In our February issue we surveyed people who went to camp in Maine and shared some of their best memories of their summers in the Pine Tree State. Below are some more of our favorites that didn’t make it into print. Have your own memories of camp? Share them with us here.
I wrote a song to the tune of “I Left My Heart At The Stagedoor Canteen.” You see, it was wartime. I sang the song at our closing service before leaving for home. Imagine the thrill of coming to Fernwood’s first reunion, their 75th year, when everyone on the bus filled with alumni from the arriving planes and trains, started to sing that song as we drove through the camp gate. “They’re playing my song,” I said with a lump in my throat.
Los Angeles, California
Camp Fernwood, 1934–1940
I vividly remember crinkling Starburst wrappers into shards as I nervously awaited my arrival to camp. I was ten years old and alone on a nine-hour bus ride. I repeatedly asked myself how I would survive.
We slept out on the baseball diamond and watched the Perseid meteor showers.
Camp Fernwood, 1960–1967
We spent the night with our feet in the calm lake and our heads watching the sky until the floating little embers blurred with the thought of sleep.
Camp Wyonegonic, 2007–2012
I stepped out of the winter ‘me’ and tested new ground. I loved the lake. I loved the pride that came after a trip day of mountain climbing. I loved the feeling of accomplishment that went with being able to master something every day. I loved being in a supportive, all-girl environment. I loved the explicit focus on values: it was important to be a good friend, to encourage others, to try your hardest, to work as a team, to reach out to people who were hurting, to laugh… that’s a beautiful way to live.
Mamaroneck, New York.
Camp Fernwood, 1977–1983
I dreamed of the Peanut Fairy. Peanut Island was a little island not far from Camp Arcadia. I had heard about this place from my mother, who attended the same camp I did. She made up stories about my stuffed animals canoeing across Lake Pleasant to get to Peanut Island where they set up tents, made dinner over a campfire, and went star gazing. In the morning, she told me, a fairy would come and sprinkle peanuts around the campsite. So when I finally got to go on a canoe trip to Peanut Island with my fellow 11-year-old campers, I was so excited. All night long, I kept thinking about the Peanut Fairy. Would she come? Was the story really true? And it was! I remember saving one peanut to send home to my mom in one of my weekly letters.
Gina Coggio Voskov
Jackson Heights, New York
Camp Arcadia, 1990–1992
The lakes and the loons. The hot days and cool nights. The landscape is gorgeous and inspiring.
Being with my friends out in a field lying down looking at all the stars and sitting around a campfire singing songs. Reaching my goal of becoming a Junior Maine Guide and climbing Mount Katahdin.
Camp Arcadia 1960s and 70s
My best memory of Camp Winona happened on the final night of my last summer as a camper. Top of the banner at Winona is a very special recognition to achieve. The three awards for that are Best Camper, Second Best Camper, and Honorable Mention Best Camper. That night, I was picked to win Honorable Mention Best Camper. It was an award i had never even thought of being receiving, and it gave me an unbelievable feeling inside knowing i was the one camper, out of 85+ campers, to win the award. The privilege of being able to be recognized with an award like that at a place that is closer to my heart than any other in the world, is truly special, and something that will stick with me forever.
Short Hills, New Jersey
Camp Winona 2003 – Current
My best memory from summer camp is the relationships I developed during my two summers there.
Staten Island, NY
Camp Modin 1978-1979
I acquired a nickname that has stuck throughout the years. Being from the south, enunciation is not my forte. When my lodge counselor asked my name, I replied with first and last names and she repeated what she heard. “Addison?” I am still fond of the name. Additionally, I was greeted warmly by a new friend, whose mother and mine, although living 800 miles apart, were still close friends from college. I still see the spot where we were introduced, just above the tennis courts.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Camp Arcadia, 1963–1971
My best memory from camp is the feeling you have during a 5 a.m. ski. I majored in water-skiing at camp. In many ways a more exciting and much more rewarding major than anything offered at college. I loved skiing every day, but early morning skis were amazing. It takes so much effort to get out of bed in the dark and to get yourself into the cold lake water when you are already shivering. But when you get up, it’s amazing. You can hear the whir of your ski as you glide across the water which is so flat it looks like glass. There is so much beauty as the sun rises around you. It is a better wakeup than any alarm clock by leaps and bounds.
I remember Color War and every Friday night with my counselor, Robert Smigel, who made us laugh much like he does now as Triumph (the Insult Comic Dog) and every other endeavor he has attempted.
Livingston, New Jersey
Camp Modin, 1976–1985
There’s nothing like returning to camp on the first day and being so excited to see all your friends for the first time in a year. I remember checking in, dropping my stuff with my parents, and sprinting down the hill to my cabin to see all my friends. The pure elation of seeing them again is something that can’t be explained with words. Those first days of camp will always stick with me because they were some of the happiest days of my life!