By Lori Chastanet, MCE Parent and member of a third-generation Maine Camp Family.
I would like to share with you my family’s long tradition of attending Maine’s summer camps. I will start with my parents who started camp in 1946 and end with my daughter currently attending a Maine camp.
My mother started at a Maine camp in 1946, which was founded so that Jewish children living in Maine could associate with other Jewish children. Here are her thoughts:
“I attended the second year of the camp’s existence in Oakland, Maine and stayed on until I became a counselor at the waterfront. My husband’s father had asked the Board of Directors of the camp to allow his son from NH to attend the camp. The board agreed and in 1950 he started at the Maine camp and remained till he was a waterfront counselor. We started dating and in 1960 we were married.
Our four children went to overnight camps and now our three grandchildren attend Maine camps. We still have maintained camp friends and are now in our 70’s. We have camp reunions in Florida every year.”
My parents settled in Maine where I and my three siblings were born. Camp’s influence on my parents was notable in our household. We had a job chart just like camp, we would sing camp songs in the car on long trips, and we all learned to swim at an early age since both parents were waterfront teachers at camp. Every Sunday we would go on excursions in the wilderness just like camp!
When we were old enough we all attended overnight camp and we all enjoyed our many years at camp. Now my daughter and my brother’s two children attend Maine camps.
As our children attend camp, we all recall our mutual experiences at camp and how time has not changed some of camp’s traditions! It only take a song to have our camp memories flood back. As my daughter recalls her camp experiences with all of us, we can relate to her experiences and share with her what we did at camp. Each summer when we visit her on visiting day I have tears of joy. I join in the singing and activities like I never left camp. The memories remain so alive in me. My parents can relate so much with their children and grandchildren since they lived the same experiences. Times have changed in the world but many things remain the same at camp.
Our lives have been enriched by our camp experiences, which have helped us to be better leaders, teachers, friends and parents. One of my favorite experiences that I share with my parents is that of being Color War General. We all feel this is one of the highest honors to receive at camp and hope that my daughter will be able to share in this as well. Another skill we all developed at camp is independence. After spending summers away from home, we all felt that leaving home for our freshman year of college was so much less stressful.
In this day of the internet, our camp generations remain alive with camp groups. On Facebook, we share pictures, music and experiences with our camp families. I love to share my daughter’s camp times with my Maine camp friends and then we can all relive our experiences. It brings us back to the days in Maine that we all wish to relive.
My daughter calls her camp her second home just as the rest of my family did with their Maine camps. I hope my daughter will continue to remain in touch with her camp family even when she has a family of her own. My parents and I know how special it is to share with our camp families the memories and experiences that have made us who we are today.
Our love for camp is so strong. For three generations our family has been a member of a Maine camp family which started 70 years ago. I hope our family will continue the tradition for generations to come.
Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools
Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child? Try out our helpful tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (1-8 weeks). It helps to narrow down a few camps to a manageable list that includes rates. Then you can research these camps in more depth.
Next, be sure to contact our Maine Campcierge™ to discuss these camps as well as for free, year-round advice and assistance on choosing a great Maine summer camp for your child.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.