Month: February 2022

Snow fort

Camp February Newsletter

Happy February from Midcoast Maine where it’s snowing one day and almost 60 degrees a day or two later. We have been busy in the camp office talking with families, meeting new staff, and planning the most amazing summer. We look forward to sharing the summer experience with you.

What have you been up to? We hope that you’ve been getting outside and exploring the world around you. As you can see from the main image our very own Zachary Whiting (far right) has been building snow forts.  There’s so much to see and so many interesting places to visit. Drop us a line and share your adventures. We’d love to hear from you.

In this issue we welcome back folks to our Health and Wellness Center. Our Traveling Natural History Program teaches us the difference between a hibernator and a winter sleeper and our Kitchen Team shares a food fact and recipe. We learn about beets and the process of making a delicious Chocolate Beet Cake.  It’s amazing!

With best wishes from all your friends at Camp Chewonki!

From the Camp Office

From the Archives

boatbuilders

The Art & Craft of Wooden Kayaks

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

Read “A Woodchuck’s Dream” From 1928

camp

Passports

Are you signed up for one of our trips that head to Canada? Get started on obtaining your passport now. The process can take up to 11 weeks. We suggest expediting the process. Already have a passport? Please verify that it has a valid date past 8/13/22.

Here is a link on how to obtain or renew your passport.

Packing Lists

Packing lists for the 2022 season are updated and can be viewed here.

Virtual Information Sessions

We have several virtual information session options. Register now for a General Information or Leadership Expedition information session here.

Information Session topics coming in April: getting ready for camp, homesickness, new parent orientation, health and wellness and more.

From the Health and Wellness Center

Angie Klein has returned as the Director of Health Services and Liz Taggie as the lead nurse for Leadership Expeditions and Outdoor Education.  We have been busy getting ready for a safe and healthy camp season following updated American Camp Association Standards. Our goal is to set each camper up for success during their camp experience! The Health and Wellness staff consider families partners within the Chewonki team to keep campers healthy and safe as our first priority. If there are any updates in your camper’s physical or mental health, please update the CampinTouch Health History form.

The Health and Wellness staff wish parents and campers a mentally and physically healthy spring and hoping we can add some refreshing time this summer.

Staff Training

Now Hiring For Summer

Every year we welcome former campers, alumni, and new friends to join us as part of our summer team. We want you! We’re already hiring for the 2022 summer season – cabin leaders, trip leaders, activity heads, support staff, kitchen staff, facilities support, and much more! If you would like to step out of the ordinary and spend an extraordinary summer making a positive difference in a child’s life, please check out our job board.

News From The Neck

From the Traveling Natural History Program


Spring is right around the corner, and many animals eagerly await the return of warmth and resources. While some mammals – like us humans – have pressed on through the colder months, many have been ‘slumbering’ the darker days away in burrows and dens, and are only now beginning to stir. Indeed, the very reason we say we have ‘Six More Weeks of Winter’ is due to the old tradition of observing Groundhog Day, where a hibernating groundhog emerges from their den for the first time that year.

Hibernation is a Winter Adaptation (the word Hibernus is latin for wintry!), a strategy for survival when the world becomes cold and scarce. It might look like a deep, cozy sleep – but hibernating creatures aren’t really sleeping!

Their bodies undergo some major changes to slow them waaaay down.

Their temperature cools, and their metabolism slows, so they are no longer digesting food, and do not need to eat during this time. Their breathing and even their heartbeat slow, some having a pulse as low as 4 or 5 beats per minute..! (That’s one heartbeat every 12-15 seconds!)

Shutting down like this is really demanding, and it is not as common as you might think – only 3 species of mammals in Maine are considered true Hibernators: Our bats, jumping mice, and the infamous groundhogs.

Woodchuck

Chewonki was proud to be a home for a resident groundhog named Clover for several years. She was an educational ambassador who lived the entirety of her adult life with us, having some physical and mental handicaps that prevented her survival in the wild. She visited schools and libraries across Maine to help teach about mammals and winter adaptations.

Opossum

Chewonki is currently home to a new furry friend, a young Virginia Opossum named Ginny. Ginny lives with us as a permanent resident, because she is missing her prehensile tail, a handy tool that allows opossums to gather denning materials and aids in climbing. Without this tail, Ginny would struggle to survive in the wild, especially in the winter.

Ginny could be considered a ‘Winter Sleeper’, similar to other mammals like skunks, raccoons, and even bears. These creatures will den in the winter, and they do slow down a little bit, like the hibernators do – but they won’t ‘switch off’ in the same way.

Unlike the hibernating woodchuck Clover, Ginny may leave the den on warmer days to stretch her limbs and seek out food and water. Opossums might even change dens altogether multiple times in the winter, in an attempt to avoid predators.

Ginny has been ‘denning’ indoors with us in our Wildlife Center, to ensure her comfort and health. In a few weeks, once temperatures begin to stay above freezing, we’ll be returning her to her larger outdoor enclosure to explore a more natural and enriching environment

All of us here at the Traveling Natural History Department, animals and educators alike, are wishing you a safe transition through these last few weeks of winter, and look forward to seeing you in the sunny days ahead!

From the Kitchen

 

In honor of St. Valentine, Chocolate Beet Cake

 

Food fact: Beets – Last growing season Chewonki farmers harvested 416 lbs of beets. We store the beets in our temperature controlled root cellar where they will keep until the end of February. Beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable with 7.96 grams of sugar per 100 grams. This makes them perfect for things like pickling, think sweet and sour, or as an accompaniment to something rich like a beef stew. Not everyone cares for their earthly sweet taste so we were excited to find a chocolate beet cake recipe which turns out to be a favorite of our current MCS students. Although we served shortbread hearts on Valentines Day this month, I thought I’d share the chocolate beet cake recipe so our MCS students will have the option to make this cake at home for family and friends. Beets in a chocolate cake means less cane sugar in the recipe which is something we strive for.

Beets

Chocolate Beet Cake

Prep time: 1 hour

Bake time: 25 minutes

Servings 15-20

Beet Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups beets, cooked, peeled, grated (boil whole beets until they are tender. When you remove them from the pot the skins should slip off very easily.)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup oil (sunflower or canola)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 t baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting

Directions:

  • ~Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 inch cake pan very well with vegetable spray and dust them lightly with cocoa powder.
  • ~In a large bowl, whisk together butter, oil, sugars and maple syrup or honey.then add eggs and vanilla to combine.
  • ~In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.
  • ~Slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Stir gently. Then fold in the grated beets.
  • ~Pour your batter into the prepared pan. Any extra batter can be used for cupcakes.
  • ~Cook for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • ~Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and invert the cake onto a cooling rack.
  • We have been dusting the cake with powdered sugar but you could amp it up with frosting or cocoa whipped cream. Enjoy!

Where's Ginny?

Where's Ginny

Can you find Ginny? Ginny, our newest mammal ambassador, will be hiding out in our feature picture each month. Submit your solution to summer@chewonki.org. Can’t find her? We will share the solution in next month’s newsletter. Here is January’s solution.

GinnySolution

Upcoming Events

boatbuilders

The Art & Craft of Wooden Kayaks

One of the most interesting summer opportunities we offer at Chewonki is the Boatbuilders Saguenay Sea Kayak program, where campers join us for five weeks and build their very own ocean-worthy sea kayak from scratch, and then embark on a epic journey up the rocky coast of Maine. 

Under the instruction of master craftsman Bill Thomas, campers turn piles of plywood, glue, wire, and paint into cherished works of art.  Here’s some of our favorite photos from the past few years that capture the sublime beauty of these watercraft:

 

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.

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

A Woodchuck's Dream

It was midnight on a moonlight night in Woodchuck Den when the strangest adventure of the year befell the Woodchucks. It was Dicky Whidden who made the startling discovery which began the whole affair. Waking unexpectedly at midnight, he reached out half-sleepily towards a moonbeam which feel clear and white across his blankets. To his amazement it lay in his hand like a ribbon, soft and silky to touch, with yards and yards of it stretching away into the trees outside. “Oh Golly,” exclaimed Dicky. “A real moonbeam! – Look! Look” – and he leaped from bed to wake the other woodchucks.

“What is it? What is it?” they exclaimed while Dicky held up a glowing strip of moonbeam.

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

“A Moonbeam! – a real moonbeam!” squeeled Dicky, and each Woodchuck, unable to believe his own eyes, leaped from bed and reached for the nearest moonbeam, to gather the white silky stuff into his hands.

From inside came the sonorous snores of the two sleeping counselors. “Sh-sh-sh-sh!” whispered Buckie Keene, now wide awake to the amazing discovery. “Don’t wake Mr. Morgan! 

We’ll slip out and gather more.”

“Quick!” said Ray Remick, holding open the door, and five Woodchucks tiptoed out and ran down the nearest trail towards the woods. No one thought of being afraid and all were soon absorbed in gathering moonbeams which broke off quite easily and could be rolled up like silk. Ray Remick got the longest strip as he had picked up Pinkie Gregory’s sward when leaving the Woodchuck house and could reach higher than anyone else to cut off moonbeams.

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

The little party moved farther into the woods, running from moonbeam to moonbeam, until their arms were full of glowing light. The woods grew dark and moonbeams fewer.

“We’d better go back now,” said Joe, looking into the darkness. But when they looked, they could find no trail and no one knew the way. 

“Oh I wish Mr. Morgan were here,” said Dicky.

“I know!” said Bucky, “we’ll yell for him–he’ll surely hear us!”

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

No sooner said than done. At a signal they yelled all together– “Mr. Mor–gan! Mr. M o r – gan!” But only a mocking echo came back! Then suddenly the deathlike silence of the woods was broken by a commotion in the trees overhead, and the terrified boys looked up. A flock of the largest and most horrible mosquitoes they had ever seen was descending upon them. They were as large as Mr. Allen and far more terrifying–and their wings hummed like airplane motors! They were old and grey and bearded, and they gnashed their teeth hungrily. The leader was bigger than the others and spoke English perfectly. “I get that one,” he said in a deep voice to his band, as he pointed out Joe Paine– “he is the juiciest boy there!” and the ugly beast started out for his victim.

“No you don’t!” yelled Ray Remick, who was the first to collect his wits; he leaped forward, brandishing Pinkie’s sword, and struck with all his might at the onrushing mosquito… “Whack! The good blade passed right through the stinger, shaving it off close to the mosquito’s face. The proboscis fell to the ground with a thud!

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

“Oh my nose, my nose” screamed the leader, “I’m killed, I’m killed” and rolled over on the ground groaning horribly, and died.

The boys, following Ray’s example, seized sticks and clubs and met the down-rushing mosquitoes with smashing blows. The woods were filled with the sound of breaking mosquito legs, splintering wings, and screaming mosquitoes, as the boys beat back the attackers. Only one boy nearly lost his life. Dicky Whidden was knocked down and pounced upon by a big mosquito. Another minute and Dicky would have been a “gonner,” but fortunately the faint odor of citronella rubbed on his neck by Mr. Aldrich still lingered there. The mosquito turned deathly pale and fell over in a dead faint, where Ray quickly killed him. The few remaining mosquitoes flew away, battered and wounded, screaming as they went.

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

The boys leaned on their sticks, hot and panting. “We won!” cried Ray, “and, Oh Gosh, what a fight!”

“I want to go home” whimpered Dicky who had had a bad fright. 

“We don’t know the way,” groaned Bucky.

“Oh, that’s easy,” said a voice right behind them, and they turned to see a squirrel sitting on a branch in the moonlight.

“Golly,” said Joe, “do squirrels talk too! But the squirrel paid no attention and only went on working at something in his hands.

“What is he doing” asked Bob Lowell who had an eye for natural history.

“Making my web, of course,” said the squirrel.

“But squirrels don’t have webs–only spiders do!”

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

“Nonsense!” replied the squirrel – “how do you suppose we catch the nuts without webs?” The boys moved up and saw a large close-spun net stretched between two branches. The squirrel gathered up a loose end, drew the net taut, and took two half-hitches around the limb. “In the fall,” he said, “nuts fall into it” and he looked up hungrily into the branches of the beech tree.

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

“And now” said the squirrel, “it’s time you were back in bed. I saw your fight with the mosquitoes – you have beaten the toughest band of pirate mosquitoes in the woods and all the little animals on Chewonki Neck are grateful to you. I am going to show you the way home.” – And the squirrel came down and led the way rapidly back the trail within sight of Woodchuck. Den. “Now,” he said, “I must leave you, but with this advice! – Never go into the woods at midnight when the moon is full! All things are different then! Goodnight!” – And the squirrel was gone.

The boys scrambled the stone wall and hurried on. “Oh, I’ve lost my moonbeams!” said Bucky, stopping short. Indeed, all the boys had dropped them at the fight and forgotten to pick them up. They looked about them, but the moonlight had faded and the grey light of dawn had come. They tiptoed into the Den and back to bed. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Aldrich still snored.

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

Clarence Allen, Chewonki founder, started writing the Chewonki Chronicle in 1928. The monthly bulletin was hand-typed and meant to give families an impression of their child’s camp experience. The publication featured reports from Allen along with lists of jokes, itineraries, short writings, and other tid-bits submitted by campers and counselors.

We continue to publish the Chewonki Chronicle on a yearly basis.