The Firefly Issue #12 March 2021

Hello and Welcome to the Spring Edition of The Firefly! This is our quarterly Camp Newsletter and this month we are really looking forward to the summer of 2021!

In this edition, Camp Director Lily gives an update on this summer’s plans on page  1. Staff member Sam gives her thoughts on returning to Camp on page 2. We visit the highlights of the Smith Park Annual Meeting on page 3. We also feature this edition’s unsung Hero (who’s a long-time camp volunteer) on page 4. On our Alumni spotlight, we chat with ’90s and ’00s Alum Julia Hanagan on what she’s up to on page 5.

Looking Ahead to 2021


Submit a quick 2021 survey response today! 

Hello Camp WA WA Friends and Families,

I hope this finds you well! 

With holidays ahead, and the pandemic causing so many changes and concerns, I know there is a lot on our families’ minds. 

Here at Camp, we are planning for a safe and rejuvenating summer on Harmon Pond! Registration will open January 1, 2021, our typical registration start, and in this email I am including some key information for our families. 

First, our dates are below. These six weeks have been set aside for a combination of youth overnight camping and family/adult camping programs. As you read on, you will have an opportunity to also contribute to a survey to help guide us as we learn more and prepare a safe return to camp. 

Summer 2021 Dates:

  • Overnight Camp Session 1: July 4 – 17
  • Overnight Camp Session 2: July 18 – 31
  • Family/Adult Camping 1: August 1 – 7
  • Family/Adult Camping 2: August 8 – 14

We have continued to learn a lot about what we can do to make camp safe and are excited to think ahead to when we can be outside again at camp. 

We know from camps that were able to successfully open overnight camping last summer in other states, that key adaptations are available to us to operate during this pandemic. 

  • Outdoors as much as possible: We already typically spend all day outside- so that part is easy! And all of our buildings are extremely well ventilated by natural air. 
  • Single Entry Sessions: Sessions for overnight camping will be two weeks, with no visitors day, so that campers can enter at the same time and remain “bubbled” for the entire camp session. Likewise, staff will be able to “bubble” at camp for the entire summer. 
  • Camper Cabin Cohorts: Limited to 6 campers and a counselor, these cabin groups can enjoy every aspect of camp and take advantage of the many options our facility presents! 
  • Testing Protocol: Catch infections prior to coming to camp, and isolate cases of COVID-19 to prevent spread. 

There are, of course, other things we don’t know yet. By nature, recommendations change as experts learn more. We are still researching best practice when it comes to more specific protocols (Like, how will campers be tested for COVID-19? Or, will we eat in our dining hall?).

However, our commitment to providing safe programs that uphold our mission to continue overnight camping at our beautiful camp will remain the guiding focus for us, as it has over the past 8 months. 

Making registration as accessible as possible for next summer is also important to us. 

2021 registration will include the following:

  • $50 deposit, fully refundable if Camp WA WA makes any program changes. 
  • All tuition payments are refundable if Camp WA WA makes any program changes. 
  • December 15 early registration for any families with 2020 credits (I will contact you directly with a form to complete this registration).
  • Continuation of our Camp WA WA Campership scholarship program. 

Lastly, we are collecting feedback from parents about possible alternative programming should we need to pivot again to different programs due to safety concerns. We hope you will participate- it is just four short questions found HERE

We will send home camp calendars in a few weeks, along with a few more emails to assist with registration. And you will continue to hear more specifics about our 2021 program as spring approaches. Please don’t ever hesitate to be in touch if you’d like to discuss any aspect of the summer for your family. 

All the best,
Lily Mercogliano Easton 
Camp Director
Camp WA WA Segowea

P.S. Your campers will likely enjoy this Wally Video

Not Camp Camp

Small Camp, Big Family

Summer 2020 is going to be a bit different, but to keep staff, campers, parents and new friends connected during our first summer of not being able to offer in-person programming, we are getting together on-line on Wednesdays and over the weekend.


Camp Wa Wa is a rustic, traditional camping program located in the Berkshires. Our programs are completely unplugged and outdoors on our 450 acre property in Southfield, MA. With a private lake, a row of 92 year old cabins, a giant lodge and so many amazing spots in the woods, Smith Park brings endless joy to our long summer days.

WWS Not Camp Camp is the remote camp program of Camp Wa Wa Segowea for campers ages 8-16. This program can be accessed from anywhere there’s WiFi and the Wa Wa spirit.

So, this online programming is NOT CAMP

But Camp WA WA is also a community of people. Each summer we end our sessions by remembering that more than anything, Camp WA WA is a light that shines on in our camp people. We bring that light home with us and it keeps burning for the year. This year we need to keep it burning for two years. 

Therefore, this IS still CAMP……. its NOT CAMP CAMP

WWS Not Camp, Camp is four types of remote resources that our campers, staff, parents, and new friends that they invite to try out Camp WA WA, can use to access the joys of camp while staying in their own communities this summer. 

Just like our summer programs at Camp WA WA Segowea, WWS Not Camp, Camp will be a relaxed environment where young people can be seen, heard and valued. Our activities will inspire laughter and joy. We will offer opportunities to choose your own challenges and grow. 

Programs will be flexible, and intended to complement other summer activities not fill the day with online activities. 

What activities will be available at NOT CAMP CAMP

For Summer 2020, WWS Not Camp, Camp will offer four programs for our families. Registration is required. These programs will be free. Donations to support the work will be accepted and greatly appreciated. 

WA WA Wednesdays (July)- ZOOM:

nteractive activity choices led by counselors. Activities will be 30-45 minutes long. Examples include tutorials, games, magic the gathering. 

WA WA Weekends (July)

Friday Night Movies (various platforms – families choose)

Saturday Evening Activities-ZOOM

5 Saturday night family activities led by trained staff. Activities will include game shows, trivia and other large group activities that are 1-1.5 hours long and easily accessible for a variety of ages. Held on zoom or zoom webinar (perhaps with Kahoots for games, we’re exploring other plugins for movies). 

BONUS Activities: Opening Camp Fire at the beginning (Maybe Sunday, June 28?), Banquet at the end, Friday, July 31. 

WA WA Rainy Days – Youtube

Series of videos + written resources on the website that parents and older campers can use to guide activities for rainy days or to support local community activities (like a socially distanced field day, sing down at home, camp cooking classes…).

Hike Challenge

Get outside and hike 11 miles in July. Send us proof and we’ll send you a prize.

Message of Support

Candle light circle

June 8th, 2020

Dear Camp WA WA Segowea Family,

This past week, I explained to my son why it was important to attend an event in support of Black lives, despite it being over an hour drive away.  As a camp mom, a Camp WA WA alum, and an American, I have been moved to action because ending racism can’t wait. Racism puts Black lives in peril and effecting change will take all of us. I am reaching out today, to show solidarity with everyone in our community taking a stand for Black lives right now and to let you know how the Smith Park board of directors is engaging.

It is imperative that we not only stand up against racism, but also look within ourselves and at our organization. As an organization devoted to caring for youth and with a commitment to serving diverse and underserved communities, we must do more.

The Smith Park board should reflect the diversity of our broad camp community.  We have never had a person of color on the Smith Park Board, and that is something we are committed to changing. Over the next couple of months, you will hear from us about how we intend to diversify the board and our progress towards this goal.

This week, we also solicited input from our staff. We are listening to their camp experiences and their desires about how Smith Park can respond. As a result, here are some steps we are taking:

We recognize this is a challenging moment to navigate and find connection when we can not physically be together at camp this summer.  We welcome communication and are available at for any questions or suggestions, or reach out to me directly at

I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well.

With love,

Sarah Perks
President, Smith Park on behalf of the Board of Directors

“Smith Park of New York is devoted to the preservation and operation of Camp WA WA Segowea, the protection of its natural surroundings and historical integrity, and the continuation of traditional resident camping that improves the spiritual, mental, social and physical attributes of young people in a caring community.”

Summer 2020 Decision

Dear Camp WA WA Families and Friends,

This past weekend the Smith Park Board of Directors made the heartbreaking decision to cancel our in-person camp programs for the 2020 summer at Camp WA WA Segowea. 

The Smith Park Board is a dedicated group of volunteers, all of whom have either attended, worked and volunteered at, or sent their children to Camp WA WA in the past. This decision was made after serious consideration of our mission as a resident camp, and our responsibility to our families and staff during this unique moment.

It was clear that the risk COVID-19 presents to our campers, our staff, and our camper’s families back home made it impossible at this time to proceed with our summer as planned. 

If at any point during the coming months a path for offering gatherings at Camp WA WA emerges, we will make every effort to proceed with new programs and opportunities at Camp. 

You may be surprised that this decision was made now, and not later this month or at the June board meeting. We have been closely following this health crisis for the past three months and have spent weeks considering how Camp WA WA could adjust and still offer for our families what we all love so much about summer. 

However, upon reviewing the recommendations by our staff, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), summer camp professionals and health officials, we knew that suspending camp for this summer was the difficult decision that needed to be made and we did not want to prolong communicating that to our families. 

We believe strongly that all of our families and staff deserve proper time to receive this news, and to make alternative plans for this summer if they are available. Also, by sharing this news now, we are able to focus on concrete ways that we can connect with campers moving forward. And we are able to prepare for 2021 to be a tremendous summer return at Camp WA WA.   

We hope that our campers will get support at home to process their emotions about this decision. Every summer at camp is unique and every summer is valuable. We know how much our campers wanted to have this summer at camp and that this news, especially after weeks of stay-at-home orders, is extremely hard to hear. 

We also recognize that given the global scale of this pandemic, families are facing many different challenges right now and our thoughts go out to all of you. 

Below are some resources to support parents and campers at this time, as well as an update on the financial implications of this decision.  Nella, our camp nurse and health care consultant is also available to support families with this news and her email is:

We look forward to pouring our hearts into finding new ways to connect now, and being back at camp in 2021! 

Please keep in touch, and be well. 

With Love,

Lily Mercogliano Easton

Camp Director, Camp WA WA Segowea 

On behalf of the Smith Park Board of Directors

Resources for Camp Families:


  • Financial Information:

    • Tuition payments, including the registration deposit, for 2020 can be applied as credits towards 2021 camper registrations. 2021 registration will open a week early for currently enrolled campers and 2021 tuition will be offered at the 2020 rate. 

    • Tuition payments, in full or any portion, can be donated to Camp WA WA Segowea, a 501 © 3 non-profit camp, to help offset the expenses already invested in the 2020 summer. Donations of any size will be greatly appreciated. 

    • Refunds of 2020 tuition, including the deposit, are also available and will take up to three weeks to process on *Please note that we will be working this week on updating camper accounts in This will take a bit of time as we make sure that each family’s tuition payments are handled correctly and that any credits for 2021 are properly noted. We appreciate your patience and will be in touch more specifically about this in the coming days. 

  • Resources for talking about this decision with your campers:

  • Lily, our Camp Director and other leadership staff will hold the following opportunities to connect this week:

    • Monday, May 4: Town Hall, 7 PM (zoom): Join Lily for questions and answers about this decision, information about new ways we are working on staying connected this summer, and probably at least a song or two. 

    • Wednesday, May 6: Teen Lunch, 12:30 PM (zoom- link will be sent to Teen Camp & CIT/LIT registered campers). Join teen leadership for time dedicated just for teens to connect, and inform ways we can move forward that are meaningful for our older campers. 

    • Saturday, May 9th: Coffee with the Director, 9 AM (zoom): Parents and alumni are encouraged to join Lily for questions and answers about camp’s plans for the summer, and information on how to best help Camp WA WA and our camper communities during this difficult time. 

    • Lily Mercogliano Easton is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

  • Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 847 9364 9645

Password: 6vjuQ2

  • 2020 Camp WA WA at Home 

    • Our staff team has begun crafting online activities to support camper engagement and connection over the summer. Though nothing can replace actually being at camp this summer, we are excited to find new ways to strengthen our community now. We hope you will hang in there with us as we try this out! Camp WA WA at Home will be a set of free programs, held online, and open to any youth ages 7 – 14. We will also have an online leadership program, free of cost, this summer for the CITs and LITs that had already registered for our leadership program this summer. New registration will be required for Camp WA WA at Home and information will be forthcoming this month.

COVID-19: Preparing for another safe and fun summer at Camp WA WA!

Smith Park Logo
As Spring starts to peak out here in the Northeast, we are busy planning for summer and have some updates on enrollment and how we are responding to the coronavirus outbreak.
I’m happy to share that we have crossed 50% capacity filled for this summer. Teen Camp for sessions 1 and 2 is almost full, and I anticipate a waiting list will start any day now. Base camp for those two sessions is also filling fast. 
Session 3 still has plenty of bunks open and I encourage folks to check out that awesome week. This is all great news for our small camp!
We are also still enrolling for our two adult and family programs: Altheisure Camp & Family Camp. We are excited to be holding such varied ways to get outside this summer!
Thank you so much for helping to get the word out. We are so happy to see many campers returning and bringing new friends along for another epic season in the Berkshires.
We are also currently monitoring the spread of COVID-19 virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, and any potential impact on the summer. If you click HERE, you will be brought to the State of Massachusetts website that includes information on what your family can do today to prepare for this virus. The CDC is another place for up to date information from anywhere in the country.
As you have probably heard, washing your hands regularly for at least 30 seconds (sing “Happy Birthday” twice!), staying home if sick, and covering any sneezes or coughs, are all strong practices to incorporate at home in order to aid in prevention.  
In regards to this summer, please know that Nella, our Health Care Supervisor, and I, along with our Board of Directors at Smith Park, keep the health and safety of our campers at the very forefront of our minds at all times when preparing for camp, and during the summer. 
As a camp licensed by the state of Massachusetts, we are already required to have an infectious disease policy in place and we work closely with the State of MA Department of Health each season to make sure our campers are healthy and protected while at camp. As summer approaches, we will take instructions from the department of health in regards to any and all approaches needed in response to the coronavirus. 
Nella and I are actively reviewing our health screening, check-in protocol, hand-washing and sanitizing systems, and other policies and procedures at camp to improve for this summer. 
We are partnering with ACA New England, who have a strong presence in the region and work alongside the American Camp Nursing Association to give guidance for best practices for health standards at camp.
We are fortunate to have our camp located in a state with so many summer camps- our support system is robust and allows us to provide phenomenal safe experiences in the summer.
I encourage families to be in touch with any specific questions or concerns at this time. A new update about this summer and coronavirus will be sent via email on May 1, if not sooner, after we meet with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for our annual Spring Massachusetts Camping Association policies and licensing review. We are confident that our partners in public health will be doing everything possible to assist us in having a safe summer. 
We continue to be very excited about the chance to spend summer outside in nature. Just yesterday it was warm enough for our facilities committee to work at camp on our new handicap accessible bathroom in our multi purpose cabin, Hart Lodge. Things are moving along!
And please keep sharing about our programs with your friends and family, there are many great memories to be made and we want to make sure we are reaching everyone that needs some Camp WA WA magic this summer. 


Spotlight on Teen Camp

Mountain View
For us at Camp WA WA Segowea, overnight camp sessions mean long, beautiful days in the Berkshires where we get to swim, boat, play, and HIKE! 
Our hiking tradition starts at Camp WA WA Segowea during our Base Camp day hiking program that is a tradition for the first week of every session. 
And teen campers get to take on a whole new adventure by embarking on a two night, three day hike on the nearby Appalachian Trail. 
Don’t miss out, Teen Camp fills up fastest of all of our programs so register today to secure your preferred spot. 
The AT Hike is a special highlight of our Teen Camp program that offers many awesome summer opportunities for teens including…
– Day Hikes to nearby popular waterfalls and mountains.
– Overnight Camping at our lakeside campsites or other local sites here in the Berkshires. 
– A Canoe Trip to a local lake or river.   
– Team Building and leadership activities. 
– And a Teen Camp Favorite: Cupcake Wars! 
Camp Fire

Teen Campers also enjoy all the benefits of living as part of our Base Camp population when they are not out on trips taking in new views! 

Mountain View
Cabin options are available for campers of all genders and campers live with 6-8 other campers and 1-2 counselors. 
Our kitchen is trained in allergy awareness and is happy to make accommodations for vegetarian and vegan campers, as well as dietary restrictions for other special needs. 
Campership Scholarships are made possible thanks to our parent non-profit Smith Park of New York, the Annual WA WA Wally Waddle 5K Race and Walk, and the generous support of our alumni and friends. An application can be submitted HERE
Please reach out to with any questions. And connect with us on Facebook