Week Six Update Plus 2020 Season Information

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Dear Parents and Friends,

The 2019 camp season ended with the completion of week six. It always seems like the last week flies by, due to the culmination of daily activities, Blue Grey, lodge initiations and other end of the summer events.  

Sunday began the week with sign up for activities. During the last week we ran as many activities as possible for boys trying to complete lodge requirements. Sunday evening the campers took turns performing cabin skits they had written and previously rehearsed. Everyone felt well entertained before heading to bed. 

We spent Tuesday off the property at the Great Escape for boys who had signed up as early birds and had not yet been. The rest of the campers went to Hillbilly Fun Park for mini golf, and then everyone met in the Village of Lake George. This trip was a bit different, since there was a power outage that affected a large area of the town. The outage and heavy rains forced the boys to try alternatives to their usual routines, which turned out to be a refreshing experience for everyone.  The weather for the rest of the week was beautiful and we made a point of spending more time enjoying the lake front with beach activities and extended general swim periods. 

We held initiations for Prospect and Chocorua Lodges. The Chocorua boys went to Mr. Ups in Middleberry, where they welcomed Austin Weiss and Devan Rimon into their fold, while dining on the side of Otter Creek. The ceremony for Prospect Lodge took place on the camp property, where members initiated Sam Weber, Joshua Weinstein, and Rudy Miliken. Two other campers who were not present at the initiation, but passed the requirements for Prospect Lodge were Charlie Lukens and Hayden Carpenter. This year there were no Wachusett Lodge initiates, but we know of a few who are very close. 

Friday, the final day, began quite normal during the morning with regular activities occurring after clean up.  Then after lunch we had an extended rest hour for boys to pack and put finishing touches on ghost rocks (One thing I have noted for next year is to ensure a more thorough supervision of packing. A lot of clothing was left behind. We will do our best to return items that have names written in them).

In the afternoon visiting parents began to trickle in for the end of season events. After rest period and store, we hosted the long awaited Blue Grey Apache Day!  Events included mini competitions in archery, soccer, lacrosse, riflery, tennis, basketball, canoeing and even bed making skills, while relay racing to each event. To quote Coach Avery, "The final season score was Grey: 14 and Blue: 13. Blue went into Apache leading 12 - 8, Blue won a point for scoring the higher target in archery, Grey, had the higher target in riflery, and then Grey won the race, which was five points." After the main event ended, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on the beach for beach games with swimming and water skiing.  The final banquet dinner was held in the dining hall followed by the awards ceremony. Trophies and plaques were handed out to boys who were present. For those not in attendance, plaques were hung in their honor and trophies will be sent home. Following the award ceremony, we relocated to the council circle for the final council fire, where counselors gave their activity reports, challenges occurred, ghost rocks were placed in the circle and we stood in place with candles lit for the final camp song. The next day boys left for the airport or were picked up by parents. Counselors began the magic of "Miracle Day," where the entire camp is put away. In just a few hours the pier, ski dock and boats, along with all gear on land was properly taken down and stowed for the winter. 

As I close out my first season as director, I am very grateful to all of the help from staff, camp families and friends who made the success of the 2019 season possible. A lot was learned, and I look forward to applying new knowledge to getting off to a great start toward planning for the 2020 camp year. 

The website has been updated with the dates and rates and is ready to accept applications. Rates will remain the same for 2020 and the season will run from June 28th to August 8th. A 15% discount for Early Bird sign up will be in effect until October 1st. Again, Early Bird will include a trip to the Great Escape theme park.  We hope your plans for next summer will include some time with us on the shores of Lake Hortonia. Please feel free to spread the word about Camp Wachusett by sending prospective families to our website or have them directly contact me. Additionally, we plan to revive a past practice of offering a fifty dollar gift to current boys who bring others to Wachusett. 

I truly hope everyone reading this final account of the 2019 season is having an enjoyable rest of the summer and that the winter months will be well spent. I look forward to remaining in contact.

Thank you for making Camp Wachusett a part of your life. 

Best Regards, and Unaliyi, Phil


Week Five Newsletter

Dear Parents,

We are entering our final week, which brings with it a bit of mixed emotions, since there is much excitement over the events of the final week, but also a solemn reminder to all that camp will soon end.  Today we will be signing up for our final week of activities. The picture above is of the group assembling for signup in front of the gazebo.  We will strive to run as many activity periods as possible this week so that boys may complete tasks they have been working on and to provide as many opportunities as possible for those trying to fulfill lodge requirements in time for initiations later in the week.  

Week five was highlighted by overnight trips, which also included a challenging three day hike on the "Long Trail," which provided the hikers with breathtaking views while ridge running above the tree line (pictured above). Casino night, the log reading skit based on Wachusett Wrestling Federation (luckily no injuries to our counselor participants), beach-side campfire with s'mores, and outdoor night time games were all great evening hits with the boys before heading to bed.

At Council Fire, counselors gave their weekly reports on activity achievements, highlighted by announcements that Griffin Morse passed Wachusett Swimming this past week and that Hayden Carpenter passed all ten requirements for membership into Prospect Lodge. Additionally, Austin Weiss has accumulated all the requirements to enter Chocorua Lodge and will be recognized at the final council fire on Friday. A show of hands determined that there are a few other boys getting very close to passing Prospect Lodge and Chocorua Lodge and may be able to do so before the season ends. Wachusett Lodge is the highest level of achievement and there are a couple of boys with fewer than three tests left to fulfill the requirements.

The final banquet and awards ceremony will be held this Friday evening.  Parents are welcome to visit at any point on Friday and enjoy all activities leading up to dinner and awards, and final council fire.  We will have our final Blue - Grey team sports event, known as Apache Day, beginning in late afternoon. Dinner will be served at 6:30 in the dining hall, followed by our awards ceremony, where boys will be recognized in areas of outstanding achievements, and  trophies and plaques handed out. We will mail trophies to boys who are not in attendance.

If you are picking up your boys on Saturday, we hope you will consider driving up Friday to join us. There are several options in the local area for staying overnight. On Saturday, we ask that boys are picked up by 9:00 am, since our staff will be focused on putting the camp away for the year. Boys flying out of Albany to BWI will be on SWA flight #3625 arriving in Baltimore at 12:25 pm.  Please make sure to provide me with confirmation numbers so that I can print out the tickets.  

It has been a great summer and we look forward to ending on a high note. 

Unaliyi, and Best Regards, Phil


Week Four Newsletter

Week four flew by:

Dear Parents,

We began the week sending out overnight trips to Lake George for canoeing and to Holderness, NH to the old Wachusett camp property. The canoe trip paddled to an island where they set up camp, went swimming, and had dinner followed by campfire stories. The next day the group paddled back to Hulett's Landing to be picked up and driven back to camp. The trip to Squam Lake in NH was for boys with family ties to the old camp or boys who have been at Wachusett for many summers. The trip included a tour of the property and cabins; swimming, boating and skiing on the lake; a hike up Mt. Fayal; a hike through the Polar Caves; a trip to Squam Lakes Science Center where boys learned about the Lakes Region ecosystems and observed native wild animals. Evening activities included a cook out and a trip to Fun Spot, an arcade that was frequented by Wachusett campers many years ago. 

After trips returned, the regular weekly schedule of activities resumed.  At council fire, it was announced that Charlie Lukens had passed all ten of the requirements of Prospect Lodge. His final achievement earning him the lodge was fire-building. Last week I forgot to recognize Charlie New for achieving Wachusett water skiing, which is a very significant accomplishment. 

Another Wachusett level achievement was earned by Griffin Morse for writing and directing a skit. A clip of  "Wachusett Hunger Games" can be viewed on our camp Facebook page. The stage was also booked Friday night for our weekly Log Reading event. This week Preacher Lorenzo was driving to Camp Wachusett for his annual revival meeting and picked up many hitchhikers along the way (clip also on Facebook). 

Outside of activities we spent a lot of time on the waterfront to ease the effects of the recent heat and high humidity. Additionally the boys enjoyed an evening of "Minute to Win it" hosted by Matt Dandola and a trip to Rutland for a, competitive in some cases, evening of bowling.

Week five begins our final two week session and will likely also fly by, since end of summer tournaments will begin along with another set of overnight trips. I look forward to reporting on those events. 

Again, it is always sad to see campers leave, but we hope they leave having enjoyed their time here and having learned from their experiences. We welcome the newcomers for the final two weeks.

Unaliyi, and Best Regards, Phil


Week Three Newsletter

Week three is complete

Dear Parents,

Week three brought some new faces to camp. After waterfront orientation and council fire, where the camp history, general information and helpful guidelines were presented, the boys merged right into our daily program.
As we are three weeks into the summer, boys are receiving recognition for higher level achievements in activities. Our progressive levels of achievement are identified as "Prospect" "Chocorua" and "Wachusett"  Lodges. Boys must accumulate ten achievements at each level to become a member of one of the lodges.  At council fire last night recognition was given to Prospect accomplishments as well as a rising number of Chorcorua awards and Wachusett level achievements.  Achieving Wachusett level in any activity is quite impressive and we are happy to congratulate Jack Verdery and William Ghorbani for passing the requirements for Wachusett level swimming, and Jack Verdery and Kian Amouzgar for passing Wachusett water skiing.

On Tuesday, Early Birds enjoyed a trip to the Great Escape Amusement and Water Park while the balance of the camp went the Hillbilly Fun Park for a round of mini golf. We all met up in Lake George to check out the various sights, which included arcades, museums and other tourist attractions. All boys traveled in groups with a counselor and found a place for dinner prior to heading back to camp.

Later in the week we fit in a dinner out plus movie trip to Rutland. The choices were Toy Story-4, Spiderman, Yesterday and Aladen. Spiderman attracted the largest camp audience followed by Toy Story-4.  Afternoon activities included two Blue-Grey competitions over the past week. One day of friendly competition included Dodge Ball, Tennis and basketball, and the other afternoon a large game of "Crosby" took place.  Crosby is a Wachusett invention that dates back at least 50 years and is a cross between ultimate frisby and Lacrosse.   Although many of the matches this week were very close, the Blue team prevailed, bringing the league score to Blue 8 Grey 1.  

Saturday was a beautiful day, We took a hike up Eagle Rock, which is a near by peak overlooking Lake Bebe and Lake Hortonia.  It is a short, but very steep hike in some places. The challenge was well worth the view (pictured above).

We have some new boys arriving today and a few departing as well. We wish those leaving us a great rest of the summer and we look forward to the new boys joining us.  

Week four will be another busy
one.  We are sending a canoe trip to Lake George and a three day trip to the old Camp Wachusett property in Holderness, New Hampshire. I look forward to sharing those highlights with you next week. 

Unaliyi, and Best Regards, Phil


Week Two Newsletter

Dear Parents,

Yesterday, the rain held off while we were in Brandon participating in the fourth of July Parade. Once again, we entered our 1948 Ford flatbed truck as our float with a team of energetic counselors who represented various activities at camp on and around the float.  We have won "Most Whimsy" and "Most Enthusiastic" over the past two years. If we win another category this year, I will let you know.  In the afternoon, after returning to camp, a major cold front came through bringing heavy rain and two lightning strikes that were very close by and knocked out our main phone line. Repairs should be made tomorrow, but if you need to get through, you can contact my cell phone (202) 744-7130.  

We are expecting several new arrivals this afternoon and evening. If that includes your son, please remember we request that you not make contact for the first week; however, always feel free to contact me by e-mail or telephone if you have any questions or need information. We also ask that you not send care packages that any contain food or candy.  

Aside from the popular daily program of activities, other highlights of the week included a choice of two overnight camping trips that left camp on Tuesday. One was a canoe trip on nearby Lake Bomoseen, where the group paddled to a campground and returned to be picked up the next day.  The other group hiked 6.4 miles to the summit of Camel's Hump, Vermont's third highest peak.  Both groups returned on Wednesday with great stories to tell. On Thursday, July 4th, we woke up to "God Bless America" on the intercom and recited the pledge of allegiance at breakfast. After a full day of activities and the "Stud of the Week"contest, won by William Ghorbani dressed as the "State of Vermont" (a lot of green), we got on the bus and went to Crystal Beach where we experienced a spectacular display of fireworks.  Friday was another beautiful day. In the afternoon, we boarded the bus and went to nearby Orwell to "Lazy Dog" Farm, a dairy farm owned by Stephanie Wilber (our nurse) and her husband Jessie. They provided an incredible tour of their farm. In a period of two hours, the boys experienced just about every facet of a dairy farm, including the opportunity to milk a cow and to taste fresh organic milk.  

We look forward to greeting the next wave of boys arriving today, as well as continuing to entertain and teach new skills to the boys already here.  For those who departed this morning, we truly enjoyed having them with us and hope they continue to enjoy the rest of their summer. 

Unaliyi and Best Regards, Phil


Week One Newsletter

We are off to a great start:

Dear Parents,

The first wave of boys for the 2019 summer arrived on Sunday, June 23rd.  We had a great beginning day with waterfront orientation capped off by a council fire where counselors described the activities they teach, the history of the camp was shared, stories were told, and boys participated in campfire challenges. The camp song was sung followed by lights out.  Monday brought sign up, where boys chose the activities for periods one and two for the week. That evening, campers grouped together and enjoyed a guided tour of the lake, choosing either row boat, canoe, kayak or war canoe as their means of transportation. Other evening highlights during the week included a "Minute to Win it" competition in the Main Lodge led by Matt Dandola, where cabin mates competed against other cabins in numerous one minute challenges. I found it most entertaining as an observer. Another extremely creative evening event was the counselor skit that accompanied "Log  Reading"  This is a weekly event where the counselors create a consistently hilarious skit, while working into the play the daily logs written by the campers. This week's theme was a visit from some Texas business tycoons looking to cash out on the local denim market. Their visit to Camp Wachusett proved fruitful. You would have had to have seen see it. 

Each year the camp is divided into two teams (Blue Grey) where participants compete throughout the summer in a variety of events. The first such event occurred on Tuesday in the form of Capture the Flag, when regular activities were rained out. Blue pulled off the first victory of the season. The next competition took place Thursday on the waterfront with a modified Wachusett version of volleyball. Grey pulled out the victory.  That was followed by an intense canoe and kayak relay race starting at the beach stretching around the ski dock and back to the beach, where paddles were handed off to the next teammate. Blue came up with the very close victory in that event.  The over all score is Blue-2 Grey-1.  The editor will remain unbiased, although he was on the grey team when a camper.  

Friday was a full day off the property for Early Birds to the Great Escape Amusement Park and Water Park followed by an excursion to the village of Lake George to enjoy the arcades, wax museum, Ben and Jerry's and numerous other hotspots, before heading back to camp in time for bed.  

Saturday as this is being written, we are off to a normal morning of activities. There is a strong likelihood of thunderstorms in the afternoon, which will send us to Rutland for a few rounds of bowling. Tonight we will have council fire with counselor reports and awards, followed by challenges.  

Letters written home by campers were put in the mail today, so if you have not already received communications from your son, the letters are on their way.

Airline transportation for the boys returning home on July 7th is SWA #5719 departing Albany at 11:35 am on July 7th and arriving at BWI at 12:50pm. Boys arriving on July 7th will use SWA Flight #4214 Departing BWI at 2:35pm.

We will also send a van or bus to the Scott Residence in Greenwich, CT (109 Byram Shore Road, Greenwich, CT 06830) to pick up boys on July 7th and drop off on July 20th. The Scott Family has offered to provide sandwiches, water and cookies at their home on the 7th. We will plan to arrive at 12:30 and be on the road to VT by 1:00 pm.  We will need an accurate headcount for passengers and luggage.  Please e-mail me as soon as you can with that information.

That is a wrap for week one. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

 Unaliyi from the staff at Camp Wachusett!  Best Regards, Phil

A note to 2019 Parents:

Dear Parents:

The 2019 Wachusett summer is almost here. You are receiving this message if you have enrolled or have communicated with me about enrolling your child for one of our sessions this summer.  We have a great staff made up of loyal young men who have been associated with the camp for many summers as well as two new  staff members from the Washington, DC area who will be helping out with tennis and basketball. Once they are all congregated in Vermont, we will post pictures and short biographies of each of our 2019 staff. You will notice if you look at the website, it still shows the group from 2018.  We will be providing balanced meals and healthy alternatives at meals to ensure everyone eats well to provide the energy and drive to take full advantage of each day's fun activities.

Some guidelines I want to share that will help as you prepare for camp are as follows:  Please do not pack any knives or sharp instruments. Cell phones are not permitted, but if you want to send one along, we can hold onto it for safekeeping until departure. We will provide spending money to boys when we go on day trips, but if you would like to provide extra cash, we will keep it safe and labeled so that they can withdrawal prior to leaving the property. Any left over will be returned.  Care packages should not contain food of any kind.  

Please provide letter or post card materials. We will plan on having boys send two letters per week. I know you will love hearing from them! Also, we plan to send out a weekly news letter, in the form of an e-mail. Let me know if you would rather have a copy mailed to your home address.

We ask that you not call your boys for the first week. If you would like to call after that, mealtimes are best: Breakfast 8:30 - 9:00, Lunch 1:30 - 2:15, Dinner 6:30 - 7:15. The number is: (802) 273-2880. If you would like to reach me, those are also good times, but I will generally be available at that number or will call you back asap if you leave a message.  We will have a nurse and nursing assistant this summer. The Infirmary number is (802) 273-2789.  Please be sure to carefully fill out the health form and e-mail back or mail to the camp address: 1430 Camp Road, Brandon, VT 05733, along with the media release form. If you did not receive one of these forms in the mail, you may find them on line at our website. 

Transportation is up to you. You may enjoy the drive to beautiful New England and take advantage of visiting some sights, or wish to utilize other means.  We will provide transportation between Albany and camp to meet flights on the following dates and times: 
SWA Flight #4214 Departing BWI at 2:35pm on: June 23rd, July 7th, July 14th and July 21st. Flight SWA #5719 departing Albany at 11:35 am on July 7th and July 14th and arriving at BWI at 12:50pm.  SWA Flight #3625 departing Albany, July 20 and August 3rd  at 11:10 AM and arriving in Baltimore at 12:25 pm.  We will also send a van or bus to Greenwich, CT to pick up boys on July 7th and drop off on July 20th. We will provide an ETA at a later time.  It is very important that you provide flight information for Albany or let me know how many will be utilizing our "Greenwich Shuttle" so that we can get an accurate headcount for passengers and luggage.  Please e-mail me as soon as you can with that information.

That is about all I can think of for now. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or to remind me that I left out an important bit of information that should be further shared.  Our staff is looking very forward to a great summer with your boys. 

Best Regards, Phil

Spring Gathering For DC area Families and Friends

Please join us on Saturday, April 27th, between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm at the Landon Lower school multi purpose room for a spring "Open House.” Drop by to visit us anytime during the two hour event and bring any prospective families who would like to find out about our camp. We will have a slide show of pictures from last summer and will provide updates and information for the fast approaching 2019 season.

Landon School is located at 6101 Wilson Land in Bethesda, Maryland. The Lower School (Wilson Building) is located past the Gym and behind the Lower school athletic field.  If you need more precise directions or have any questions about the event, please feel free to e-mail me: director@campwachusett.com or call (804) 438-6250.

We hope to see you there.  Unaliyi! -Phil

March 1st Early Bird Deadline and 2019 Summer updates

Dear Wachusett Families and Friends,

I hope the winter months are going well for you, and like us, you are looking ahead to summer and thinking about Wachusett.  While things are quiet on Lake Hortonia, we have been planning and recruiting for the 2019 camp season, which is just a few months ahead. If you haven't signed up yet, please remember that March 1st is the Early Bird deadline for a trip to the Great Escape theme park and 10% off of tuition.

Our recruiting team has been working hard to market camp to new and current families for 2019.  We have attended camp fairs in New England and Maryland and were pleased to be joined by some dedicated campers and staff to help promote Wachusett to prospective families. We would also really appreciate any help you could provide to spread the word about camp to people you may know with boys who would enjoy a summer at Wachusett. The following link: https://www.flipsnack.com/thumpercralle/camp-wachusett.html will take you to an electronic version of our brochure. Please take a look at it and feel free to forward it on to people who you think might be interested in our camp. Hopefully, anyone who looks at our brochure will be inspired to check out our website http://campwachusett.com for further information. 

A couple of enhancements for next summer include: new basketball backboards, and a special three day trip during the week of July 14th to the old camp property in Holderness, NH, limited to ten boys in 7th grade or older, to hike and enjoy the Squam Lakes region. A glance at our brochure will show a daily schedule, which includes the return of "Store."  

So far, we have an enthusiastic contingency of staff returning for next summer who are looking forward to providing six weeks of entertaining, educational and fulfilling land and water activities including hiking, canoeing and  special trips to the surrounding areas. Matt Dandola will be sharing his expertise in staff development during preseason and will oversee the leadership programs for CITs and Junior Counselors. We are excited to announce the return of senior staff members: Ollie Martin, George Dobud, Peter Krogh, Nick (Chief) Avery and Matt Oxley.  Also, Una will be returning as our cook to provide delicious camp meals.

If you have any questions, suggestions,or would like any further information please feel free to e-mail me anytime.  We are looking forward to a great summer!

Unaliyi, Phil

"The Camp Where Friendships Grow"

Camp Begins June 23.
Please visit our website:campwachusett.com for more details.
Don't forget to sign up before March 1st!  

Here's what you get when you sign up before March 1st:


Register Here!

Happy New Year!

Greetings. I hope everyone had a great holiday season. We are getting off to a great start with the new year. The Early Bird discount will be extended to March 1 with 10% off of tuition for those returning to Wachusett and 15% off for those new to Wachusett. We will be attending four camp recruiting events in January. Come join us if we are near your neck of the woods: January 12 we will be in Mt Kisco, NY attending the Westchester Family Camp Fair from 12 - 3:00 PM at the NY Grand Prix on Bedford Avenue; January 13 we will be in Mamaroneck, NY attending a second Westchester Family Camp Fair from 12 - 3:00 PM at the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club on Barry Avenue. On January 23 we will be in Greenwich, CT attending the “Greenwich Summer Fare,” held at the Greenwich High School from 6 - 8:00 PM; and finally on January 27th we will be at Montgomery County Camp & Summer Fun Expo in Rockville, Maryland at the Hilton on Rockville Pike from 10 - 4:00PM. We are planning other recruiting opportunities for February and March.

This year we are trying a new approach to our brochure. We understand that parents are our customers, but also we know that their boys have a major say in how they want to spend their valuable summer vacation time. We are dedicated to considering prospective campers just as much a customer as their parents while looking into summer programs. Our 2019 brochure is being marketed to the camper customer in hopes it will pique their interest to ask their parents to find out more about Camp Wachusett and to visit the website for more detailed information.

Pictured below is the cover of our 2019 Camp Brochure. I will be mailling out copies to the Wachusett community over the next few weeks. If you do not receive one or are not currently on our mailing list please contact me and I’d be glad to put a copy or more in the mail to you to read and pass on to any prospects.

Cover of 2019 Camp Brochure.

Cover of 2019 Camp Brochure.


Greetings from Camp Wachusett! Please join us as we celebrate the holiday season with a 15% off Early Bird sign up between now and January 1st.

Camp Begins June 23.

Forgotten about the perks of signing up early? Here's what you get when you sign up before January 1st:

Don't forget to sign up before January 1st!  

The Wachusett Boy

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