Art, Culture, and Tradition at Maine Summer Camps
July 2, 2015, by Kristy
Art, Culture, and Tradition at Maine Summer Camps
July 2, 2015, by Kristy

I recently saw a picture from one of our camps of a wooden totem pole made by a chain saw carver up in Maine, and I was inspired. It made me think of all the many beautiful, meaningful, inspirational hand-carved art and signs one can find at our Maine Camp Experience member camps. Whether personalized wood art, carved signs at the front gates, or plaques emblazoned with camp sayings – these works of art add a lot to the culture of our camps. So many of them capture the heart of what generations of campers live at each Maine camp, and are often the literal site of many treasured camp traditions. For the record, here is the totem that kicked this off, followed by a sampling of art and stories from a few of our other camps. 


How crazy awesome is that??!

Also From Camp Caribou …

Some more Caribou totem poles. The path between the totems leads to Camp Caribou’s campfire site. Every week this camp has a campfire where all the campers and staff have an opportunity to share musical talents, skits, and cheers. Also below, you’ll see the “Ghost Rocks” of Camp Caribou. These rocks line the path to the camp’s campfire site, and are emblazoned with the names of “Caribou Legends.” Each rock represents someone who has left a lasting impression on the Caribou family and program.



Caribou Ghost Rocks

From Camp Mataponi …

The grounds of Camp Mataponi are dotted with camper-made signs, hand painted with inspirational messages and lots of vibrant colors. I dare you not to be inspired! And for the real scoop on where these signs came from, here are a few words from Chelsea, a Camp Mataponi alumna:

About 10 years ago, senior girls began the Amazing Race; a single day where their regular schedule stops and seniors are grouped into small teams filled with obstacles and activities. It’s an incredible day of team building and collaboration, and a final testament to bringing all of their camp skills and knowledge into one of the greatest challenges of their final summer. One of the stages of the race is to build a plaque with their teammates. Each team is given a quote and they reflect its purpose and significance. They design and create a plaque in an artistic way, focusing on how that quote is meaningful to them. Plaques from summers past are scattered throughout camp, inspiring girls who walk by each day. They represent words of encouragement, which were used while working together to complete the Amazing Race. The artwork is the cherry on top to Mataponi’s outer beauty, and something alumnae look forward to seeing when they return.





From Camp Runoia …       

When campers graduate from Camp Runoia, they have the opportunity to sign the “boat house,” a practice that has gotten more and more artsy as they years have gone on.

Runoia_boat house plaques and more

Runoia_boat house plaques

From Camp Vega …          

The meaningful wooden signs at Camp Vega can be found in at least two places – the front gate, which has the important job of welcoming campers and their families, and what surrounds their campfire, or “Sunset Circle.” Carved into the wooden plaques around the Sunset Circle are themes that Vega campers have chosen to talk about when they gather together.




From Camp Wekeela …             

Some inspirational sentiments are displayed on wooden signs throughout Camp Wekeela, sporting quotes like “There are only two lasting things we can give our children. One is roots, the other … wings.” See some other examples below, along with Wekeela’s multi-colored directional totem pole, complete with the number of steps it will take to get to different program areas or cabins.





What’s your favorite piece from camp? Is it a totem? The entrance? A quote you just can’t get out of your head? No matter what strikes your fancy, there’s no shortage of beautiful, inspirational, and timeless pieces of art at each of our Maine camps, each reflecting the wealth of tradition and history you’ll find there. Enjoy!

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.

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitude on our Memories of Camp section of our website.

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