By Laurie, the Campcierge™
The kids have had a few days to settle in since they arrived back home from their Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camp, so it’s time to look back before we forge ahead. What did my kids learn? How did they grow? What will they take into the new school year?
One of my first and lasting thoughts from this summer was how surprised and impressed I was when I saw camp pictures of my younger daughter, typically a “dance girl,” wearing a pinnie multiple times. This meant that she was participating in Intercamp sports competitions in soccer, lacrosse, and softball. I thought … who is this kid? Then, on Visiting Day, she told me that she was taking softball instead of arts and crafts. And then, a couple weeks later, I saw camp pictures of her wearing a helmet – though she’d always been fearful of heights, she’d chosen rock climbing as an elective!
My older daughter also surprised me. While she did a lot of her favorite activity (dance), she, too, participated in Intercamps. She elected to take a nature trip (she does not like to do this at home) and she chose a book reading period in her daily schedule (she procrastinates at home when she has to read). She also participated in “Lake Swim,” which is a mile and a quarter swim that campers can do if they train at camp for a month in advance. I love the lessons she took from Lake Swim. It was about setting a goal – then training and accomplishing it. It was about joining the tradition and becoming a part of the camp’s history.
Trying new things like these may happen only at camp. Camp staff and parents alike will find that reticent campers become active participants when opportunities are available, they’re with their peers, and they’re in beautiful environs. I think kids feel free and emboldened at camp to try new things. Maybe they’re curious or maybe they just want to be social. Whatever the reason, I think it’s great.
I attribute trying new things to a couple of key factors: time/opportunities and “good” peer pressure.
At home, many kids start to “specialize” in a particular sport or activity at a youngish age, oftentimes leaving little time to do other things because the primary sport (plus school work) takes up the majority of time with training and competitions. At camp, time is on their side and opportunities abound to explore options. Though MCE camps vary in their program structures, there are always plenty of opportunities to try new activities throughout the summer. Camps encourage campers to break out and try new activities, and to sign up for a combination of sports and arts.
Kids also have the opportunity to try great water activities thanks to Maine’s amazing lakes, which is particularly important for those who don’t get much time by the water at home. Almost every day kids will have the chance to swim, sail, paddle board, water ski and more. They can do these activities recreationally and also have opportunities to challenge themselves with events like Lake Swim, swim meets, ski shows, and Intercamp sailing regattas.
Good peer pressure is also something often discussed at camp. A camper is more likely to try new foods for the first time if their friends are eating them, like pot roast, sweet & sour chicken, or salmon for example. A kid who focuses on theater at home might sign up for Intercamps if their cabin mates are participating. Or, when cabin mates are scaling the rock climbing wall, a camper might overcome their fear of heights and make it to the top.
So … you may think – who is this kid? – at first, but then it becomes a part of the new and improved “who they are,” and I feel lucky and proud that they’ve had the chance to grow this summer in Maine.
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.