Return to Camp WannagomaPublished 6:25pm Saturday, July 27, 2013
Just like its unique name, Camp Wannogoma offers a unique day-camp experience for area children.
Having completed its 26th year, Camp Wannagoma is seeing children of some of its first camping seasons showing up this year as camp volunteers. Some of the former day-campers are coming back to the camp to serve as counselors or help out in any way they can.
That thrills Louise Hinsley to the nth degree. Because of their experiences at Camp Wannagoma, these volunteers are proving to be invaluable assets for future camps, according to Hinsley.
Usually, Camp Wannagoma is held at Goose Creek State Park, which serves as an outdoor classroom for the day-campers. Camp volunteers undergo training before they are allowed to work with the day-campers. Registration for the camp begins in the early spring of each year. All the slots for this year’s Camp Wannagoma — held July 15-19 — were filled before June, and there was a waiting list with about 50 names on it in case some children already registered for camp were unable to attend.
In 1988, Hinsley, the 4-H youth-development director in Beaufort County, with some help, transformed an existing day-camp program, held on Mondays, into what is now Camp Wannagoma.
“Our whole focus is on environmental education. So, it’s wide open with a zillion different activities through the years that just make it fun,” Hinsley said. “It used be on a rotation schedule of every three years we had new curriculum because we wanted a child who could repeat the program and not have something over again,” Hinsley said. “Then when we added Critter Camp, which is first and second grades, now we’re on five-year rotation of programs, topics. So, we won’t study bats again for another five years.”
It’s that variety that keeps Camp Wannagoma fresh and appealing to its participants, Hinsley noted.
If there is one constant element with the camp, it’s teaching the children to paddle kayaks and canoe, she said.
Hinsley said Camp Wannagoma is a success because people in the community believe in its mission and have worked to turn it into an educational experience that’s also a fun experience. Among those first supporters were Kitty Carter and Beth Niser, members of an education committee at Goose Creek State Park, and Mary Walter Rumley, working for the Albemarle-Pamlico Estuary Study at the time.
“We’ve had a lot of different partnerships through the years. Pamlico-Tar River Foundation has been a partner of ours. We’ve had a variety of folks who had a concern for environmental education for children,” Hinsley said.
The day camp runs from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily during one week of each summer.
The day camp is for area children who will be in the third, fourth or fifth grades during the upcoming school year.
The cost is $75 per child.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information about Camp Wannagoma, contact Louise Hinsley at 252-946-0111, Mondays through Fridays.