History of Maine Arts Camp
Maine Arts Camp was established in 2004 as Bethel Camp for the Arts. For our first 5 five summers (2005 – 2009), we were located on the campus of Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. Those 5 years saw incredible growth as the need for a camp that was geared toward creative kids and teens, along with two-week sessions, helped our camp find its niche in the camping industry.
Prior to starting Maine Arts Camp, Rick Mades, owner and director, had been running a summer camp referral service called Camp Finders. Starting the summer of 1994 and through the summer of 2003, Rick personally visited about 170 overnight camps and teen programs. After working with thousands of families, he recognized the need for a camp community and program like Maine Arts Camp. Rick had previously spent 16 summers at 3 camps in Maine as a camper, cabin counselor and tennis director. Although our camp is certainly non-traditional in many ways, we are still traditional in offering a tech free summer and one where campers can grow, gain independence and make lifelong friendships.
From 2010-2016, the camp moved to Unity College, a small environmental college in Unity, Maine. At that stage, the camp switched its name to match the website and has done business as Maine Arts Camp since 2010. For summers 2017-2019, the camp was located on the campus of Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Both Gould Academy and Unity College were small and self-contained campuses, and places that the campers and staff could build community. The plan had been to move to Thomas College in 2020, another small campus in Waterville. After Covid-19 shut down many businesses across the country, Maine Arts Camp did not run in 2020. In the Spring of 2021, Thomas College decided to not take outside programs for the summer.
At that stage, we began to search for another small and self-contained campus that would meet the needs of our creative campers. We had a few options and fortunately found the High Mowing School (Wilton, NH). After a successful summer 2021, we were looking for a school that could better handle our increasing enrollment. We had a prior connection to the White Mountain School (Bethlehem, NH) and have signed a long-term contract for summer 2022 and beyond.
And there you have it! Maine Arts Camp in Bethlehem, New Hampshire!