camp activities

2016 season recap

Well we made it…Water Monkey Camp just wrapped up its fifth season of wakeboarding / waterskiing / wakesurfing / wake skating fun on the lake. While it has taken a lot of work behind the scenes to make it all happen, the credit goes to all of our loyal camper families for continuing to trust us to give your campers an amazing experience each summer. (At the bottom of this post are links to all of the 2016 pictures)

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Year five was also the second year at our permanent property and we are really starting to get comfortable now. Seeing campers and staff take advantage of our epic location by playing Spikeball on the beach, having flipping contests off the dock, lounging in the hammock chill zone, or engaging in intense ultimate Frisbee matches on the field is just an added bonus beyond the time spent on our ridiculous boats.

A rider prepares for his set...

Speaking of boats, the 2016 Mastercraft NXT22 was the perfect addition to our program. It is versatile and ideal for teaching and shredding! We told everyone this summer that we would be replacing the 2015 Axis A22 for next year but, by overwhelming popular demand, we will be running it for one more summer. It is just loved by so many of our staff and campers that there is no rush to get rid of it yet.

Now some fun 2016 stats!

  • 103 campers over 7 weeks
  • Each camper stayed an average of 1.5 weeks at camp (longest stay by any camper was 4 weeks)
  • Average number of campers per week was 14.71
  • Campers were 61% boys, 39% girls
  • Average camper age was 13.9
  • 33% of campers were returners, 67% were new (huge growth summer!)
  • Campers came from 13 states (AS, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, MA, MD, NH, NJ, NY, OH, VA) as well as Canada, China, Dominican Republic, France, Hungary, and Turkey!
  • 17,068 unique visitors to watermonkeycamp.com in the past 12 months
  • 9,308 pictures uploaded for parents and campers to enjoy
  • Average water temperature during camp was 76 degrees
  • 4 broken screen doors (campers like to just walk right through)
  • 1 black eye
  • 608 homemade meatballs
  • 1,200 water balloons for 1 brand new camp game – Monkey Ball
  • 25 flotilla swim parties
  • 250 hours on the Mastercraft and 230 hours on the Axis A22 (for a total of 430 in 2 seasons)
  • 2,300 gallons of gas consumed on the lake producing roughly 20 metric tons of CO2 offset with a contribution to Cool Effect (cooleffect.org) Alto Mayo Conservation Initiative to protect land in Peru from deforestation. (We offset an additional 10 metric tons to cover camper transportation to/from camp.)

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Next summer is a ways off still but it is not too early to start planning! Enrollment is officially open and some families have already reserved spaces for their campers.  As you start thinking about next year I hope that you will keep us in mind for a week or two of camp for your camper(s). Word of mouth is far and away our biggest recruiting tool so please help us fill our bunks and take advantage of our $300 referral bonus for each camper you send our way who enrolls for at least one week.

I hope you all have a terrific year until we see you again and feel free to e-mail, call, text, write, Skype, or visit any time!

Sincerely,

Evan

617-855-9253

evan@watermonkeycamp.com

Week 2     Week 3     Week 4     Week 5     Week 6     Week 7     Week 8

How to recover from a bad camp experience...

We hear from new families we speak to all of the time that they are hesitant to send their son or daughter back to camp after a horrendous episode at another camp.  From inedible food to untrained and aloof staff to dilapidated facilities to dangerous practices - we have heard it all.  So here are some pointers for how campers and parents can bounce back from a bad camp experience.

  1.  Figure out exactly went wrong.  Your camper comes home sullen and quiet.  You ask him/her what is the matter and all you get is 'camp sucked, I'm never going back'.  A bit of digging is surely required.  Ask your camper specifics about counselors, facilities, food, and other campers.  You may be able to trigger some response that clues you in to what went wrong.  If you cannot get anywhere a call or e-mail to the camp director or owner is called for.  A good director will be in touch with camper issues so if someone was unhappy throughout the summer they should be able to give you some information.  Of course, your camper may hop in the car and tell you exactly why the camp 'sucked' which will make your life easier.  If you find out that the camp lied in its marketing and did not offer certain activities, trips, or meals that were promised you certainly deserve some more information or financial renumeration from the program.
  2. Figure out what went right.  Kids, for the most part, will always find a way to have some fun.  It is likely that even if your camper absolutely hated their camp there will be one or two aspects that they enjoyed.  Maybe they liked one certain sport or they loved the theater program or they had fun living in a cabin.  If you cannot figure this out with your camper's help try looking through camp pictures - either taken by your camper or posted online by the camp - to see when your camper is smiling and having fun.  This will all help you in your search for a new camp.
  3. Search for a new camp, don't force the same camp!  Many parents will force their camper to give the same camp another try; maybe they are alumni of the camp or an older child loved it or another family in town sends their kids every summer or they are just unwilling to start the camp search over again.  Whatever the reasoning, the parents feel that their child will like their camp if they just give it another try.  Remember that all camps are not for all children but there is a camp out there for every child.  Just because an older brother had the time of his life at Camp Whatever does not mean it will be a good fit for all the kids.  It may be daunting to dive back into the camp search after you thought you had found 'the one' but camps, in general, do not drastically change in a year so if it was not a good fit last summer it probably will not be again next summer.  This camp search will be a bit easier because you will better know your camper's likes and dislikes and can narrow down what camps you are looking at.
  4. Start small.  A bad camp experience will impact both the camper and his/her parents.  A camper stuck at a camp that is substandard or just not a good fit for a number of weeks leads to unhappy letters home, phone calls, etc which will stress out (and traumatize) the parents.  It can be hard to even give camp another try with the fear that it could happen all over again.  Starting small at a new camp will allow both the camper and the parents to 'see the light at the end of the tunnel'.  A short one or two week program is an easy goal to start with while the camper builds up new confidence and the parents are able to relax and acclimate.  You can always stay longer next summer or add on to the camp stay if the camper is having a blast.
  5. Be supportive but not smothering.  Do not forget that camp is an opportunity for children to gain self confidence, step out of their comfort zone, make new friends, try new things, and grow as an individual.  A parent may be tempted to check in on their camper constantly at a new camp after a bad experience but they should not succumb.  Send fun care packages that they can share with the cabin or mail a funny card instead of calling the camp (or the camper directly) every day.  Tell the new camp what went wrong at the old camp...this is helpful guidance for directors to make sure their camp does not do a disservice to a new camper.

I hope that that was helpful!  I decided to write this post after having heard from dozens of families over the past few years that had had this problem and were looking for a fresh start.

If you are just getting in to the camp search feel free to take a look at my camp search advice posts:

Tips on picking a summer camp (part 1)

Tips on picking a summer camp (part 2)

As always, feel free to call or e-mail with camp questions!

617-855-WAKE (9253)

-Evan

Water Monkey Camp has a new location (officially)

We are so excited to announce that Water Monkey Camp is moving to its new, permanent location directly on the shores of Merrymeeting Lake.  This property is the fulfillment of the Water Monkey Camp dream where we have a small, self-contained community of campers and staff pursuing their wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakesurfing, and wakeskating goals and ambitions. On the property we have:

  • Five cottages with two or three bedrooms in each as well as a full bathroom.  Campers and staff will live in these cottages just a few steps from the lake.
  • Clubhouse on the sandy beach for group use.  This is where camp will have meetings, cook-outs, watch movies, play games, and hold indoor instruction on white-boards and with digital video captured out on the lake.
  • Large multi-purpose field where campers and staff will have fun when they are not actively out on the water.  Think pick-up games of ultimate frisbee, soccer, kickball, etc.
  • Sandy beach and T-Dock on the lake where the two camp boats will be happily docked.  Campers and staff - under the supervision of lifeguards - will be able to swim, SUP, and enjoy the gorgeous New Hampshire summer from this amazing spot.

No matter how great the location, though, it is camp's top-notch staff and amazing campers that really make the experience.  Camp will still emphasize superior instruction using the best boats and equipment, gourmet, home-cooked meals, and a safe, constructive environment.  What Water Monkey Camp has done is embrace the best parts of traditional camps and apply them to a watersports-intensive program to create a unique place for boys and girls to thrive and have an awesome time.

As we get started working on the property this spring I will be sure to post pictures so you can share in our excitement and anticipation of this season at the new location.

-Evan

2014 season recap

The 2014 season of Water Monkey Camp is history and - with no hyperbole - could be described as epic.  Each year I leave camp thinking it was the best summer ever and the next summer just blows it out of the water.  Many thanks to all of the campers (and their parents), staff, and my friends and family for helping make it all possible. This year we had a 100% fresh staff which included all new instructors and a first time chef.  I was constantly impressed with the quality of work they all produced and the height to which they raised the bar for the Water Monkey Camp program and any camp that hopes to teach water sports.

2014 showed that we are certainly not lacking in top notch students to teach on the lake.  The guys and girls we have welcomed to camp have come from all over the U.S. and the world and each bring with them their own unique backgrounds, water sports abilities, and personalities but all share the same desire to have fun, learn, and make the most of their short time at camp.

Here is a breakdown of the 2014 season:

  • We filled 68 out of 70 spaces this summer over seven weeks of camp
  • Campers came from 12 states (California, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas) as well as France and Canada
  • The average age of our campers was 13.849
  • Campers were 74% guys, 26% girls
  • Peak sustained water temperature was in Week 7 at 81 degrees
  • Lowest water temperature was in Week 1 at 74 degrees
  • 10,828 unique visitors to www.watermonkeycamp.com in the past 12 months
  • Served up 2,205 meals (and almost infinite snacks)
  • Taught eight campers how to do back rolls or tantrums
  • Racked up another 200 hours on the Centurion odometer to bring us to 500 hours of fun!
  • Burnt through 940.28 gallons of gas producing 8.344 metric tons of CO2...offset by planting 150 trees through www.CarbonFund.org! (we planted an extra 60 trees to offset some of the camper travel to/from camp)

It is too early to tell what the 2015 season will be like for Water Monkey Camp.  We hope to move to our new property but are still facing a long process obtaining zoning approval.  Having turned away more than 60 campers this year we desperately need to increase our capacity in order to make Water Monkey Camp accessible to more kids.  To that end we are purchasing a second boat (we have narrowed down the new boat options to two companies) and already started recruiting additional coaches so that we will be able to instruct 20 campers per day for the length of the summer.  One thing we can guarantee is that camp will continue to deliver the same experience that our campers know and love.

Keep in touch throughout the year and we hope to see you back at camp in 2015!

Sincerely,

Evan Goldner

617-855-WAKE