Kieve-Wavus Blog

When Passion Drives Education

Check out the new Bridge Year blog post by teacher Carolyn “Griff” Griffiths 

Posted in: Activities, Leadership School, News |

Educators in Residence

Seven Leadership School Educators and the mentors from the six schools where they will spend the winter gathered January 15th at the Kennedy Learning Center to kick off the Educator in Residence program by sharing school specific goals and strategies. Educators will be “in residence” for seven weeks this winter to support the integration of The Leadership School message and practices at Memorial Middle School in South Portland, King Middle School in Portland, Loranger Middle School in Old Orchard Beach, Nobleboro Central School, Boothbay Region Elementary School and Bristol Consolidated School.educators_in_residence_02

During the first week that Educators were in schools, one site mentor wrote to tell us,  “what a pleasure it has been this week to have Will here. . . he has already, in just 3 short days, proven to be a valuable asset to us.”

The assets that the Educators are bringing into schools will benefit the entire community long after the term of their residency.  Educators in Residence are providing a fresh perspective to energize and invigorate students and teachers alike.  While after school play clubs blossom, student to student anti-bullying workshops develop, and experiential techniques gain footholds in all disciplines, and relationships between Educators and students are grow strong, the mutual commitment between Kieve-Wavus and these six schools becomes ever stronger.educators_in_residence_05

Posted in: Activities, Leadership School, News |

New Year’s Evolutions

New Year’s Evolutions

They aren’t really New Year’s Resolutions, because they have been a long time in the making, and they aren’t New Year’s Revolutions because they don’t really represent a change of course.  We are developing new programs that will allow us to meet the Kieve-Wavus mission in new ways, while building upon the strengths, tradition and history that makes us the healthy vibrant organization that we are today.  So perhaps they are Evolutions – structural changes to make us more effective, sustainable and healthy.

But before I share our Evolutions with you, let’s review the Kieve-Wavus mission statement. (be honest – have you ever read it?)

Kieve-Wavus Education empowers people to contribute positively to society by promoting the values of kindness, respect for others, and environmental stewardship through year-round experiential programs, camps for youth and adults, and guidance from inspirational role models

So, with the mission as our inspiration – we are heading into 2013 prepared to strengthen and deepen our impact on young people in our current programs – and to launch a brand new program.

Scheduled to launch in Fall 2014, the Bridge Year will engage 24 rising 9th graders in a year of innovative study that fosters intellectual, social, emotional and physical growth in a cooperative learning environment.  The Bridge Year will be based at the Kennedy Learning Center and will use the communities, trails and waterways of Maine and beyond as its classrooms.

With over 80 years of experience, education and adventure with young people behind us, Kieve-Wavus is thrilled to embrace this evolutionary shift that will allow us to engage deeply with a small group of young people for an extended period of time.

Please support our efforts by spreading the word – and watching the Bridge Year blog for updates as the program develops and as we prepare to welcome our inaugural class of students in September 2014!the_bridge_year_image

Posted in: All Camps, News |

Make a Difference

Since 1982, the Leadership School has impacted communities across the state of Maine in many ways.  Over that time, we have shared important messages like, “I make my life through my choices” with an entire generation.  At Leadership School programs now, we meet students whose parents have said fondly “I remember that” and “my time at Kieve was so special.”  These stories fuel our passion and remind us that although our programs may be short, the power of our work is great.  While our time with students during Leadership School programs is short-lived and temporary, the stories that we hear weeks, months and years later tell us that our impact is deep and lasting.

As Educators, we know that our lasting impact is less about us, or our specific teachings, than it is about the opportunities that we offer students.  With our belief in them, we are giving students a gift of belief in themselves.  By posing authentic challenges, we offer students confidence to push themselves to both “fail” and “succeed” with courage and grace.  When we listen and play, we demonstrate to students that they are valuable and worth our time and attention.  By showing our true selves at work and play, we reveal an honest human spirit that is both fallible and completely acceptable . . . and as they “strive in emulation of” any one of the Educators at TLS, they are really striving to live within their own true selves.

As you do your work in the world, notice how you impact those around you and how powerful your connections are.  You may be surprised to find how many connections you have made – and how many of them are deep and lasting.

Posted in: Leadership School, News |

What Feeds Your Fire?

It was two degrees this morning.  As I filled the wood stove, I thought about how kind the mild winter had been to the woodpile.  In early January, we are barely ¼ of the way through the year’s stash of firewood and that gives me a sense of security and safety.  There will be something left when we get a “surprise” April Nor’easter.  Yet it feels good to load the stove this morning, and to let it burn hot for a while.   It takes the chill out of the air but it also increases the pace – of my morning chores, my morning thoughts.  The chill and the fierce fire that chases it away take the malaise out of the grey, winter morning and remind me to keep fanning the fires that keep me passionately engaged in my life and my work.

My fire is fed by my family, trying something new, hearing new ideas, being outdoors, working hard with my body and my mind, challenging stasis.  It is also fed by helping others recognize the sparks and dim flames in themselves and supporting them as they nurture those flames to slowly grow a fierce, hot fire that motivates and empowers the positive potential within. . . So I ask you, what feeds your fire?

This winter, in the quiet months when veterans Veterans Camp join us for play, reflection, and rejuvenation, and other Kieve Wavus programs prepare for the seasons ahead, we are feeding the fire at Kieve Wavus with big gnarly logs.  Winter is the time to take stock, question our assumptions, improve our programs and reach out to the wider world to ask what else it needs from us.  We are nurturing our sparks and building a fire that will produce a hot bed of coals to provide a base for the work ahead.   We look forward to sharing the warmth of our fire with you in the chilly winter months ahead!


















by Lisa Steele-Maley

Photo credit: Island Swim by Charles J. Richardson


Posted in: All Camps, Leadership School, Veterans' Camp |

To Strive in Emulation of…

Since the age of ten I’ve been traveling to Camp Kieve with an overarching goal of completing the final summer’s wilderness adventure. As a 16 year old I would backpack one hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail through the rugged wilderness of northern Maine ending at the summit of Mt. Katahdin. I would stand on top of this mighty, barren mountain, having overcome all sorts of challenges and triumphed in my goal.

Kieve is a Celtic verb meaning to strive in emulation of. With admiration, emulation, and an affinity, I looked up to the dynamic college students, our counselors, who possessed the unique “Kieve identity”. They embodied the core values of the camp-courage, perseverance, and loyalty- and were natural leaders. Along with the counselors, boys who completed their final year at camp, the month-long odyssey of “Maine Trails,” returned not only bearded, beat-up men, but possessed that enigmatic Kieve identity.

I believed that completing the trip would give me this identity and I was motivated to be a leader amongst my group. Year after year I returned to camp. One year I tore up my feet hiking Doubletop; the next I canoed the rivers and lakes surrounding the massive Katahdin. With my cabin mates, I rubbed my shoulders raw “soloing” canoe portages through knee-deep mud and had my tent flooded and my sleeping bag soaked, and yet I always knew there was a demanding challenge still awaiting me.

The summer of ’10 was my last at Kieve. I can say now that it was my best, although not for the reasons I expected. Yes, I did stand on top of Katahdin after a long journey. Yes, I grew close to my cabin mates. I became bearded and beat-up, just as expected. But when I summited Katahdin, I did not feel the overwhelming sense of accomplishment I had expected. Instead, I was overcome with a realization that an epoch in my life had come to a close. Never again would my cabin mates and I have as strong a camaraderie, no longer could I strive in emulation of counselors and older campers, no longer could I look forward to Kieve every summer. As I stood on Katahdin’s rocky, windswept summit, I realized that it was the journey that mattered. Every single moment I spent at Kieve became infinitely more important than the moment in which I reached my goal.

When I returned to camp I had the coveted “Kieve identity”: courage, perseverance, loyalty, and leadership. However, I also knew that I had had it all along. I now see that having goals directs my energies and shapes who I become, but has to be balanced with being fully present and savoring each moment. Year after year I had not fully recognized the unique value of each experience. I realized that appreciating the moment is vastly more important than completely diminishing that moment in pursuit of a goal.

by Noah Rickerich

Posted in: Camps, Kieve Camp for Boys |

The Leadership School Rolls On

The chill in the air heralds the return of back to school traditions for parents, students and teachers – school bus schedules, lunch boxes, afterschool activities, and homework.  For almost 500 Maine students, returning to school this year also meant a trip to the Leadership School.

For years, two  Maine school districts have included a Leadership School program as one of their back to school traditions.  Sixth graders from Memorial Middle School arrived a week later, working towards building a unified and positive social and academic community.  They were followed by 6th graders from Falmouth Middle School.

Though full of the unique characteristics of their home communities, these schools share a huge commonality.  .  . in both vision and function, they are committed to cultivating learning communities in which kindness and respect are pervasive.  The back-to school lessons from the Leadership School will percolate in these classrooms and fields throughout the year.

Posted in: Leadership School |

Kieve Hosts 10th Anniversary 9/11 Camp

Kieve-Wavus hosted the 10th Annual Family Camp for families affected by the September 11th tragedies. Individuals and families from a number of FDNY firehouses and Cantor Fitzgerald in New York as well as The Pentagon all arrived at Kieve for another fun-filled and relaxing week on the shores of Damariscotta Lake. Kieve-Wavus Executive Director Henry Kennedy said, “these families have endured unimaginable loss and it has been an honor and a pleasure welcoming them each year to relax, heal and share with one another at Kieve”. Pat Friscia whose brother was a fireman with FDNY Ladder Co 3 said after the week, “this is a very special week for my family, our entire family was at Disney earlier this year and all the kids talked about was coming back to Kieve, it is a special place in our hearts”. 

New to the camp this year was world renowned fire engine and equipment restorer Andy Swift of Hope, Maine offering rides to kids and adults in his 1927 American LaFrance fire engine. Andy also hosted a tour of his shop the next day for everyone to see the craftsmanship and detail of his fire equipment restorations. Once again, one evening the firemen took over the kitchen and prepared a delicious Italian dinner for everyone. And back for the 10th time, musician Bruce Marshall and his guest James Montgomery provided great live music and dancing on the last night.

Many of the FDNY families at camp were associated with Ladder Company 3 and Battalion 6 on September 11, 2001 where twelve members were lost while evacuating civilians from the North Tower. On July 20th Ladder 3’s truck “Big Red” became a permanent part of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. A crane lowered the 60,000-lbs. truck 70 feet into the exhibition area. It was wrapped to protect it and draped with an American and FDNY flag. The front of the truck was shorn off in the collapse of the towers and its main body and ladders were damaged beyond repair and some of the company’s rescue tools are entangled in the vehicle. It has been stored at Hangar 17 at JFK International Airport since its recovery.

According to 9/11 Family Camp Director Russ Williams, “we had another incredible week together with 4 new families joining us for the largest camp since 2002.  Once again many volunteers along with local businesses and our staff helped make this another very special week for our friends from Washington DC & New York.”

The events of September 11th, 2001 changed the world and changed our lives forever. Thanks to the financial support of many individuals over the years, Kieve has had a unique opportunity to share facilities, it’s wonderful staff and volunteers with these special families. Williams says, “It is very rewarding for all of our staff and volunteers to be able to help these very dear friends who really appreciate our local community and Maine hospitality”. 

Posted in: News |

Kieve Boys Camp Chapel Talk

So many of you already know me, but for those of you who don’t, my name is Nick Stevens and I am a counselor in the JK Courage cabin this session. Unfortunately, I was unable to be at camp for the first part of the summer because I was working and taking classes. However, when Henry e-mailed me in July saying that there was a possible job opening for a JK cabin second session I was ecstatic and jumped at the opportunity. Kieve has always been the most cherished place in my life. Like all of you guys, I have spent countless hours swimming out on the rafts, hanging out in one of the cabins on cabin row, and eating at Pasquaney. This is why I had such a difficult time at the beginning of the summer coming to terms with the fact that I would not be able to come back to camp. However, when the opportunity did arise itself it was especially refreshing and made it that much more exciting to get back up to camp after spending the first half of the summer in a classroom and amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City. My mom always says that I am a happier person when I am up here at Kieve, and I know she is right because as soon as I got to the top of the hill a few weeks ago I was overwhelmed with joy as I re-experienced Sunday night dinner, G-Swim, the Ritz skit, my friends, the smiles, and all of the great fun that you guys were having. This will be my eleventh summer up at Kieve. I spent six summers as a camper and this will be my fifth as a counselor. On the drive up, I realized that I have spent exactly half the summers of my entire life here on this peninsula at the end of West neck road. It also occurred to me that I have spent more time at Kieve than on any sports team that I have played on or any school that I have attended. It is safe to say that Kieve has been the single-most influential part of my life and there is no doubt that my time spent at Kieve has shaped me in ways that I am just now beginning to understand. So what is it about Kieve that enables it to have such a profound impact on boys like you and me? As I was thinking about the different ways Kieve shaped me, I was struck by how many potential possibilities a kid at Kieve has to change, grow up, and learn. I thought about the experience of living away from home for four weeks and learning self-reliance and responsibility. I thought about how each of you guys has to figure out how to live with twelve other boys in a cabin. And not only that, the lessons learned from sitting as complete strangers on the first night of camp and then slowly evolving into a tight-knit group of friends. I thought about portaging a canoe through mud pond and on the Northeast Carry, leaping out to grab the trapeze for the first time on the adventure course, and summiting Mt. Katahdin after 12 days of hiking on Maine Trails. These are all experiences that shape what Tommy likes to call “Kieve Guy.” However, out of all these experiences and potential learning opportunities, there is one that stands out above the rest. For me, the single-most influential part of Kieve has been the people I have met and the things that I have learned from the role models that surround all of us at Kieve. Can any of you define in words what the word role model means? I looked up the exact definition of the word “role model” and it is “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people. You guys should all hear the word “emulate” and immediately think of Kieve, which quite literally means, “to strive in emulation of.” I think everyone can agree that Kieve is a place filled with role models and people who can be emulated. As I think back on my own time at Kieve, as both a camper and a counselor, it seems as though I spent my entire time “looking up to people” or attempting to emulate those who I found to be role models. I remember being in South Bunkerhill and looking up to the older kids in South Harris and learning the best way to get from Harriet house field to Westcott Point during a game of capture the flag or the best outfit to wear during Pasqualios. As a young counselor I looked up to older counselors like James Mckenna, Miles Dickson, Sam Kennedy, and Foster Durkee who showed me ways to pack for a trip and hold a cabin meeting. And, as I am sure it is with most of you, I have always looked up to the directors- Henry, Tommy, and Charlie who are perhaps the best role models of all. They are constantly teaching us how to lead, instruct, and most of all, how to have fun and be a kid. However, as I was thinking about the dictionary definition of a “role model” something didn’t sit right with me because the final clause of the definition suggests that older people are usually the ones who are role models for younger people. This does not make sense at all because you guys are all role models too. You guys are role models to me. You guys are role models for the other counselors. And finally, you guys, each and every one of you, are role models for all of the other kids sitting around you. I watch you guys every day I am here and I am constantly striving to emulate your actions. As I was writing this speech I was thinking about Sebastian in my cabin who showed up from Germany at 2:45 am in the morning to a foreign country, with almost no background in the native language, left to fend for himself as an eight year old in this crazy place of loud noises and bizarre traditions. I certainly was not leaving to go to Germany alone at age eight and this feat takes an unimaginable amount of courage and trust. Sebastian is definitely a role model for me. I thought about my first night back a few weeks ago when I was sitting alone and South Glenayr and Diego and Emilio came over and invited me to play a game of UNO with them. They quickly refreshed me on the rules and then kicked my butt. That night Diego and Emilio showed kindness (a least before the game commenced) and hospitality. Both of those guys are models for me. I thought about my good friend Jack Callahan who was a camper of mine last summer. Jack taught me some useful pick up lines to woo the ladies after he himself got eight numbers from different girls at the beach during our beach day. Jack is definitely a role model for me. And finally, I thought about my JK courage cabin who all completed the aqua zip yesterday without blinking an eye which demonstrated their willingness to try new things and take risks. However, more importantly, they were all cheering words of encouragement as their other cabin-mates careened down the zip line. After experiencing this, I definitely consider all of the boys in my cabin role models. Although these are just a few examples they illustrate the fact that all of you guys are role models. Not only do I learn from you every day, but I will carry with me the lessons that I learn from you guys for the rest of my life. I want to conclude by sharing with you perhaps my most rewarding moment at Kieve. Two summers ago I did the Bank II trip second session. We had a good cabin, but in the beginning of the trip there was a large disconnect between the kids. There was some bullying issues and everyone was really looking out for only themselves. Furthermore, I had to ask the kids to do things over and over again. I remember being extremely frustrated by their inability to get things done and I remember feeling like I was constantly having to be playing the role of the angry teacher. However, as the days past on the trip the kids slowly got better and better. On the final day, we were at the top of Grindstone rapids, some of the largest rapids that Kieve does. It was a cold and rainy day and we were all extremely wet and tired. My boat was the first one to go down the rapids and I was planning on showing the cabin the best line in the rapids to shoot. However, almost immediately my boat took on water and capsized. My canoe partner and I, along with our personal gear, the maps, and the med kit were swept away by the current. I struggled in the white water for what seemed like hours trying to hold on to my paddle and locate my canoe partner. Before I knew it, however, I was being hoisted up into a canoe by two of my campers. As I re-acclimated myself, I saw other kids in my cabin T-rescuing my boat while others worked together to try and rescue the gear and my personal belongings. As the water slowed at the end of the rapid, the boys had managed to rescue both me and my canoe partner, all of our personal belongings, and all of the trip gear. As I sat in the middle of the boat the sun came out and my cabin began to laugh and tell me how frightened I had looked. At that very moment, all of those kids become role models for me because of the way they had overcome adversity and learned how to look out for one another, including me. From that moment on, I have realized how much can be learned from you guys and the role models you can be in my own life. It has taken me a while to fully understand and recognize the great role models that surround all of us at Kieve. As you guys begin to observe your own role models you will then be able to take bits and pieces of them and slowly emulate them in your own life which will in turn shape and influence you as a person. However, all of you, as role models have a responsibility to be conscious of you actions and act in a way so that when someone takes a bit or a piece of you to emulate it will shape them in a good way.

Posted in: Kieve Camp for Boys |

Educational Co-Ed Leadership School for Teens:

The Leadership School at Camp Kieve in Maine sees it every day: student leadership starts here. As a visiting teacher from northern Maine reflected, “I’ve learned more about my students in our four days at the Leadership School at Kieve than I have in the first four weeks of school.”

Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect

Play hard and safe at the Leadership School

Not your average school for middle school and high school students, leadership development training challenges students, teachers and parents to take positive risks, set meaningful goals, make healthy decisions and become Maine’s next generation of strong leaders. Now serving approximately 7,000 middle school and high school students annually, The Leadership School at Kieve combines group work, individual reflection, and fun to address many of the issues students face daily, both in and out of school.

The Leadership School at Camp Kieve has welcomed schools from Presque Isle to Philadel­phia, PA, and meets the needs of diverse student populations, from inner city Portland to the offshore islands of Maine. A unique and creative program, the Leadership School at Camp Kieve fosters youth development  and quality leadership in the private and public schools.

The co-ed Leadership School at Kieve is grounded in three principles: 
Social connections and skills are critical to the success of students. 
2. Active learning techniques engage students of all abilities and backgrounds. Active techniques that are fun and encourage metaphorical thinking facilitate maximum growth because it meets students where they are. 
3. Solvable challenges of increasing difficulty enable students to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.

As a result, the Leadership School at Kieve is a school that builds confidence and effective relationship skills. “I always thought she was so shy,” another teacher remarks on a student. “But at Leadership School, she’s really bold and articulate.” At this school, visiting parents notice powerful changes as well. “It’s been wonder­ful to see him interacting so easily in social settings at Kieve’s Leadership School; I don’t see that at middle school,” noted a Falmouth parent.

Through uniquely designed programs at the Leadership School at Camp Kieve, students and their teachers leave ener­gized and equipped to meet the challenges of school together. To see the Leadership School at Kieve in action, launch our new Leadership School video. To talk to Camp Kieve about our Leadership School program and your school, call 207-563-6212 today.

Posted in: Leadership School |