Finishing with Style: End of Summer Traditions at Maine Camps
August 6, 2019, by Jake
Finishing with Style: End of Summer Traditions at Maine Camps
August 6, 2019, by Jake

It’s hard to believe, but this summer of camp in Maine is has nearly come to an end. In the coming week or so, most Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camps will be wrapping up their programs, and campers will be hugging, saying goodbye, and making their way home (or to whatever summer destination awaits them). That said, camps know how to end with a bang, and for many campers the last week or so of camp is the most exciting part of the summer. Special events and other end-of-season traditions dominate the landscape, and make the final few days of camp something campers look forward to all year round.

At many MCE camps, the defining end-of-season special event will be a major all-camp competition. Whether it’s called Color War, College Days, Spirit Days, or something else – the theme will generally be the same. Campers will break into two or four teams, and will have different competitions throughout the week that culminates in a winner being declared at the end of summer. Some events will be athletic team games, while others might include a silent dinner or a wacky relay – but in the end, the goal is for campers to have fun with spirited competition that helps energize the final few days of camp.

Of course, the end of camp isn’t all about competition, and not every camp ends the summer with a competitive Color War. At the MCE camp I work for, our Color War lasts for the whole summer, but the end of summer is defined by our “Ten Day Calendar.” These ten days do have some Color War events such as a swim meet, regatta, and final team games. However, there are a number of other events that are non-competitive.  For example, our ski, gymnastics, horseback riding, and dance shows give campers the chance to show off their skills in these different activities; and our annual camper-led Carnival is always a hit each summer.

While many of these events are exhilarating opportunities to provide campers with some end-of-summer excitement, MCE camps will also build in ways for campers to say goodbye to camp and their friends in their final days here. At my MCE camp, our final banquet serves as a send-off for our oldest campers. Our oldest campers spend the afternoon with returning staff members decorating our Main Bunk and dining hall in an incredible display of pine and tinsel, which creates a truly unique environment for this event, which provides these oldest campers with an opportunity to say thank you to the place that has become a second home. Our final campfire – a staple at many MCE camps – is another way camps formalize the end of summer, and is another way for kids to say goodbye to the season that has passed. One of my favorite camp traditions involves sending “wish-boats” into the lake with candles, which creates a beautiful visual display that echoes the beautiful moments we share together as summer draws to a close.

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end, and the same is true for a summer at camp in Maine. While the end of summer is always one of the most exciting times of the year, it is also bittersweet as it means saying goodbye to our home away from home. However, the amazing special events and traditions make this a truly memorable experience, and while it is hard to say goodbye, I always cherish these last few days as we remember just how important our shared camp experience is.

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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“I greatly enjoyed speaking with Laurie (Guide at Maine Camp Experience). Thanks to her guidance, ideas and suggestions we truly feel that our ultimate choice is the right one for us. We can trust that our seven year old daughter will have a wonderful summer!”




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