MARIANNE & MOLLIE
As a parent of a 21 year old college senior who is on the cusp of graduating with honors from a selective university, ready to launch her life, I am grateful to the camp programs she was able to participate in, under the tutelage of Arianne and Andrew VanDerWege.
My daughter was able to learn the values of teamwork, testing ones limits, honesty, and striving for goals in settings that supported and nurtured her over the course of ten years of camp.
Arianne and Andrew, while working with dozens of kids at a time, took the initiative and effort to learn who my daughter was as an individual. Their focus was always on fun, in a safe environment.
Summer programming under Arianne and Andrew was such a formative experience, that a camp experience with them, was the topic of her college admission essay. As she pursues her post graduate career ambitions, her camp experiences with the VanDerWeges continue to have a presence in her description of her passions and major life influences!
- Marianne Mansfield
Every summer growing up I went to least a couple weeks of camp, many of which were run by Andrew and Arianne VanDerWege. I made many new friends, had a blast, and camp quickly became something I looked forward to all year long. Looking back, I realize that I took more away from camp than just great rock climbing and archery skills. I grew as a leader, learned to feel comfortable in my own skin, and gained independence and a love for the outdoors.
The close-knit community, or “camp family,” that Andrew and Arianne created made me feel like I belonged, and also instilled a sense of responsibility for my role in the camp community. This is a value that has stayed with me and has served me well.
I am grateful for the time I spent at camp and what Andrew and Arianne taught me along the way.
- Mollie Putnam
JOHN, JULI, DANA, & DENNIS
Our son and daughter were campers at many camps -- summer day, summer residential, winter break, and after school -- from Kindergarten until they ‘aged out’. Summer day camps not only provided structure, non-stop fun, and a safe place to be, but also provided opportunities to hone important life skills: working with others, sharing, following rules, making new friends, and trying new things outside of the kids’ comfort zones.
While summer day camp was great, it was the residential “sleep-away” camps that the kids eventually looked forward to most. Those two weeks spent at camp became the highlight of each kid’s summer. Both kids were initially apprehensive about going away, fearful of being away from home, meeting and bunking with new people, and having new experiences that they thought they wouldn’t like or be able to do. But those fears were short-lived -- we practically had to pry them away from camp when it was time to start the drive home at the end of the two weeks. On more than one occasion, as we were filling out the registration forms for that year’s upcoming sleep-away camp, our daughter practically begged us to let her go for an entire summer.
During almost the entire timespan of our kids camping experience, Andrew and Arianne designed and ran most if not all of the camps our kids attended and were thus directly responsible for our kids’ excellent camp experience. The in-camp activities that they planned, the structure that they provided, the field trips that they organized, the super-fun counselors that they hired to keep the kids busy and safe (in addition to being excellent role models)… all played into what was a wonderful experience, not only for our kids but for us parents as well.
- John Lamb & Juli Sarris
JOSH & SALLY
For many summers, and starting from a two week program when she was 7 years old and then up to six weeks when she was 13, Sally attended the camp that was run by Andrew & Arianne. Those periods remain among Sally’s fondest memories, with close friendships formed and adventures experienced. Learning to live with, and share responsibility for, a group of campmates that were a combination of old friends and possible new ones was a part of the culture of the camp, and drew Sally back to camp year after year.
The camp program and philosophy created a healthy and vibrant community amongst the leaders, counselors, and campers, and it was delightful to visit and see the close relationships that had developed between campers, supporting and relying on one another whether they were climbing, backpacking, kayaking, or simply enjoying the campfire. The counselors genuinely cared about the campers, and strived to instill a compassionate atmosphere, while ensuring there was plenty of fun even in the physically demanding portions of their adventures.
Each year it would be wonderful to pick Sally up at the end, and note the changes and growth in her as a person. The sadness at leaving, and the tears between the campers and staff, showed what a wonderful climate that Andrew & Arianne had cultivated. I thank them for creating these experiences and memories that will last a lifetime, and for being a part of what has made Sally who she is today.
- Josh and Sally Sroge