This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate the moms who work so hard to care for us, advocate for us, and shape us into the people we grow up to be. And of course, there really is a special bond that develops between mother and child – which is why one of the biggest adjustments for kids going to overnight camp is learning to adapt to camp-life without their moms. However, Maine Camp Experience (MCE) understand the importance and responsibility of being “in loco parentis,” and always ensure that kids are getting the nurturing and care that their mothers provide during the rest of the year.
For many campers, their surrogate summer mother or parent will be their bunk counselor. Oftentimes, the bunk counselor is the person they turn to when they are sad or missing home, when they’ve had a scrape or just need someone to talk to. They are also the person who pays attention to the details of daily care, especially for younger campers. They apply sunscreen to faces, and make sure water bottles are full; they remind campers to brush their teeth, they clip nails, and help make beds and sort laundry.
This role isn’t necessarily confined to one gender – oftentimes at boys’ camps (or in boys’ bunks in co-ed/brother-sister camps) male bunk staff will play this role, though sometimes a female counselor will be called in to help as well. As a camper at an MCE boys’ camp, each bunk was assigned a female counselor who slept in separate housing, but would play the role of matriarch at key times.
Of course, there are certain things only a mother understands. Though MCE camps hire incredibly high-quality counselors, most bunk counselors have never raised kids of their own. However, at many MCE camps there are directors, assistant directors, group leaders, or other key staff who have many years of child-development experience – either at camp, as teachers, or as parents themselves (or some combination).
These individuals have a knack for providing a particularly nurturing presence to those kids who need some motherly love. At the MCE camp I work at, our Director, Assistant Director, and group leaders work very closely with those campers who are experiencing homesickness to help them adapt to life. Oftentimes, particularly picky or reluctant eaters will sit at one Assistant Director’s table, and she exhibits a knack for getting them to try new things and making sure they get enough sustenance to last them through high-energy camp days!
Though mom is just a letter or phone call away – it’s really important to have someone at camp who can stand-in for this all-important role over the summer. Luckily, MCE camps have a team in place that is ready and able to provide the support kids need to help them thrive each summer, and help them to grow into the individuals who make their mothers proud!
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.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.