Crazy About Day Camp
by Esther J. Perne
Giggles! Friendships! Soggy shoes and damp clothing! Songs and chants and silly jokes! Bug bites and sunburn and newly-formed freckles. Cook outs and campfires. Lost socks and found talents. And more "I did it!" pride in crafts, sports, conservation, the arts and social interaction than seems possible to achieve in a day, a week or a season.
When memories are tallied at the end of summer vacation and recalled over the years, among the best and the most lasting are the days spent at youth camp. Character is formed, attitude adjusted and lifetime interests created. Among the lakes and hills of central Maine, in the communities and schools and , there are awesome day camp opportunities for children to taste the traditions, experience the camaraderie and develop the skills that are so unique to Maine summer camps.
School's out, let the camp life start — let it start with these suggestions, move into plans for other vacations and other years, and establish the best memories of summer vacation:
Acting/Theater Day Camps
- Farmington: Sandy River Players Summer Youth Music Theatre Camp, The Lion King, Jr. for ages 8-14, June 20 – July 8, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Fee is $175. www.facebook.com/SRPtheatrecamp.
- Gardiner: Spark Theater Camp for Kids at Johnson Hall teaches the basics in a wide variety of theatrical skills. Session 1, July 11-15, ages 8-11; Session 2, July 18-22, ages 9-12; Session 3, July 24-29, ages 10-13; Session 4, August 1-5, ages 11-14. Fee is $198; scholarships are available. johnsonhall.org or 582-7144.
- Madison/Skowhegan: Lakewood Young Performers
Camp offers 3 two-week sessions in a professional theater setting with performances on Saturdays at the end of each session: Give My Regards to Broadway, teens 13 and up,
starts July 5; Groovy, ages 9 and up, starts July 25; Alice in Wonderland, ages 9 and up, starts August 8. www.lakewoodtheater.org or 474-7176.
- Waterville: Missoula Children's Theatre at the Waterville Opera House for grades 1 through 8: Gulliver's Travels, July 25-30; The Jungle Book, August 1-6; Rumpelstilskin, August 8-13. Each week concludes with a performance. The cost is $200 per session. www.operahouse.org or 873-7000
- Waterville: Common Street Arts Summer Art Camp for Kids offers session starting week of June 20 through week of August 8. $125 per week for art only, 9 a.m.-12 noon; $175 per week for art and activities at Alfond Denter, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. www.commonstreetarts.com or 872-2787.
- Albion: Hart-to-Hart Farm, a hands-on, helping-out, fun farm experience for ages 5-12 featuring animals, gardening, nature, science, teamwork and friendship offers 1-week sessions, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., all
summer for $250 per session. hart2hartfarm.org or 437-2441.
- Belgrade: Winterberry Farm Kids' Farm Day Camp day camp, ages 5-11, offers sessions June 27-July 1 and July 25-29, ten campers each session, includes exploring, hiking, gardening, farm animals, cooking, crafts, and more. Camp is 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. $200 per week. winterberryfarmstand.com or 649-3331
- Augusta: Children's Discovery Museum offers 8 weeks of creativity and learning at Camp Spark, ages 3-6, 9 a.m.-noon and Camp Flame, ages 7-11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Prices vary, $100 up. Programs start June 27.
www.childrensdiscoverymuseum.org or 622-2209.
- Augusta: Old Fort Western Apprenticeship Program for ages 8-12 and Jr. Interpreter Program for age 13 and up held weekly starting June 20 through September 2, 8:30 a.m.-12 noon, $100 per week. www.oldfortwestern.org or 626-2385
- Hinckley: L.C. Bates Museum Science and Art Camps for age 6-17 at the L.C. Bates Museum will explore nature, local history, astronomy, museum collections and arts and crafts starting June 21. Most camps run from 9 a.m. to noon. Call for rates; scholarships are available. www.gwh.org/lcbates/ or 238-4250.
- Waterville: The Colby College Museum of Art will hold a free Lively Spaces summer camp, July 11- July 29, 12-2:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. The three weeks include art making, dancing, poetry reading and writing for students between second and sixth grade. Lunch will be provided. Campers must be able to attend all three weeks; space is limited. Call to pre-register. www.colby.edu/museum/ or 859-5613.
- Winthrop: Summer Nature Day Camp sponsored by the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed for children entering grades 4, 5 and 6 will be held July 18- 22 and August 8-12 at the YMCA Camp of Maine from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; includes lunch, all instruction and equipment and a special camp session of Tadpole Patrol aboard the Friends' 22' pontoon boat, the Otter II. watershedfriends.com or 621-4100.
Recreation Center Camps
- Belgrade: Day Camp at Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons for Kindergarten-Grade 6, Camp Golden Pond; 8 one-week sessions, starts June 20, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., before and after care available. Rates $85 for residents; $135 nonresidents; $20 and $30 per day drop-ins. Weekly special themes each week, field trips on Thursdays. www.townofbelgrade.com/belgrade-center-for-all-seasons/ or 495-3481.
- Belgrade: Teen Day Camp at Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons for boys and girls entering grades 6 through 9, Camp Loon For Teens has 4 two-week sessions, starting June 20, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Rates $220 residents; $320 non-residents. Weekly off-site adventures, overnight camping experiences over the summer. www.townofbelgrade.com/belgrade-center-for-all-seasons/ or 495-3481.
- Belgrade: Youth Sailing Program at Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons for ages 8-15, 4 one-week sessions, beginning July 25, morning and afternoon classes available. Enroll at SailMaine.org or call (888) 673-7245.
- Readfield: Maranacook Adult Education in Readfield (RSU 38) offers a summer schedule for track, basketball, field hockey, gymnastics, soccer and more. For details or to register, visit maranacook.maineadulted.org or call 685-4923, x 1065.
- Waterville: Colby College All-Sport Speed Camp for boys and girls ages 13-19 offers two sessions: July 25-29 and August 1-5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., coaching the skills of speed, agility and strength. Cost is $450 per camper or $350 by June 31. bit.ly/colbyspeedcamp or (347) 268-9651.
Traditional Camp with a Day Camp
- Winthrop: Mechuwana Day Camp on Lake Cobbossee uses the same facilities as the overnight program to offer swimming, boating, arts and crafts, games, campfires, story time, athletic fields and much more. Cost is $140 per week for ages 5-11. Sessions are June 27-July 1, July 11-15, July 18-22, August 1-5. www.mechuwana.org or 377-2924.
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