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Camp WeHaKee
Dominican ministry welcomes girls of all faiths

Editor's Note: The following article was submitted by Bob and Maggie Braun, directors of Camp WeHaKee for Girls. Camp WeHaKee was founded by Sinsinawa Dominican Sister David O'Leary and is a sponsored ministry of the Sinsinawa Dominicans.

The unique and inclusive nature of Camp WeHaKee begins in its name. The namesake is a young girl of Native American Sioux and French descent named Mary WeHaKee, who was entrusted by her mother to Sr. Alberta Duffy, a Sinsinawa Dominican sister, in the 1840s. In 1923, Sr. David O’Leary, also a Sinsinawa Dominican, created a camp for girls and chose the name WeHaKee to honor this young woman who captured the hearts of the sisters nearly 70 years earlier.

Selecting the name of Camp WeHaKee established a legacy that embraces an inclusive community expanding to reflect the needs of a broadening world. At this time, Camp WeHaKee is the only Catholic all-girl resident camp in the United States and is located in Northern Wisconsin. Camp WeHaKee naturally serves a majority of campers who are Catholic. However, WeHaKee has always been open and welcoming to girls of all faiths and backgrounds since its inception in 1923. Each summer 35 percent or more of our campers come from backgrounds other than Catholic. They and their families are drawn to Camp WeHaKee by the intentional and practical application of universal values—the same Gospel values embraced by the Dominicans.

Camp WeHaKee weaves these values through all that they do in the following manner:

  • Community – Relationships built on respect
  • Compassion – Relationships that care for each individual
  • Justice – Relationships that recognize the dignity and uniqueness in all God’s creatures
  • Truth – Relationships that embrace honesty
  • Peace – Relationships that create an environment blessed by God

WeHaKee welcomes involvement from Dominicans throughout the world in many ways! We welcome girls that you may know to share in this life-changing experience. Each summer, the diversity of the camper population truly reflects our greater world. Visitors to camp frequently comment on the diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic blend of girls apparent at WeHaKee. And as evidence of the international flavor of the camp, most recently campers from France, Belgium, Spain, Russia and Colombia have joined the many girls from throughout the United States.

We welcome you to share in “Auntie Camp”—available for Dominican sisters to share a camp experience with their nieces and grandnieces. This all-female program is also open to women who work with and support the Dominicans.

Inspired by the success of the Auntie Camp program, Family Camp was added in 2007 allowing families (yes, including men and boys!) to attend a quality, fun and faith-filled family-centered event for several days each August.

WeHaKee welcomes volunteers to serve in many aspects of camp life. We are in need of volunteer nurses and doctors to care for our summer campers. We always enjoy volunteers who teach art, music, nature or other programs that will enhance this summer experience for our girls.

The power of the WeHaKee experience is found in the relationships that occur within, beyond and because of this camp. Girls often come for the fun and friends, but leave with a deeper understanding of themselves and a greater acceptance of their faith. They have grown under the guidance of caring staff and Dominican volunteers. A WeHaKee girl is inspired to become a woman who embraces the values of community, compassion, justice, truth and peace, allowing her to positively impact her family, her school, her community and the world.

WeHaKee will begin its 88th summer this year. If you know of someone who might benefit from a Camp WeHaKee experience, or someone who might like to volunteer, please encourage them to contact us by phone 800-582-2267, e-mail Camp@CampWeHaKee.com or online at www.CampWeHaKee.com.