Guest blog post by Maine Camp Experience Member Camp alum, Sara Sherr. She gives some great advice to parents, from a camper’s perspective, about what to expect when sending your kids to summer camp!
Maine summer camps are winding down for the season and some kids are beginning to head back to school as early as this week, but that does not mean that it is too early to begin thinking about camp for next summer. The fall is a great time to begin discussing camp with your family, researching options and speaking with camp directors. Below is a list of FAQ’s about Maine Camp Experience camps to help answer some of the basic questions about sending your child to camp.
How many campers/counselors live in a cabin?
It varies from camp to camp, but at our camp about nine campers live in a cabin, with two counselors for older campers and three counselors for younger campers.
Are campers divided into age groups?
Yes. There are many times throughout the day when the whole camp is together – during meals, flag pole, etc., and some of the activities are multi-aged – but during most daily activities campers will be with children their own age. Nighttime activities vary, and special weekly nighttime activities bring the whole camp together for campfires and other camp traditions. Campers are with children their own age in the bunks and for most of their daytime activities.
How are counselors selected and trained?
Counselors are selected based on camp directors’ impressions of their “camp potential” and are screened through both a formal interview and a background check. All counselors attend a required week or more of pre-camp training. During this training period, they are taught about age group characteristics, dealing with homesickness, teaching lessons for children, and more.
Waterfront staff are required to be lifeguard certified, and ropes staff arrive at camp even a week earlier, to be sure that they’re tested and trained in all safety precautions. Pre-camp trainings include extensive talks from directors, unit leaders, insurance personnel, and other professionals who are trained for camp situations.
What will my child do everyday?
Your child will most likely start his or her day with an all-camp lineup, followed by breakfast, and then bunk cleanup. Then your child will be off to his or her morning activities, which could be anything from athletics to the ropes course to waterskiing, acting, or arts and crafts. Your child could even travel to another camp to participate in an inter-camp sporting match or perform an act of community service. Next comes lunch time, usually followed by an hour of rest, a time set aside for relaxing, free play, and letter writing, and then afternoon activities (snack time occurs between two afternoon activities). After that, your child will head to his or her bunk for shower hour, and will then attend another all-camp lineup and then dinner. Lastly, your camper will have an evening activity, which could be a fun and wacky activity, a scavenger hunt or a movie, or a social for older campers. After the evening activity your child will return to his or her bunk to unwind before lights out.
What are the meals like at camp?
As a child, the food at camp was delicious. Some camps eat family-style meals, and other camps buffet-style. At every lunch and dinner there was an extensive salad bar, with a multitude of options, plus delicious main meals. I can’t speak more highly of the food at my camp, and of course there are healthy options as well. I also know that all the Maine Camp Experience member camps take food seriously, and so many of them are now stressing farm to table, fresh ingredients, and food from their own gardens … they make food fun!
What happens when it rains?
Rainy days can be very fun at camp. Each division is typically split up to participate in a different activity, and can provide a much-needed rest for campers and counselors alike from the daily frenzy of camp activities. Rainy day activities vary from board games in the dining hall, to an arts and crafts activity, to Zumba, indoor sports or tag games, and movies. If the rainy day occurs near the end of the summer, the drama director may seize this opportunity to stage the camp play.
Are there off-campus camp trips?
Yes. There are actually many attractions in Maine. Funtown Splashtown USA is a local amusement park, and everyone at my camp looks forward to this trip every summer. Our camp also journeys to Ogunquit for shopping and sightseeing, and the older campers participate in rite of passage trips that include white water rafting, hiking Mount Washington, and spending four days in Montreal. Counselors are instructed on out of camp procedures and policies to ensure trips are both safe and fun. Ask camp directors about the particular trips specific to their camp.
Have more questions?
Contact Laurie, our Maine Camp Guide at Laurie@MaineCampExperience.com . She’s in-the-know about all the Maine Camp Experience camps! You can also ask questions in the blog comments section or on Facebook! We’d love to hear from you!
Talk to Laurie, our Maine Campcierge®, about choosing the right camp for your child and what to do in Maine.