By Rebekah Goldenberg, Maine Camp Alumni, Parent & Grandparent
I still have mementos of the summers I spent at camp in Maine. Growing up, going to overnight camp for the WHOLE summer was a big deal. Each year, a small group from my hometown – children of men’s pants manufacturer’s, who must have learned about my camp from one another – would make the journey north where independence awaited us.
To this day, the smell of freshly cut grass brings me back to camp’s softball field and sprawling lawns, to the sounds of the wooden bat connecting with the leather ball, and the cheers of campers celebrating a hit. I viscerally remember the thrill of waterskiing in the morning, and the excitement and adrenaline warming me in the cool lake. And while my camp years may be past, the impact Maine summers had on my family can still be seen in the many letters that have been sent home . . . not just by me, but by my daughter and granddaughter as well.
Just as my mother saved the letters I wrote home, I have saved the letters that my daughter and her daughter wrote home during their summers spent at camps in Maine. I hope to have these letters bound, to tell the story of Maine summers that have spanned years and generations – a story of burgeoning independence and growth and freedom. A story I have been able to share with my family, and a story that is still being written.
Three years ago I went to a camp reunion – and among my old friends the memories came rushing back. I remembered how special those summers made me feel. With the perspective of a mother and grandmother, I realized that even though camp was time spent away from my parents, their sending me to Maine each summer showed just how much they cared about me and my journey into adulthood. At the reunion, I appreciated how the many siblings and cousins attended camp together years ago, and how those summers together cemented their relationships and forged bonds that have lasted throughout their lives.
And though my camp days are past, I still feel a connection to summers spent in Maine. My daughter lets me be the “packer” for my granddaughter – and I relish every minute of it. Every ironed name tag, every folded comforter, towel and sheet, every riding helmet and pre-stamped postcard and surprise hidden in her duffel brings me back to summers spent in Maine. And I know that she will love her time at camp and the lifelong friends she will make. I am grateful to my parents who set me on the camp path, and feel so lucky to pay that gratitude forward and do the same for my daughter, who has passed this tradition on to her daughter. Our camp story is one of freshly cut grass, and it is one of family – and I love knowing that generations later we are still writing this story today.
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.