"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Two weeks in Maine

We are still here after two weeks

11,000 staff and camper converge on the Sabago Lake area between June and August.
Camp is big business in this area. The Fedex trucks have been hard at work delivering footlockers for the soon to arrive campers. 3400 eggs were delivered to our kitchen. The epi pens were purchased and counselors instructed on their use. The health and wellness speech was given and every person inspected.
Many of the boys arrive by plane or bus. Some arrived on charter buses that run the east coast, others flew into Portland or Boston and then were bused. The vans have been rented and picked up so the campers can be picked up in Portland and used on the overnight get trips.
The international campers arrived a day early.
I bet the ice cream parlors in Raymond are stocked and staff hired for the ritual of families stopping for a treat on drop off day.
It rains quite often in Maine. Even the dog has a raincoat.
He didn't appreciate that I was taking his picture. As I was walking towards him and aiming my phone, he started barking at me like I was doing something he did not like.
 Each first year boy is teamed up with a friend with experience that is older and a counselor. The counselors go through psychology lectures the week before camp. A little boy at our table cried our first night but was much better in the morning.  Scoby, a counselor, was able to take him outside and sit and talk with him. I made sure they both had some food after everyone was gone and took apples out to them.

One counselor told me that he had a bad case of homesickness his first year at camp. Now he is heading to college and is thankful for his time here. He met another counselor that is going to the same university and 2 hours after they met, they decided to be roommates in the fall.
Many of the camp alumni return and do volunteer work. A dermatologist that was at the girls camp as a girl across the lake gave a presentation on using sunscreen and melanoma. A couple of school psychologists gave presentations to the staff.

The boys come in all shapes and sizes with distinct personalities. They have been respectful and rambunctious.  One afternoon, we skipped out on lunch for a nice seafood and prime rib lunch in town. We commented to ourselves that they were probably glad that they got our deserts.  We were right. They got to split our apple crisp.

  We were returning to our cabin on the hill and could hear the
boys cheering and singing in the woods.

 At breakfast, a camper at our table from Mexico pulled out little packets of hot sauce. Everyone at the table started ribbing him about his contraband.
Many of the staff are from England, Ireland and Poland.  A counselor from England told me he wishes he could have gone to camp as a kid but they don't have them there. One morning a vehicle with a government license plate pulled up. The people in charge were making sure all of the foreign paperwork was in order.
 Mike gets his list of things to do and heads out to fix the place up. There is more than enough work to keep him going for a couple of months.
At dinner each night a young camper who loves to read about the presidents gives us a new fact about Calvin Coolidge (the most underrated president).
Reading mail after returning from rafting trip.
Outdoor camps are getting more competition from specialty camps such as sports, opera and music. This one is celebrating its 100th year and attempting to plan for the future.
We are finally finding our groove here. On my mornings off, I skip breakfast with the boys (we have our own kitchen) and take a walk. I enjoy listening to the birds, loons and wind in the trees before the boys pull out their outside voices. After breakfast, both nurses are in the infirmary to check out the dings while the other nurse pours the  medication for the next day (mostly vitamins and allergy medicine) and then are free to do as we please unless needed on our off day.
 The only thing worse than the tics and leeches has to be the boy's feet. Often, I send them to the bathtub to wash their feet before proceeding.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful camp!! Such a great experience for these young boys!!
    You all will come away from this with so many fantastic memories and friends!!

  2. What a wonderful way to spend the summer! You're definitely helping to create good memories for the boys and looks like you're enjoying your time there, too.

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