By Jackie, MCE Camper Turned Counselor
From the second I stepped off the bus as a tiny six year-old, Maine, and more specifically camp, became my second home. I was in pure beauty: the scent of the pine trees, the sound of the gravel at my feet, and the beautiful scene of the pristine lake. For thirteen summers, camp has allowed me to have fun, truly be myself, and have the opportunity to have an impact on other people. Though I had my two older sisters with me and my brother not too far away at another Maine camp, I was able to thrive on my newfound independence. I found myself trying new things, like waterskiing and the ropes course. I found myself testing new limits. Being pushed out of my comfort zone has only guided me in a positive direction.
When I think back to my nine summers as a camper, jokes and endless laughter reel through my brain – a constant memory I cannot shut off. I always enjoyed playing in inter-camps and partaking in special traditions. One of my favorite traditions is Olympics. At my camp, Olympic breakout happens in the beginning of the summer and each Sunday there is an Olympic event. The camaraderie between the teams allows for friendly competition while constantly pushing us to support to one another. At the end of the day the winner or loser is irrelevant – what matters is the friendships formed and sportsmanship displayed. Another of my favorite camp traditions is Sunset Circle. Sunset Circle is once a week where the entire camp dresses in jeans and white shirts, and sits around a fire. Each week a different junior-camp age group hosts; they stand up and speak about prominent qualities such as trust, honesty, and friendship. While sitting in the circle we are reminded just how tight knit the camp community truly is.
One thing I love about the camp atmosphere is that it acts as a judgment-free zone. I am able to be myself, and I don’t feel like I have to hold anything back or try to be something I am not. And the best part about that is I am accepted for who I am. I also love that I am forced to unplug from social media and constant access to the ‘ordinary world.’ This allows me to fully immerse myself into camp life and make genuine connections. To put it simply, camp friends are the best friends. Over the past thirteen years I have built friendships with people who will be by my side for life. People I can call any hour of the day if I have a problem or just to say hi.
Coming back as a counselor I wanted to give my campers that same experience. My campers welcomed me with open arms, and there was never a dull moment with them; they had stolen my heart. I became excited to set my alarm at 7:30AM to wake them up. I got excited to walk to breakfast with them, see them grow in activities, and spend any and all down time with them. I was completely engaged within the camp culture. While I was so focused on trying to have a positive impact on each of them, they had a huge, everlasting impact on me.
I would not trade my time at camp for anything. What I learned as a camper and a counselor will stay with me forever. The administration, my friends, and my campers taught me patience, boundaries, cooperation, but most importantly how to love unconditionally.
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 Campcierge™ 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.