No matter how many days in advance you arrive, how thoroughly you prepare, how many times you have experienced it before, or even if it’s your first time, there is nothing that can compare with the rush of adrenaline, energy, and spirit that accompanies the first day of camp. When hundreds of campers have been “living ten for two,” the excitement is palpable when they finally step foot on the soil at their home away from home and jumpstart their summer. So what does a first day look like? It’s an emotional frenzy, full of reunions and reverie, and there’s nothing quite like diving headfirst into a summer at camp in Maine.
Here’s to Health
While it may not be the most exciting element of camp’s first day, the inaugural health procedures are an integral part of making sure everyone’s summer gets off to a positive start. As soon as campers arrive, they will be shepherded into the health center where their temperature will be taken, and their ears and throats will be examined to ensure no camper has packed any of the multitudes of maladies that can set back the beginning of summer. Furthermore, campers will have their heads inspected for lice, which will be immediately treated if discovered. Because campers will be living in a communal environment, it is vital to identify and treat any illnesses before they interact with their bunkmates or counselors, as even a common cold can spread all too quickly in the close quarters of camp.
Hugs and Hellos
For returning campers, the beginning of summer marks a reunion with friends whom they may not have seen for many months. As soon as the busses pull in, you can hear the shouts of joy and screams of delight as camp friends run to each other and embrace, excited for another summer together. However, for some – specifically the first-time campers – these relationships have not yet been formed, and the day is filled with tentative hellos and icebreaker games. Nametags will be worn and name games will be played as counselors and campers alike strive to learn the monikers of those they will share the summer with. Counselors are extremely active with their new campers, keeping their eyes peeled and doing their best to ensure that all campers feel included. Ideally, by the first evening, every new camper will have made at least a few friends, and every returner will have reconnected with many more. Hopefully, everyone on campus will be more than excited for their upcoming summer.
Chants and Cheers
There is nothing that speaks to the spirit of camp like the bevy of songs and cheers that every camper learns during their tenure at a given summer camp. Each camp has their own songs, (and some have their own versions of the same songs), and so when all campers have congregated for the first time in nearly a year, you can be sure that they will be singing and cheering their hearts out. At some camps, the dining hall becomes a main-stage for camp songs and cheers, and the older campers will lead these throughout the evening meal. At other camps, there will be a traditional first-night campfire to serve as a forum for the songs and cheers that define summer away. For some, this will be their first introduction to the camp songs and traditions, while for others it will be their last time to experience the songs as campers on opening night. In any case, you can be sure that campers and counselors will be belting away, and carrying on the traditions that play such a huge role in these storied Maine camps.
Off To Bed
The first day of camp is nothing if not exhausting. Physically, the campers will have had a full day of travel, and once they arrive they will spend active hours running around playing games. Emotionally, they will have experienced the lows of saying goodbye to their parents, and the highs of arriving at camp and reuniting with friends, or navigating a new environment. With a long summer ahead, it’s vital that campers get a good night’s sleep to prepare for the upcoming days packed with all kinds of activities and events. Once Taps has blown, it’s time for lights out and some much needed rest. After all, tomorrow we’ll thankfully be waking up at camp again.
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 Campcierge™ 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.