July 6 – 12, 2018 Vol. 20, No. 5


Summertime in the Belgrades

July 6 – 12

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When Kids Go To Summer Camp

Children look at the sun throw special safety glasses outside the L.C. Bates Museum.

by Esther J. Perne

When kids go to summer camp, whether for a day, a week, a season or a class, magic happens. They learn new skills, make new friends, discover new worlds. They sing silly songs, tell stupid jokes and create interesting and sometimes awesome crafts. They feel more connected to the world around them, to the wonders of nature, to the state around us, to their own town, to peers, and to their own unique selves. They know that someone cares.

When kids go to summer camp they come home with memories and hopes, with something new to think about including a future with positive possibilities. They come home taller, stronger, with more character, and usually ready for more camp.

Maine is rich in youth camps from the traditional summer-long, century-plus-old camps, to the more recent, innovative one- or two-day, half-day sessions, from the general interest to the highly specialized, from the strictly roughing-it outdoors or the rugged sports training schedules to the finely tailored enrichment courses and well rounded community rec programs. In short, when it comes to summer camps in this region of the world there is probably something for everyone.

A girl holds up a specimen jar.

When kids don't go to summer camp, it's a long hot and often lonely view from the back steps, or the street, or the screen, especially when the resources of recreation, nature, creative expression and camaraderie that summer camps offer are so visible, so almost within reach.

In Maine, in this area there are many summer camp programs that accommodate working caregivers' schedules, that accommodate food challenges, that provide grants and scholarships and work opportunities. Some towns offer each of their children a free week or two of a community program, some associations provide similar opportunities. At the bottom of almost every brochure or application there is an offer of financial aid. There is money set aside.

July has just begun; August lies ahead. It is definitely not too late to find out about summer camp or class or rec openings and financial aid — for your kid…or for someone else's.

Oh, yes, and when it comes to summer camps, it's not all a small, small world. There are opportunities out there for adults to indulge. Specialty camps such as music, educational camps such as foreign language immersion, multi-generational camps — Take the grandkids! — and camps for veterans are just a few examples. Some are held on academic campuses but many are held at traditional youth camp settings.

Who says adults can't sleep on top bunks, walk through the woods to restrooms or take showers in sputtering coldish water — or apply for financial aid? They are, after all, kids at heart….

All Pictures in the article were provided by L.C.Bates Museum.