Old friends weren’t always old.
The Second Session of summer 2018 started on Sunday afternoon. The rain showers that had hovered all day lifted, and camp tour, welcome show and cabin night went ahead as planned.
Looking around the faces of campers (and staff) in those first couple of hours, in among the smiles, laughs and hugs between campers and staff who knew each other, there were a lot of looks of uncertainty, some anxiety, some bewilderment, and even some tears among those who did not. As the boys from Stanley cabin would say “That’s alright”. And you know, it will be.
As the days have progressed through the first couple of activity days, the looks of bewilderment have gone away (camp is understandable, though some of the announcements at meetings are still baffling even to me). The uncertainty is on the way out, gradually being replaced by confidence (Lip Sync last night did a lot to send uncertainty packing). In it’s place we are seeing an easy level of socialization, play, participation, relaxation, and trust in the routine of camp.
This is where we want the campers to get to. Campers feel relaxed, feel comfortable being themselves, trust the routines and craziness of camp and each other. Friendships form pretty quickly at this point. There’s only so many times you can do a dumb dance routine on stage, play a pick up game of 9 Square, spend 45 minutes at dinner debating if a hot dog is a sandwich or sing ‘til you lose your voice at the dance with someone before you feel a comradery with them. After all, friendships are built on a foundation of shared experience.
Here’s where we give up a secret to the camp experience, one of the special ingredients that makes the whole thing seem so magical to the campers. Time. The number of hours the campers and staff spend together doing all this fun, exciting, sometimes pointless, sometimes profound stuff is off the charts for most teenagers in 2018. Our campers are spending more cumulative hours with their new camp friends in 2 or 3 weeks than they might spend with school friends in a year.
This abundance of time has a pretty predictable outcome. Friendships become very solid very quickly, and tend to last a very long time. The rapid formation is easy to understand. The longevity is worth unpacking a little.
As mentioned previously, one of things that happens early in the camp session is campers relax and just be themselves. When we form friendships that are based in an understanding of who someone really is, we aren’t in for surprises down the road. Friendships that are predictable tend to be the ones we value most, the ones we work hardest to maintain. We also develop a deep vault of shared experience at camp. A lot of stuff - fun, emotional at times, random or silly at times – is shared between friends. Again, these shared experiences form a strong foundation to build a lasting friendship on.
Two things happened today to get me thinking of this. One – a former camper, and staff, came to visit for the afternoon. His life has taken a turn he didn’t expect, and a lot has changed for him. But the friends he made here haven’t. Those friends were so excited to see him, it was a celebrity sighting in Porter.
Two – a group of a dozen campers from 4 countries, 3 religions, and many VERY different backgrounds were playing a game of knockout on the basketball court. They were chatting the whole time, cheering and jeering, as good natured as you could ever hope. The kids on that court were strangers to each other 48 hours ago. Now they are acquaintances going on friends. By the time mid-August rolls around, they’ll be firm friends. And one day they’ll be old friends. I just hope they remember that game of knockout too.
Photos and Videos from First and Second Session will be available in the Photo Gallery: https://teencamp.com/about/photo-gallery/ and Video Gallery: https://teencamp.com/about/video-gallery/ respectively. The password for both is MTCsummer
Arrival Day and Sign-up Day are in the books for Session Two!!! Mother Nature has not been playing nice with us at camp, but our amazing Campers and Staff have carried on. Watching the returning campers embrace their friends from past summers and seeing our new campers find their way is truly exciting. The welcome show/Camp Tour went off without a hitch. Ours/Your campers are out enjoying activities on the second day. We kicked off today with sign-ups and after lunch jumped right into activity period 4. The sounds of guitars learning chords, safety talks on the ropes course, Swim Test being given and laughter all around makes this Program Director one happy person. Thank you for sharing your camper with us this summer and will have another amazing update shortly.
Wow, what an exciting first session! The LT's have been heavily involved in contributing to the Evening Programs, working in the camp store within their groups, assisting classes, doing community service, and going on trips out of camp. They have had an enjoyable intersession and have been recharged for second session. They have moved into their buddy cabins and are helping the counselors within those cabins make a positive and accepting environment for all campers while enjoying Evening Programs and working as a cabin to make the most of the session. The LT's have also begun Co-teaching classes this week, with three of them creating their own classes.
Shout out to Sammy with Into the Wild, Paola with Date Night Cooking, and Polly with Mermaid Fitness, all unique and well sort after classes by the camp community. Another four LT's will create their own classes next week and the entire camp is on the edge of their seats to see what they come up with! Finally, the LT's have begun planning for their LT dance, with a theme that's out of this world, literally! The theme is Outer Space with a glow in the dark element.They have selected a location that's never been used for a dance, so the newness is sweeping across the camp with excitement. They also organized the stations and refreshments that will be at the LT dance next week and have begun working with the Evening Program coordinators to create art and decorations for their dance. The Leadership in Training Coordinator and LT Assist are immensely proud of the LT cohort of 2018 and eagerly looking forward to the upcoming dance, the legacy project, and all the fantastical unique classes that will be created this season! Stay tuned for more updates from the LT's of 2018 :)
The first week of Session Two has been a blast! We had an amazing Welcome Show in which our MTC News show informed our campers about the goings on at camp. We also had our Cabin Night, a night of bonding and getting to know one another by playing games and spending time together. The campers then performed their hearts out at our Lip Sync competition. Every single cabin wowed the judges with their incredibly fun performances! Coming up this week, we'll have the kids take on some silly and creative challenges in our Minute to Win it Game Night. There's so much fun to be had during our Evening Programs so stay tuned to see what else the session brings!
-Dylan & Gina
After a whirlwind of arrivals, we’re excited that our first week of activities and trips has begun!
This first week features our Best of Boston trip, which includes shopping at Faneuil Hall, a famous Duck tour over land and sea, lunch at the historical Quincy Market, a Freedom Trail tour and dinner at Fire and Ice. This trip will fill up quickly, be sure to sign up soon! We also have our Best of Portland trip this week, which still has space! Campers will start the day right with a sailing trip along Casco Bay, enjoy a seafood lunch and shopping along the cobbled streets and end with a visit to a light house! We’ll end the week with an all camp trip to Funtown USA in Saco, Maine.
Although the second activity week seems far away, our rafting trip during that week has already filled up! If you have not done so, please email me your camper’s rafting waiver. Feel free to also email me if you’d like to add your camper onto the waitlist. The Freeport trip is also offered during week two and currently has space left. This week is concluded with an all camp trip for a relaxing day at Scarborough Beach State Park, taking in the sun, waves and a picnic lunch.
I’m happy to answer any trip related questions, feel free to call camp and ask for Becca or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re looking forward to a beautiful rest of the summer!
Greetings from Maine, if your camper has been here for our 6 week session, or here for two weeks, please ensure you have submitted travel information to us. I will be sending out travel confirmations over the weekend. Thanks!
Thank you all for reading, you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram @MaineTeenCamp and just a reminder to make sure that your SPAM settings are set to allow all @teencamp.com addresses, so that you can continue to get those important Trips and Travel e-mails.