By Donna Rousseau

Summer in Maine is too short to miss a beat of fun in the sun. Summer camps promise kids on vacation great opportunities for making the most of the Maine outdoor experience. Whether it’s hiking and swimming, or arts and crafts, summer camps have a little something for every kid looking to relax and recharge after a long, challenging school year.
Summer day camps including St. Dom’s Summer Camp and Central Maine Summer Camps at Central Maine Community College feature a wide range of activities from which to choose. With many activities offered multiple times throughout the summer, there are plenty of chances to explore new pastimes and still participate in favorite sports or hobbies.
“We offer over 45 camps throughout the summer beginning June 22nd,” explains Peter Servidio, director of St. Dominic’s Summer Camps program. “Some camps are offered only once while others are repeated multiple times. Some of our more popular camps include horseback riding, golf, gymnastics, and surprisingly, archery.”
Select St. Dom’s camps take advantage of the school’s expansive grounds and facilities while others require provided transportation to offsite locales including Tall Pines Farm, Central Maine Archery, and Maine’s picturesque coastline. Camper to counselor ratio varies with four to five campers per adult for on-site programs and three campers for every one adult offsite.
The college backdrop makes for a unique summer camp experience at Central Maine Community College in Auburn. Now in their 13th year, the college offers a litany of programs featuring traditional sports camps, police and army camps, magic camps, Camp of Rock [music], and the increasingly popular Dance and D.J. camp. As with St.Dom’s, CMCC’s schedule offers some camps once and others more frequently.
Dave Gonyea, Central Maine Community College camp director, says he is particularly proud of the program’s ability to introduce kids to the idea of college at a young age. “Because our camp is part of the college, we are afforded the protection, resources, and facilities of the college. We regard our summer camp as more of a college aspirations program led by long-time counselors, some of whom started with us as campers themselves.”
YMCA’s Camp Connor is a summer camp flagship of sorts, having offered the traditional outdoor camp experience to area children for 43 years. Camp Connor, located on lower Range Pond in Poland, features a main lodge, wooded areas, beaches, and nature trails – all for making a Maine outdoor camp complete. Camp Connor Director Chris Shea says, “Our program has long provided an affordable opportunity to get kids out of the city and into Maine’s outdoors.”
Campers enjoy daily, supervised swimming as well as canoeing, archery, nature walks, cooperative games, sports, team-building exercises and arts and crafts. The main lodge is utilized for rainy day activities.
All three camps, St. Dom’s, CMCC, and Camp Connor, conduct the appropriate background checks, orientation for counselors and training that includes First Aid and CPR. All directors agree that safety and fun go hand-in-hand.
With the economy looming like a thunderhead over Maine’s summer, camp directors are not experiencing a decrease in interest in their camps. “It’s pleasing to see,” says Servidio, “that the economy does not yet seem to be affecting parents’ interest in finding fun things for their children to do in the summer.”
With camp scholarships made possible by generous donations and special funding and packaging discounts, the summer camp experience is still being kept alive and affordable for many. Parents should inquire with individual camps as to costs and package deals for multiple camps and family discounts. With so many camps from which to choose, there’s a little Maine summer fun out there for everyone.

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