S'more About Camp: A Blog for Camp Families

ACA New England Camps in the News - March & April



How this mustached woman hopes to send a Brookline boy to summer camp: Jessisca Colgan-Snyder co-director of the camp will sport a mustache every day - all day - for the entire month of April in an effort to raise money to send 10-year old Dominic Fricke of Brookline to her New Hampshire camp for two weeks this summer. 

It takes some passion about the value of summer camp to ask a woman to wear a mustache for four weeks and use it as a way to get people to donate for her cause. And Colgan-Snyder is nothing if not passionate about how her camp can make an impact on someone like Dominic. And how Dominic can help affect the other kids at camp if he’s able to go.

“Oftentimes kids and even adults can get in a bubble and have trouble seeing outside their blinders ... But there’s such a larger world out there. We want to help build individuals self confidence and so they can feel they can be their best version of themselves and be aware and open to people that are different from them. And take away that scariness that difference sometimes can create.”

Your Kids Will Have the Time of Their Lives at These 10 Summer Camps: If you had the opportunity to attend sleep-away camp, you know camp friends take the special bond of childhood friendship to the next level. But so much more than friendship bracelets and kumbaya sing-alongs filled the lakeside Casco air. In this article from Psychology Today, the author of Nurturing Resilience, Michael Ungar, explains that summer camp is the perfect place "for children to optimize their psychological development."

Ungar explains that camp teaches us how to get out of our physical comfort zones while also providing a sense of purpose, authenticity, belonging, and tradition away from social or familial pressures at home. 

The Nitty-Gritty: Camp Laurel South is a three-and-a-half-week summer camp, with a sister camp called Laurel for a seven-week experience. Though run separately, both camps have similar picturesque grounds and state of the art facilities that attract campers from around the world. 

West Suburban YMCA Strengthens Foundations of Newton Community: The West Suburban YMCA is, in short, a place to belong, where the highest priorities are placed on developing character and values within an environment that encourages healthy living and social responsibility. The Newton-based Y is a community staple with wide-ranging programs, from the creative arts to group exercise for adults and children.

Patch: Tell us about the Camp Frank A. Day overnight camp.

West Suburban YMCA: Camp Frank A. Day is our gorgeous, 52-acre overnight camp, located in East Brookfield, Mass. — just one hour west of Boston and easily accessible from the Mass Pike. Our Y camp staff, who are trained in CPR and first aid, welcome kids from ages 7-15 to make the most of their summer amidst bugle calls, camp fires, archery, swimming, sports matches and talent shows. Three-day and two-week programs are available depending on the comfort level of the parents/children. 

A legacy of  joy at summer camp: But that doesn’t mean they aren’t thrilled to hike the same trails, sleep in similar platform tents, and enjoy the campfires, flag ceremonies, and other rituals that meant so much to their mom.

“When we went to the open house, it was exciting to me to show them where mom went; to tell them, ‘I ate in that dining hall. I swam in that lake.’ I showed my children the units I stayed in, the tents,” says Magee. “Instantly, it was more familiar, more endearing.”

Legacy camps — where generations attend — are as varied as the interests of the families who choose them. Some, such as Camp Bauercrest in Amesbury, a sports camp for Jewish boys, are specialized. Others, including Wind-in-the-Pines and the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston’s Camp Grossman in Westwood, offer everything from boating and swimming to nature and the arts.

What these camps have in common is family tradition. When a boy attends his dad’s sports camp, or a girl spends a week at the same Girl Scout camp as her mother, they share experiences that bring them closer, and extend the bonds of friendship and love.

Summer camp fair at Bangor Mall draws prospective attendees: Representatives from 26 Maine summer camps were at the Bangor Mall on Saturday for a fair designed to recruit prospective campers and to let the public know what the Pine Tree State has to offer.

The camps represented at Saturday’s fair spanned a wide range of interests.

Want to learn how to speak Chinese? Or how to sail, or paddle a canoe? Or build your own computer or develop and market an invention of your own creation? Or are the arts more to your liking?

There are camps in Maine that cater to all of those interests and more and in many cases, financial aid, according to Ron Hall, executive director of Maine Summer Camps, a nonprofit organization that represents 125 of the state’s 175 summer camps.

The organization’s website features a camp-matching tool that allows the user to search camps by type and session length, by keyword or by reviewing the list of all camps or Maine Summer Camps’ yearly catalog.

Summer Camps & Activities 2017: Pilgrim Lodge Hosts Summer Camp For LGBTQ+ And Ally Youth: Pilgrim Lodge, in West Gardiner, Maine, will be hosting Camp Pride, a summer program devoted to creating a safe space for LGBTQ+ high school age students to come together to discuss identity, faith, and what it is like to be them in 2017. Youth allies who support the LGBTQ+ community are also welcome to join Camp Pride.

This unique camp experience allows campers to openly share their fears, joys, and spiritual yearnings, all in an environment where everyone is accepted. Even people who do not consider themselves religious are invited to attend Camp Pride.

Reverend Bryan S. Breault of Pilgrim Lodge said, “[Camp Pride] is a group for support, for education, for learning, for letting young people know that they are loved no matter what, and to know that there is a place for them in some religious communities…They are welcome to discuss and present their identity if they choose, but no one is going to be forced to disclose where they are.”

Pilgrim Lodge was established in 1956 and has been developing Camp Pride for two years now. The idea for the camp was met with unanimous support from their ministry team.

Camp Hazen Staffer to Attend European Conference: Kath Davies, camp director at Camp Hazen YMCA in Chester, has been chosen as one of two United States delegates to attend the Eastern Platform Camp Conference sponsored by the YMCA of Europe. The conference is designed to help Eastern European countries develop overnight camping programs for YMCA facilities in Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, and Moldova, countries without a strong tradition of either overnight camping facilities or non-profit, non-government funded organizations.

The emphasis on developing a camp structure, Davies said, reflects YMCA studies that show of all the programs the Y offers, including swimming and child care, camping has the biggest impact on the kind of character development that the organization advocates.

“I’ve started to think about [the conference] because camp has not been a part of their culture. It will be a time to share ideas and to learn,” Davies said.

Running Brook Camps Wins 'Friend of the Year': Over the past 13 years Running Brook Camps has provided scholarships for their summer camp programs to Waltham Family School children. The scholarship started out with the two Waltham Family School students in 2004 and grew to 23 kids having the opportunity to attend camp in 2016. Throughout the summer of 2017, the camp will host over 30 Waltham Family School students.

Running Brook Camps received the award at Waltham Family School’s annual Fiesta!. There camp director Jim Bellanca accepted the award on the camp’s behalf stating, “We are very humbled and honored to be connected with the Waltham Family School. We love kids and we know that camp is a very profound opportunity for kids to grow and make social connections.”


Beyond the Self: Camps Fostering Spiritual Growth: “A lot of it is by being a good person,” he says. “Our counselors are modeling that, and talking about it when it doesn’t happen.”

Campers give thanks for each meal, Douglass says, and each morning the camp gathers for “Morning Devotions,” a short period of contemplation modeled after Garrison Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac.”

“We have a different theme for it, and we talk about it,” including conversations about how it connects to a “bigger picture,” Douglass says. The camp also holds “Evening Devotion,” which is not biblically based but may include poetry or song. Each Friday night, an Episcopal priest from the diocese holds traditional Eucharist service. “The kids love it,” Douglass says.

“We’re a very accepting kind of place,” Douglass says. “In general, Episcopalians are very open, and Bishopwood is a welcoming community. We’re a safe place, and we value that.”

Read More

ACA New England Camps in the News - February



Kids Share Why Camp is Great: Ask parents about the benefits of a children’s summer camp program and you can pretty much guarantee that those who have either attended camp themselves or whose children return to the same camp each year will wax poetic about the experience. 

We spoke with kids and teens who say camp isn’t just a place—it’s a second home and an experience that doles out important life lessons they continue to use long after their camp’s closing ceremonies. 

"...Most of all, I am happy to have time to play outdoors with my summer friends. I even ride on the 4th of July float with fellow Felix Neck campers!” —Abigail, 7½, Massachusetts

"I attended Brown Ledge Camp in Colchester, VT. My camp experience was unlike any I had ever had before."  —Rebecca P., 17, New Jersey

"I went to Windsor Mountain International in New Hampshire from seventh grade until junior year of high school. The camp is known for hosting a large number of campers who come from all over the world. Having camp friends is a very unique experience because you find people are really different at camp than they are in the actual world."  —Seamus, 20, New Hampshire

MOMS Club of Easton raises $5K at Winter Carnival: Children sported face paint of their favorite characters and toted along balloon creations as they bounced in inflatable playgrounds, danced along to music and navigated a gymnastics course at Maplewood Country Day Camp. Maplewood Country Day Camp has served as the venue for Winter Carnival for many years. 

"We enjoy working with the MOMS Club," said Lee Pinstein, Maplewood director. "It's a great fit for Maplewood."

Kids Raise Money to Help those with Disabilities Attend Camp: Some kids do not have the opportunity to go to camp and to help them have that opportunity, some kids in Hermon are teaming up to raise money. Making something as little such as a penny, count. Whether they are in preschool or in middle school, kids are learning at a young age the importance of helping their neighbor.

"We know it's for a good cause," said Luke Sherman, a 7th grade student at Hermon Middle School, "We know we are going to do things with the snowmobilers and that it's for those with special needs."

The Q106.5 Snowmobile Ride-In benefits the Pine Tree Camp.

 "Our classes both mornings and afternoon collected pennies to help fill buckets and help kids with disabilities go to summer camp," said Cathy Thompson, a preschool teacher.

Picking the Right Summer Camp: With the wide variety of camps on or near the shoreline, choosing one isn't easy. But all those choices also mean that you can probably find a camp that is perfect for your child. There are many factors to take into account... 

"They get to choose and select the activities they would most like to do while they're here," says Laurie Bouchard, office manager at Camp Hazen. "We have a radio station here that they can get involved in. There's sand art and camp jewelry and tie-dye and all sorts of creative arts."

Integrating, Including, Celebrating and Needing All Types of Campers: Last March, I attended the Foundation for Jewish Camp conference on Inclusion and had the privilege of hearing Pamela Schuller speak. Her story hit me hard: isolated from the Jewish community because of a disability that wasn’t understood and ultimately feeling a sense of belonging because of positive experiences at a Jewish overnight camp. Pamela’s message was clear: Inclusion should be about celebrating the individual while still accommodating their needs. As I went into my first summer as inclusion coordinator at Camp Yavneh, I wondered if her message could truly be implemented in today’s Jewish camps.

As summer quickly approached I thought about Pamela’s words of “celebrating while still accommodating” the individual. I wanted the campers to feel that they were integrated, included, celebrated and needed at Camp Yavneh.

Winter Camp Unites Families of Hemophilia: The Hemophilia Alliance of Maine and the New England Hemophilia Association put on a weekend of winter activities at Camp Mechwuana, including snowshoeing and ice fishing. This is the first year of this camp. Kids from Massachusetts, Connecticut,  The two organizations have hosted a similar summer program in the past.

Hemophilia is a disorder that can make it difficult for blood to clot, or can cause a patient to bleed excessively when injured. The disorder is hereditary.

"We're really trying to find connections with other opportunities outside of our community," said Packard. "There are so many layers of the challenges that you face. Finding ways to connect with the community is super important." 

Here's How Summer Camps Welcome Their Youngest Charges: “You have to know your child and what they can handle,” she said, adding that “some parents with kids who have trouble separating find camp even more helpful at a younger age because it builds independence.”

Luckily, most Jewish summer camps pay close attention to easing their youngest kids into the sleepaway experience. From pre-camp meet-and-greets to special presents for first-time campers to the common availability of ultra-short sessions — anywhere from five to 11 days — camps are acutely aware of the need to gently transition their littlest and newest campers into the culture of overnight camp...

At Camp Modin, a pluralistic sleepaway camp in Maine, and the oldest Jewish camp in New England, the youngest campers are 8, or going into third grade. 

Here's Why You Should Send Your Kid to an Arts Camp This Summer: Arts camps can deliver more subtle benefits, too. “Camps encourage the kind of collaboration, innovation, and problem solving that you don’t get in school anymore,” says Bette Bussel, executive director of the American Camp Association’s New England.

 Accredited ACA New England Camps listed in this article include: Beam Camp, Camp Med-O-Lark, Buck's Rock Performing & Creative Arts Camp, and Beaver Summer Camp.

Adventure Day at Becket YMCA Camp Gives Vets a Day of Fun with Their Families: The swing at Chimney Corners is located on the top of the 100-foot-high alpine tower.

"It's pretty high up there," said 10-year-old Gabrielle Mora of Worcester, who climbed the 100-foot tower and went on the swing. "But it was a lot of fun."

Gabrielle and her younger brother, 8-year-old Matthew, were among 50 or so participants Saturday in Berkshire County's first "Adventure Day," designed to provide bonding opportunities for military veterans and their families.

The CONNsumer: Find the Right Summer Camp: My advice for parents looking for a camp is that they should do their research,” says Keith Garbart, president of the Connecticut Camping Association, a nonprofit that advocates good camping practices in the state.

Camp Horizons in Windham is one of 17 camps — of all types — for people with developmental disabilities. Camp Horizons accepts campers from ages 8 to 39, with those 40 and over eligible for the camp’s masters program. 

“There’s a camp for everyone,” says Garbart. “It’s just a matter of finding the right fit.” 





Read More

ACA New England Camps in the news - January



Concord’s YMCA Camp Spaulding Receives Accredited Camp Status:  CONCORD, NH — The American Camp Association, New England (ACA New England) is pleased to announce the accreditation of YMCA Camp Spaulding. ACA Accreditation is a mark of distinction from the only national nonprofit organization accrediting camps in the United States.

ACA New England executive director Bette Bussel said, “Administering the ACA accreditation program in New England is a key way that our organization supports campers, camp seekers, parents and camp professionals. YMCA Camp Spaulding went through a comprehensive and thorough review to achieve their status and we are pleased and proud to announce their accreditation.”

Photos: Hulbert Outdoor Center Fun in Fairlee: At the Hulbert Outdoor Center’s annual New Year’s Week Family Camp participants play a game of indoor scoccer in the barn in Failrlee, Vt., on Dec. 30, 2016. In play with the ball are Daniel Caramanica,11, of New York City, Will Knowles,9, of Fairlee, and Christian Sandoe,9, of Marblehead, Mass. 

After coming in from sledding, Christian Sandoe, 9, watches his father Andrew and brother Sebastian,7, play chess at the Hulbert Outdoor Center in Fairlee, Vt., on Dec. 30, 2016. The family lives in Marblehead, Mass. Andrew grew up in Hanover went to the camp as a kid in the summer then became a camp counselor. The family has been attending the Hulbert Outdoor Center’s annual New Year’s Week Family Camp for four years.

New JORI director believes in the magic of Jewish summer camps: Ricky Kodner is a camp guy. He believes there’s no better place for a Jewish kid in the summer than at a Jewish camp. “Every kid should be going to summer camp,” he says. “Every Jewish leader I know went to camp, was a counselor or was some kind of administrator at camp. Camp just gives kids so much confidence. I just love camp.” 

That’s a good thing for the Camp JORI community.

Kodner is the new director of Camp JORI, in Wakefield. The St. Louis native has been on the job since mid-November. Right now, he’s meeting community members and talking to JORI camp families, staff and alums about this coming summer.

Teams announced for 12th annual YMCA Sloper Plunge: SOUTHINGTON — Mark Pooler, director of operations at the Southington Community YMCA, recently announced the teams for the 12th Annual YMCA Sloper Plunge.


The Sloper Plunge, formerly the YMCA Polar Plunge, will take place Jan. 21 at 1 p.m. at YMCA Camp Sloper at 1000 East St. All funds from this event will provide financial assistance to help send children and teens to YMCA Camp Sloper for this summer for a meaningful day-camp experience.


Pooler is excited about this year’s line-up and expects to have a successful event that raises money for camp scholarships.


“It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, other than summer camp,” he said. “This event has become a community staple and tons of volunteers and donors rally together to help kids. What is better than that?”

Mass Audubon promotes three at local nature sanctuaries: Three veteran staff members as Mass Audubon’s Broad Meadow Brook and Wachusett Meadow wildlife sanctuaries have been promoted by Central Region Sanctuaries Director Deb Cary.

Lisa Carlin has been named Assistant Sanctuary Director at Broad Meadow Brook in WorcesterCindy Dunn has been named Assistant Sanctuary Director at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton, and Lisa Mattson has been promoted to Administrative Operations Manager for both sanctuaries as well as the Central/ West Property Office.

The collective tenures of the three women represent more than a half-century of service to Mass Audubon and its thousands of members and others visitors who connect with nature at these wildlife sanctuaries.



Read More

ACA New England Camps in the news - November & December



History Space: Boys and girls camps of Malletts Bay: It will come as no surprise that Colchester has been home to a multitude of summer camps over the years and, while many have closed, some still remain. With 27 miles of shoreline on Lake Champlain, summer camps —whether a small, private summer home, fondly called “our camp” by locals — or a non-, or for-profit camp for youngsters, it was inevitable that Colchester would become a hub of summer activity for campers of all ages.

Camp Kiniya: On these shores of the Great Back Bay of Lake Champlain facing the Adirondacks now lies Camp Kiniya. With 150 acres and one mile of waterfront, it is nestled where the Lamoille River empties into the lake, at the very end of Camp Kiniya Road.

Brown Ledge Camp: Of those just mentioned, the oldest is Brown Ledge Camp that is still in existence today. In 1996, in an article for the Colchester News Magazine, then camp director Bill Neilsen, said the camp started on leased land from the Malletts Bay Club and operated for eight or nine years as the Champlain Camp for boys

 Evoke Summer Camp Nostalgia with Maggie Rogers' "Dog Years" Video: Internet sensation Maggie Rogers has shared the second installment in her trilogy of videos directed by Zia Anger. The first was her “Alaska” video, which you can (and should) watch here.

Filmed at Wohelo Camps in Maine, the visual treatment for “Dog Years” is a nostalgic tribute to “friends that weather the weather,” Rogers noted in her Facebook announcement

Southington teen raises money for YMCA Camp Sloper: Several fortunate children will have the opportunity to attend YMCA Camp Sloper this summer thanks to a donation to the Sloper Scholarship Fund spearheaded by Holy Cross High School senior Leanne Raymond.

For the past several years, Raymond has asked her friends, families, and local businesses to make donations to the YMCA’s Sloper Scholarship Fund in honor of the young victims of Sandy Hook.

According to a press release, her hope in starting this campaign was to give a summer camp experience to those who can’t afford one. She did the project in memory of the children lost during the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Students Planted Giant Flip Books in a New Hampshire Forest: Monumental flip books, super-sized odes to one of animation's oldest technologies, sprouted up in an ethereal New Hampshire forest over the summer thanks to an unexpected union between London architects and a troupe of New York City public school kids. UK firm The Mobile Studio designed five massive flip books, which they call Universal Play Machines, for kids from a summer program called Beam Camp to assemble. The 10-17-year-olds built the mechanisms, based on the split-flap displays found in old airports and train stations, then drew nature-inspired animations that come to life in the human-sized contraptions. "As far as we know, these are the world’s largest mechanical flipbooks ever made!" The Mobile Studio says.

At Hazen, Camp is Not Just for Summer: “Holiday Vacation Days have been offered for many years, I remember going to them myself as a camper,” said Alex Learned, senior program director at Hazen. “Mainly it’s something we do as a service to parents.”

The Vacation Days camp programming is offered throughout the year in accordance with the holiday schedules of local schools.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., attendees will follow a schedule similar to that of a normal camp day, including sports, crafts, and adventure activities.

“We like to add a cooking element during the winter programming,” said Learned. “This time, kids will have the chance to make individual apple pies, and do individual pizzas on a couple of these days. The crafts we have planned include making baskets, candles, and clay ornaments.”





Read More



When exploring camp options, 
what you don’t see can be just as important as what you DO see.

When you think about summer camp, the word “invisible” doesn’t exactly jump to mind. But for those adults without a camp background of their own who are setting out to find the right camp for a child they love, there are very important things to think about, find out about, and talk about that might not be immediately apparent.  This post is for you and it’s meant to be read in conjunction with ACA New England’s camp search advice

Read More

The Unsung Benefits of Being a Camp Counselor


Guest blog from Kristine Millard, Bangor Daily News Camp Blogger
This post appeared 11/9/16 as the inaugural BDN Summer in Maine: kids, camps, and community post.

Teamwork. Communication. Collaboration. Responsibility. All buzzwords for a good resume. And though the work may take place under the summer sun, camp administrators say camp counselors do it all. Being a counselor is supposed to be fun, and counselors may wear shorts and flip-flops, but their roles and responsibilities really do set them apart.

Just ask Catriona Sangster, director of Camp Wawenock, a girls’ camp in Raymond, and current board president of Maine Summer Camps, a membership organization serving more than 100 Maine camps.

“It offers young people the opportunity to take on real leadership and meaningful roles,” says Sangster. Those roles vary, she says, but they all teach “the nuances of how to approach different people, different styles of learners and different cultures.”

“Counselors make a difference every moment of every day,” Sangster says.

Read More

Campers Helping Campers


Campers Have Been Raising Camp Champions Funds to Give the Gift of Camp to Children in Need.

With our 6th Camp Champions Celebration around the corner, today we’d like to highlight some of our favorite philanthropists -- the children who have been busy raising funds so that children in need have the chance to experience summer camp.  Yes, that’s right. Some of the funds raised for Camp Champions are generated come from campers’ effort and initiatives.  Who knows better how great it is to attend camp in New England than campers in New England?

They were swimming in swimathons. They were baking, marketing and selling cookies at bake sales.They were engaged in many, many other entrepreneurial activities. The upshot: hundreds of children were willing to work hard to raise the funds that will  make summer camp a possibility for a child who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to attend a day or overnight camp!

Read More

Formal Learning Opportunities at Summer Camp


There’s been an intensified focus lately on the part of educators, future employers and parents on the value of the “soft skills” that summer camp experiences teach and foster. We have been thrilled to link, post and tweet article after article explaining the importance of: social/emotional learning, particularly kindness and empathy; the 21st century learning and innovation skills of creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration; and the enormous and far-reaching benefits of living, working and playing as an individual who has a responsibility to a group—especially as leadership, decision-making, and conflict resolution skills emerge and grow.  In the unique environment we call summer camp, young people are constantly learning--experientially, informally, and through carefully prepared lesson plans in a more formal way. What a camper learns is influenced by the camp’s philosophy, program, and personnel. It is significantly influenced by the other campers, too. Whether a camp is day or overnight, general or specialty, traditional or non-traditional, small or large, or in a CT, MA. ME, NH, RI or VT location, it shares at least one thing with other camps:

Read More

ACA New England Camps in the news - October



Special-needs summer camp an eye-opening experience: I had time in between jobs this summer and, because I have always loved working with Ramah’s Tikvah program for special-needs campers, I felt it would be a great way to spend the summer. I knew it would be fun and lots of work, but I never could have imagined what a strong impact it would have on me as an individual, mother and professional. I did not anticipate how deeply connected I would become with each of these incredible young adults and just how much of an impact this program has on the participants, their families and the camp community as a whole.

From the first day when the gates opened to the last day, when our building once again became just an empty space, our Voc-Ed family shared many incredible moments. For most of our participants, camp was familiar, but for others, this was their first experience at Ramah Palmer.

These 19 Institutions Are the Ivy League of Summer CampsSingalongs and s'mores by the campfire, morning Reveille, sneaking around the lake to gawk at the girls or boys in the sister/brother camp: the rituals of summer sleep-away camp are beloved and time honored. Like university, there are endless options—but for a certain set, there are really only a few: the Ivy League of summer camps.

Frequently located in Maine, many of the top camps have been around for close to a century, offering kids approximately seven to 16 years old a few weeks of summer fun, sun, and exertion. While the camps of yore focused on the basics—canoeing, archery, ceramics, hiking—more elite camps have changed with the times. Now, it's not uncommon to find gluten-free kitchens, full fitness centers offering spinning and Pilates, and university-quality sports fields—in addition, of course, to all the old standbys.

Camp Susan Curtis provides lifetime lessonsFor Dakota Warren, 20, of Buckfield, the camp means even more. She was at Camp Susan Curtis as a 12-year-old when she received some wonderful news.

“I started here when I was 8. My home situation was not super great,” said Warren, now the aquatics director at Camp Susan Curtis. “I went into a foster home when I was in fifth grade. I was in two different foster homes. I remember I was at the (camp’s) baseball field when I was told my foster family wanted to adopt me. I was excited that the mom I came home to, I could now call mom.”

The summer camp at the foothills of the western Maine mountains provides two weeks of outdoor activity for 500 Maine young people each summer. But it’s much more than a place that offers swimming, canoeing, fishing and camp songs. For more than 40 years, it has provided free educational programs to help disadvantaged youth gain confidence and the skills necessary to aspire to successful careers.

YMCA's outdoor camp expands with help of Blue Cross Blue ShieldIt was the sixth annual Service Day for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and an estimated 3,000 employees across the state were out in their communities, helping nonprofits all day. At the YMCA, volunteers gave their time and energy for six different projects on the grounds.

By the end of the day, the Y had two new fire-pits, scraped and repainted picnic tables, a safety fence around the archery field, a storybook trail, two new gardens and a redesigned and restored lunch area.


Read More

Summer Camp – where safe risk-taking boosts children’s independence!

Posted  | by Lucy Norvell, Director of Development & Communications |

Shannon Donovan-Monti, an ACA New England board member, recently shared this article from NPR’s website on why society judges parents for putting children at perceived (but unreal) risk. It’s well worth the read. Camp is mentioned, of course; it’s near impossible to discuss optimal childhood experiences and not refer to camp!

Child development experts whose advice articles for parents appear in the popular press have been sounding off lately about the negative consequences of parenting approaches now called “helicopter-,” “snowplow-,” and “over-“ parenting. Hovering, clearing the way by sweeping aside everything and everyone in the path, and denying children the opportunity to fail are big no-no’s for parents today. Jessica Lahey’s The Gift of Failure, Julie Lythcott-Haims’ How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, and several other books have joined Wendy Mogul’s The Blessing of a Skinned Knee on the nightstands, Kindles, and bookshelves of parents of children ages birth to 18. What many people may not realize is that camp professionals have been reading the same  books and articles. They have also had the chance to hear these three parenting experts present at professional conferences for camp pros. Their staff training is infused with the concepts, words of wisdom and takeaways from Lahey, Lythcott-Haims and Mogul, among others. And that’s the point. Camp was invented here in New England 150 years ago as a partner of families and schools—a partner in child-rearing. Camps were positioned then, as they are today, to enhance what parents and schools are doing.

Read More

Back to Top