Junior Maine Guide Program Has Successful Testing Camp, Strives to Include Additional Camps

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“The summer overall was great.”

The Junior Maine Guide staff gathered at testing camp in July 2023
The Junior Maine Guide staff, and their dogs, enjoyed another testing camp at the Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve in Oquossoc in July 2023

Junior Maine Guide (JMG) program director Ron Fournier reports that “excellent staff,” supported by the longtime team of JMG testers, engaged candidates, and participation by eight camps all contributed to a successful 2023 season. Testing camp, held from July 24-28 at the Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve in Oquossoc, resulted in a fifty percent passing rate among the 39 JMG candidates.

Fournier is enthusiastic about the program’s trajectory. “I feel like we are still building back after COVID,” he said. “Camp programs changed, but we are in a good place. We’re moving in the right direction.” Fournier says that the eight participating camps – Arcadia, Birch Rock, Bryant Pond, Kawahnee, O-AT-KA, Runoia, Winona, and Wyonegonic – sent fewer candidates than in years past. Conflicts, suchas other camp activities, including trips, posed challenges to having larger groups of participants from camps, he said. “We still have a robust group of camps sending kids,” he said.


The JMG staff is encouraged by the potential for additional camp participation in the JMG program in coming summers, Fournier said. Camp Beech Cliff, on Mount Desert Island, may increase it outdoor living skills programming. Fournier met with the camp’s new skills director, Kareem Dieng, this summer, along with Junior Maine Woodscraft participants “in the trenches.” “This program really does give [candidates] the chance to demonstrate skills at a high level of respect and responsibility,” Fournier said. That brings invaluable credibility to college and job applications, he said. “It’s got some weight to it.”

Learning more about the program

Fournier, who serves as the recreational safety supervisor at the Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, encourages interested camp directors to reach out to him for more information about the program. “It’s a well packaged model,” he said, not something camps have to “create out of thin air.” Fournier said he would likely be the person camps would meet with, and the one to connect directors to JMG program testers who live close to their camp. These examiners can help camp staff who teach the curriculum, and even candidates preparing for test camp. “It’s a solid curriculum, and proven curriculum and a distinctive program,” he said. “This has really proven its worth.”

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