COLOR WAR!! A Storied Tradition At Maine Summer Camps
July 31, 2015, by Kristy
COLOR WAR!! A Storied Tradition At Maine Summer Camps
July 31, 2015, by Kristy

Color war, College Days, Jamboree … no matter what your camp calls it; color war is one of the richest traditions you’ll find at summer camps across Maine. Many of our Maine summer camps are over 100 years old, so at this point generations of campers, and now their children, are experiencing the lifelong memories of color war. When I asked our Maine CampciergeTM, Laurie, for her thoughts on this storied tradition, she had this to say:

Color war is something you can feel in your heart and soul. It is all encompassing. It can bring laughs and tears. You lose your voice from cheering and you get swept up in the excitement and the teamwork. It is at once exhausting and exhilarating. It brings friendships and friendly competition. It makes campers play hard, fight for their team, and feel alive. It makes campers have pride. It should make everyone feel important and included. At that end, whether win or lose, all camp unites as one and feels the strength having gone through it together. 

I get the chills just reading that! I asked around, and here are some of the general color war traditions you’ll find at our Maine Camp Experience member camps. Some camps’ color war is two teams divided throughout the whole season that are in ongoing competition. Others are concentrated over a few days. Some camps go the traditional route, using the same colors every year, while others change it up each time. But no matter how it’s executed, color war is an integral part of camp, and stirs up deep feelings in both campers and alumni.

There are a few reasons color war is so impactful. First and foremost, probably, is the sense of unity it creates. Events include everything from “sing” – where campers make up songs, set to popular tunes, about their experiences that summer and what it means to them – to more physical events like the Apache Relay, which includes many different events and many campers doing things like running races, swim races, etc. Of course there are others – bucket brigade, leap frog, rope burn, scavenger hunts – but what they all have in common is campers working together for a common goal.

Another really special aspect of a lot of camps’ color wars is having the teams led by the oldest campers, who serve as generals or captains. For the elder campers, this is a great leadership experience and provides them with memories that will last forever. And the younger campers really look up to the older ones – they learn from them, they aspire to be them, and it gets them excited for all that comes next.

Some of our Maine Camp Experience member camps have already declared the winners of this year’s color war! Some have declared a tie! Some do something different each year to kick things off, and others are still duking it out. We can’t wait to see the memories that are made this year. What’s the tradition at your Maine summer camp? As one of our MCE alums recently said to me “I wish I had the opportunity to write my college thesis on color war (or as my Maine camp calls it, Jamboree).” So if you can’t do that, share with us!

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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“I greatly enjoyed speaking with Laurie (Guide at Maine Camp Experience). Thanks to her guidance, ideas and suggestions we truly feel that our ultimate choice is the right one for us. We can trust that our seven year old daughter will have a wonderful summer!”




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