Spending summers at a Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camp is a pathway to personal development for many campers and alumni. But growing up takes a little help, and oftentimes this includes someone to look up to. Luckily, a summer spent at an MCE camp also means a summer spent with mentors and role models who teach younger campers (and younger staff members) how to do things the right way, and help them to grow into their best selves.
One ubiquitous mentor figure at every summer camp is the bunk counselor. These counselors are in place quite literally to guide campers through the summer and help them develop, and as a result many will take on a mentorship role. Of course, while all bunk counselors will work together to manage their cabin, it’s not unusual for campers to gravitate toward the counselor with whom they have the strongest bond and turn to them as a mentor figure. A child’s camp-mentor might not even be a counselor in their bunk – it can be the counselor who leads their favorite activity, a Director or camp leadership figure, or simply a counselor with whom they connect. Whoever a camper turns to over the course of the summer, you can be sure that they’ll be well looked after and guided by this mentor figure.
Of course, one doesn’t have to be a counselor to be a mentor – in fact, many camps have built in leadership roles for older campers to provide a mentor role to those younger than they are. One common program to foster these relationships are Big Brother or Big Sister programs that many MCE camps implement each summer. New campers (and young returning campers) will oftentimes be assigned an older camper who will be their “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” for the course of the summer. This is an older camper (not an actual sibling) who may check in on them in their bunk, get milk & cookies with them at nighttime, go bumper tubing or other fun camp activities with them, help them when they are having a tough day, and generally look after them. A camp Big Brother or Big Sister may teach their younger “sibling” camp songs and traditions, and generally show them the ropes.
One of the most amazing things about camp is how, over time, the young campers who were once in need of mentorship grow to be respected mentors themselves within the camp community. Older campers grow to be the Big Brother or Big Sister they relied on in their first summers. Former campers will return to camp as counselors, and pass on their firsthand wisdom of camp life to the bunks of children they are now tasked with taking care of. At camp, mentors are invested in giving back to the camp community because they know they have gleaned so much from this community in earlier years.
A summer spent at camp offers amazing learning opportunities for campers – they learn new skills and new traditions, and they learn a great deal about themselves. MCE camps’ amazing mentor networks set campers up for success by helping them navigate their summers at camp, creating lasting bonds and helping young campers grow to be tomorrow’s camp leaders.
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 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.
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.