Across the state, young adults and their mentors are gathering at scores of youth camps for annual staff training. As they anticipate the arrival of campers in the coming days, these staff members are building community and learning skills for engaging with, supporting, and teaching the campers who will travel from near and far for their summer camp experiences.
As Maine youth camp directors head into June, their preparations to welcome campers move into high gear. That includes getting ready for staff members — some new, some veteran — to arrive for pre-camp training. Whether it is a few days or more than a week, staff training sessions help equip camp employees with the skills, insight, and confidence to provide a positive experience for the youngsters they serve.
When representatives of the Maine youth camping industry make the trip to the State House, it is often with a particular issue in mind, an item of business for which they are advocating or to which they are opposed. But on May 1, more than 20 Maine youth camp directors, plus a handful of business members of the non-profit membership organization Maine Youth Camp Association (MYCA) set up tables and displays in the State House’s Hall of Flags. Their goal: to simply meet legislators, answer questions, and offer a look into the vast benefits of youth camping in Maine.
As Maine’s hundreds of camp professionals look ahead to summer — hoping to fill remaining staff positions, communicating with families, and crossing their fingers for warm weather and snow melt — many also set aside a few days in late March to attend the annual conference of the American Camp Association New England. The 2019 gathering, held March 28-30 in Manchester, NH, brought together approximately 900 camp personnel from throughout New England, says ACA New England Executive Director Bette Bussel. Vendors promoting a broad range of products and services at the conference Expo brought that number to nearly 1000, Bussel says. Between 80 and 90 presenters offered workshops over the three-day conference.
As snow melts, mud emerges, and daylight savings time offers kids more outdoor playtime, families are beginning to think of summer. So are Maine’s hundreds of youth camps, which offer scores of opportunities for youngsters of all ages and interests. On Sunday, March 24, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., Maine Summer Camps, a nonprofit organization supporting youth camps throughout the state, will hold its annual Maine Camp Fair at East End Community School in Portland. Representatives from 60 Maine youth camps will gather at the school, located at 195 North Street in Portland’s East End, to share information, enthusiasm, and expertise about their programs. The variety will be broad: from golf camp to aviation camp to music to science to...
Hiring Camp Staff, Part II: The Challenge of the “Internship Climate” for College Students and the Camps Who Want to Hire Them
As college students look ahead toward post-graduate careers, they face pressures from all sides. From a financial standpoint, many young adults have incurred student loans, making the importance of a secure job both during school and after graduation even more essential. In addition, college students often believe that a successful career demands a lock-step progression of experiences on the way to that first job. Accordingly, while young adults pursue their studies, they increasingly feel pressure to participate in a professional, often major-related, internship to help pave the way toward that just-right position after college is over.
UMF Hosts Camp Job Fair A wide corridor at the Olsen Student Center at the University of Maine at Farmington served as more than a student thoroughfare on Monday. Instead, a collaboration between Maine Summer Camps and the UMF Career Center brought a job fair to the passageway, giving scores of students the chance to learn about summer job opportunities at more than 30 Maine camps. Directors and leaders from camps across the state described their programs, their staffing needs, and the many perks of a summer sharing skills and guiding children.
Summer camps are communities unto themselves. Maine camps are both coed and single-sex, are residential and day camps, and they offer varied experiences and opportunities. Yet all those camps have common considerations, including attention to gender roles and gender role stereotypes. Last week, a noted psychologist, educator, and camp professional presented some of those considerations to Maine camp directors and leadership staff. Sponsored by Maine Summer Camps (MSC), a nonprofit membership organization providing a broad range of support to Maine camps, the program called on the expertise of Chris Thurber, Ph.D. Thurber, a clinical psychologist, has served at Phillips Exeter Academy for two decades, and in a variety of roles at YMCA Camp Belknap since 1980. He has written widely...
At this time of year, many Maine summer camps are operating with small year-round staffs, each person wearing many hats to recruit campers and staff and make preparations for the upcoming camp season. But a mid-coast non-profit organization, which operates Kieve Summer Camp for Boys in Nobleboro and Wavus Camp for Girls in Jefferson, has launched a program in recent years that provides young people in Maine schools with many of the same skills camp can provide.
State laws, licensing standards help ensure youth camps protect campers and staff alike Kirstie Truluck, director of girls’ Camp Wavus in Jefferson, says her best counselors demonstrate precisely what camps need: “how to model healthy boundaries while maintaining a connection” to their campers. Both elements are essential, she says, because they are in the best interests of staff and kids alike. “It’s subtle and simple advice. The kid should be setting the tone,” she says. Such protocols are common at Maine camps. camps conduct each summer prior to the arrival of youngsters. With licensing requirements promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services, plus the designation as mandated reporters of camp personnel over the age of 17, camps have...