By Delaney Walker, former MCE camper and counselor
I was never the kid who was nervous to go to camp. I practically begged my parents to send me as early as possible. I was never the shy kid either, I was always one of the loudest in the bunk, and the first to volunteer for any activity that would put me as the center of attention. My counselors characterized me as the leader of the pack, my friends often looked to me for direction for the group and to make decisions. Sometimes, more often than not, getting us into some harmless trouble.
I always wanted to go to camp to have that place to run around and be loud and crazy. My parents wanted me to go to camp to gain independence and disconnect from school and the Internet. Camp did all of those things. It was my outlet to be wild, independent and disconnect. But one thing that camp taught me – that I never knew was possible and honestly didn’t realize until I returned as a counselor – was how to fall in love with a place.
Everyone falls in love – sometimes with people, with pets, or in the case of 12 year old girls, pop icons – but there is an astonishing thing that happens when you fall in love with a place. When you fall in love with the place you want to make that place the best it can be. That not only means respecting the physical grounds that make up that place, but participating whole heartedly in every activity and event that occurs in that place. It also means doing whatever you can to keep the peace in that place, by trying to establish a drama free environment between preteen and teen girls. It is behaving with compassion and understanding. It is optimizing the experience of others, so that they too share the love of that place. It is understanding what that place means to everyone a part of it, making sure they are included and valued. It is loving and respecting everyone who has made it possible for you to be there – from your parents to your counselors to the directors. Falling in love with a place is learning the impact you can have on the people and environment around you. It is knowing that there is somewhere in this world imprinted by you and the decisions you have made.
There is something invaluable about falling in love with a place. No matter where you are in the world you can think about that place and instantly feel serenity. You can picture yourself laughing with friends, sneaking cereal out of the dining hall, begging for that extra minute of flashlight time and doing cannon balls into the lake. It is a breath of fresh air, a memory that is yours and close to your heart. The most valuable gift you can give your child is the ability to remember a place and instantaneously be at peace. Places can’t abandon you or hurt you. No matter what happens the same smell of pine tree will linger in the air, the lake will glisten, the birds will crow. Places may change, and so will you. But the foundation of that place will remain the same and that you can hold onto forever.
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.