Why should I send my child to a culture camp?
WMACS Summer Camp is more than just a culture camp. Yes, we hope that our campers learn something more about Chinese heritage and culture before the week is over, but we also seek to provide a safe space in which campers form meaningful, long-lasting relationships with other children of a similar ethnic background. We want our campers to feel comfortable within their own skins as Chinese/Taiwanese-Americans and/or individuals with an interest in Chinese culture. We could say more, but we’ll let our campers and counselors use their own words to share the impact WMACS has had in their lives.
What is a typical day like?
A typical day at WMACS will consist of 5 or 6 cultural classes held from 8am to 2pm. Afternoons from 3pm-5pm will be spent engaging in activities and games, sometimes held outdoors if the weather permits. These games typically include water games, an energetic camp-wide game called The Amazingly Awesome Amazing Race, and other group bonding activities. Following dinner (usually between 7-9pm) will be another activity, usually held in the main gymnasium or other similar areas. These usually include camper-favorites such as game show night and night market. An evening snack is provided by staff around 9:30 or 10pm, typically consisting of watermelon, pizza, fried rice, etc.), followed by lights out at 10:30pm. As you can see from our jam-packed schedules, usually campers and counselors alike are happily exhausted by this time!
Who can attend?
Campers range in age from 8 to 18 years old. Campers typically reside in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, but we have had campers travel from as far as California, Mainland China and, of course, Taiwan. Campers are predominantly of Chinese descent, however, we have had campers of other ethnic backgrounds attend as well.
When you say camp, do you mean out in the woods?
No. We tried it in 1996…it didn’t go so well. Since 1997, WMACS summer camp has been at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. For this year, WMACS 2023 will be held at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore, Maryland. Previous sites have included American University (1989), Towson State University (1990), Salisbury State University (1991-1995) and Camp Hemlock in Virginia (1996).
I’m hooked. When is camp and how do I register?
Camp generally occurs from July 22nd (Sat) to July 29th (Sat) of 2023, running for eight days and seven nights. This year, we will be asking parents/guardians to join us at Notre Dame of Maryland University for drop-off (7/22) and the end of camp performance (7/29). Please check our registration page for registration information.
Where will we stay?
Campers will stay in a traditional-style dorm building on the Notre Dame of Maryland University campus. Each room will have two campers (usually from the same group) and will share a bathroom with other rooms (of the same gender) down the hall. The room is air-conditioned and will have a mini-refrigerator and microwave as well.
How do I request a roommate?
Simply fill out the Roommate Request section of your application form. If you have already submitted your application form, write an email firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I bring food to camp?
The standard meals (all-you-can-eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be provided. In addition, an “evening snack” (宵夜!!) will be provided every night, possibly ranging from fresh watermelon to traditional fried rice. That said, some campers choose to bring additional small treats to snack on throughout the day, which is also acceptable.
Why Notre Dame?
With Notre Dame of Maryland University’s prime location, the WMACS 2023 staff decided it would be in the best interest of the community to continue camp for this summer somewhere that was closer to most of our campers’ homes. Ideally, we hope that it will be more accessible for parents in the event of any emergencies. While we cherish our times and memories at Frostburg State University, we look forward to building new relationships and experiences at Notre Dame this summer. Since we are always striving to create the best experience for our campers, we believe that this campus’s facilities and amenities will better serve our camp needs this summer (I mean, the gym has AC!). We hope you join us this summer and be a part of a new chapter of WMACS. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions/comments/or concerns you may have.
What is gender-inclusive housing?
Gender-inclusive housing is a living environment in which campers are not restricted to traditional limitations of the gender binary (girl/boy); this initiative is based on the notion that multiple gender identities exist. Gender-inclusive housing means that campers from all gender identities may choose to live together, and they will have access to gender-neutral bathrooms in the dormitory. Campers will be placed in suite-style rooms, where two rooms share a single-occupancy bathroom.
Why are you offering this option?
In alignment with WMACS Summer Camp’s commitment to establishing an inclusive environment for campers, we are excited to offer a gender-inclusive housing option this year. Our utmost priority is to ensure that all campers feel safe and respected during their time at camp, and we recognize that traditional same-gender room assignments may not be comfortable for all campers. By offering a gender-inclusive housing option, we hope to provide a living environment that is welcoming to all gender identities.
If I/my camper choose(s) gender-inclusive housing, will I/they have a roommate?
Only campers who indicate that they would like to participate in gender-inclusive housing on the housing preference form will be eligible for gender-inclusive housing. Depending on the number of campers that choose this option, they may or may not have a roommate. Nonetheless, our counselors will be encouraging all campers to spend time with other campers and counselors in our lounge areas!
What if I/my camper do(es) not want to participate in gender-inclusive housing?
Campers must indicate that they are interested in gender-inclusive housing in order to participate in this option. Since we strive to make every camper feel comfortable, the housing preference indicated on the form that was sent out to families will be honored. Gender-inclusive housing will not affect campers who choose same-gender room assignments. We encourage parents to have open conversations with campers to decide on which option would be best for the camper. Campers under 18 years old are required to have parental/guardian consent on their housing preference.
How will my camper’s privacy and safety be maintained in the dormitory?
We believe that campers in gender-inclusive housing and same-gender housing should have the opportunity for privacy when desired. Our counselors will encourage campers to change clothes in the privacy of a toilet stall or shower. All campers, counselors, and staff are required to respect the space and privacy of one another. As we have a camper to counselor ratio of approximately 2.8 to 1 this year, our counselors will proactively maintain the safety of our campers throughout each day.
I/my camper have/has more questions. How can we learn more?
We would love to share more about this exciting initiative! Please reach out to our head counselors (Maddie and Emily) at email@example.com.