Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Posted to Epinions.com:

Winona camps offer many skills and experiences that are absent from many comparable camps. The hiking, climbing and canoe trips are truly top-notch, and the camp is genuinely more ¡¥woodsy¡¦ or ¡¥rustic¡¦ than almost any other New England camp. For parents who wish their children to learn traditional woodsman¡¦s skills, Winona is a strong candidate.

However, Winona hires counselors starting at age 17. In any given summer, a large proportion of the staff is 18 years old or younger. Combined with regulations that allow staff to stay out all night, Winona summers tend to be 7 weeks of partying for the counselors, and minimum supervision/guidance for the campers. There is also a heavier alcohol and drug presence in camp than many parents will be comfortable with.

A problem for any camp that has been around as long as Winona is that change comes hard. Traditions and ways of running camp become so ingrained, that it becomes impossible for either staff or campers to embrace changes to camp programs or methodology.

If a child is self-confident, popular and athletic, then he will do fine at Winona. But for children who may need strong adult role models and supervision, then Winona will not be an ideal choice.

Please note that the above opinion is based on my experience as a Winona counselor in the Summer of 2001.


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