Land sports and activities include:
Wachusett’s archers use compound bows, and the boys shoot from distances between 15 yards and 50 yards.
Our beginning level of achievement is Yeoman—100 points with 30 arrows from a distance of 15 yards. Our intermediate level is Bowman—100 points with 30 arrows from 20 yards; and our advanced level is Archer—100 points from 30 yards. Beyond the level of Archer are still more difficult challenges from 40 and 50 yards. Instructors always devote considerable attention to safety and proper technique
Instructional classes focus upon offensive and defensive skills, both individual and team. Drills help the boys develop passing, dribbling, and shooting skills as well as team offenses against man-to-man and zone defenses. Defensive techniques, both man-to-man and zone, also are part of a typical hour-length class.
Playing time always complements the skills focus and helps to keep the hour lively and productive. Throughout the day boys often have some free time, and the basketball enthusiasts often are using the courts even though there is no regular class or formal instruction.
The campcraft program covers a wide array of skills and challenges boys to move through beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels of achievement.
The beginning level includes such skills as firebuilding and packing for hiking and canoeing trips. Intermediate and advanced levels include skills such as knot-tying, splicing, first aid, and survival.
Beyond helping the boys develop a solid base of knowledge and competence, the goal is to help them develop an enjoyment and appreciation of the outdoors.
The boys use 22-caliber rifles and always shoot from a distance of 50 feet. The beginning level of proficiency is Pro-Marksman, 10 targets of 20 points or better from the prone position.
More advanced levels demand greater accuracy — 30 points, for example, for the level of Marksman 1st Class. The most advanced youngsters eventually move from the prone position to kneeling and sitting positions. Safety is paramount, and full adherence to safety requirements is a prerequisite to participation in the activity.
The purpose of the tennis program is to help boys improve basic skills– forehands , backhands, overheads, and serves, for example — as well as the tactics and strategies they bring to a match.
There is a focus upon good technique and movement and upon the importance of repetition and practice. The idea is to work with youngsters who have had little experience in the sport get off to a good start — and to assist youngsters who have played a fair amount in becoming stronger and stronger players.
In the Wachusett shop, campers have the opportunity to plan and build projects ranging from basic and simple ones such as small boxes to more more advanced ones such as Adirondack chairs. Rules of shop safety are stressed, and campers learn to use a wide array of tools under the supervision of experienced counselors.
Water sports and activities include:
Boating, Canoeing and Kayaking
The camp’s fleet consists of five rowboats, seven kayaks, and fifteen canoes. The starting point for most boys is rowboating, a beginning level of achievement in the activities program. The intermediate level of achievement requires boys to demonstrate a series of competencies in canoeing, both alone and in pairs.
Boating and canoeing classes also provide campers with a good deal of exposure to kayaks — as a change of pace and as an introduction to still another feature of the waterfront.
The sailing program takes boys through three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced — or Seaman, Mate, and Skipper.
Sailing instructors use one of the camp’s two large sailboats — with a capacity of five or six — to introduce beginners to the basics. Once youngsters have attained the beginning level of proficiency, they typically use one of the camp’s four sunfish — either alone or in pairs — as they are develping more advanced skills.
In the relatively few instances where boys come to camp as non-swimmers, instructors make every effort to help them become beginning swimmers through regular classes.
The daily program of three or four periods of instructional activities allows other boys to elect swimming classes as they move through the Red Cross’s progression of levels. Campers are able to develop greater strength in the water and greater proficiency with different strokes.
Many boys first learn to waterski when they come to Wachusett, though certainly it is the case that some have skied before. The combination of a quiet, 500-acre lake and the camp’s 240-horsepower Ski Nautique creates a wonderful opportunity both for beginners and more advanced skiers.
For boys just learning, the introduction to the basics begins in shallow water; after a day or two, they move into deeper water behind the Nautique and start to develop the ability to keep the skis together and let the boat do most of the work.
More advanced skiers learn to lift a ski and then to drop a ski; a deepwater start with one ski becomes an even stiffer challenge. Waterskiing can be a difficult skill to learn — and the instructors provide constant encouragement and reiterate often the themes of patience and persistence.
Team sports remain an important part of the Wachusett program.
Competition typically includes such sports as basketball, softball and soccer. Boating meets, swimming meets and water polo matches add another dimension to team sports.
Wachusett teams do not compete against other camps; instead, the focus is upon vigorous intracamp competition, participation, teamwork and sportsmanship.
Division of campers into teams for several weeks has been a convenient way to approach competitive sports and to strengthen the idea of team participation. Several times a week the boys compete during a hour-length period devoted to team sports — with the understanding that the heat of the competition ends with the final whistle. In addition, regular soccer and basketball games are options for interested boys.
Although the competition is frequently by Junior, Intermediate and Senior divisions, there are occasions that boys of different ages and members of the staff enjoy team sports together — during the immensely popular evening soccer, frisbee and softball games for example.
Wachusett’s active program of overnight trips involves hiking and canoeing trips of a night or more and takes the boys into splendid sections of Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire.
Although the trips are optional, the camp encourages the boys to take advantage of some of the outstanding opportunities for camping in New England. The Green Mountains of Vermont, the Adirondacks of New York, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire are simply gorgeous and offer terrific hiking and canoeing opportunities.
The overnight trips are geared to a boy’s age and maturity. Campers typically select a trip from several that are offered.
The camp’s trips often contribute to the development of independence, cooperation, and appreciation that Wachusett always has considered significant. They are intended to challenge but not to overwhelm. The emphasis is upon simplicity — with food prepared in the open and shelter provided by tents, lean-tos, and the stars. The hope is that these early experiences will lead to a lifelong interest in the outdoors and in the environment.
The normal program of activities and trips is enhanced by a variety of special events which add to the liveliness characteristic of Wachusett. Vigorous games of Capture the Flag, even in rainy conditions, are a periodic source of excitement.
Cabin skits may not be Broadway productions, but they seldom fail to entertain and amuse; they also provide an excellent opportunity for the camper whose bent is theatrical.
The Fourth of July parade and fireworks in nearby Brandon, VT come early in the summer. There are special day trips for Early Birds campers. Feature movies in our main lodge, movie nights in nearby Rutland, and occasional bowling nights help to maintain a high level of enthusiasm—as does the reading of the Logs which the boys write about each day's activities and about trips.
Our weekly campfires are another special highlight. They always include reports from counselors about the boys' achievements and, in the spirit of old-fashioned fun, challenges such as starefests, talkfests, arm wrestling, and leg wrestling.
Tournaments in tennis, ping pong, and horseshoes are voluntary, but there never is any shortage of volunteers. Movie Nights allow boys an opportunity to get away from the property. In a word, things are never dull.
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