Celebrating Independence Day at Maine Camps
July 4, 2017, by Jake
Celebrating Independence Day at Maine Camps
July 4, 2017, by Jake

While each Maine Camp Experience camp shares its own unique traditions and rituals, one day that almost all camps celebrate during the summer is the 4th of July. American Independence Day is the only major national holiday that falls during camp season, and so camps make sure to schedule specific events to celebrate and commemorate this special day. Through a blend of patriotic events and rituals, classic American celebrations, and unique camp traditions, camps always bring a little extra to celebrate the 4th of July!

Dressed to Impress

Wearing costumes and dressing up is a core part of camp culture, and the Fourth of July is no exception. Campers will bring specific red, white, and blue, and American flag clothing so that they can wear their stars and stripes in order to celebrate the holiday spirit. In the past, counselors have worn full bald eagle costumes, and this year I personally ordered a pair of American flag sunglasses and a stars and stripes bucket hat so that I could wear my usual attire with a patriotic flair. In any case, the 4th of July is a great opportunity to dress up in red, white, and blue!

Not Just Another Day

At some Maine Camp Experience camps the day is kicked off by a ceremonial flag raising ceremony, during which the camp comes together to sing the pledge of allegiance as the flag is raised, oftentimes by the oldest campers, to the top of the mast. After this, there will almost always be special programming for the kids who are attending camp in early July. At many camps, campers will be split into red, white, and blue teams and participate in a day-long competition with a variety of activities such as an egg toss, tennis rally, or lemon eating contest to determine the competition’s victor. At the Maine Camp Experience camp I work at, campers are broken into groups of about ten, and they embark on a camp-wide scavenger hunt with a variety of tasks and clues that ultimately lead each group to an ice cream truck at day’s end.

At the camp I work at, the oldest campers and some counselors will also participate in a 4 four mile race during the morning of each Independence Day, which is dubbed the Four on the Fourth. This is an event that campers look forward to as they grow up at camp, and the opportunity to complete the race is considered a great honor among both campers and staff members. The day concludes with a softball game, played between the two oldest age groups, which marks the kickoff of Color War, and the whole camp gathers around to watch.

The New Americans

One of the most interesting things about celebrating the Fourth of July at camp in Maine is the fact that you’ll inevitably be celebrating with many international friends. Campers and counselors come from all over the world, from the UK and Ireland to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, from Spain to China and Mexico. However, though these staff members come from places that do not traditionally celebrate American Independence Day, they are absolutely included in the festivities. They will dress in red, white, and blue just like the American campers and staff members, and also enthusiastically partake in the activities and spirit of the camp community.

Sparks in the Sky

Of course, it wouldn’t be the 4th of July if there wasn’t a fireworks show. At many Maine camps, the Independence Day celebrations will culminate with a fireworks ceremony, as campers watch incredible pyrotechnic displays over their beautiful Maine lakes. Sometimes these firework shows will be orchestrated by the camps themselves, and other times the campers will get to enjoy a display that is put together by the local town and community. In any case, while lying on the lawn, watching the fireworks fill the sky over the lake after a fun-filled day of special events, it becomes obvious: there’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than at camp in Maine.

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitudeon our Memories of Camp section of our website.

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.

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