At a Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camp, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to play those sports and games that you play year-round. From basketball and soccer to lacrosse and tennis and everything in between; MCE camps hire high-quality staff to teach your kids the skills that they will use whenever they have the opportunity to play these lifelong sports. However, one of the things that makes a summer at an MCE camp so special is the opportunities to play new, creative and unique games that are sometimes invented at camp, and oftentimes become camp-wide favorites. While these sports may not have a travel league back home, they’re a great way to have fun and compete, and remind yourself how unique a summer spent at camp is.
Perhaps the most famous of these “camp games” is one that has really grown in popularity over the last decade, and one that has become a go-to option outside of camp as well – gaga. Originally developed in Israel, gaga is an incredibly popular game at many MCE camps – and while you may be able to play in a room at home or school, many MCE camps have specially constructed gaga pits that add a flavor of “legitimacy” to this favorite camp game. Other popular games at camp are classic, old-fashioned playground games that have been a part of summer camping for generations, like tetherball and four square. Whether or not you play these sports at home, there are ample opportunities to play during a summer at camp.
Many of the favorite games we play at the MCE camp I work at are versions of games that I played when growing up attending camp. When I was a child, two of my very favorite games were “ultimate cricket” and “ultimate handball”. Unlike regular cricket which is played with a flat wooden bat, ultimate cricket uses a tennis ball and baseball bat. This allows for some huge hits – and the fast-paced nature of the game creates high-scores and lots of excitement. Ultimate handball is a version of European team handball that uses softer balls – it’s like a combination of ultimate frisbee and soccer, and is another fast-paced game that kids love to play at camp. Another adaptation of a more “traditional” game that we play is ultimate wiffle ball – played in the lake’s crib on very hot days, we play with multiple balls in at one time to create a high-energy way to have fun while staying cool.
Not all games played at camps are adaptations of other ideas, though. As a staff member, one of the great things about working at camp is that it provides an avenue for creativity – and this is true when it comes to creating games as well. One of the favorite “sports” we play at camp is “human foosball,” which is a great indoor activity on rainy days. We equip campers with the plastic blades of street hockey sticks, which have been removed from the rest of the stick. We then assign seats on mats (far enough away that campers can’t hit one another with the sticks), positioning the campers like figures on a foosball table, and release the balls – creating a life-sized version of a favorite tabletop game. We’ve even used hula hoops to play a version of Harry Potter’s favorite sport, Quidditch, in the lake. Campers ride pool noodles like broomsticks and aim to score the balls through the hoops held up by counselors, which is another zany game.
One of the truly special things about camp is that it feels removed from the rest of the world – and the special games we play at camp mirror this as well. Giving kids an opportunity to enjoy competitions and activities that “you just have to be there” for not only allows them to have fun in new ways, but also reinforces their special bond with camp and the unique place in their lives that it has.
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.