Since 1926, Kieve has evolved from a small summer camp for boys, nestled on the shoes of pristine Damariscotta Lake, into a highly acclaimed and wide reaching, year-round educational organization. The Wavus Camps started in 1922 and shared many of the same ideals as Kieve. At Kieve-Wavus, we believe that experience is the best teacher as we seek to increase self-confidence, raise aspirations, and promote cooperative effort in all of our education programs. Our dedicated staff helps others develop the confidence they need to achieve their dreams so that they may make a positive contribution to society.
Short Histories of Our Programs
Camp Kieve for Boys
Camp Kieve for Boys first opened its doors in 1926, the brainchild of Donald Kennedy, a Philadelphia schoolteacher. His idea was to create a summer camp with a minimum of rules, balanced by a large number of understanding counselors and a program downplaying competition between individuals; rather, the goal was encouraging campers to set and surpass personal goals. This remains as true today as it was more than seventy years ago.
Wilderness tripping has always been an integral part of the Kieve experience. Younger boys may spend only a night or two camping out; older boys may be away from camp as long as many as 23 days during a session.
For the first four-and-a-half decades Kieve remained under the ownership of the Kennedy Family; however, in 1974 it became a not-for-profit educational foundation governed by a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees. The current CEO, Henry Kennedy, is the grandson of the founder.
Todays camp enrolls approximately 500 boys between the ages of eight and sixteen divided into two separate 26-day sessions. In addition, there are two 10-day sessions for Junior Kievers, boys eight & nine years old, who wish a shorter exposure to an overnight environment.
Wavus Camp for Girls
Begun in 1922 by “Chief” and Emma Andrews, by the 1960s Wavus had grown into the brother/sister camps of Damariscotta Camp and Camp Wawanock, lead by Harold & Shirley Westerman. The camps focused on progressive achievement and skill development. Four program levels culminated in the Gold Medal, earned over the years by over two hundred children. The Wavus Camps closed in 1976, was sold to a private owner, and lay dormant for almost 20 years. In 1992 the Wavus Foundation and alumni purchased the ninety-five acres and in 1995 Wavus reopened as a summer day camp.Opened in the Summer of 2006, the Wavus Camp for Girls has had a fabulously successful first six years with girls attending from all over the world. See more by clicking the Wavus link below. The campus is stunningly beautiful with new cabins and upgraded facilities that make for a perfect summer camp!
The Leadership School (formerly Leadership Decisions Institute)
In 1981 Kieve expanded its programs designed to serve children and adolescents by establishing the Kieve Leadership Decisions Institute (now called The Leadership School), certified by the State of Maine as a non-traditional limited purpose school. The Leadership School's mission is: to help students improve self-confidence, develop the capacity to make wise decisions, raise aspirations, and enhance group cooperation.
Today The Leadership School works with more than 5,000 Maine children annually, both at its Nobleboro campus and in the schools themselves. The curriculum teaches decision-making skills in areas such as human relationships, drug and alcohol use, conflict resolution and collaborative work within a group. In addition to working with the students themselves, the program believes strongly in "teaching the teachers" and also works with parents and other community members to help them develop strategies to manage and solve the challenges facing youth today.
Inaugurating in the summer of 2002, in Colorado, our current KW West program is a 23-day coed summer wilderness experience set in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State and also along the coast in kayaks. Backcountry skills such as off trail navigation, small group travel, wilderness first aid, river crossing, and rock climbing are taught in a wilderness setting unavailable on the East Coast. In addition to backcountry skills, a major focus of KW West is leadership development. Participants, aged 16 to 18, study, observe, and most importantly, practice leadership skills. The course is designed for young men and women with some wilderness experience who desire to become outdoor leaders. Those who successfully complete the program will find themselves strong and qualified candidates for many leadership positions, both at Kieve and elsewhere.
The Kennedy Learning Center
The Richard C. Kennedy Learning Center was conceived and constructed in 1994 to provide a place where adults, parents, educators, and community and business leaders can gather for retreats and workshops in a comfortable, hospitable and serene setting. In addition, the facility serves the needs of each of Kieves programs by providing meeting space and training facilities. While not its primary mission, the Learning Center also hosts a number of social functions, including family reunions, and birthday parties.
The Learning Center has a well-deserved reputation for its excellent cuisine and its beautiful accommodations and equipment. It is positioned directly adjacent to Lake Damariscotta and provides a wide variety of seasonal recreational activities. With the completion of the Cutler Annex in 2002, the Learning Center can accommodate as many as 31 guests overnight.
9/11 Family Camp
This summer will be our 11th Anniversary year providing rest, relaxation and lots of fun for families affected by the events of September 11th, 2001. Families are from FDNY Ladder Comapny 3, Battalion 6 (and other houses), Cantor Fitzgerald and The Pentagon. Lots of in camp activities, day trips, entertainment and great food all make this an incredible week!
Alumni & Family Adventure Camp
Kieve and Wavus are pleased to invite alumni and families back to camp during the summer for our Alumni and Family Adventure Camp. This is an opportunity to rediscover the home of childhood summers, to reconnect with old friends and a chance to meet new friends with whom common experiences were shared. This is also a wonderful time to relax and play in old stomping grounds and to experience a little bit of what it’s like to be a camper all over again or for the very first time. As campers there are opportunities to try different summer camp activities, go on various local trips, explore both of the Kieve Wavus camps, or simply share a morsel of time with friends on beautiful Damariscotta Lake.
Since 2009 Kieve-Wavus has welcomed veterans home by inviting them and their families to the tranquil woodlands along the shores of Damariscotta Lake in the mid-coast region of Maine. Arriving at Veterans Camp our guests are greeted with genuine friendship, heartfelt thanks, and the opportunity to participate in a broad range of physical, creative and healing activities. The connective camp environment encourages veterans and their families to develop a network of support with others who have experienced the same challenges that a wartime deployment can present. Veterans Camp is offered free to veterans and their families and is a drug and alcohol free program.
Our gesture of thanks and support has grown significantly over the past three years. Our outreach now includes veterans groups from all eras of conflict, spanning from Vietnam to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an effort to enhance our support of returning veterans who have served America so selflessly, our team has worked hard to create strong and effective bonds of partnership in collaboration with the V. A., Vet Centers, centers of higher education, and veteran-oriented employment resources to help these men and women, “reconnect” with their families, “re-integrate” with their communities, and make a positive transition from wartime to peace.