There is no routine quite so crazy as the camp routine – every day, campers are up at 7 or 7:30 in the morning, and each day is filled with incredible activities and memorable moments. However, given how active campers tend to be – both physically, socially, and emotionally – camps intentionally will build in their own “holidays,” which serve as breaks from the regular routine of camp life. And while many of these holidays are shared with the camp community, and others may be shared with the country – the holidays that are unique to each camp, as well as camps unique approach to shared holidays, are one of the most memorable aspects of a summer spent at camp.
Camp “holidays” are special because they are unique breaks from the routine of camp, and also because they provide a routine of their own. Oftentimes, weekly traditions that are unique to camp can provide a break from daily life, while also providing a sense of structure to a summer away. For example, at the camp I grew up at, every Sunday was a holiday of sorts, celebrated with a lazy morning and a buffet breakfast. Oftentimes, these days provided a way for siblings in different age groups to spend a full morning doing activities together, which their schedules otherwise might not allow. And as a young camper on Friday nights, we would all bring towels or blankets to the beach to watch a movie with our age group. Certain special meals also had a certain “holiness” at camp over the summer – growing up, I fondly remember our weekly Thursday dinners of “Liver and Onions” (really pizza and soda), or the “Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies” we would occasionally have for dessert. And at many MCE camps, there is a weekly non-denominational reflection or campfire that allows the camp to come together as a community.
Of course, the more “special” holidays at camp are not occurring every week, and their infrequency is part of what makes these incredible days so special. At the MCE camp I work at, “Dutch Auction” is an incredible activity that occurs on one evening towards the beginning of each summer, and allows campers to get dressed in their silliest outfit. And growing up, the whole camp would watch the MLB All-Star game together each summer on a Sunday in July. And while Banquet and Fourth of July celebrations may be events common to many camps, the details of celebration will be entirely unique for many camps – for example, the camp I work at celebrates 4th of July with the oldest campers’ inaugural Color War softball game, while at the camp I grew up at campers participate in a 4th of July parade in town.
Certain days and events at camp, however, are so special that they occur only once every several years. This summer was the hundredth at the camp I currently attend, and we had a “Birthday Campfire,” a unique celebration that occurs every 5 or 10 years. It was incredible to enjoy this event that had been discussed but never experienced by the majority of the camp community, with the exception of some of the longer tenured staff members and directors. We also held a special activity “the Great Escape,” which hadn’t been run since the oldest campers were 9 or 10 years old. The infrequency of these traditions and events strengthens the connection in a way, as it makes it that much more special to participate in unique camp traditions when the opportunity only arises every few years.
One aspect of feeling connected to camp is feeling connected to the traditions and holidays that make each camp a truly unique experience. Whether it’s weekly rituals or once-a-decade celebrations – these unique camp holidays contribute to the sense of community and history that each camper is a part of, and are a key aspect of each summer spent at camp.
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.