Kieve Wavus News Spring 2024 Vol. 98 No. 1

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I started every day last summer by dropping my oldest daughter Stella off at Wavus for Kiddie Camp (our adorable toddler day camp for a growing brood of directors’ kids). I’ve participated in nearly four decades of summer camp, and watching Stella fall in love with Wavus last summer showed me what we do from a brand new perspective. Seeing Wavus through Stella’s eyes left me absolutely delighted and, at times, confounded by an endless list of questions: “What’s a queechee?” “What happens at Sunday Sparks?” “What is carnival day?” “Why doesn’t Wavus have an indoor climbing wall like Kieve?” 

It’s hard to believe nearly 20 years have passed since Wavus and Kieve merged to form Kieve Wavus Education. We reopened Wavus as a girls’ wilderness tripping camp in 2006, realizing our dream of providing young women the same transformational experiences Kieve boys have enjoyed across the lake for nearly a century. Since then, a generation of Wavus campers have rocked out at air guitar, summited Katahdin, paddled the Allagash, and then graduated to join the counselor and director ranks. These women are now role models for the camp’s next generation, solidifying the Wavus experience with familiar traditions, culture, and wilderness trips that bond campers and alumni for life. 

Naturally, Stella’s wonderment has me thinking about the future. How do we keep making Wavus even better? Building a positive culture requires constant and consistent nurturing. It takes time, creativity, lots of Taylor Swift, countless dance parties in Jewell, and the right leaders. I’m convinced we have the best leader for Wavus, Kate Kaplan. Since 2010, she’s grown and fostered the Wavus culture, wearing almost every hat imaginable. 

Last summer was one of the rainiest on record, and even though I can’t remember a single complaint, Kate and her team often felt that the lack of indoor facilities put a damper on the counselors’ creative ideas for fun. We had no arts center, no indoor climbing wall, and nowhere to gather the entire camp together for songs, games, skits, and performances other than Jewell. While people will forever be the ingredient most crucial to the Wavus magic, we must make sure to steward and shape the place that allows our campers and counselors to grow and thrive, learn and care, create and explore. Wavus Point is stunning. The campus rejuvenation that began 20 years ago deserves to be finished with facilities parallel to Kieve’s and worthy of Wavus’ stellar culture. 

Imagine how an already magical Wavus experience might benefit from an indoor space where the whole camp could come together, a building with a stage for performances and yoga, rooms for pottery and arts, a big fireplace for raw, rainy days so the silly songs and skits of Sunday Sparks never end early, a place for a camper to showcase the ceramic bowl she worked so hard to craft, or for a cabin group to work as a team to win air guitar. These moments, big and small, make camp memories stick. We owe our future Wavus generations facilities that can support the love, energy, singing, and shouting that echo far beyond Wavus Point. 

We’ve started to dream this building into existence. A Wavus arts center would sit beside the Drumlin, carved out of the hill with space underneath for a more spacious health center for campers and a staff lounge and gym for our counselors. And the campus renewal dreams stretch beyond the arts center. Picture an indoor climbing wall at the edge of the Dorman Kickball Field, a pavilion at the Wavus waterfront where campers can hang their towels, work on friendship bracelets, and take shelter when storms pass through, and an alumni center just past the nature boardwalk where our incredible alumni can stay while camp is in session. We can restore the river stone fireplace in Andrews Hall and transform the historic heart of Wavus into a beautiful gathering space with panoramic lake views. 

We have exciting plans for the years leading up to Kieve’s 100th and Wavus’ 20th with KWE, and we are eager to hear from people who want to help make these dreams a reality. If you’re motivated like we are, please reach out to me at 

It’s time to make the best summers ever even better. 


Sam Kennedy 
President & Chief Executive Officer