BETHEL — Parents thinking of sending their children to a summer camp in Western Maine have a variety of weeklong offerings to choose from at Gould Academy, including two new ones.

Most of the programs are for middle school-age children. All of the summer programs, which started June 28 and end Aug. 30, include boarding in dormitories and eating meals in the dining hall.

Most of the camps cost $850 each for five days and five nights plus meals and activities, Deb Costello, Summer Camp Program director, said last week.

“They will work hard all day, and then after classes we’ll do activities, taking advantage of weather and our area, such as a swim in the river or a hike up Table Rock (in Grafton Notch),” she said. “We want to take them out and get them to enjoy the beautiful surroundings we have here.”

In the past, Gould mostly rented its facilities for outside use.

“But in the last couple of years, we’ve started building our own programs,” Costello said. “And some of them we’ve done, like Trampoline Camp, this is probably our 10th year doing Trampoline Camp. We try not to call it Tramp Camp; that’s not good.”

Trampoline Camp started because Gould has a freestyle, on-snow winter program and a trampoline facility. It is for ages 8 to 16 and allows on-snow athletes to practice and learn progressions on their tricks in a safe environment rather than launching themselves into the air and landing on hard snow.

Gould also added a three-week English Studies boarding camp for middle school- to high school-age international students who will be living in or coming to school anywhere in the U.S. It costs $4,500.

Another popular summer camp that debuted last year and is full this year is Veterinarian Science.

“Vet Science always fills up fast,” Costello said. It starts Sunday, July 12, and ends Friday, July 17.

Participants are limited to 20. The camp works with local veterinarians and the participants get to work on domestic and farm animals and go to the Maine Wild Animal Park in Gray to talk with state wildlife biologists about rehabilitation of wildlife.

“They’ll work in the vet’s office, they’ll work in the barn, they’ll do house calls, they vaccinate our sheep and draw blood from a horse’s neck and then they take the blood and analyze it in the lab,” she said.

“They do some really cool things. If any kid is interested in becoming a vet, I would highly recommend this camp. They get to see it all. They get to see the types of vets that are out there and they get to get involved in the practice.”

New camps

The new programs are Lead + Innovate + Make Camp, which teaches design methodology, and Engineering + Aeronautics Camp. The design camp runs from July 12-17 and the aeronautics camp from July 19-24. Both cost $850 each.

Both new camps are overnight and are available to girls and boys going into grades 8 through 12. They use Gould’s new Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship, Arts & Sciences (IDEAS) Center, which has fabrication shops and a recording studio.

The IDEAS Center “is an incredible facility that opens up all kinds of things for kids,” Costello said. “Imagination, creativity, and the first one we have is called a ‘maker camp.’ The kids will go through a process of design-thinking to plan out, create, collaborate, kind of ideate, you know, get their thoughts together, and then they learn how to make it happen.”

Creations could be anything, such as furniture, a lamp, a sticker, an iPhone case, remote-control quad-rotor helicopters, or winter accessories.

“Oh my gosh, it could be anything,” she said. “They have access to wood tools and sewing machines, 3D printers, CNC routers and stuff that can make what’s in your head happen.”

A CNC router is a computer-controlled cutting machine related to handheld routers. It is used to cut materials such as wood, composites, aluminum, steel, plastics and foam.

“This is a great, state-of-the-art facility,” Costello said.

The Engineering and Aeronautics Camp offers hands-on learning and takes engineering and Bernoulli’s Principle to the exciting world of remote-control airplanes.

There are build days and fly days that let campers spend their time with a flight simulator and quickly bring handcrafted planes on the field to put them through obstacle courses and engage in aerial battles, and experience radio-control flight. The class ends with a master flight exhibition helicopter demonstration and student flight challenges.

“We’re excited to show off our IDEAS Center,” Costello said. “There are some adults that just drool and say, ‘I wish I had this when I was in school.'”

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Sunday: Surfing. Bird watching. Sketching. Even chilling with Joan Lunden. More adults are finding their inner child at summer camp in Maine.

For a listing of Gould’s summer camp programs and costs, visit

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