Making lifelong friends has always been one of the best and most valuable parts of going to overnight camp in Maine. We see friendships build summer over camp summer that extend during the year and into college, careers, and beyond. Especially in these pandemic times, where parents have expressed that their kids have been isolated, on devices, and deprived of peer interactions, we are happy for our returning campers to see their camp friends, and for our new campers to make new friends and form quality connections.
Knowing that many campers haven’t had as much social interaction as usual, camps will facilitate opportunities and pace accordingly so that campers get comfortable and build connections. One benefit of camp in Maine is that campers come from all over, so it truly is a level playing field with many arriving on their own for the first time. Campers get plenty of dedicated time together – in the cabins, at meals and activities, and beyond – where they are uninterrupted by screens and jarring commitments. They really have time to get to know each other and forge meaningful friendships.
There are many ways that Maine Camp directors and staff set things for success. For example, directors work hard to get to know children before they arrive for their first summer to create cabin assignments that will group kids who may have common interests and complementary personalities. Activities in the first few days are aimed to get campers acclimated with each other, with the physical layout of the camp, with the schedules and the traditions. There are many “ice breaker” opportunities to get kids talking to each other and having fun together.
In addition to activities that are cabin specific so bunkmates really get to know each other and bond, there are others that are age group specific so campers meet even more of the kids their age, beyond their cabin. Then, circles expand from there with divisions (a few ages of cabins grouped together), and opportunities to meet kids in multiple age groups with some daily activity periods featuring mixed ages and special events like Olympics, the camp play, Color War and more. Camp brothers and sisters is another way new friendships are formed.
Camp friends are so special. They teach each other more about the world. They share stories about where they come from and even how they may differently say different words or phrases. They may share letters from home with each other. They positively influence each other to try different foods, sign up for different activities they may never have done before, and they cheer each other on. Living together for many weeks really teaches boys and girls how to be good citizens and good friends. They act silly together, help each other clean and organize the cabin, paint bunk plaques together, and much more.
Camp friends are strangers who become family. Unknown kids who parents may hear about in their children’s letters or see in camp pictures during a first camp summer may become their kids’ best friends seven years in with lots of quality time in camp and during the year (Facetiming, visiting during school breaks, etc.). Similarly, the camper your child may sit with on the plane or bus to camp at age eight may become one of his/her best friends over the next decade as they share many camp summers and other life experiences.
Before each summer starts, many Maine Camps ask: What are your campers looking forward to most? Without hesitation, “being with my camp friends” tops my kids’ lists. Being with camp friends in a beautiful place, learning, growing and having fun – what could be better?
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.