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A Conversation with Cullen W. LaPointe

Science Camp 2004; Kieve Girls 2005; Wavus 2006-2010; KW West 2011; Wavus Council 2013-14; St. Lawrence University B.S. Geology 2016; University of Georgia M.S. Geology 2018

Cullen grew up in Deerfield, Massachusetts and spent childhood summers at her grand parents home in York, Maine.  She heard about Kieve and Wavus through her cousin who was a camper at Kieve Camp for Boys. Cullen attended Tabor Academy, St. Lawrence University and the University of Georgia before landing in Denver, Colorado where she enjoys her work as a paleontologist.  She consults on development projects to help protect geological history, and her current territory for exploration and stewardship — all the Rocky Mountains!  

Best thing about camp: “My fondest memory as a camper is hiking the 100-mile wilderness and summiting Katahdin in colorful tutus.”  Cullen’s cabin, Iroquois, traversed Katahdin by hiking up the Hunt Trail, along the Knife’s Edge and down to Chimney Pond.  “The wilderness tripping aspect of Wavus strengthened my skills of independence. I learned to be more responsible for myself and, at the same time, to value the balance of belonging on a team; I learned to think of other people’s well-being in addition to my own.” 

Value of camper and counselor experiences: “As a camper I struggled to understand that people move at different paces and have different strengths. As a counselor, I recognized that I carried some of the responsibility for the group’s cohesiveness.  Not everyone is the same and that is okay, and this insight ultimately taught me to be more patient — an invaluable experience.” Over time Cullen developed empathy. She also grew to appreciate the weight of personal accountability.  She recalls, “As a camper, you can fall back and rely on your counselors, but as a counselor, there is a shift; you have to know what the plan is, where you are going and what you are doing because you are responsible for guiding campers down the literal, ‘correct path’.”

What Camp Taught Me: “You can make anything happen if you put your mind to it.  During one of my summers as a counselor, for afternoon and evening activity, I helped organize a camp-wide regatta. It was daunting, and it is a top memory. That day was so much fun. I recognized that with a little planning and support, anything is achievable.”  

Perhaps most importantly, Cullen’s time at Wavus has provided her with enduring relationships. “My two closest friends are from when I was a camper and a counselor.  I now live in Denver, and my roommate is a former Wavus Counselor. I have lifelong bonds with some of the people I met during my days at Wavus.”