Level Ground Initiative

Read the most recent blog post here.


Maine Summer Camps’ Level Ground initiative seeks to provide summer youth camp opportunities, free of charge, to immigrant and refugee children for whom such experiences would otherwise be unavailable.

This initiative was established in 2018 by a group of Maine summer camp owners, directors, and friends of camping. These camps are members of Maine Summer Camps, a 501(c)(3) membership organization whose mission is to support and promote meaningful

Young Level Ground Initiative camper sits on a paddleboard at Camp Bishopswood
Young Level Ground camper paddleboards at Camp Bishopswood

developmental, educational, environmental and recreational experiences for children. This nonprofit, financially supported in large part by dues from its more than 150 business and camp members, provides organizational support for Level Ground.
During Level Ground’s inaugural summer in 2018, organizers facilitated a camp experience, completely free of charge, for 23 youngsters. That number increased to 62 campers in the summer of 2019, took a dip during covid and is now projected to send more kids to camp this year than we ever have before. Our community partners contribute extensive time and expertise in helping to identify and work with children and their families to make the camp experience possible.

Expectations of Participating Camps

  • Provide a full scholarship for camper/campers. This includes supplies, equipment, uniforms, trips, travel, medical, etc. We want to make sure the Level Ground Campers have resources for a successful camp experience.
  • Long term commitment to campers; if they are successful camps would be expected to welcome the same camper following summers.
  • We ask that anyone welcoming a camper will be dedicated to learning about the unique needs of this population. Camps are expected to have commitment, capacity, and training to support a diverse population.
  • Commit to providing feedback on any concerns, potential issues, challenges, and/or successes.
  • Share with the Level Ground committee by fall the number of campers, weeks/sessions you are able to host.

Interested in being a participating camp, email office@mainecamps.org to get more information.

Expectations of Participating Partners

  • Help identify and match families and children who will benefit from an experience in accordance with Level Ground’s mission.
  • Work with families to complete all enrollment forms, supporting documentation needed, let camps know what supplies, clothing, equipment they need, and to make sure all transportation to and from camp is in place, prior to arriving at camp.
  • Partners would be a resource during the summer to ensure the success of each camper. In challenging circumstances in case of emergency, counseling, translation, etc.
  • Follow up with campers after their experience.

Interested in being a participating partner or know children that could benefit from this experience, email office@mainecamps.org to get more information.

Level Ground Process

  • Partners use a document describing participating camps to help place their campers. This document will be updated and shared with partners as participating camps are established.
  • From there, Partners claim a spot on a shared spreadsheet for their camper(s). Each camp has approximate allotments for our Level Ground partners to use.
  • Partners then fill out a Google form that gives us basic information about the camper and their family.
  • From there, Partners and/or the Level Ground Coordinator reach out to the camp to let them know there has been a camper placed with them.
  • The camp then reaches out to the Partner to start the registration process.


Level Ground also describes a sense of accessibility to all. Through collaboration among participating camps and

partners able to recommend beneficiary youngsters, Level Ground has already begun to make camp possible for deserving youngsters. There is no doubt as to the tremendous gains campers make during their summer experiences. Camp directors leading the way in the Level Ground project see these gains firsthand and are putting into action a profound commitment to making camp possible for more Maine youth.

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