Sweet Summers at Maine Camps
April 18, 2017, by Jake
Sweet Summers at Maine Camps
April 18, 2017, by Jake

A summer spent at camp in Maine is, quite literally, one of the sweetest experiences a child can have. Over the course of a summer, campers will get to enjoy a variety of delicious baked desserts and sweets that would make any child happy. Of course, camps work very hard to ensure that, overall, kids are served a variety of healthy, nutritious foods to make sure they have the energy to get through a given day at camp. However, when you’re as active as Maine campers, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a treat, and a summer at camp absolutely provides this opportunity.

Of course, one of the places that campers get their sweets at Maine camps is exactly where you’d expect – in the dining hall. Oftentimes campers will have dessert with their lunch or dinner. These desserts can vary, ranging from fruit to brownies, or from cookies to Rice Krispy treats. At the camp I work at, one of the most heralded desserts is the whoopee pie, a Maine specialty – and while I’m not a particularly big fan of whoopee pies myself, I certainly appreciate the smiles in the dining hall as campers eat pies as big as their fists. Another tradition at mine and many other Maine camps are Sunday Sundaes. Each Sunday, campers line up for a sundae conducted assembly-line style before their very eyes – they choose their flavor of ice cream, toppings they may want, and then they have the option for the hot fudge or butterscotch finish, (with a cherry on top, to be sure).

At many Maine camps, campers also have the opportunity to enjoy treats the DIY method thanks to the cooking programs that many camps offer.  Cooking is oftentimes an extremely popular activity at camps, because one of the few things campers love more than making cookies is reaping the rewards of their hard work! Campers learn to make the batter, and line those delicious treats on the trays – and, of course, throughout this process they are reminded of the number one rule of cooking: wash your hands! It’s also great when Maine campers can pick fresh Maine blueberries and strawberries on trips and get to incorporate them in treats like pies and sauces.  Walking past the camper kitchens during cooking is always an olfactory treat, whether you get to enjoy the sweets are not!

Another common Maine Camp tradition revolves around nightly milk and cookies. Each evening at the camp I work at, the younger campers get in their pajamas and join their older camp sisters on the “cookie porch,”and each camper selects one cookie and a pre-poured cup of milk to enjoy as a bedtime snack. (And while older campers don’t line up, they do have cookies and milk delivered to their bunks, so they don’t miss out on the fun.) One fun component of milk and cookies is the “bonus cookie.” Before milk and cookies, counselors will randomly select one cookie as the “bonus cookie,”and whichever camper selects that cookie will get an extra cookie on that night. This adds a fun component as campers carefully decide what cookie to select with this extra treat at stake – and when a camper does select the right cookie, counselors and campers alike celebrate accordingly to make the sweetness extra special.

At many other Maine camps, cookies also reign supreme.  At one girls camp, daily cookie line is deeply embedded in the camp’s’ culture.  Each day at a specific time, campers and staff report from throughout campus to enjoy fresh cookies together – a tradition that has existed for many decades and generations.  At another Maine camp, the secret recipe is so delicious that kids from other camps can’t wait to come for Intercamp sports games to get a taste of the cookies –  no matter if they win or lose the game.

One final instance of sweetness at Maine camps can be built into one of the ultimate camp events – the culmination of Color War. At the Maine Camp Experience camp I attended as a child, each Color War would be decides by the most high-stakes, energetic activity of the summer: the pie eating contest. The pie eating contest was the culminating event of the Apache relay, which was the culminating event of the whole Color War. Because the Apache relay is worth so many Color War points, and because the pie eating contest oftentimes directly decides the winner, this is one of the most important moments of every summer. In fact, many summers ago, I was given the all-important task of pie eater for my age group. It was an extremely close competition – my competitor and I finished at almost the exact same time, and to decide the match camp officials actually had to weigh the amount of pie that had fallen off our trays during the contest! In the end, I was deemed the slightly more efficient eater, and my team won Color War, so we all immediately jumped in the lake to celebrate our victory. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t have much dinner that night.

Camp is an incredible place for kids, and part of what makes it special is the opportunity to enjoy some of the kid-friendly sweets that many children absolutely love. Whether they’re eating dessert in the dining hall, enjoying sundaes outside, having their bedtime milk and cookies, or winning a Color War crown with pie – there are many opportunities for campers to enjoy the delicious treats they love so well. And personally, I can’t wait to get back to the sweet smell of delicious camp desserts – so who’s hungry?

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitudeon our Memories of Camp section of our website.

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.

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“I greatly enjoyed speaking with Laurie (Guide at Maine Camp Experience). Thanks to her guidance, ideas and suggestions we truly feel that our ultimate choice is the right one for us. We can trust that our seven year old daughter will have a wonderful summer!”

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