From Camp to College: How My Maine Camp Prepared Me for College Life
By Allie Queller, MCE Alumna and Counselor
My camp in Maine has been a second home to me since 2008. When I think about camp, I think about the bonds I have made and the lessons that I’ve learned growing up there. In 2017, I graduated high school and was very anxious about starting college. My solution to these nerves were to go back to camp as a counselor – after all, camp is what prepared me for independence!
Spending my summer at my favorite place in the world was a treat for me, because I am truly my best self at camp. I can confidently say that summer 2017 was one of the best summers of my life. Being a counselor made me take on new responsibilities and leadership skills that would later prepare me for college. My bunk of girls were the 8 year-olds, and just as I was about to spend my first summer at college, they were spending their first summer at camp. As their first counselor, I was their guide to the amazing camp experience, and shared my love and passion for camp with them. When they got homesick, I reminded them that this is just a small hard patch, and that we can get through it. I remember saying “We all have our ups and downs. Today is just a hard day, but tomorrow will be better.”. I also taught them a lesson that I learned as a camper, which is that it is cool to be the nice girl. This helped them make more friends day by day, which made me smile. The small lessons that I taught the girls was the recipe to create an unforgettable summer for them, and for myself as well. I enjoyed watching my girls grow into kind, young women.
The best part is, I was able to use this camp advice myself as I got ready to transition to college. Throughout the summer, I found myself getting less and less nervous for school. I came to find that my campers’ first summer experience was extremely similar to what my freshman year was going to look like. Like the girls, I had no clue what college was going to bring, I knew very few people, and I was going to be at a school that was away from my parents. What I had to do was take the lessons that I taught my campers and apply them to myself when entering college.
When I got to school, I felt shy and nervous. Just like my campers, I was homesick and did not want to branch out. However, I listened to my counselor voice and decided to leave my dorm and meet some girls for dinner. They brought some of their friends to dinner and I ended up meeting a ton of new friends that night. As the semester went on, I grew closer to these girls, learning all about them and their lives. Today, I am lucky to call these girls my best friends.
Of course, camp prepared me for college in other ways, too. Spending summers as a camper and counselor living in cabins prepared me for life in the dorms; after all, what’s one roommate when you’re used to having 10! Camp also gave me the independence to take care of myself on my own, and the confidence to travel away from home. But more than anything, camp taught me how to extend myself and make friends in new situations, and that has been extremely valuable.
If it wasn’t for spending the summer at camp, I may not have met my best friends that very first night. I owe it all to my Maine camp, and I really do think spending summers as a camper and counselor prepared me for the journey ahead. It’s amazing how your camp lessons can expertly guide your through this new college exploration.
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.