Exciting Updates to our sailing program!
The other day on a hike I had the wonderful honor to witness the type of boy Camp Wachusett is privileged to help guide through the tumultuous journey of modern childhood. After a long and arduous hike to the summit of a mountain, all of the boys (and counselors!) were exhausted, famished, and a bit on edge. The challenging ascent was especially tough on one young man, and while he was frustrated during the hike, he completed the task without a complaint. Now I could write about the perseverance this boy showed (and he did), or I could write about the challenges that Camp Wachusett provides for boys, allowing them to struggle and question, but ultimately succeed (and we do). But I have chosen to write about the selfless kindness that a number of our campers showed while on top of the mountain. Upon reaching the summit, our frustrated camper needed some alone time, and we allowed it. The counselors busied themselves with serving snack to the campers. This is a rather intense and time-consuming task...trying to manage the ravenous nature of boys. After the feeding frenzy was over, I looked up in search of our lonely hiker, and indeed, he was still in the same spot across the summit where I had seen him. But the scene was quite different; he was surrounded by a group of sympathetic campers. They weren’t offering food or even encouragement. These boys recognized the hiker’s need to work-out his frustrations and were not forcing interaction; they were simply offering their presence, their friendship. Our camp motto is Unaliyi, a Native American word for friendship. Camp Wachusett strives to guide boys to be kind and to create friendships. We provided the venue, and clearly, these boys exceeded our expectations.
-by Andrew Johnson
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From: Jim and Maria Weiss
It is with a real mixture of happiness and sadness that we write to inform you that we are in the process of relinquishing our ownership and direction of Wachusett! Last summer was #51 for me, and Maria is in the high 40’s. We both still have a good deal of energy, and we like to think we are in good health. And we would rather orchestrate a transition under these circumstances than wait until a downturn left us with no other choice. Moreover, we have an option that will keep the leadership of the camp within the Wachusett community.
Since the early spring we have been discussing possibilities with Matt and Jessie Pescatore. Matt first came to Wachusett 20 years ago. He spent a bunch of summers with us as a camper, CIT, and Staff Intern. After a year as a Junior Counselor, he joined the staff as a cabin and activities counselor and continued in that capacity through college. His Wachusett summers lapsed after he graduated from the University of Vermont—though he often took the time to help us get the camp ready during Preseason and visited quite often. During the 2016 season he served as one of our cooks, jumping eagerly into the slot in light of several years of cooking experience when he was a college student.
If it is possible, Jessie is even more enthusiastic about assuming the leadership of Wachusett. Also a UVM graduate—and with a Master’s degree in social work—she has developed deep loyalties to the camp over the years that she and Matt have been together and anticipates taking an active role in the day-to-day operation of the camp. She is calm, caring, and insightful—qualities that are critical in overseeing the development of the campers.
The continuation of Wachusett’s balanced program of instructional activities, team sports, overnight trips, and special events is indeed part of the game plan. And the friendliness and spirit that are fundamental parts of Wachusett’s traditions will continue well into the future. The reliance upon a staff of Wachusett veterans—young men whose camp years began when they were boys—will continue as well.
Maria and I will always cherish the memories of our summers in New England. They weren’t the “vacations” that some of our friends thought they were. They were, however, a continuing source of satisfaction as we tried to look after the healthy development of countless numbers of boys. It is a stretch to say that we “enjoyed every minute”—but not a stretch to say that we enjoyed most of the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and decades. Given that we have a data base of information that goes back quite a ways, we’ll plan to stay in touch occasionally. We do plan to work closely with Matt and Jessie to make sure that the transition from the 2016 season to the 2017 season is as smooth as possible. Our earnest hope is that you will give them the same wonderful support that you gave us over the years. And as Bob Hope often said in signing off: thanks for the memories.
Best wishes to our Wachusett families—and, most especially, to “our boys”!
Jim and Maria
From: Matt and Jessie Pescatore
It is with great excitement that we write to tell you—parents, campers, alumni, staff, and friends—how much we are looking forward to working with the entire Wachusett community during the 2017 season, the camp’s 115th summer.
We feel honored to be able to assume the stewardship of Wachusett, and we are focussed upon continuing the camp’s wonderful traditions of friendliness and spirit. As the Weisses move away from full-time involvement, it is clear that they have been role models and mentors over many years, and their experience and expertise will be invaluable as we move forward. Their wisdom and guidance will help us perpetuate the excellence of programming, administration, and care that we all have come to expect.
Although Jessie obviously didn’t attend Wachusett, she spent many summers as a camper, counselor, and director in her home state of Minnesota. When she first came to Wachusett, Matt was the senior counselor in Club 8, and we both were about to graduate from the University of Vermont. When her visit ended, she was distraught that it had come and gone so quickly—and she was eager to return. That sentiment rings true for any alumnus or camper who understands the meaning of the motto popular with recent alumni: camp is life!
Matt spent his first summer as a camper in 1996 and has been involved in some way ever since. This past summer gave him the incredible opportunity to celebrate his 20th anniversary at Wachusett—as a full-time member of the staff and the community. The experience of returning to camp felt much like it did upon arriving as a brand new 13-year-old Kiowan. The traditions of camaraderie, enthusiasm, friendship, loyalty, and pride undoubtedly permeate the camp experience in the same way today as they did when Jim and Maria took over the direction of the camp decades and decades ago.
Our goal is to run Wachusett in the same spirit that has been characteristic of more than 100 summers—and to guide its continuing growth. It always has been a special place for us, and we hope to perpetuate the welcoming environment, the thoughtful development of boys, and the lifetime memories the camp holds for all of us. We fully understand the importance of upholding the camp’s wonderful traditions and of striving to pass along those traditions to generations of boys yet to come.
We plan to be in touch with our current families in early October concerning details about the 2017 season. In the meantime, know again that we both are thrilled to be taking over the leadership of Wachusett.
Unaliyi and our best regards.
Matt and Jessie