Friends at the Campfire

Recently, we were interviewed by parenting expert, Brenda Nixon, on The Parent’s Plate about shopping for camps. Brenda knows it’s never too early to start thinking about summer, and she provided her listeners with a variety of resources and a plethora of information. Camp director, Rick Mades and I were pleased to have the opportunity to tell her listeners about Maine Arts Camp and to give our advice on what parents should consider when shopping. The following are 10 questions to help you shop for a camp.

1) What is the underlying philosophy of the camp?
At Maine Arts Camp we focus on providing a small, nurturing community and offering a non-competitive program. We want kids and teens to know they have a place they can call home in the summer, making friends and focusing on activities they love.

2) What is the size of the camp?
We have a maximum of 115 campers per 2-week session. With these small numbers, everyone gets lots of personal attention in classes and in the dorms!

3) What is the experience of the staff, both lead staff and cabin/dorm staff?
We hire a a mix of teachers (both younger and more seasoned), professionals, recent college grads and current college students. Dorm staff (who live with the campers) are usually 20-28 years old, while the teaching staff and nurses are anywhere from their late 20’s to mid 60’s.

4) Is there a religious aspect to the camp? No, there are no religious affiliations or activities at Maine Arts Camp. We encourage everyone to be accepting of each other’s differences.

5) What activities are offered? Is the schedule elective?
We offer approximately 60 activities with a focus in both visual and performing arts. We also have photography, videography, technology such as robotics and rocketry, special interests such as cooking, creative writing, chess and more. Please visit our activities page on our website for a full listing.

6) How competitive is the camp?
We are non-competitive. We have no auditions, no applications to get into camp, and no team sports.  Not even color war!

7) How long are the sessions? If there are shorter sessions (2 weeks), what percentage of the campers stay for that amount of time versus staying for a longer session?

We have 2-week sessions at Maine Arts Camp. About 75% of our campers come for just a 2-week session. The others come for a combination of 2 sessions or they add on the Specialty Week at the end of 1 or 2 sessions.

8)  If the camp is coed, how social is the camp? Are there dances?
At Maine Arts Camp boys and girls are together in activities as part of daily life. We do not have dances or socials or anything that could potentially put social pressure on the campers.

9) What is the experience of the camp director?
Camp director, Rick Mades, has many years of experience in the camp industry. Rick has a B.A in economics (1983) and an M.A.T. in teaching (1990), both from TuftsUniversity.  Since 1994, he has run Camp Finders, a summer camp referral service for parents. This led him to eventually start Maine Arts Camp after learning there was a shortage of non-competitive camps with a focus on the arts in New England. Rick’s experience and love of camp is evident in everything at Maine Arts Camp, where he plays an active role in every part of camp.

10) Can I talk to references?
Yes!  Just get in touch with us, and we’ll be happy to pass these on to you.

Of course, there are many other questions you can ask, but these will give you a good start. For more on our answers to these questions, please give us a call! (561) 865-4330



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