Who Says You Can’t Go Home? Andrea at Maine Camps!
April 19, 2022, by MCE Blog Team
Who Says You Can’t Go Home? Andrea at Maine Camps!
April 19, 2022, by MCE Blog Team

This week’s blog is by Andrea Maline who recently joined Maine Camp Experience (MCE). Andrea is an MCE Camp alumna and sent her daughters to an MCE camp where they were also both counselors. Things have come full circle, and apparently you “can come home again.” Once a Maine camper; always part of the Maine camp family. Andrea is excited to start working at Maine Camp Experience and shares her story of how and why she fell in love.

There’s an old Poland Spring commercial that ends with the line “what it means to be from Maine.” I used to hear it often, and never thought about what it means to be “from Maine” because I’m not from Maine in the traditional sense: I never lived there, nor did I attend college there.  But whenever I heard that jingle, my mind pictured camp, and all the memories that it conjures up.

I transferred to an all-girls Maine camp after attending camp elsewhere for four summers.  I spent the next four summers in Maine, and it changed me in ways that neither I, nor my parents I’m sure, could foresee.  

To begin, I met campers from a very wide geographic area.  Apparently, there was a world outside my own metropolitan area – who knew? I loved seeing my friends in the off-season in places I’d never been and possibly never would have visited otherwise. I remember those visits vividly to this day and looking back, perhaps my lifelong love of travel and experiencing new places was born right there.  

When I went to Maine my first summer, I was 11 and learning new things every day. Camp itself was breathtakingly scenic and I’d never seen a lake quite as beautiful. Trips out of camp were full of new things too.  In Maine, we went to ocean beaches and ate lobster! I saw quaint seaside towns that were different from the places I knew, a refreshing change for my tween self.  We went to watch world-class tennis players compete at the Volvo tennis tournament in North Conway, New Hampshire, another state I’d never visited.  The new experiences were endless and supplemented my camping years in ways I couldn’t possibly comprehend at that time.  At 14, I went to camp for my senior year, and our owner sadly passed away unexpectedly that August.  Life moved on and I left Maine for good. Or so I thought.

Fast forward eight years.  Now I’m dating the man who would become my husband.  I vividly remember saying to him one day “You do camp, right?” because that would have been a deal-breaker for me.  And he answered me, saying “Absolutely.  But I’d like to send my kids to camp in Maine. I never went to camp there, but I always wanted to.”  I think I may have fallen in love with him right then and there! We got married and life moved on.

Fast forward another nine years. Now I’m a mother of a two year old. My parents never stopped going to Maine; they fell in love with it from the very first visiting day. They came home from yet another one of their Maine trips only to tell me that this time, they took a ride to my camp.  No, they never attended that camp themselves. No, they never had any other child that went there. But somehow, they never let go of the place that was so special to me.  They came to my house with brochures, and pictures, and enthusiasm. Camp was still there! They met the current owners! It was still gorgeous, and it was waiting for my toddler to attend.  Overnight camp? I was thinking about how to get diapers out of my house, not how to get my daughter out of the house!  But life moves on.  

Five years later, and it’s time to start thinking about summer camp. After searching for an all-girls camp in Maine for my daughters, we narrowed the list to three, and off to Maine my family went for a weekend. All three camps were beautiful, and all three owners were welcoming. All three camps were clearly steeped in tradition, and I remember many of them still. There was no way to go wrong here.

For various reasons, my daughter chose my camp, and I love that she did. Some of the trips might be different (even better!), and the owner isn’t the same, but camp is the same at its core. My daughters have both worked there as counselors, and it’s a bond we share in countless ways. We all have our camp friends, in different parts of the country (and the world, too!), and we all consider ourselves so lucky to have had the Maine camp experience.  We know it is unique, we know it is priceless, and we cherish our lifelong connection to Maine. So, while we are not technically “from Maine,” we always carry a little part of Maine with us wherever we go.  

Maine Camp Experience Resources & Tools

You can share your own Maine camps memories & expressions of gratitude on 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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