Whether you choose a Maine Camp Experience (MCE) camp for the incredible activities or the supportive staff, the beautiful environs or the session length, one thing will always remain true – no matter what MCE camp you or your child attends, the second you set foot on campus you become apart of a diverse, multi-generational, and ever-expanding camp family. It does not matter if you are a tenured staff member or a first-time camper – if you’ve grown up at camp or you’re setting foot in America for the very first time – when you are part of a camp family, you can know that there are always people looking out for you, and always people who have your back.
While it certainly does not take a tragedy for this sense of community to shine through, the recent natural disasters in the United States have created a call to action among many MCE camp communities, who have come through to support those who may have been affected. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, two alumni of an MCE camp created a Gofundme page to support a staff member who suffered property damage during the storm. Within two weeks, the page had well surpassed the goal of $25,000, as camp parents, alumni, directors, and fellow staff members rallied around this member of their community.
Similarly, Hurricane Irma did a great deal of damage in Florida recently, and for a period of time it seemed that it might make landfall as a Category 5 hurricane in South Florida, where many camp families live. In several cases, when Floridian families looked to evacuate in the face of the storm, it was their camp community – the friends of their current campers, who offered shelter away from the hurricane. It was incredible to witness so many camp families confronting these storms with resilience and support, determined to rally together in the face of incredible adversity.
And this sense of community and support extends well beyond any geographical borders. In the wake of the attack in Manchester last year, there was an immediate rush to make sure the many British staff members who live in that area were safe. On Facebook, I witnessed an outpouring of support, as well as offers to shelter anyone who was displaced in the wake of the tragedy. And when personal tragedies befall members of a camp community, it is often times their camp families, directors, and staff members who rush to provide them the support they need. Time and time again, MCE camp communities prove that the bonds we share run far deeper than Color War outcomes, and that quite simply, we are here for one another.
This belief in the value of our camp communities, and the determination to support the many counselors who make the trip to camp every summer simply because they love camp, is one reason that Maine Camp Experience is absolutely committed to supporting the J-1 Visa program. The J-1 program enables MCE camps to hire international staff members each summer. For several months, these staff members dedicate themselves to creating wonderful summers for our campers – they comfort children who may be homesick, cook them multiple meals every day, and help campers develop incredible skills in areas such as water skiing, soccer, and more. They expand campers’ world view and are an integral part of the camp fabric. Every year, staff members hired through the J-1 Visa program are there for our campers, and we feel strongly that they are an integral and inextricable part of our camp community.
You cannot capture the sense of community in a camp video, and it’s hard to encapsulate in a tour or short Q & A. But make no mistake, perhaps the most moving part of attending or working at an MCE camp is the opportunity to become a part of an incredible camp community. Because when it matters, you’re a part of the family.
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.