Folklore & Traditions at Maine Camps
March 30, 2021, by MCE Blog Team
Folklore & Traditions at Maine Camps
March 30, 2021, by MCE Blog Team

Maine Camps have been welcoming campers for over 100 years, connecting each generation to the previous generations with unique, meaningful, and fun traditions. Part of what makes each Maine Camp special is the specific folklore, legends, and traditions that are carried on throughout the years and generations. Sometimes it’s a mythical creature and other times it’s a story that’s told, or a special way of doing something – if you go, you know! We asked our Maine Camp Experience Camp directors to share a little bit about the fun myths and legends that give their camp that little extra magic.

At one Maine girls camp, families need not worry if their daughter loses a tooth during the summer. Varna the tooth fairy leaves a candy bar under a child’s pillow who had lost a tooth and captures her imagination. Generations of young campers have been blessed by Varna’s whimsical surprises and kindness.

At a Maine boys camp, the legend of “the BAT” dates back to 1919 when Hubert V. Davis, a counselor, dressed in a cape and mask ran hollering through camp to the amazement of campers. To this day, the BAT will suddenly appear at camp functions and then escape to the woods or out onto the water. Who knows when he will appear? All that ever remains after a frenzied chase by campers are “close calls” and plans to catch him next time. The identity of the BAT remains a mystery each summer until Awards night, the final night of camp.

A director at a Maine coed camp shares: We have many traditions, as all camps do, but there is one tradition that no one really knows the origin of. Outside of our “Counsel Ring” where we do morning and evening line-ups, campfires, etc. campers and staff must walk “Around the Rock” – a small boulder that is in the middle of the ground outside. There are many ways to get into the Ring but if you do not walk around the rock, kids will be very upset. Because there is no “origin” or rationale that is explained – going “Around the Rock” is just second nature to most at our camp and something that is pointed out to new staff and campers. Last summer, to give it some backstory, we buried a treasure chest underneath the rock as part of our Color War Break (Pirate’s Theme) and gave the tradition a little backstory.

Another camp shared: Our camp is full of traditions! We have Sing Song, Return of the Shield, Wish Night, Friday Evening Services, Team Feast and Shield Night among many of our 100+ year traditions. Additionally, we have many traditional songs that are sung year after year around the flagpole as an entire camp. Each new camper is taught these songs and they will continue to be passed down for generations. These songs include some of the history of our camp as well as pay homage to our founders. We also have a traditional uniform worn on special occasions which is the same uniform that was worn daily among the campers from the early 1900’s when our camp was founded. The girls enjoy wearing this uniform – as this outfit connects the current girls the past and the history of our camp.

Unique and meaningful traditions make Maine Camp summers even more special!

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

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

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.

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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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Copyright © 2021 Maine Camp Experience

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