TAW’s Staff Community Culture 


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At Camp Ton-A-Wandah, we proudly uphold the values, needs, and traditions of outdoor education and recreation for girls and young women. Despite the advancements of the 21st century, girls and young women continue to encounter societal pressures that can impede their growth. Nevertheless, for over 90 summers, we have dedicated ourselves to empowering girls and young women to thrive.
Our unwavering commitment to creating a special and sacred space for girls and young women has been at the heart of Camp Ton-A-Wandah since 1933. Joining our camp means immersing yourself in a century-old daily camp life, replete with traditions, festivals, a natural environment, camp culture, and more. Each summer, new counselors from diverse backgrounds enrich our community, and integrating them into our camp world is a joyous experience.
To ensure the most successful outcomes for counselors, it's essential to understand our unique conditions, environment, and culture. We encourage you to explore our essential functions for working at camp. As you contemplate applying or engaging in the interview process, we urge you to assess how your personal and career goals align with the existing culture at Camp Ton-A-Wandah. Take the time to reflect on whether Camp Ton-A-Wandah community culture feels right for you, and don't hesitate to inquire about any of these matters during an interview.

We are a little bit rustic!RayDay

Being unplugged and spending the majority of our time outside, is one of the highlights of Camp Ton-A-Wandah. Every day is spent primarily in the beautiful outdoors in a vibrant relationship with Mother Nature. We swim in the lake, have most of our activities, Evening Activities, nighttime campfires, Free Time and more, all outside. When we walk between events or activities, it’s outdoors.
Rain or shine, hot or chilly, we make it to meals, to the bathrooms, and to activities, by moving through the glorious outdoors.
Counselors are part of our Fully Present approach to a timeless summer camp experience which means that cell phones, time online, and internet-connected devices are seriously limited. ​​
For TAW Girls, this is paradise, building grit, resilience, and a meaningful appreciation of our natural world.
But it’s not for everyone. It’s important that you ask yourself whether 10 weeks outdoors and largely unplugged is exciting and intriguing to you. 



We are a little bit loud!wateryourflowersday

At Camp Ton-A-Wandah, the spirit of Ton-A-Wandah Girls radiates with unbridled joy, evident in their constant singing, laughter, and exuberance throughout the day. Our camp is alive with activity, resonating with the sounds of chirping crickets, cooing birds, hooting owls, and the occasional gust of wind.
From the lively and animated meals in our Dining Hall where spontaneous sing-alongs occur, from the spirited Team competitions to our countless quirky traditions, living alongside 200 others in our communal camp setting is anything but quiet. In fact, it's a far cry from the tranquility of a library.
The pace at camp is equally dynamic, with moments of energetic excitement interspersed with opportunities to unwind during Happy Nappy, Taps, and other downtime activities. Whether it's Mountain Beach Party Day or a wild performance, the energy levels can soar.
And if you’ve never been around 200 or so squealing, giggling, screeching little and big girls, you’ll want to understand what that means for you. To be a counselor, you have to find this not only tolerable, but endearing.

Camp is, simply put, not very quiet.


If you value extreme introversion, respite, and the feeling of utter serenity, you’ll find that this kind of noise is not for everyone. It’s so important that you ask yourself whether ten weeks in a space and culture that are often loud, and usually high energy, is right for you.

We are a little bit soulful!

The location of Camp Ton-A-Wandah provides a deeply spiritual connection. 
While we are not affiliated with any particular denomination, our foundation is rooted in enduring Christian principles such as humility, forgiveness, gratitude, respect, and love.  These spiritual aspects are evident in our reflective and introspective Camp Ceremonies, our Sunday outdoor chapel service, and in the core values of Camp Ton-A-Wandah, which emphasize recognizing the inherent humanity within each individual.
More explicitly, we commence each meal with a blessing, and references to God are present in some of our cherished Campfire songs.
We warmly welcome campers and staff of all religious backgrounds, including those with no religious affiliation, and we neither discriminate against nor impose any theological or doctrinal beliefs on anyone. Further, we encourage the sharing of other cultural and religious backgrounds. If you would like to say a prayer or sing a song in your first language during one of our Camp gatherings, we would love to incorporate it for all to hear!
It is important to acknowledge that this cultural aspect, which includes spiritual acknowledgments and mild Christian elements, is a part of the Camp Ton-A-Wandah experience.
We recognize that this may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, it is crucial for individuals to reflect on whether spending ten weeks in an environment that includes occasional spiritual acknowledgments, non-denominational religious practices, or references to God aligns with their personal beliefs and preferences. 


We are Movin’ and Groovin’mismatchday

At Ton-A-Wandah, you're in for an active experience, regardless of your fitness level.
Even roles that might seem less physically demanding, like leading Arts & Crafts or Woodburning, will have you constantly on the move. Expect to spend much of your day standing, walking across the camp from one spot to another—uphill, downhill, taking stairs, embarking on hikes, and making trips to the lake.
But it doesn't stop there. You'll find yourself reaching, stretching, carrying, and lifting as you gather supplies, tidy up, manage equipment, and assist campers with a myriad of tasks. And yes, most of this activity takes place outdoors.

To put it plainly, working here is a physical job. 


However, when you finally get a moment to sit back and unwind, perhaps during Happy Nappy, the relaxation is incredibly rewarding. The key to thriving during the bustling camp days is to embrace constant movement.
We hope that an active lifestyle aligns with your preferences and capabilities and this is part of our community culture that excites you!




Friendship, friendship, just the perfect blendship!

Friendship at Camp Ton-A-Wandah is the heart of our community. We cherish the creation of deep, platonic bonds. Throughout our nearly century-long history, a constant highlight has been the formation of lifelong friendships among campers and staff. We pride ourselves on fostering an environment that encourages and nurtures these close connections.
We understand that strong connections may be made while at camp, but relationships that form at camp must wait until the camp season is over.    Your primary role at TAW is as a professional, hired to fulfill the responsibilities of a counselor. Your focus must always center on this commitment, especially during duty hours.  Therefore, any form of romantic or sexual relationships between staff on camp property is strictly prohibited.  This policy applies equally, regardless of the gender combination of the staff involved in the relationship.  
If you find it challenging to keep a romantic relationship separate from your professional role or if your primary motivation in coming to camp is to pursue a romantic relationship, then the Camp Ton-A-Wandah community culture is not be the right fit for you.


A Space for Girls and Young Womensmilepowerday

Camp Ton-A-Wandah has been dedicated to serving girls and young women for nearly 100  years, born from a recognition of the unequal opportunities available to females in outdoor recreation and education at its inception and persisting to this day.
We are deeply passionate about offering engaging and empowering summer camp experiences specifically designed for girls and young women, taking immense joy and pride in this focus.
We acknowledge the significant societal shifts regarding the gender spectrum in recent years. Our belief is firm that individuals of all gender orientations have a vital role in the summer camp industry. However, we also recognize the importance of aligning young adults, particularly those on a journey of gender exploration, with a camp environment that suits them best.
To be transparent, our camp is centered on the experiences, voices, needs, and aspirations of girls and young women. This focus addresses the unique societal and cultural challenges they face, as well as their potential to overcome these challenges and make strides forward. Our commitment to this mission is unwavering, with no plans to alter our foundational culture, as we believe in the ongoing necessity of dedicated spaces for girls and women in today’s society.
For those who are not assigned female at birth or are exploring different gender identities, we invite you to thoughtfully consider your fit within our camp culture:
  • We consistently use she/her pronouns with pride and affection, referring to our campers and ourselves as "TAW Girls" – a term that encapsulates our community spirit and has delighted generations.
  • Our programming and language celebrate female culture, connections, and the specific needs of girls and young women. For example many of our songs use the words “girls” “she” and “her”.
Given our focus, we are unable to  accommodate he/him pronouns for anyone other than our male staff. We will do our best to respect they/them pronouns for individuals as desired, but collectively (songs, announcements, large group settings, etc) we will use she/her. 
If the use of feminine language and the promotion of values that support girls and young women and their needs make you uncomfortable, the Ton-A-Wandah community culture might not be the ideal choice for you.


Politics, Society, Activism, and Culture

The world holds both wounds and wonders, and we all aspire to see it improve. We're disheartened when it falls short.
Many young people, especially those of counseling age and spanning various political beliefs, strive to contribute to a more just, fair, and truthful world aligned with their values. We commend their efforts, and we're immensely proud of our former staff who engage in volunteer and career-oriented work toward these goals.
However, at Camp Ton-A-Wandah, our camp culture holds a different significance. When we drive down the dirt road to our camp property,  we intentionally leave behind the modern world with its politics, social divides, and ongoing activism. Our focus shifts towards a shared mission: empowering girls and young women to reach their full potential.
Within our camp community, we uphold the dignity of all individuals, fostering open dialogue, inclusion, fairness, and kindness. We refrain from discussing current events or introducing social, cultural, or political issues during our camp activities of canoeing, singing, and campfires.
Our purpose is to teach, engage, and create joyful experiences for girls and young women, supporting them in their personal, athletic, and artistic endeavors while providing a timeless experience of friendship, nature, and fun. While we incorporate service components, these efforts align with Camp Ton-A-Wandah's values. In doing so, we aim to unite the diverse political and cultural perspectives of our camp families.
In essence, we refrain from promoting political, social, or cultural agendas within our camp community.
If you find it challenging to set aside specific areas of activism during camp hours or cannot compartmentalize them until after camp, the Camp Ton-A-Wandah culture may not be the best fit for you. For further clarification, please feel free to inquire during an interview.


Do you JIVE with the TAW community culture? 


 These aspects of our camp culture are fundamental to what makes Camp Ton-A-Wandah. We set out to be a nurturing environment for girls and young women and our culture reflects that celebration of  these individuals. We sincerely hope that all prospective campers and staff consider these factors when applying. Camp Ton-A-Wandah is happy to provide references to other co-ed and gender-inclusive camps if Ton-A-Wandah is not the perfect place for your camper!