By Laurie, Maine Camp Experience (MCE) Guide
Maine Camp Experience camps, known for their beautiful natural settings, strong traditions and values, and top-notch instruction, facilities and activities, are committed to social action and will continue to engage campers in programs with organizations such as Max Cure Foundation, DoSomething.org the leader in teen social action, and other initiatives.
At a recent community service fundraiser, I met David Plotkin, founder of Max Cure Foundation, a national public charity dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer. As we spoke about the Foundation’s signature “Dunk Your Kicks” program, which is a fun and meaningful way kids can donate their old sneakers to raise money to fight cancer, a mutual light bulb went on. Maine camps have long been engaging campers in social action initiatives that teach them to be global citizens and help others by giving back – everything from working with the elderly, to local food banks, environmental causes and supporting Camp Sunshine. Dunk Your Kicks had been at schools across the country, but never before at sleepaway camps … and thus, a collaboration between Max Cure Foundation and Maine Camp Experience was born.
As David likes to say … we didn’t just “talk the talk” … directors at Maine Camp Experience camps “walked the walk” by embracing the program and quickly mobilizing with just a few weeks until camp began. Camp directors used social media, emails and newsletters to share program information about Dunk Your Kicks and request sneakers from camp families. When campers arrived to camp in Maine this summer– hundreds of pairs of used sneakers were collected from campers who were excited and proud to be involved. Dunk Your Kicks launched with of a series of events with David Plotkin, accompanied by his son Max – the inspiration for the Foundation – and mascot Lion Max, at Maine MCE camps, including Camp Manitou, Camp Kippewa, Camp Micah and Camp Fernwood (also attended by campers from Camp Takajo and Camp Cedar). David shared his story and then challenged and inspired campers and staff to be creative, committed and proactive in causes that are meaningful to them. Campers asked questions, shared experiences and highlighted words about what Dunk Your Kicks and social action mean to them including “hope,” “helping,” “supporting,” “sharing,” and “teaching.” Many approached David and camp directors to find out how they could do more this summer and also potentially bring Dunk Your Kicks to their hometowns, schools and universities.
Hundreds and hundreds of campers ran, leapfrogged, danced, skipped, twirled and even boosted others to “dunk” their “kicks” in hoops and boxes. It was a really exciting, lively, meaningful experience for everyone involved. These and other Maine Camp Experience camps, including Maine Teen Camp, Camp Androscoggin, Camp Runoia, Camp North Star, Camp Matoaka, Camp Vega, and Tripp Lake Camp, have committed to helping Max Cure Foundation with Dunk Your Kicks. Additional opportunities to donate sneakers will be available at Visiting Days, second camp sessions and at the end of the camp season. The sneakers will be collected and transported to Max Cure from MCE partners Camp Trucking and Camp Baggage.
Read more about social responsibility at Maine camps here.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.