new staff member - chef Rebecca

We are beyond excited to welcome Chef Rebecca Calhoun to Water Monkey Camp. Rebecca is the chef at a fraternity house at Emory University in Georgia where she cooks fresh, creative and hearty daily meals for 50+ hungry college kids. That experience is what makes Rebecca a great fit for our program. She is used to cooking with high-quality ingredients for small/medium sized groups of people who are used to having great food (sounds like camp to me!). 


Besides being a stellar chef, Rebecca lives a pretty fun life in Georgia! She lives in a historic farm house which she is currently updating and renovating and loves to garden, raise her farm animals and spend time with her family. 

You can check out her bio on our website or, even better, come to camp to meet Rebecca this summer!

deep freeze

Anyone in New England over the past two weeks has experienced a prolonged super deep freeze with temps hovering around 0 and windchills in the negative territory. We absolutely love this weather and have been snowboarding, skiing, biking, hiking and otherwise making the most of winter fun.

Fat tire biking was high on my list of things to do this season. Gosh it was fun and addictive!

The powder has definitely been flowing in NH! After 23 years of only snowboarding I decided to jump back into skiing last season.

There is a little park in Bedford, NH called Pulpit Rock. It is a sweet valley full of boulders and waterfalls and paths. It was fun to hike around and check out frozen walls of ice.

Merrymeeting Lake is frozen solid. This is a panorama of the lake from the dam and public boat launch.

This last shot is of Pleasant Cove on Merrymeeting Lake last week. It was -5 degrees and the entire lake was frozen with smooth ice. 

Happy wintering!


Why is it so tough for kids to fly to camp alone?

Every summer millions of kids travel to camp via cars, busses, trains and planes. Most camps offer some sort of pick-up/drop-off service at local airports and it can be logistically challenging. Delays (or early arrivals) and cancelations are annoying but there is nothing more frustrating than dealing with airlines' 'unaccompanied minor' policies. The below article from NY Times delves into the direct costs of flying 'UM' but does not touch on the added cost to the adults that have to make the transfer at the airport.

When we pick-up a camper flying 'UM' we can expect it to take at least an additional hour after the plane lands for the camper to get out to us. Drop-off is even worse as we are required to go through security with the camper and wait at the gate until the plane takes off which sometimes means an entire day at the airport. This is a waste of time and resources for most campers who are more than capable of flying solo. Surprisingly bus and train companies are even more difficult: most do not let unaccompanied minors under the age of 16 ride regardless of the situation.

The summer camp experience helps kids build self-confidence and gain independence and the journey to/from camp should be part of that adventure. So what should parents do? The 'UM' policies are not flexible and airline employees will never budge (we have tried). Parents can encourage their campers to not just be led around the airport but actively look at maps, signs and arrival/departure boards to gain some understanding of how airports work. They should know their airline, flight number and departure time as well. This will help them learn skills that will make them successful travelers in the future.

Winter Monkeys

Living in New England means short summers and long winters. Wetsuits help extend the boating season but they cannot help once the lakes are frozen. The best way to keep shredding is to grab your skis or snowboard and hit the mountains!

Water Monkey Camp is a sponsor for the NH USASA Ski and Snowboard Competition series. Each winter we give away over $4,000 worth of prizes and merchandise to the kids competing. These kids travel from all over New England to show the judges their best tricks and try to win some prizes!

Ryan has been attending these events to pump the kids up, hand out swag and meet the families. Here he is with a few kids who were lucky enough to win some Water Monkey Swag and one of them a free two hour lesson!

Stay warm this winter, summer is closer than you think!



so what do you do all year?

Today's entry in 'So what do camp directors do all year?' is Office Work, subcategory: Winter Gifts!

Every year we mail all of our campers a surprise winter gift. It is typically something small (easily mailable), one size and unisex. Being a small camp I do not have a staff of people or the resources to pay a company to do this for me so I get to coordinate this endeavor on my own! This involves verifying camper addresses, printing envelopes, printing return envelopes, printing enrollment forms, printing the winter gift letter, folding all that paper and then stuffing, stamping and sending them all out at the same time!

It is a solo job but my wife snagged a pictures of me hard at work:

Stuffing envelopes on an indo board in sweats and a flannel. Typical day in the office!

Stuffing envelopes on an indo board in sweats and a flannel. Typical day in the office!

Past gifts have included: Nalgene water bottles, Carhartt winter hats, Water Monkey bucket hats, Water Monkey ski / snowboard socks and Phunkshunwear ski / snowboard face masks. This year's gift is pretty sweet but it is still a secret until next week!

Envelopes and forms and gifts galore!

Envelopes and forms and gifts galore!

If you are feeling a bit left out because you will not get a gift just sign up to be a camper!