Guest Blog Post from Pam, a Maine Camp Experience Member Camp Director about both the fun, and the importance, of Maine’s pristine lakes.
When people think of summer camp in Maine they think of three things:
3. Warm, fun days
2. Cool nights
1. Crystal clear lake water
Summer camp and fun at the lake go hand in hand. Picture this: a Maine lake waterfront under the graceful pines and blue skies, with a group of your new best friends. That’s the most amazing way to spend a summer – swimming, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, waterskiing, windsurfing, stand up paddle boarding, wakeboarding, diving, tubing, water polo, floating, swim competitions … they all happen at the camp waterfront!
Sumer camp and Maine lakes are historically intertwined. Almost all camps are located on a lake or pond and center a number of camp activities in and around the water. Most traditional sleep away camps were started to provide a place for children outside of the sweltering heat of the cities. Maine camps were safe places to send your children to by train where school teachers were running lake-oriented, sports-focused programs. As the camps grew and defined themselves, education and youth development became additional pieces of the camp experience.
Today Maine camps may include more activities, but they still spend a significant amount of time around the lake. A reflective Friday night gathering or a sunrise cabin group get-together take place at the lake. Campfire circles and special talks with a best friend happen lake-side. Water relays and special boating events – like sailing and canoe races – take place on the lake. The paddle to the island across the lake, the first waterski dropped, the dip after a game of capture the flag on a hot summer night – yep, they all happen at the lake.
Lakes are one of Maine’s best natural resources, and that’s why it’s so important that we keep them the pristine getaways that they are. Fortunately, there is a lot happening in Maine to help preserve its lakes. From combatting invasive species to preserving water quality in watersheds, Maine natural resource groups are focused on keeping these lakes healthy now in hopes for our great grandchildren to enjoy and pass on to their great-greats. The Congress of Lakes Association, the Maine Lakes Resource Center, the Conservation Corps, individual lake associations, and organizations like the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance are all helping to educate, raise awareness, support and move forward an agenda of protecting and preserving Maine lakes. We are fortunate that an amazing partnership between Maine summer camps and Maine lakes as a resource exists and is being nurtured. Maine camps are part of the process and support solutions to help Maine lakes.
Be a friend to a lake and join a local association. Spread the word about living lightly on the land for the sake of the lakes. Believe in the value of education about lakes – it starts at camp in Maine with the next generation!