Kieve-Wavus Blog

Medomak and Memorial EIRs 2018

Medomak’s Educator in Residence: Drewsie

My name is Alex Drew, but everyone knows me as Drewsie. I have the privilege of spending this winter in Medomak Middle School in Waldoboro. My main focus is on mentorship; becoming a trusted ally and friend for all students. During classes and study halls, I sit and chat with students. Sometimes about schoolwork, but also about themselves. I ask about what they are interested in and what their families are like. I am intentional in letting the students direct conversations- they are usually more than happy to share information with me. I weave TLS values like kindness and respect into our conversations, and help guide students as they set goals and envision their future selves. Middle schoolers are always changing, so no day for me is the same. Some days, I sit with the student who is alone at a table in class and read while they do their reading so they have a buddy. I help students understand science concepts by holding a plastic pipe while they send water and ball bearings down it. I find students taking a break in the hallway and ask them what’s going on. I walk outside on the track with students who need to vent. I spend 50 minutes each day on the 4-Square court, goofing off and having fun, but also reminding students what good sportsmanship looks like and pulling them aside if they need a gentle reminder.

EIR gives me a fantastic opportunity to build long-lasting relationships and make the values we talk about at TLS more applicable to real life. It is one thing to talk about kindness and respect at TLS, but another thing to apply in to present school situations, such as texting drama or using foul language. I have truly enjoyed this opportunity so far, and hope TLS continues to send EIRs to Medomak for years to come!

Memorial’s Educator in Residence: Will

When Kieve-Wavus first started the Educator in Residence program, we wanted to find a way to continue to get involved in schools which we thought were bought in to The Leadership School’s values and teachings. Memorial Middle School is a place that does just that!

My name is Will Hackett and I have been the Educator in Residence at Memorial for the past four winters. Over the past four years my role at Memorial has grown and evolved into a position which I spend a lot of the year looking forward to. When I first started at Memorial I was placed in the English Language Learners room to be an extra set of hands.  So, I would spend my days in ELL classes and wandering the hallways saying hi to familiar faces and giving out lots of high fives to students as they walked from class to class. Often hearing “You’re the Kieve guy, right? Why are you here?” I also would spend time checking in on sixth grade classrooms and saying hi to both teachers and students who had attended TLS in the fall. As time went on I found myself dealing with lots of different student conflicts in the ELL room and in the halls. The more conflict I dealt with, the more I realized how much I enjoyed enabling students to resolve their conflicts peacefully with each other and helping them develop strategies to prevent conflicts from arising in the future. It was at about this point that I started learning about Restorative Practices. An alternative to detentions, the restorative process is a way to get students and teachers in conflict to empathize with each other. The idea being that if you can empathize with someone whom you have a problem with, and if you can see and feel the affect you have on not only the other person but the community, then you can want to create a positive change.

Fast forward to today, now here I am in my fourth year as the Memorial Middle School Educator in Residence. I still get to work with the ELL students every day and help out in the office doing restorative work with Principal Megan Welter and Assistant Principal Rebecca Stern, but I also have been working with the Guidance office running mindfulness activities with every student each week to help teach them coping strategies for stress and frustration.

Working with the ELL students at Memorial has and continues to be one of the best experiences of my life. Every day I am greeted with huge smiles and endless amounts of energy by students from all around the world, each one with their own unique story and perspective to share. I get to learn alongside them in science class, help them with math and writing, and help them see the positives when all they want to see is negatives. Each day is filled with challenges and excitement. In fact, on Thursday of this week I was able to go on a field trip with some of the ELL students to the Telling Room, an organization that for many years has worked alongside Memorial teachers to publish a book of short stories written by students. The purpose of the field trip this week was to have the kids see not only how the books are created, but also to edit the stories they have been working on over the past few weeks. Another thing that I have been able to do with the Memorial ELL students is to bring them to Nobleboro for a few days to experience the magic our campus holds.  I have never seen kids so excited to get off a bus on top of the hill. The planning for this year’s trip is underway and we are hoping to make it another memorable experience.

I also continue to grow and push myself in the office with Restorative Practices. It has really given me some insight into where I see my passions taking me. I recently have just been signed up to take a class on the Restorative Mindset. I have been able to sign up for this class through the South Portland school district. I am excited for this opportunity to learn more and take my game to the next level. I am also very grateful to Memorial and Kieve for allowing me this opportunity along with many others to always be learning and growing as not only an educator but a person.

One of the advantages to being at a school for so long is that you are able to form really meaningful connections with students. I have even been able to continue these connections with students who have graduated from Memorial and now attend South Portland High School. Last week I was able to go to the High School during their lunch period to meet with kids, check in, and catch up. It was so great to see so many kids who I have really been able to get to know over the years.

Now in the hall, instead of hearing “why are you here?” I get to hear, “Will! You’re back! Can you stay forever?”  I feel so fortunate to have become a member of this amazing community of learners down here in South Portland, and I continue to look forward to what each day brings.

[You can read about Will’s experiences at Memorial in 2015 here: https://kievewavus.org/blog/news/memorial-eir/ ]

Posted in: News |

Searsport EIR 2018

Chris:

I was very excited to be returning to the Searsport School district for another winter of EIR. Already knowing most of the staff and students made it very easy to jump right back into the flow of things. We received many heartwarming welcome backs from lots of the students, which was a great way to set the tone for the season. Every week Neil and I have the opportunity to work with the 6th and 7th grade classes during their guidance blocks where we do many different kinds of activities, including reflection and team building. Thursdays after school we help lead a restorative circle as an alternative to detentions, followed by running an hour of after school activities. We also attend GSTA meetings when we have the time. These are the routine things, but they are by no means boring. Each week the students get to learn or experience something new, and we are lucky enough to share these experiences with them.

In addition to the routine schedule, we have set up a system so the teachers can request us to come in and do special activities. Some of these include:

  • Being a Judge for the 8th grade “Design for Good, Shark Tank” project.
  • Planning and running “Winter Games” activities for the middle school, such as how to build a shelter and snow person building.
  • Accompanying the 8th grade to the Waldo County Tech Center for an “Amazing Race” event.

With still plenty of time left in the EIR season, I’m hoping to give the students an opportunity to experience our portable climbing wall, and help the students wherever and whenever I can.

Neil:

This is my second year as an educator in residence in the Searsport school district. The EIR experience has been one of the highlights of my two and a half years at The Leadership School. Chris and I were very busy from the start this season facilitating guidance classes, running activities during advisories, and just reconnecting with students in the hallways and at lunch that we met last year. Some of the first things we heard some of the younger students say to Chris and I was, “when can we come to Kieve!?” That was awesome to hear and very surprising compared to last year. Seeing the teachers that we had worked alongside was great as well! I feel as though we have 100 percent of their trust and support this year after doing a workshop with them prior to this EIR season.

Some highlights from the past month have been our help with the implementation of a restorative circle after school as an alternative to detention. Also, Chris and I run an hour of the after school program following the restorative circle every Thursday.

Over at the elementary school Chris and I have been facilitating activities during their “Winter Games” where we get every grade outside during separate blocks of the day. Some of the lessons we taught during those blocks included shelter building, wilderness survival and snowman making.

Chris and I have also accompanied the 8th graders on their field trip to the Waldo County Tech Center for their “Amazing Race.” This is where the students found out what great options there are at this alternative school!

The upcoming 4 weeks are going be both hectic and fun as we gear up to lead more of the middle school guidance classes and restorative detention circles. The faculty are putting their full trust into us and this makes Chris and I work that much harder!

Posted in: Leadership School |

Bristol and Whitefield EIRs 2018

Bristol Central School’s Educator in Residence: Kelsey

Returning to Bristol Consolidated School (BCS) after serving as their Educator in Residence last winter has been one of the opportunities I have been most looking forward to in my second year working at The Leadership School. On my first day back to school this winter I played a competitive game of Bingo with the seventh graders during indoor recess, reconnected with the students I worked with last winter, enjoyed the warm greetings of teachers whose mentorship and support made me so keen to return to this school community, and ended the day with an ice cream party with the team of students who had recently won the school’s latest charity drive.  Needless to say, its been a pretty awesome beginning.

Some highlights of the past two and half weeks include…

  • Playing is this Seat Taken with Mrs. Cooper’s competitive seventh grade homeroom.
  • Teaching the fourth grade class the Lumberjack, Happy Salmon and Top Gun handshakes
  • Making paper lanterns, folding origami cranes and writing Haikus during a unit on Japan
  • Being asked by teachers to give them new activities about team building for their classroom

In the upcoming weeks, I’m looking forward to bringing new games and activities to the BCS community, as well as getting our seventh and eighth grades excited about their upcoming time at The Leadership School this spring!

 

Whitefield Elementary School’s Educator in Residence: Nina

So far, my experience at Whitefield School has been warm and welcoming. The school is K-8 and I’ve gotten the privilege to meet most every student at the school, be it at lunch, on the playground, or in the classroom. While at Whitefield, my priority is to work with the 6th grade to prepare them for their trip to The Leadership School in March. I’m grateful to get to work with my particular site mentor, Karen McCormick, who is a pillar at Whitefield. Not only does she teach the 6-8th grade Science and Social Studies curriculum, Karen runs the National Junior Honor Society and helps students and teachers, alike, to work through complex social challenges they may be facing at the school or at home. Working by her side has given me invaluable insight to the gamut of individuals at Whitefield, which has only better equipped me to lend a hand where needed and adjust my TLS curriculum accordingly.

So far, I’ve gotten hands on experience instructing Science, Social Studies, English, and PE lessons and have gotten plenty of time to run my own lessons on leadership development. Next week, I even get to accompany the 6th graders on their field trip to Damariscotta, where they will learn basic cooking skills and healthy food choices. While I may only be the second EIR to serve Whitefield Elementary, I feel a strong connection and commitment to this community and I’m very excited to see how far we can take this EIR position!

Posted in: Leadership School |

Nobleboro Central School EIR 2018

The 2018 Educator in Residence (EIR) program started last Tuesday, and it is our biggest year yet with 15 schools participating!

18 of our Leadership School Educators will be in schools this winter, working on spreading our message of kindness and respect to students until mid-March.  While there is some overlap, every educator and school participates in the program a little differently. For example, Kelci will be working at Wood Hill school in Andover, Massachusetts (our first out of state school!), where one of her tasks will be working with 8th grade students on goal settings and skills to prepare for high school.  Kelsey will be at Bristol Consolidated School, with one of her tasks being leading exercise breaks every morning for classes participating in a Dashing to Denmark program.

Each week during the program, we will be featuring a different set of EIRs on the blog talking about their experiences. Noah and Nelson are both EIRs at Nobleboro Central School, and will be sharing their experiences this week.

EIRs Nelson (left) and Noah (right) with Nobleboro Principal Ann Hassett

Nelson:

Nobleboro Central School is just over five miles from our Kieve campus and is home to about 150 students in grades K-8. This wonderful little school does an outstanding job of teaching and demonstrating the community values that define a small town community.  The school works under the philosophy of “warm demanders.”

“Warm demanders first establish a caring relationship that convinces students that the teacher believes in them and has their best interests at heart… on the basis of this relationship warm demanders relentlessly insist that all students perform the required academic work and treat the teachers and their peers with respect”
The Teacher as Warm Demanders
Abstract of Bondy, E and D. D. Ross  

In practice this builds kind and caring relations between adults and students while still demanding the personal best out of each and every student. The students are challenged and cared for, disciplined and supported, all in a fair and encouraging manner.  NCS Principal Ann Hassett said, “We believe that the Kieve Educators in Residence are a perfect compliment to our philosophy of ‘warm demanding’ and we are so happy to see them arrive in January to help further our efforts.”  

The EIR position at Nobleboro Central School is in essence a mentorship program.  As EIRs, we are able to act as both friend and mentor to the students in a more relaxed and non-formal fashion.  That being said, the environment that the staff of Nobleboro Central School has worked so hard to create has been helpful in acclimating the students to interacting with adults in this way.  The students already see the members of the NCS community as more than just a teacher or staff member, which has made it very easy for us to step in as mentors and confidantes.  

A typical day at Nobleboro Central School as an EIR starts when we check in at the office and get filled in on anything that has happened in the day so far by Nancy Courville.  Occasionally we are asked to fill in and sub for Michelle York’s PE class, although most of the time we can be found there anyway.  In the morning we can be found in our office in the library, planning activities for the day’s after school program.  Beyond the mentorship aspect of working at Nobleboro Central School, the after school program is the meat of this EIR position.  It is held Monday through Thursday from 2:30-3:30 PM and is a great platform to meet informally with kids from all different grades, provide a healthy snack, and give them time and space to be active.  

 

Noah:

My name is Noah and this is my second year as an EIR at Nobleboro Central School. I had such a fantastic and positive experience last year both in terms of my contributions to the school and my personal growth that I knew a second year would provide more of the same, perhaps even exponentially more. I love being back because the relationships I developed over the ten weeks last winter have continued to grow allowing the students to trust me and allowing me to demand more out of the students we work with. Whether we are hanging out during lunch or during the after school program students often come to me for advice or for a listening ear. I am able to interact with them without the burden of classes or grades but as a role model who is always willing to listen and advocate for and help the students become their best selves. Much of my day is spent in informal settings as a mentor. Often I walk the halls checking in on kids and getting updates about their days or weeks. I love spending time at lunch and recess joking around with the older kids and giving the younger kids a buddy to sit with or just helping them learn how to eat lunch appropriately.  

On Tuesday Nelson and I went ice skating with the entire third grade class as part of a program with the Midcoast Recreation Center. It was an incredible experience to see the third graders having a blast on the ice. Many lessons were learned especially the courage to step out onto the ice and the perseverance necessary to keep getting up no matter how many times you fall.  The kids were incredibly supportive of each other and we all had a blast!

I am looking forward to continuing my work in the school and becoming even more ingrained in this wonderful community. Nelson and are just finding our rhythm and are looking forward to making such a positive difference at Nobleboro Central School.

Posted in: Leadership School |

Sad news of Alexander McIlvaine

Dear Kieve-Wavus family,

With a heavy heart we bring you the news that Alexander McIlvaine, Kieve camper 2006-11, passed away on December 24.  In his dad’s words: “It should be said loudly that Kieve was seminal to Al’s growing up. His character, adventure, outdoors, courage, and stamina all came from his time there. He loved the place and you all.”

A service celebrating Alex’s life will be held this Sunday, December 31 at 1:00 pm at St. Andrews School in Middletown, Del.

Alex was a senior at Duke University; here is their message: http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2017/12/senior-alex-mcilvaine-dies-over-break

Please keep the McIlvaine family in your thoughts and prayers.  If you’d like to send them a note, here is their address:

Charlie, Brooke, Andy, Brookie McIlvaine, 57 Nearwater Lane, Darien, CT 06820

Posted in: All Camps, Camps, Kieve Camp for Boys |

Educators in Residence – 2018!

2018 is the 6th year for the The Leadership School’s Educator-In-Residence (EIR) program. Our 18 EIR’s are working with 15 schools from Searsport, ME to Wood Hill School, MA.

The program objectives are shaped by the needs of the school community, the goals of the administration and the strengths of the educator. Educators and school mentors develop individualized memorandums of understanding that are diverse and include school specific items such as: support healthy classroom behavior, develop after-school play clubs, provide professional development for staff and help students transition between various life stages. Their work plans share commonalities too:  to promote positive interactions among students, model inclusive behavior for students, model positive language and redirection for teachers, and disseminate TLS messages and language across grade levels.  The EIR program furthers the Kieve-Wavus long range goal of deepening and broadening the impact of our programming on the youth in Maine.

This year’s schools are Medomak, Jefferson, Searsport, Hope, Lincoln Academy, Great Salt Bay, South Bristol, Wood Hill, Bristol, Nobleboro, Whitefield, King, Memorial, Loranger, and Boothbay

Fun facts:

  • We now have EIRs in all of the AOS 93 (local Damariscotta area) schools!
  • We have our first out of state EIR (Wood Hill. MA)
  • 8 of the EIRs are returning to schools they worked with last year
  • The EIR program will work this winter with students from kindergarten to seniors in high school
  • EIR started with 6 schools participating in 2012 (https://kievewavus.org/blog/news/educators-in-residence/) and we currently have 15
Posted in: All Camps, Leadership School, News |

Kieve-Wavus Leads Update

The Kieve-Wavus Leads program is an opportunity to bring together the best of the Leadership School and our summer camp program, for the benefit of kids in our local community. Kieve-Wavus Leads is a 6-year, expeditionary youth program model nested within a comprehensive youth mentoring program. The Kieve-Wavus Leads program is underway with a successful recruitment process  We have made presentations to 7th graders across the AOS 93 district, including Great Salt Bay Community School, Nobleboro Central School, South Bristol School, Bristol Consolidated School, Jefferson Village School and the Damariscotta Montessori School.  The application process opened after a parent information session hosted at Kieve in early December.  We look forward to selecting our first Kieve-Wavus Leads cohort just after the new year and celebrating with participants and their families at a Kieve-Wavus Leads welcome event the first week in February!

Posted in: News |

2017 Vietnam Veterans Camp

What a great way to round off our Veterans Camp programming for 2017! Our Vietnam Veterans were as grateful as ever and as much fun to be around and serve as always.  This is the first time (we think…) we have had an all State of Maine group.

Our volunteers, Donna, Courtney, Missy and Tony did an outstanding job and were much appreciated by our guests.  And the fantastic K-W staff, Marge, Reid, Katrina, Annie, Russ, Alan, Will, Sam, Kassie, Nelson, Paul, Diane, Lee, Ellen & Winnie really hit it out of the park.

The week was a  big success and we look forward to our All Women’s Camp in January!

Posted in: Camps, News, Veterans' Camp |

Kieve-Wavus Alumni Allagash 2017 Wilderness Trip

Back row (l to r): Sean Cullen, Elliott Murphy, Erin Gates, Marshall Murphy, Mackey Cromwell, Henry Chance, Jim Chance, and Dan Bliss
Front row (l to r): Rosie Palmer Ford, Mike Westcott and Courts Bliss

Allagash 2017 Trip Notes by Dan Bliss

Sunday August 20th to Friday August 24th
Sunday August 20

Courts and Elliott, our fearless leaders and current K/W counselors, spent the afternoon in the Buck Building making sure that the diverse group of adventurers would have the equipment and food they would require over the next five days. Tents, life jackets, cooking supplies and lots of bacon made its way into the coolers, wanigans, and various piles in preparation for early departure on Monday morning. Marsh and Dan, the fathers of the leaders and Kieve alums, offered to help get the van and load canoes. I am not sure they would have made that offer if they had known what this seemingly simple task entailed. However, they were able to wrangle a van, a canoe trailer and six canoes.

Following these preparations the trippers began to gather in at KLC for dinner and their last night of civilized comfort. Kieve Alum, Mackey C. was the first to arrive and he spent the afternoon and early evening reconnecting with old friends and gathering the gear he needed for the trip. Most everyone else was there by cocktail hour and were ready to eat by the time Diane presented the lobster feast. We were a group of 11 and included Kieve alums, Henry Chance and his dad Jim, Mike Westcott and Sean Cullen. We were also joined by Wavus counselor and alum Rosie Ford and her former cabin mate Erin.

Monday August 21

We had a quick breakfast and then gathered at Buck to pack the trailer and gather last minute supplies. Courtney and Elliott fitted everyone with life jackets and paddles, the canoes were tied on the trailer, tents loaded into the van, and everyone made the last minute scramble for whatever they thought they would need. Reid helped to set our course for the drive and with Courts at the wheel we left camp at about 9:15. We made a stop in Augusta for perishables and booze and then were on the road headed north for Ashland. One more stop in Newport for the steaks that were forgotten in Augusta and then north on 95 to Sherman Mills. We stopped for gas, the bathroom and lunch. It also gave us a chance to see the beginning of the awesome eclipse. We were not in the area where we could see totality, but as the afternoon wore on we had the opportunity to see it reach almost 50% coverage. Sean had brought a few pairs of glasses as well as a pinhole box for viewing.

Rosie Palmer Ford and Sean Cullen watching the eclipse

After lunch we headed north on Rt 11 toward Ashland. The drive on this road is spectacular and it was made even more interesting by the fact that we were experiencing the eclipse. The world seemed to be under a strange shade and we stopped a few times (once in the middle of a busy logging road!!) to watch the amazing spectacle. There was one moment when the sun was partially hidden by clouds, but they parted just enough that we were able to see the distinct shadow of the moon on the sun. It was incredible and made even more memorable by the fact that at that moment a huge chip truck came barreling down the hills as we all were staring awestruck at the sky! Finally we made it to Ashland, fueled up and got ready to tackle the logging roads into Churchill Dam. We estimated that it would take about 1 ½ hours and chose to ignore the dire prediction of 3+ hours from the lady at the gas station. Another beautiful drive ensued and despite huge trucks moving quickly we arrived at our destination at about 5:00 pm.

We scouted our campsite, met the ranger, set up our itinerary for the next day and then settled into a delicious burger dinner. Elliott was on Bacon and Courts was on Onions and between the two of them, some very tasty burgers were prepared and enjoyed. It was a beautiful evening and most of the group walked over to the dam to gaze at Churchill lake and to look at the rapids we would do the next day. Sean made a great fire and assumed the mantle of “fire guy”, a title he definitely maintained throughout the trip! The drinks flowed, some stories were told and then it was time for bed. The snorers warned the rest of us and Macky promised that he would be out of the tent many times to go to the bathroom. All in all a very pleasant finish to a long day.

Tuesday August 22

We were all up early in anticipation of our run of Chases Rips. We fell into the easy routine of camping; taking care of personal needs, helping with group tasks, eating, and chit chatting as we prepared for the day. Courts and Eliot had bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for us. There was also fresh fruit and coffee. In addition to being the “fire guy” Sean was also the “coffee guy” and he was up early to make sure that the gang was well caffeinated for the day.

Soon the group gear was back to the parking lot and loaded into the ranger’s pickup truck. Dan drove the van and trailer around to the put in spot and everyone off loaded the boats. The van and trailer were returned to the parking lot for Norm from Peltiers to transport to Michaud Farm. Courts used her extensive “white water rescue” experience and training to set us up for the rapids. We joined up in our canoe pairs and got ready to head off down the river. These groups stayed consistent through the trip. (Marsh and Mackey; Sean and Mike; Rosie and Erin; Courts and Dan; Henry and Jim; and lastly Elliott who bravely paddled by himself)

The fast water was such a thrill, and the paddling skills and whitewater knowledge came flooding back, even to our more mature members. Courts and Dan had trouble with left and right, Sean and Mike enjoyed the fun and took many pictures, Henry and Jim had an encounter with a nasty rock, but Eliot and Courts got them squared away and heading back down the river. Erin and Rosie looked like they had been down the river together last week not years before, Marsh and Mackey navigated the obstacles with precision and profanity, and Elliott charmed his way down river, smiling all the way! Despite the low water levels everyone had fun and before we knew it we were at the old washed out bridge where we retrieved the gear that the rangers had dropped off for us. We took advantage of dry land to empty water out of canoes, hit the bathroom, and grab a snack. Snickers, Milky Ways, and apples reenergized us for the next push down the river.

After loading the canoes we were off towards Umsaskis. We had a few more small rapids, and then gradually entered the marsh that led to the lake. The Wind Gods were looking out for us and we had tail winds. Everyone on the trip had their own memories of the struggle of hitting Umsaskis and facing stiff headwinds, so we were all very happy. We headed for Ledges campsite and since only one other group was in front of us we were pretty sure that it would be open. That thinking was wrong and it was occupied. The decision was made to push on towards Sandy Point. The friendly winds pushed us right to the site and except for the muddy and mucky entrance it turned out to be very nice.

We unloaded the canoes, moved group gear into the kitchen area, and then set up our tents. The site was big and flat and given snoring of the night before, we spread out a bit. After camp was set up, some rested and read, while others sought out a swimming spot. The water was a bit cool, but very refreshing. The lake had an uneven and rocky bottom, but the swimming was very enjoyable. Marsh, Dan and Sean decided to float with the current and ended up under the bridge of the American Reality Road. A few big trucks went by as we were climbing up the bank, and we wondered what the truckers must have been thinking. Dinner of steak and “veggie pockets” was next. Once again our leaders/chefs did an awesome job. Sean had another a great fire going and they cooked the dinner “old school style” over the hot coals. The veggie pockets were especially tasty and devoured by everyone. Mackey’s loved this site for the simple fact that the area where the outhouses were located was a “beautiful wonderland of moss and magical trees”. All who visited the outhouses agreed! After dinner, it started to rain lightly and Eliot, with the help of others, put up the tarp. The rain increased in intensity and we all ran off to our nice dry tents. The timing of the rain was just one more example of the good fortune with the weather that we enjoyed on the trip.

Wednesday August 23

We awoke to somewhat overcast skies, but it was dry. Breakfast that morning was sausage and delicious blueberry pancakes. As we were taking down tents, we discovered a number of very large and ominous piles of scat right between the Bliss and Murphy/Cromwell tents. Everyone who had an opinion thought it must have been a bear, and this fact made everyone a bit anxious as it had been left after the heavy rain of the night before. Many of us thought what would have happened if they had met this bear during a night time bathroom run.

After the tasty breakfast we headed for Long Lake. The wind was still at our back and so we enjoyed some easy paddling. At one point in the middle of the lake we joined up and attempted to sail. The tarp was put to use once again and we tried to take advantage of the gusts pushing us along. It worked for awhile, but despite hard work from many, especially Marsh who was trying hard to keep us heading down the lake, we abandoned the attempt after about 20 minutes, broke apart and paddled off down the lake. Our destination was Long Lake Dam, but we stopped first for a bathroom/snack break. We pulled up on a spit of land and relaxed, peed and ate the cookies thrown from boat to boat. Not sure if Eliot got enough snack, but I am sure he made up for it later at dinner!

We got to the dam and found our traveling companions who has snagged Ledges the night before. They were eating lunch at the campsite. We decided to push through and hoped to take the best campsite between there and Round Pond. We completed the short portage in quick order. Everyone just kept moving stuff across the trail and we were ready to go minutes after putting ashore. We scouted the site at Cunliffe Islands, but decided to continue down river and head to Sweeney Brook. It was a great decision as we ended up on a nice bank campsite with good swimming and as it turned out great wood. Thank you again Sean!

The evening was beautiful and the drinks were flowing. Even Mike joined in and our resident bartender, Marsh, kept everyone happy. Dinner was Burrito Bowls and again Courts and Eliot created a delicious and filling meal. S’mores followed and everyone enjoyed the warm fire and the yummy treats. The stars were out and the group kept moving back and forth between the shore with it’s view of the stars and the fire and it’s warmth and access to S’mores! It was a grand night to be on the river, and one that will be remembered fondly by everyone. It was the kind of night that makes these trips worth it; good food and drink, many laughs and stories, beautiful nature all around, and most importantly our newly bonded group just enjoying being together.

Thursday August 23rd

We awoke to another great day! It was cool and there was mist on the river, but as the sun came over the trees we knew that it would be warm and sunny later. Breakfast was a creation by Courts. She called it “Sausage and Biscuits”. We all just called it delicious! We took down camp and were loading canoes when the group we had been shadowing all trip paddled by. We all exchanged cheery greetings and then we pushed off and headed towards Round Pond. We had a little fast water, but most of the paddle to the pond was dead water and not that exciting. The wind is light and variable and while it is sometimes in our face, most of the time it is not an issue. We stopped at Maibec Road bridge and had a snack and everyone wandered a bit to pee and stretch. A few trucks roared by, and we commented on how strange it was to be in the “wilderness” but have these trucks so common as they cross the river. As we got back in the canoes, Rosie decided to do a bit of acrobatics/yoga. Somehow, she balanced in a headstand pose on bow of her canoe! It is quite impressive to say the least. We all wondered if Erin had any thoughts of rocking that boat to see what would happen?

We came into picturesque Round Pond and stopped at the Inlet campsite. It was beautiful; flat and with a great view across the pond to the mountains beyond. We rested there and observed quite a large snake, who was hanging out in the grass wondering when we were going to leave. We finally did leave, and paddled into a very brief, but strong rain shower. It was over and the sun was back out before we left the pond. The next stretch of river was really quite beautiful; some fast water, a few stretches of dead water, and many osprey, kingfishers and eagles. Despite seeing these beautiful birds we all wanted to see a mammal.

Many of us got our wish when Courts and Sean spied a moose feeding along the bank up ahead on the river. It is always a thrill to see such a magnificent and ungainly creature. They also never cease to amaze with their grace as they move off into the alders by the side of the river. We pulled into camp soon after and were very pleased with the layout and views of the Five Finger Brook South campsite. It was perched on a high bank overlooking a quick set of rapids, which looked perfect for swimming. The canoes at the rear of the troop finally arrived and we greeted them with questions about whether they had seen the moose or not. However they answered back with questions about whether we had seen “it” too? What had they seen we asked? A Canadian Lynx, Marsh exclaimed! Marsh had seen some movement in the woods by the river and then the Lynx had stepped out into view. It had a short tail, heavy body and pointed ears. He confirmed it when we got back to camp by looking at a picture. What a thrill to see these two magnificent creatures of the north country in such a short time frame.

Watching Moose

Soon the camp was set up, tents spread out around the site and Sean with his hammock between two trees near the river. Many swam in the rapids, but Rosie earned the prize of longest time on the water and most enjoyment from the experience. Cards were also played that afternoon and despite never having played President, Jim was the most consistent winner. Even though we were running low on beer and ice, Marsh was able to keep everyone satisfied with drinks as we enjoyed our last evening on the river. Dinner was chili and cornbread. Once again, Sean made an awesome fire with wood the gang collected and Mike respectfully and methodically split. It was another special evening along the river. The good food cooked on a hot fire, the animal sightings, the camaraderie of the group; all contributed to make it another memorable one. We headed to bed a bit early as we had to be up and on the water by 7:00 in order to get to Michaud Farm and then on the road home at at a reasonable time.

Friday August 24

We all planned to be up at 6:00 to get going, but we are up even earlier because there is a moose feeding in the river right across from our camp. It was cold, and with mist coming off the water it was the perfect picture! The moose finally wandered off into the woods and we broke camp, ate some granola bars and hit the river. The sun was not fully up and on the shaded side of the river it was very cold. The river was again magical and that feeling was only enhanced by the fact that we saw four more moose during our trip to Michaud Farm. The river was low and we needed to drag a few times, but we were at our take out spot by 9:30. It was certainly bittersweet as we all navigated (some better than others) the last rapid as we pulled into the farm.

We tracked down the van and trailer and then set to loading up. Sean put his expertise to work once again and fixed the wires for the trailer lights that had been severed. We met up with four young guys (two from Colby, one Bates and one Dartmouth) who had finished their trip early and needed a ride to St Francis. They took our picture and we drove them out of the woods. It is a small world as it turns out that one of them knew Wavus alum Emma Murphy from Colby and Kieve counselors John Devine (Colby) and Lexi Kemp (Bates). We loaded into the van and left the river. A quick stop in St Francis at Pelletier’s to drop off our new friends and then on towards Fort Kent.

We got an awesome lunch at Al’s Tastee Freeze, filled up with gas and hit the road. Rt 11 was beautiful as always, another entertaining stop in Ashland and then on to Nobleboro. As we arrived in camp we stopped and put the canoes away in the field and then went to the Buck building to unpack and clean our gear. That was accomplished in short order and then it was off to the KLC for cocktails and a nice steak dinner, thanks again Diane. Henry put together a great slide show and after dinner we all watched as the images of our adventure flowed past. Then it was time to say good bye. Marsh and Elliott were off to Cushing, Mike was headed home to his wife in Damariscotta, Sean had to hit the road back to Vermont and the rest of us went to bed with hopes of a good night sleep before being on the road early the next morning. I can’t speak for everyone, but I did not sleep well. It was too comfortable. I missed the tent, the fire, the fun, and especially the people.

Special thanks are in order:

To Courts and Elloitt for leading, cooking and keeping their dads in line
To Sean for being the “coffee guy”, the “fire guy”, the “eclipse guy”, the “fix the wire guy”, the “wood guy”, the “picture guy”. (He really must have learned a lot from his former Allagash HBC)
To Marsh for bartending, keeping us laughing, and taking care of his boys; Elloitt and Mackey
To Rosie and Erin for reminding us of how fun it is to be with old friends in a place you both love
To Mike for being the G.O.A.T (greatest of all time) in all ways, he was simply “the man”

Mike Westcott


To Mackey for being himself and keeping us all laughing
To Henry and Jim for living a true and heartfelt “father-son” relationship.

Marshall Murphy, Jim and Henry Chance


To Dan for driving the van, keeping Marsh entertained, and being a good follower.

Lastly we would all like to thank HRK and the whole KW family for making this trip possible. It just goes to show that you can go back!

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Wavus Alumna Rose Palmer Ford

Rosie first came to Wavus in 2009 after Susan Russell (Trustee Emeritus) shared Wavus with Rosie’s grandmother. Rosie had grown up in London, and she spent her childhood outdoors and went camping every summer, but she had not been on a wilderness trip or canoed before. She spent two summers at Wavus when she was 13 and 14, and was off on challenging adventures from the start.

“In my first summer at Wavus, I met lifelong friends and had some of the best times. I felt a complete trust in nature and in my ability to feel safe outside my comfort zone. I returned to school that autumn with a newfound feistiness and a flickering glowing Wavus light in me that helped me be my own kind of teenage girl.” Rosie joined one of these lifelong friends, Erin Gates, on the Kieve-Wavus alumni trip down the Allagash Wilderness Waterway this August, so clearly the tripping skills, the feistiness and the bonds have stayed with Rosie all these years.

Rosie decided to return to Wavus as a counselor this summer, and it was her first summer back at Wavus in 7 years. She says she considered returning in the first place because she remembered thinking that her counselors were extremely cool. Rosie also knew she would have the opportunity to give teenage girls a challenging, joy-filled experience like she had. Finally she knew it meant a whole summer away from technology and the city – and she wanted that very much.

In fact, we find that many of our Wavus counselors speak fondly of this “unplugging” phenomenon. As Anne Lamott says, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” This fundamental truth was endorsed by another Wavus counselor Dempsey Schott in a recent interview, published on Instagram, with @getchogrindup.

As Rosie looks back on the summer of 2017, during which she led trips on the St. Croix and in the White Mountains, she had this to share: “This summer I realised that, as a camper committing to Mud Pond or the ‘four peaks day’ and as a counselor committing to keeping 12 children safe and happy in the woods, I was committing to an invaluable attitude of complete trust in my surroundings and my abilities. In a world of crazy overwhelming politics and unwholesome societal expectations this trust is hard to come by and so valuable.” This sense of trusting yourself is a profound experience that counselors and campers alike are blessed to discover here at camp.

Rosie is currently living in London and going into her final year of a music degree at Goldsmiths University. She will also earn a music production diploma course at SSR, a music studio in Camden where she recently received a scholarship to study. She writes songs and chamber music and intends to be a singer/songwriter, freelance composer and choir director. Rosie is a dreamer with high aspirations.

Over the summer Rosie wrote a collection of songs inspired by the girls she hiked with, sang with, ate marshmallows with as well as the eagles, mountains, sunrises and waterfalls they saw together. These will be up in the ether of the internet as soon as she has recorded them! If you follow us on Instagram, you may have caught her performance of a song inspired by her St. Croix girls which she shared during the 9/11-Family Camp at Kieve this past August.

It is worth noting that Rosie returned to us on a J1 VISA, a program which is in political jeopardy in Washington, DC at the moment. Many of our international alumni come back to Wavus and Kieve to give back to the children, their campers, what was given to them. You can contact your representative in the US Congress to support the Summer Work Travel (SWT) Program and the J-1 Counselor Visa Program HERE.

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