Labor Day weekend is the perfect time to soak up the end of summer and spend a little time on the water – but while the pool at home (or in town) may have its perks, there’s nothing that quite compares to spending time on a beautiful clear Maine lake. Campers at Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camps have ample opportunities throughout the summer to make the most of Maine’s famous lakes and beaches, and waterfront life is a vibrant part of many MCE camps. From swimming to sailing to competitive sandcastle building – the opportunities are nearly endless, and if you want to spend time on or by the water then Maine is definitely the place to be!
When discussing waterfront life at MCE camps, one has to mention the incredible quality of the camps’ swimming programs. Instructional swim is a staple of the program at many camps, and the lifeguards and swim staff do a wonderful job of helping campers progress. Designated Red Cross swim groups allow camps to cater to a camper’s ability level, and whether you’re just getting comfortable in the water or you swim competitively, camp is a wonderful place to continue improving. At some MCE camps, experienced swimmers may even be able to achieve lifeguard certification!
Of course, enjoying time in the water is not all about instruction and improvement, and MCE camps build in plenty of other opportunities for kids to swim and splash around. Free swim is a hallmark at many MCE camps – campers can enjoy incredible floats, play water games (I spent almost every free swim playing lake basketball), or simply hang out in the water and on the beach with friends. Many MCE camps also have a scheduled lake swim that campers and staff can participate in if they have demonstrated the ability to handle the challenge of a rigorous swim, and the whole camp will celebrate those who complete the task. Competitive swimming is also an option at many MCE camps – the swim meets is oftentimes a major part of a camp’s Color War, and camps will also come together for intramural swim meets and competitions. Whether you’re a human fish or a doggy paddler, there are always plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water at Maine camps.
However, life on the lake at MCE camps goes well beyond simply swimming. Many camps have well-established small craft programs that allow campers to enjoy Maine’s lakes on a vessel of their choice. Stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, and canoeing are all highlights of the waterfront at many Maine camps. Campers will also learn to sail on the beautiful Maine lakes, and some camps have a fleet of different sailboats that are suited to campers of different ability levels. Once again, regattas are oftentimes part of both Color War and intramural camp competitions, and campers who want to spend time on the lake, rather than in it, will certainly have the opportunity. Many campers who enjoy these activities will also be able to do so beyond the camp lake – the extensive tripping programs at MCE camps oftentimes include kayaking and canoeing overnights, and campers have the opportunities to use the skills they are learning at camp in the beautiful Maine wilderness.
Of course, some campers prefer a little more power on the water, and MCE camps have them covered as well! Many MCE camps have well-stocked fleets of motorboats that are used for skiing, wakeboarding, and kneeboarding. Campers of all ages and ability levels have the opportunity to learn – whether you’re getting up on skis for the first time, learning a new trick in wakeboarding, or trying to complete the slalom course without falling – and MCE camps are a great place to feel the thrill and adrenaline that these activities provide. The MCE camp I work at even has an individual award, the Ski Cup, which is given each summer to the camper who has improved most as a skier during the summer at camp.
Waterfront life at MCE camps also extends beyond the activities that take place in or on the water. Many camps in Maine have beautiful beaches bordering their lakes, and they take advantage of every opportunity to utilize these as a part of camp life. From hanging out on the beach during free swim, to building competitive sandcastles during Color War – beachfront life is a key component of every camper’s summer. Some camps will bring large projectors down to the beach once a week for a movie screening, and I vividly remember as a camper gathering my beach towel and water-bottle and heading to the beach for our Friday night screenings. And of course, many camps will utilize their waterfronts for incredible fireworks displays on or around the 4th of July, and gathering on the beach for these incredible pyrotechnic displays was an absolutely memorable staple of my childhood summers.
Life on the lake at MCE camps is a huge component of the camp community, and the opportunities to take advantage of waterfront activities is truly a gift for all campers. Whether you’re swimming, skiing, or sandcastle building, life at the lake has something for every camper to enjoy, and keeps kids coming back summer after summer. So this Labor Day, as you sit by the water, try closing your eyes – if you’re lucky enough, you might just imagine you’re on the lake 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.