One of the most exciting part about the winter holidays is the tension and excitement that comes along with the “eve” of the big day. Tonight, kids around the world will lie in bed awake, excitedly awaiting the arrival of Christmas Day – and in just a week the world will come together to celebrate New Year’s Eve, sending 2019 off in style (or in pajamas). In fact, for many these “day-before” festivities are more exciting than the holidays they are tied to.
While these yuletide festivities take place on the other side of the calendar, a summer at camp in Maine is no different. Camp is full of anticipation and excitement as campers prepare for exciting days and special events. In fact, the “eve” of a big day at camp (or the days leading up to a big event or special day), can be some of the most electric ones each summer.
Of course, camp parents can attest to the excitement that surrounds the day and night before the first day of camp. Many camp families share a tradition of visiting a favorite restaurant together before the summer session arrives is a summer tradition. For many, an early bus or flight might mean an early bedtime – but with a summer at camp just around the corner, it can be hard to sleep! As a long-time camp counselor, I’ve had the unique opportunity to experience the first day of camp from the other side. For returning counselors, there’s always a tremendous amount of excitement as they prepare for another summer ahead – and for new counselors, there’s a great deal of nervous anticipation as many (especially those from abroad) prepare for a totally unique experience.
During a camp session, there are a few specific periods that almost universally generate a great deal of anticipation and energy. For many Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camps, Visiting Day will fall about three weeks into a session – depending on the length of camp, this may be midway through the session or on the final day of camp. As a result, most campers will not have seen their parents for some time when Visiting Day rolls around. The lead-up to Visiting Day is incredibly exciting, and in the preceding week camp is full of chatter about what campers are going to do with their parents (and what delicious treats they’re going to eat). This energy of eager anticipation extends into the following morning until parents arrive at camp, and at that point it’s amazing to see all of the excited tension transform as campers finally get to see their families.
As much as campers look forward to seeing their parents, the periods that generate the most camp spirit tend to surround major camp events – and none is bigger than Color War. Many MCE camps have surprise Color War break-outs – this means that campers won’t know exactly when Color War is coming. As a result, rather than one excitement-filled “Color War Eve,” there are several days of energetic tension as campers try to anticipate when Color War will begin. At many MCE camps, this will also signify the beginning of summer’s end, which generally means a time filled with special events and exciting traditions – so you can imagine how much anticipation there is. At my MCE camp, Color War begins early in the summer season, but there is still a surprise “TDC” break-out that signifies the end of summer. In the days leading up to these exciting reveals, campers will constantly try to predict when the twist is coming. They will interrogate their counselors (who are wisely kept in the dark), but camps do a great job of maintaining the element of surprise, which leads for tremendous excitement, and a tremendous energy when Color War (or a similar event) finally breaks out.
Of course, there is one other day that is filled with anticipation each summer, though it is of a very different kind. The last day of the session is always bittersweet, and really creates a unique energy. This day – which is generally dedicated to packing – gives campers one last chance to spend quality time with their camp friends during the summer. Campers cherish the time spent in beautiful Maine, but most of all they cherish the time spent with one another. For all campers, especially for those in their final summer, this can be a very emotional day and there may be many tears – but this is just a testament to how impactful a camp experience in Maine can be.
We hope everyone in our Maine Camp community has a wonderful holiday season – we’re looking forward to another exciting year of camp 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.