The Maine Summer Camps Community
July 31, 2014, by Kristy
The Maine Summer Camps Community
July 31, 2014, by Kristy

An interview with Kyle Courtiss the Director at Camp Vega in Fayette, Maine a Maine Camp Experience Camp.

The Maine Camp Experience community consists of 30+ sleepaway camps that are a mix of single-gender, brother/sister and co-ed camps. In what ways does your camp benefit from this extended camp community?

Being able to collaborate with the other camps and put together projects, often community or philanthropic, is so much fun. When you have 30+ camps working together you have a lot more to offer to campers. One big part of camp is feeling you’re apart of something bigger than yourself. 

You can really feel the shared summer culture among Maine camps. As an all-girls summer camp, how does the proximity to numerous other Maine camps benefit your camp? 

Since we’re an all-girls camp, a lot of people ask: Do you have a brother camp? It’s great to be able to rattle off eight different camps and say that we have brothers at all of them. It doesn’t have to be one specific camp. Parents can choose a camp that they think matches their son best. It’s wonderful for them to be able to do that; and let them experience the authentic camps with the beauty of Maine, just like their daughters.

How does your camp facilitate interactions between siblings at other Maine camps?

Parents always want to know how often their son and daughter will see each other. We host a day that’s geared towards brothers and sisters. We invite everyone and it’s a blast. Its called Derby Day and it’s been going on since before I was born. One thing I’ve noticed is that siblings tend to become closer when they’re both involved in camp. They might have a sibling rivalry at home, but when they’re more independent at camp, I think they appreciate their relationship a lot more in the days they get to see one another.

Camp socials are another example of traditional inter-camp events.  Do Maine camps host socials with other camps?

Yeah, we host a few for girls 12 and up. And we’ll travel to some, as well. We try to have at least one event with all the camps that our campers have brothers at, so siblings can see one another. It’s important to some of the girls to have that social interaction. Everybody likes the socials once they get rolling. We do snacks and have a DJ and other interactive activities and games; it’s a fun, well-rounded experience.

How does your camp integrate with other Maine camps for sports & activities?

We actively participate in “inter-camp” sports programs between the Maine camps. Anyone who wants to be on a team can sign up. Playing games is the apex of any sport. So we’ll host and go to tournaments. It’s great when they’re five girls’ camps and we’re all in an all-day soccer tournament. It’s fun. The girls love it. They come back with a smile, whether they have a trophy in their hands or not. Whether it’s an equestrian show or a soccer tournament or just a one-on-one game, it’s a great aspect of a Maine camp. The network is there.

Does this sense of community also influence the camp’s staff?

They definitely appreciate it, too. When you have a college-aged staff from all over the country, they’re focused on camp during the day and then have nights out. They’ll meet up at central locations and I’ve heard they have a lot of fun. They love it. They have more opportunities to branch out at a Maine camp then at camps in other areas. We have eight camps within a half-hour of us. It’s easy for the staff to get together and experience Maine.

There’s also a great sense of camaraderie between camp directors. What’s it like knowing there are directors nearby who share similar experiences?

I think that any community thrives off of competition. And when there’s friendly competition with communication, any kind of business will get better. It’s great to be able to reach out about anything. Whether it’s setting up a game or asking how to deal with something: “What are you doing about life jackets this year? Or paddle boats? Or ski boats? Let’s pool our resources and make it better for everybody.” One thing that we all appreciate is that if our neighbor is doing well that means we’re doing well. We try to take advantage of that idea and help one another out and make each other better. Being part of Maine Camp Experience is a benefit to all our member camps and helps to bolster our camp community in Maine; and that translates ultimately to benefit all our families.

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

Looking for the perfect Maine camp for your child?  Try out our helpful new tool where you can select a camp by choosing: type of camp (girls, boys or coed) and session length (2-7 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 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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