What is Maine Arts Camp’s philosophy?
Our priority is to provide a small, nurturing, community where campers feel comfortable being who they are. One of the ways we foster this is by being a non-competitive camp. This means that all of our activities are structured to allow campers to have fun while learning, without feeling the judgement or stress that a competitive environment can create. While our campers cultivate many skills and produce some amazing creations and performances, we emphasize “process over product.” We want campers to enhance their self-esteem and social skills as they become an integral part of our community. A positive camp experience can help a child or teen grow tremendously, and that’s what it’s all about for us.
How are you “much more than an arts camp”?
While we take pride in having one of the most extensive visual arts programs in the country, as well as very high quality dance and theater programs, we have much more! Ranging from culinary arts to film/photography, writing and athletics, our activity choices are diverse. In addition, we have many of the fun components that you’d find at more traditional camps including camp songs, campfires, trip days, dorm-nights (like a cabin-night) and other fun evening activities, closing circles and more.
What does it mean to be a supportive and accepting community?
Because we attract campers on the creative side, our campers do not fit a specific mold. Although many of our campers would fit in at any camp, campers at MAC often say they are able to find like-minded, creative, welcoming kids and teens at Maine Arts Camp.
Since we are a small camp with many experienced instructors and counselors, we are able to support campers with different needs. Although we are not a therapeutic camp, we support campers who are socially shy, campers with learning disabilities, and campers who might need extra help making friends. We are also supportive and accepting of campers in the LGBTQ community, and we respect campers’ preferred names and pronouns.
How many campers attend Maine Arts Camp?
Our enrollment is limited to 90 campers per session.
How many staff do you have and what are their qualifications?
We maintain approximately a 3:1 camper to staff ratio. Our summer camp instructors include a number of very experienced teachers as well as younger professionals, usually in their late 20’s or older. Our dorm staff ranges in age from 19 to 35. We are very selective in hiring, conducting an extensive interview process that includes thorough reference and background checks. We hire staff who have a passion for working with children and often are education majors in college or teachers in the field already. Many of them are multi-talented and are able to assist or teach several of our activities. Please visit our web site staff page to read the bios. We’ll continue to update this page as we hire new staff members for the upcoming summer.
What are the facilities like?
Maine Arts Camp is located on the campus of the White Mountain School (WMS) in Bethlehem, NH. We are the only camp or program on the campus. We have full access to various arts studios, two air-conditioned dance studios, an indoor gym for pickleball and rock climbing, along with several classroom spaces that can be used for a variety of activities. We also have use of several dorms, including one most recently built in 2020. The campus is modern, well kept, and in a gorgeous mountain setting. Visit our Location and Facilities page for more information about the White Mountain School.
What are the living accommodations like?
Campers live in comfortable dormitories. Dorm rooms either doubles or triples. Bathrooms are shared by several rooms. There are lounges on each floor, which serve as a common area for campers and staff.
How do you assign dorms and roommates?
Campers are assigned to dorms based upon gender at birth. We match roommates and group the rooms according to age. If two campers who are the same age and grade request to live together, we can usually accommodate them.
How is the food served, and what choices will my child have?
Campers eat their meals in the dining hall at the White Mountain School. There are a variety of choices available at each meal, helping us to accommodate dietary needs. There are hot entrée choices at all three meals, as well as continental breakfast options for the first meal of the day, and salad bar and alternative meal choices for lunch and dinner. The dining services at WMS provide tasty, healthy choices for vegetarians and vegans as well.
Allergies & Dietary Needs: Since the White Mountain School is providing the food service for Maine Arts Camp and other programs, our staff and nurses help to monitor any allergy needs among our campers and staff. We make every effort to encourage healthy eating habits, keeping sugary foods to a reasonable limit, having fresh fruit available at all meals, and discussing how to eat a well-balanced diet.
How are medications administered at camp?
All medications are administered by our nurses—there is always one on duty. All medications taken on a routine basis must be ordered through a process determined by camp in the Winter/early Spring.
When and how is my child’s activity schedule created?
Campers choose their activities at our on line Portal. Activities are finalized a couple months before camp begins – usually in early April. They choose 17 activities, listing them in order of priority. Their schedules will include 10 of the activities, with the extras allowing us to deal with any conflicts in scheduling especially since some activities are only offered at specific times. We limit our enrollment, which allows campers to get most of the activities they request. Campers staying for two sessions can choose different activities for the second session.
Do you go on trips?
For summer 2023, we will be going off campus for one or two afternoons each two-week session. For one of those days, we will go to Whale’s Tail Waterpark in Lincoln, NH, just 25 minutes from camp.
How much interaction do different dorms have with each other?
Throughout the day, campers spend time with campers of varying ages who have chosen the same activities. In the evening, all of our campers come together to participate in activities chosen to help them get to know and respect one another, use their creativity and have fun. Our structured schedule and philosophy are conducive to helping each camper feel comfortable interacting with others without feeling intimidated or worrying about social competition. We quickly address the situation if we see cliques forming or we notice “public displays of affection.” We want our campers to feel good about who they are without trying to conform or impress other campers.
How do I keep in touch with my child?
There are several methods that parents and campers can use to keep in touch with each other. First of all, there’s good, old-fashioned snail mail: campers are required to write a letter home twice a week, and are encouraged to write as many letters as they’d like. We deliver mail to the campers every day after lunch, and some parents write in advance so that a letter is waiting for their child the first day. The second method is e-mail: friends and family can e-mail campers, and we print and deliver these with the mail. If there are any problems or issues we need to communicate to you, we will call you directly as needed. Counselors also send an introductory and a departing e-mail to each camper’s family to report on the child’s progress.
Four-week campers can call home on the transition weekend between sessions. Two-week campers do NOT have any phone calls. We have found that this allows campers to adjust to being away from home without stirring up their emotions. Even the most well adjusted campers can break down the moment they hear their parents’ voices. There are some camps that allow phone calls for all campers, so if you are uncomfortable with our policy, please consider other choices in camps. We do understand that it’s very hard for parents to have limited communication from their children, especially in our world of cell phones, e-mail and more, but it is truly an important part of gaining independence through the camp experience. We’ll be happy to discuss this with you if you’d like.
Can I send packages to my child?
One package is permitted for each two week session, as long as the package does not contain food. Campers are given an adequate amount of food, and we don’t want them overindulging on treats. Also, food cannot be stored in the rooms, as it will attract bugs. Campers are asked to open packages in front of a staff member.
Can campers bring electronic devices to camp?
Because they distract from the camp experience, we do not allow gaming devices, video players, or internet-ready devices at Maine Arts Camp, including: cell phones, Kindles and other e-readers, digital cameras with WiFi capabilities, iPods with WiFi or video capabilities, Gameboys or other gaming devices.
We want campers fully engaged socially while they are at camp, but we understand that campers may need these devices while traveling. If a camper comes with one of these devices to camp, that camper’s counselor will hold onto it until the end of camp.
However, we do understand that having music or taking pictures can enhance the camp experience. Here are our suggestions of what campers can bring if they would like: an MP3 or an Ipod Shuffle, a disposable film camera or inexpensive digital camera.
Do I need to pack everything on the clothing list?
Our packing list specifies which items are necessary and which ones are optional. Certain items are only needed for specific activities.
What equipment does my child need to bring to camp?
We provide all necessary equipment including art supplies, musical instruments, and pickleball paddles. If a camper chooses to bring other equipment, we can store it as needed.
How do I enroll my child?
Go to the Camper Registration page. After filling out the enrollment form, payment can be made at the Make a Payment page .
Is Maine Arts Camp affiliated with a certain religion?
No, Maine Arts Camp is not affiliated with any religion. Our campers come from all different backgrounds and there are no religious activities at camp.
How did Maine Arts Camp end up at the White Mountain School in NH?
Read about the history of our camp here.