the hill, still in their cleats and went from the field to the kitchen within minutes. I watched them as they sat around their tables, learning how to grill the perfect barbecue cheeseburger with smiles on their faces. The loss of the championship game they played just moments before didn’t stay with them. It was gone with the wind and they were off to other important moments, like making the most perfect cheeseburgers with their buddies. This is what it is all about!

“Winning Provides Happiness. Loosing Provides Wisdom” – John Wooden

Middy Girls Soccer – CAW 1 @ Starlight 5

Super Girls Soccer – CAW 2 vs. Tioga 0 – Chenny Wins Championship

Middy Boys Hockey – CAW 6 vs. Starlight 2 – Chenny Wins Champioship

Middy Boys Baseball – CAW 5 vs. Westmont 7

Middy Boys Gold Tennis – CAW 0 vs. Tioga 5

Senior Boys Tennis – CAW 0 vs. Tioga 5

Senior/Super Boys Soccer – CAW 3 vs. Tioga 1

Senior/Super Softball – CAW 4 vs. Equinuk 7

Tonight we were mesmerized with Brad Henderson’s ability to hypnotize some of our staff. He put our counselors in such a trance they did things on stage that made us belly laugh so hard. When you watch your counselor bark like a rabid dog or sing into their shoe or even perform a rockin’ dance front solo in front of the entire camp, your night is just awesome. The fun was off the charts and our kids had a ball watching a show with their counselors front and center. Just they took their final bow and the show was had ended, the theme from Jurassic Park started to play and th eHall went bananas. There wasn’t a camper or staff who wasn’t chanting 1..2..3…4..WE WANT COLOR WAR.. It was intense and it was loud and it was crystal clear that our camp is READY FOR WAR!!! As thew music hit its crescendo and everyone was getting louder, popped out from the curtain was a giant TREX and the cheers got louder, It was happening tonight but then out from costume came Brian Leahy who began dismissing each division without missing a beat. Disappointment blanketed the Hall and it wasn’t going to be tonight. The break is on everyones mind and the excitement is building. You can feel it in every corner of camp. SO they will have to wait until just the right time for our War to makes itself known. Just like Goldilocks and the three bears, it will be not too long but not too short and will happen when it’s just right.

Life is Great when we wait for Color War!!

Chenny out.