MTC Blog

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.


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.


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. 


Camp – It’s Not About Politics...

3 min read time


It would not be a particularly good idea to write a post about politics for a summer camp blog, especially in the toxic environment that is online commentary.  But the process of coming out of the woods after a truly wonderful summer, and re-engaging with the news cycle and the hyper focus on dysfunctional political systems near and far has been thought provoking. 

So while I won’t write about politics, it might be a good idea to think about how we interact with each other, how we got to this place, where it’s headed, and what role do summer camp’s play in the wider dialogue in a democratic society. 

To start, we need to examine some of the elements that both scholars and the architects of the American system understood to be essential to a functional, open, democratic society.


Persuasive Technology and the Digital Threat to Wellbeing

3 min read time

Last month, Richard Freed, child and adolescent psychologist, published an eye opening and damning article on the unfettered use of psychological research and understanding in modern technology.

While Freed was mostly concerned with the stance the APA (American Psychological Association) needs to be taking in response to the use of child psychology for ends other than those of helping people, he offers a lot for those of us simply concerned about kids.

The basic premise is simple – that the use of psychology by big tech companies (device manufacturers, social media, internet companies, game and app developers are all included) has not been given the level of scrutiny it deserves. Tech developers have been learning about how we are motivated, how behaviors are triggered and how we respond to rewards, to manipulate user behavior beyond the tipping point from choice to compulsion. The use of these understandings in technological design is called persuasive technology, or behavior design. These names say it all. The game is rigged, against all of us users, and in the case of child users, rigged against their parents.


Camp vs. Campus

4 min read time

Spring is here!  Well, technically spring is here, and I’m sure for much of the country it even feels this way.  As for the great state of Maine…we will get there.  Spring will come and go, and summer will be here before we know it.

With spring upon us, for many families of teenagers, it’s now crunch time in deciding what to do this summer.  While many teenagers might like to get a job or simply hang out for the summer, these are often not viable options – jobs can be difficult to find or have strict age limits and demand specific qualifications.    “Hanging out” is great in small doses but is not always an ideal plan for an entire summer.  This leads many families to think about a summer camp, trip, or “program”.  Today, we’ll consider some of the main differences between a summer at a real camp, like Maine Teen Camp, versus a summer program on a college campus or similar. 


Let's Listen: Why "March for our Lives" is as much about empowering Teens as it is about Gun Control

2 min read time

The shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas HS in Florida this past week is a tragedy beyond our ability to comprehend. So many wonderful lives gone, for no point. So many families irreparably torn. So many kids and teachers witness to events that have no place in our modern society.

This has happened before, of course. And for many of us, a feeling of pessimism and resignation has taken hold, that nothing will change.

But this time something is different. It has been widely noted that the use of social media during this mass shooting event has hammered home the reality in a way not seen before. It is hard to argue against this fact. It is also that the older students at Majory Stoneman Douglas are more capable, more willing, and have the right to be heard.


A Parents Perspective on Camp: Part 4 - From "NO WAY" to "Bring on Next Summer", in Italian

2 min read time

The fourth guest blog in our parents perspective series is from Laura C, of Catania, Italy.  Her two oldest sons will be returning for their 2nd and 3rd summers at MTC in 2018

On 1st October 2001 my first son Stefano was born; after all the doctors and relatives had gone and we were just the three of us for the first time, my husband holding and staring at our newborn told him: “When you will be 14, in the summer, you will go to the States for one month”. Being a Sicilian mother having just delivered her first son I said “WHAT???”, he gently replied “When you will be 14, in the summer you will go to the States for one month”, I said:”NO WAY!”.


A Parents Perspective on Camp: Part 2 - "The Happiest Surprise"

2 min read time

(We will be featuring a series of guest posts on the MTC blog over the coming months.  This post is contributed by Heather A., camper parent 2017/18.)

Here is the portion of my blog post filled with genuine and deeply-felt praise, awe, and gratitude for the wonderful job Maine Teen Camp does. My daughter went to MTC at the end of a rocky first year of high school. The school year ended on a Wednesday and she was headed to Maine that Sunday. She left our house exhausted, strung out on academic pressure and social media dependence, living in a microcosm of harsh judgment and unattainable expectations from her peers and, even more-so, herself; a bundle of raw nerves. Two short weeks later she returned to us a happy, healthy, confident bundle of swoony memories of her best summer ever.


A Parents Perspective on Camp: Part 1 - Summers 2014 & 2017

3 min read time

(We will be featuring a series of guest posts on the MTC blog over the coming months.  This post is contributed by Tracy Preston, MTC parent summer 2014 & 2017.)

When I was a teen in 1970s London, I dreamt of going to one of the Camps in the USA that I had seen in the movies.  Camps looked fun, inclusive, and full of activity and new friends to make – usually set on a lake in a beautiful location.  At that time in my life – I would have been lucky to get a summer day to trip to a beach in grey old England, and my dreams of camp life in America – would remain just that – dreams.

Interested in more information? Click Here to send us an E-Mail or Book a Skype Meeting

Maine Teen Camp

481 Brownfield Rd,
Porter, Maine

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.