One of the best things about this time of year is that, for many of us, it is a time filled with large family gatherings and meals. This holiday season of festivity kicked off with Thanksgiving, when family and friends traveled from near and far to enjoy a holiday meal together, and will continue as families come together to celebrate holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and New Year’s Eve, or simply to take advantage of breaks from work or school to spend some quality time together.
Of course, coming together for traditional meals and celebrations is very familiar to those who attend Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camps. Each MCE camp has its own traditional meals and gatherings, though of course there are many common traditions that are embraced by camps throughout the MCE community.
At many MCE camps, each summer and/or session will begin with an Opening Campfire, as well as a traditional beginning-of-camp meal. At my MCE camp, the first meal of the season is a big pizza dinner. Campers gather in the dining hall to officially kick off the summer and sit with their cabinmates for this special first meal. The Opening Campfire is another early-camp tradition at many MCE that brings the whole camp together to celebrate another summer ahead.
Throughout the summer there will be similar traditional meals and events that bring the camp community together. One of my favorites is the annual 4th of July cookout, that I looked forward to each summer as both a camper and counselor at camp in Maine. While the hot dogs and hamburgers could rival any barbeque, my favorite part of the holiday was coming together as a camp community – which away included a number of international campers and counselors celebrating the holiday for the first time – and capping the night off with an exciting all-camp event or fireworks.
Some “traditional” meals happen more regularly at camp, but this doesn’t mean they weren’t excitedly anticipated by the whole camp community. Growing up as a camper in Maine, we looked forward to “Liver and Onions” each Thursday, which was really just code for pizza and soda! Similarly, Taco Tuesday and Turkey Dinner on Sundays are major hits each week at my MCE camp, and meals that I looked forward to whenever they were on the menu. Sunday morning Sticky Buns are another cherished culinary camp tradition. On the last Sunday of the summer, the oldest campers all stand on their chairs and take their final bite of sticky bun together to commemorate the end of their camp journeys.
Perhaps the most important meal campers spend together each summer is the end-of-session Banquet that is common to many camps in the MCE community. For this meal, campers might wear slightly nicer clothes (or wear a specific camp uniform), and it is generally a meal that is highlighted by speeches commemorating another summer gone by. Growing up, my MCE camp had steak or lobster as options for this final meal, which was always a delicacy to look forward to. But no matter how good the food is, the act of coming together community is really what defines an end-of-season Banquet, which can oftentimes be a very emotional meal.
There’s nothing like traditional meal with loved ones. Just as the holiday season provides ample opportunities for families and friends to come together over traditional meals, at camp in Maine there are many chances for the camp community to spend quality time together over a shared, traditional meal. No matter what’s on the menu, or what you’re celebrating, we hope everyone in our MCE community has a wonderful holiday season filled with great food and even better company.
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 Camp Guide, Laurie 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.