MTC Blog

Being Generally Successful...


4 min read time

I recently finished David Epstein’s new book “Range, Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World”. It’s a great book, well reported as would be expected, but also advancing an idea that has been overlooked and under-appreciated. As Epstein tells it, those who have the broadest range of experiences are those who find the best career fit for their skills and personality and are best able to come up with practical solutions to novel problems. Having “range” gets you the best career for you and helps make you really good at that career.

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Why we need animals in our lives (or, why are there goats at camp now?)


3 min read time

This week, I had the pleasure of seeing one of my idols speak in person. Richard Louv, author of the groundbreaking book Last Child in the Woods, was speaking to a gathering in Portland Maine, about his new book Our Wild Nature. Louv has become fascinated with not only the connections between humans and the fellow creatures we share our planet with, but also the benefits that accrue as a result of those connections. Animals – domestic and wild, benefit from connections to humans in numerous ways (as opposed to the damage inflicted when humans fail to acknowledge the connection). Humans, Louv points out benefit in any number of ways from their connection to animals - from the mental health benefits of therapy animals, to the profound awe we feel when we encounter wild animals, to the varied benefits that accrue from a more diverse ecosystem. Diversity is healthy not just for organizations and political systems, it’s essential for healthy ecosystems.

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The sign says "Don't Play"...


4 min read time

Last weekend was the first really nice weekend of Spring here in Maine. Not warm, but certainly not freezing. A great weekend to walk down to the town pier and beach with the kid and the dog, see what the local fishermen were up to, play around the rocks, let the dog swim and chase her frisbee (the kid ended up going for an unexpected swim, sometimes we all misjudge just how far away the next rock is…). It was lovely, we are so lucky to live here.

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Take a Stroll to Better Grades and Work


2 min read time

Early today I was feeling very tired (thanks raccoon who visited our chickens at 1am!), a bit stressed, unsure of which of the tasks on my list were going to get accomplished, or even how to start them.  I was feeling daunted and kind of defeated, before I’d even started my work day.  I imagine that I am not alone, especially among those in our community dealing with school schedules filled with assignments, exam prep, finals, and a host of additional obligations.

Luckily, before I could do anything about it, I had to walk our son to the bus stop, and then walk the dog after that. 

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Why a Tech Free Camp for Teenagers?


6 min read time

Conceptualizing the impact of technology on adolescent well-being in the silicon age.

MTC is effectively a tech free camp for our campers, and largely so for our staff. Technology is not absent – campers can listen to music on an MP3 player, staff record camper music on computers, campers can access a limited email system to communicate home, staff will use phones for communication and weather monitoring. However all of these uses are intentional, serving a wider programming or safety goal. Technology that does not help advance the core camp values and programming is not allowed. The question often asked is why technology isn’t allowed in camp. We think this is the wrong question. Instead, we would ask, why would technology be allowed in camp?

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How Does a Summer Camp in the Woods of Maine Foster The 4C’s of 21st Century Skills in Teenagers?


5 min read time

If you’ve spent much time around schools, after school programs, or read the education section of the newspaper, the term 21st Century Skills is no doubt a familiar one to you. For those who aren’t familiar, 21st Century Skills are the skills identified as being essential for successful and happy lives and careers in the 21st century and beyond. It is widely recognized that for the near- and long-term future, in both the workplace and community, today’s kids will require analytic and critical thinking skills, information literacy, communications and teamwork skills. The term Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is frequently used to describe the acquisition of these kinds of skills. There is a contrast drawn to the skills more traditionally associated with K-12 education in the 20th century, which involve more content knowledge acquisition and specific skill-sets for singular, life-long professions.

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Reconciling Social Media: Online Marketing at an Offline Camp


3 min read time

Social media and digital methods like email have become the primary methods of communicating with the camp community year-round, and with parents during the summer. What does it mean for a proudly offline summer experience to rely so heavily on platforms like Instagram to put the comm in community? How does our use of digital tech resonate with what we teach campers and staff?

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A Thanksgiving Note – The Science That Explains How GRATITUDE Improves Our Lives.


3 min read time

Of all the major holidays on the United States calendar, Thanksgiving is the holiday that totally “gets” camp. There are so many parallels – it’s not associated with any particular religion, rather, it’s all about getting together with the important people in your life. And there is lots of food (!), some sort of field sports, lawn games, or board games, and while sometimes the travel to get there is a hassle, when you reach your destination, it is so worthwhile. A huge aspect, of course, is being thankful. The expression of gratitude is at the heart of the holiday, and it’s also a core value at camp.

During the summer we talk about gratitude for a few reasons. It’s a good practice for any young person who is happy to be given an opportunity to thank whoever made that opportunity possible, more opportunities might come along as a result. We also remind campers (and staff) how the simple act of thanking someone for things big and small, extraordinary and mundane, does wonders for the person receiving the thanks. It’s a good thing to do, and it can turn someone else’s day around. On another level though, we talk about the practice of gratitude as another aspect of well-being. For not only does gratitude make the person being thanked feel good, it also makes the person giving thanks healthier and happier.

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Are You Uncomfortable? Excellent!


3 min read time

A few recent conversations with camper and potential camper families got me thinking about an important concept at camp, and how we address it says a lot about what MTC is all about.

It’s the idea of comfort, and how a camper’s experience of comfort while at camp is a useful way of framing their summer.  

When a camper first arrives at camp, especially those who don’t know any one else at camp, it is natural and expected that they are going to feel quite uncomfortable and uncertain.  Our immediate job is to work on the aspects creating that uncertainty and remove them as quickly and fully as possible.

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9 Hours, Why Sleep Matters


2 min read time

Snow is predicted for this weekend at camp.  Not a lot, and it’ll melt within a day, but still we’re putting up Halloween decorations and carving pumpkins!  It’s yet another reminder that at this point, summer is firmly behind us.

With this distance between what was a truly amazing summer at camp and today, I started thinking about some of the experiences we lived this summer, and how those experiences stick with us long after the summer ends. 

One of the most impactful yet under-appreciated experiences of the summer is sleep.  At MTC we turn lights out at 11pm and wake up at 8am.  9 hours.  Every night.  Which research tells us turns out to be the amount of that is the adequate amount of sleep for adolescents. 

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Maine Teen Camp

481 Brownfield Rd,
Porter, Maine
800-752-CAMP
mtc@teencamp.com

Maine Teen Camp is the only accredited summer camp created exclusively for teenagers. Enjoy a summer of meaning, fun, friendships and memories to last a lifetime.