2023 Age Groups update

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2023 Age Groups Update

Dear Chewonki Families,

We hope the start of the school year is going smoothly! In just a few weeks Chewonki Neck transitioned from camp back into school mode as the campus for Chewonki’s Elementary and Middle School and Maine Coast Semester program.

As you’ve seen in our previous re-enrollment reminder emails, Camp Chewonki has made some changes to our age groups for Summer 2023 (also listed below). We decided to make these changes for a couple of reasons, which we’d like to share with you.

Changes to Camper Age Groups

First, we are moving towards more distinct age groups overall, which means that campers will be in cabins with campers their age (or very close). In previous summers, we’ve been a bit more relaxed on the age spread in a cabin or age group in order to accommodate as many campers as possible. We found, however, that age range within a cabin significantly impacts group dynamics and group management by the counselors.

Here are the new camper age groups:
  • Puffins – Ages 8-10
  • Owls – Ages 10-11
  • Herons – Ages 12-13
  • Ospreys – Age 14
  • Loons – Ages 14-16
  • Canada Geese – Ages 15-17
  • North Stars – Ages 16+

Tightening up age restrictions in age groups allows us to set campers up for strong connections with their peers and to enable counselors to manage a group as developmentally the same as possible. Please note that within the Owl and Heron age groups there are actually two sub-age groups with different trips. So while your camper may be an Owl as a ten-and-eleven-year-old, they will participate in two different trips which build on each other.

Changes to Program Length

Adjusting age groups also meant that we had to make some tough decisions regarding which campers will participate in the 10-day or 3-week program. In order to meet the above goal and keep campers on trips that are developmentally appropriate, Camp Chewonki will have 9-year-olds in the 10-day Puffin program and eleven-year-olds in the 3-week program. The 10-day Puffin program is designed to be an introductory experience to sleepaway camp and we know this shift will help campers thrive in the appropriate program for their age and overall camp experience. We strongly encourage 10-year-old campers who attended Chewonki as 8 or 9-year-olds (or both!) to move up to the 3-week program for their 10-year-old summer.

Changes to Osprey Age Eligibility

The final change we made is in regards to Ospreys, our oldest age group. Previously, campers ages fourteen and fifteen were able to enroll as Ospreys. This summer and moving forward, the Osprey age group will be just for fourteen-year-olds. Fifteen-year-old campers have the opportunity to participate in any of our exciting Loon Trips. Again, this decision was informed partially by the initial age refinement goal and to satisfy the particular goal of the Osprey program itself. As we’ve seen over the years at Chewonki and as I’ve found throughout my own camping experience, the final year of in-camp programming is really special and important for campers. We want to build the Osprey summer into a unique experience for the campers who’ve been at Camp Chewonki that will enable them to share their experience of camp with others and enjoy some different opportunities. Going through the same program twice can diminish the specialness of that experience. We also know that by their Osprey summer, campers have amassed some incredible tripping experiences and skills. We’re excited that they can carry that into the next phase of their Camp Chewonki career into Loon Trips that allow them to specialize in the aspect of tripping that stood out to them most, whether that be backpacking, canoeing, or kayaking.

If you have any questions about how these changes will impact your camper, please reach out to us. We’d be happy to talk through any specific questions or situations.

Remember to enroll by September 15th in order to claim your spot before we open enrollment to new campers and siblings on the waiting list. Camp Chewonki filled up fast last summer and we are happy to keep enrollment closed to just returners while we can.

Katie & the Camp Team

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