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.
Summer at camp in Maine means many new experiences: new friends, first-time activities, living away from home. For campers, it also means leaving devices like phones and computers at home. But staff members also have an adjustment when it comes to technology. While their summers at camp aren’t completely device-free, staff members experience a marked – and, in many cases, ultimately welcome – reduction in screen time. For young adults in their late teens and early 20s, accustomed to socialization via text and social media, working at camp presents adjustments beyond living in cabins, teaching and guiding youngsters, and collaborating with fellow staff. Low-tech summers, camp directors say, can present challenges for staff members used to having a phone at...
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...
It happens all over Maine. Every summer, children arrive at youth camps throughout the state for a few weeks — or a full season — ready to undertake adventures, be with friends and role models, and learn or advance skills. And at most camps, kids’ experiences are completely tech-free. Phones, laptops, iPads — they all go home with Mom or Dad. Camp in Maine is unplugged. But what about that transition? How do kids adjust when they’ve spent a school year connecting with each other via social media, when they text each other constantly, when phones are social lifelines?
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.