Reflections from a 1st Session Camper

Chop Point for me has always been the place where things come back. Summer after summer, no matter what happens during the year, something drags me back. I listen to stories, I try to find connections, I try to figure out just how exactly people end up at Chop Point, but four years later, I’m still coming up empty. Some say it’s fate but I refuse to believe that it’s entirely coincidental that so many incredible people happen to be in the same place at the same time. No, there’s something here, something that makes sure anybody who needs to be here ends up here at just the right time. Feeling the presence of God has always been difficult for me, but this year I felt it in just about every interaction I had during my time at Chop Point — from crazy sailing adventures to drinking iced coffee with my friends to singing songs during chapel to just sitting on the dock and watching the river. While I was at camp this year I had a conversation with one of my counselors about times our souls felt at peace and of the dozens of stories we both told, the majority of them had one thing in common: they happened at Chop Point. There is undoubtedly something special that happens to you while you drive down the two miles stretch of road that leads here that continually draws us here no matter how long we’re away. Even now that I left, I’m sure I’ll be back soon. I don’t think my story with Chop Point has ended quite yet, but until then my soul will remain at peace knowing that at some point, the universe will figure out a way to bring me back home.

And We’re Off and Running

Things move so fast here during the transition from staff training to the community program that sometimes we forget to take a step back and take a look at all the pieces of the camp puzzle falling into place around us. Check-in started bright and early at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday with parents and excited campers lining up out the door. The plan was to start swim tests right away after the kids got their cabin assignments, but as a few of our bravest early swimmers found out, the Kennebec current was in a fairly bad mood. We switched gears into some fun large group games on the lawn – Drip-Drip-Drench, Ultimate Frisbee, and the overwhelming crowd favorite, Sponge Dodgeball. The current subsided after about an hour and most of the campers were able to take their swim tests and get started with their afternoon water activities. The water was a little choppy and the wind was really ripping after lunch but the first time windsurfers did an incredible job bearing with the difficult conditions right out of the gate. A few brave sailors headed out for an exciting afternoon on the Kennebec as well. After dinner, we all gathered in the lodge to finally show the campers our lineup of Counselor Skits, along with a staff-written song and dance, that the staff has been working very hard on for the past two weeks. There were endless laughs and a very slight amount of controlled chaos on stage that the kids seemed to thoroughly enjoy.
As the week progressed we were are all excited to start our daily Bible discussions and work
through the story of Jesus and his miracles with the campers. We bounced around between all
four books of the Gospel and shared some of our favorite parables to spark some very productive
dialogues with the kids. We finished up this morning with a chapel service featuring some of our favorite worship songs and a panel of counselors answering questions about their walks with God over the last few years.
The final few evenings were a whole lot of fun for the athletically and creatively inclined
campers alike – with Sports Night, Capture the Flag, and Skit Night all making a triumphant
return from last year. The summer is off to a fantastic start, and we’re looking forward to
interacting with lots of folks from the area at the wrap-up barbecue this evening. We’ll be back
with more updates soon, as we say goodbye to our community week friends and train our eyes
forward for the start of first session. Thanks for reading, and thanks for being part of our Chop
Point family.

Where Did the Time Go?

It seems like only yesterday we were recapping the first week of First Session, and yet he we are well into the second week of Second Session. First Session came to a close with the traditional banquet dinner catered by our good friends at Morse and Doak Builders, followed by a bittersweet final campfire and the viewing of the completed First Session video – a digital way for our campers to relive their summer here with us as many times as they wish once they return home. After all the difficult goodbyes the group of kids staying for both sessions enjoyed an afternoon at the Maine Mall while our counseling staff did a few cleanup chores around camp and then tried to grab a couple hours of rest before the first of the Second Session campers started to roll in that evening.

Second Session kicked off much the way that first did – an evening of Get to Know You Games to introduce the new campers to the returners, followed by a newly polished reboot of the counselor skits. A few activities making a triumphant return from summers past have made their way back onto the scene this session as well. Field Sports plays a different sport every day to avoid any possibility of a monotonous schedule – GaGa seems to be the overwhelming crowd favorite during this hour. Variety hour has also made its way back into the mix – an activity that works even harder to defeat monotonous summer schedules. The counselors and campers decide together what games/activities to play on each day. They can occasionally be seen sprinting across camp in a huge pack as they look for a hiding place during the inverted game of Hide and Seek known as Sardines, as well as theatrically attacking each other with plastic spoons during a multi-day game of Assassin. Along with some of camp’s iconic evening activities like Capture the Flag and SkitSync, our staff has been working hard to give the campers a taste of something new not only during their daily schedules, but during the evening plans as well. This lead to the molding of a few brand new activity ideas this session, kicked off first by the wildly successfully Evil Scientist Night. Campers were divided into teams and sent around camp to compete in a wide variety of science-related challenges ranging anywhere from the traditional egg drop to a timed baking soda and vinegar bottle rocket making competition.

We have already had our Second Session Beach Day as well as our Car Wash/Work Day, both of which served again as an excellent day of relaxation away from camp as well as an awesome opportunity for us to provide a bit for somebody else, respectively. We look forward to our next couple of out of camp excursions that we have planned, namely a short hike and chapel service in Camden Maine followed by a final day of fun in Freeport before the session wraps up We’ll check in again soon with an end of session wrap up as we do our best to enjoy the wildly fleeting days we have left together this summer – until next time.

First Session- Moving Fast

There has been so much going on around camp since we last checked in – almost too
much to keep track of. Full and uninterrupted days of normal activities have been difficult to
come across this last week, as we have been taking frequent out of camp excursions as a group.
On the Fourth of July we attended the Bath Parade in the morning and then returned to Bath in
the evening to enjoy the carnival festivities and watch a truly awesome fireworks display. Two
days later everybody left camp together once again for a fun day on the beach at Reid State Park.
Some of our campers worked up the courage to brave the fifty-degree Atlantic Ocean water,
while a majority preferred to hangout at the shelter where some of our staff members were
grilling up chicken sandwiches for lunch. Two of our most recent trips, the group hiking Baxter
State Park and the group touring different parts of Quebec City, both managed to return just in
time for our evening program at Pemaquid Point. Campers enjoyed some free time frolicking
around on the rocks and taking pictures in front of the acclaimed lighthouse before the scheduled
singing and testimony for the evening. Finally, all of the campers participated in a communal
workday on Saturday in which three groups went out to local spots in the community to run car
washes, while another group remained here to have a camp-wide day of cleaning. The profits of
the car washes, made up entirely of voluntary donations from the local patrons, all went towards
fundraising efforts for our sister camp in Nicaragua – Campo Alegría. The opportunity for us to
put forth a few hours of effort in order to bring twenty or thirty kids a taste of the camp
experience that we have come to love so much is a truly incredible opportunity that we are
honored to be a part of. It feels like the first couple weeks of session simply flew by without
warning, so campers and counselors alike are working hard to be truly present and intentional
with our interactions as we come towards to midpoint of the summer.
Be to check out our pictures on the  Chop Point Facebook page.

First Days of 1st Session

After a brief day of rest for our counselors and staff following the conclusion of community week, everybody is right back in gear and welcoming the first session campers as they make their arrivals. Most of our French and American friends are settled in and already in the swing of daily activities; sailing has once again claimed its usual place as the most popular activity. The Spanish campers arrived last night after some unexpected travel delays and are quickly settling in to camp life and working through the initial struggles that come with beating international jetlag. The first few days of daily activities have been exciting, with tons of new sailors and windsurfers getting their feet wet at the waterfront. The campers are enjoying a number of the same activities from community week along with a few special ones only offered during sessions such as photography and creative writing, both of which have solid groups working through some early projects right now. After the presentation of counselor skits to the first session campers the cabins enjoyed some initial bonding time via Boys Night Out and Girls Night In, with Girls Night Out and Boys Night In. This back-to-back set of evening activities provides each cabin with a unique bonding experience to make specific memories with each other at the beginning of the session – serving as a sort of friendship foundation to build on throughout the summer. Wednesday morning we had our first trip head out of camp, 8 campers and 2 counselors headed to the Allagash for a canoe trip and they will be home on Saturday night.  Wednesday night saw camp divided up into teams for Sports Night.  Soccer with a 16″ ball makes it fun and challenging for everyone, Ultimate frisbee and beach ball volleyball rounded out the evening.  Yesterday we had a bit of sporadic rain during the day, but activities went on unphased.  Carrabassett Valley mountain biking trip left after breakfast with 7 campers and 3 staff members.  They will be enjoying 3 days of riding the trails in the shadow of Sugarloaf ski area.  Thursday night we did Skit-Sync night cabins came up with skits that incorporated a lip sync (as a twist we used the Kids Bop versions of the songs) as well.  The boys of Little John and the ladies of Isle au Haut were the favorites of the judges.  Tonight, if the weather holds out for us, we head to Pemaquid Point after dinner.  We look forward to what lies ahead during the rest of first session here at Chop Point – look out for another update on the way coming sometime in the next few days.

Take a look at our Facebook page for pictures.  We try to add to them daily.  Click on the Facebook icon from a computer or at the bottom of this post from a mobile device.

Community Week is Under Way

June 20, 2017
Community Week is Under Way
With all the local campers settled into their cabins, Community Week is now in full
swing. All campers have their schedules locked in and Sailing has held its position as the most
popular activity of all. A couple of exceptionally windy days have made for some eventful hours
on the dock with our sailors and windsurfers. A new stand out activity this year, Board Games, is
also enjoying a lot of popularity among the younger campers. The evening activities have been
on the more theatrical side so far, with arrival night being occupied by a collection of (mostly)
finely polished counselor skits designed for camper enjoyment. Monday night was SkitSync
Night – a hilarious concoction of camper-designed skits, popular music, and interpretive dance.
A mock commercial featuring a salesman advertising his magical product – Cat-O-Matic – set to
the tune of “Everybody Wants to be a Cat,” was arguably the crowd favorite. A surprise late night
game of Dodgeball featuring unique team combinations like Boys vs. Girls and Campers vs.
Counselors capped off the night well – with staff and kids both thoroughly exhausted. It seems
like we have only just gotten started and the community week portion of camp is already half
over. We look forward to the next couple of days with this wonderful set of campers and hope to
see some of them potentially stay for a whole session some time soon.

Memories of My First Summer

May 12, 2017

On one June morning in the summer of 2010 I climbed into the back of the Schundler’s SUV to begin what would be the most anxious eight hour journey of my life. Going to camp for the first time as a friend of the Schundler’s meant that I was not only going to an entirely new place for an entirely unprecedented amount of time, but also that I had to uphold the multi-decade legacy that was the Schundler family at Chop Point Camp. Whatever stress this may have caused me for those very uneasy eight hours fell away almost immediately upon arrival. I ran into three counselors during the walk from the car to the lodge for check-in, all of which miraculously knew my name before I had introduced myself. Everybody in the office knew who I was – even nurse Kez seemed to know me before I could get both of my feet into the infirmary to discuss my list of medical ailments. It is safe to say I was suddenly very thankful for that multi-decade legacy that I had spent so many hours worrying about.

Enjoying Pemaquid Point.

After check-in I was shown the way to my cabin where I would be living for the better part of the next month. Here I found an equally shaggy-haired and equally nervous-looking boy putting on a bathing suit. He showed me where the waterfront was and we conquered our swim tests together, and for lack of a better cliché, the rest is history. Every little worry that had been swimming around in my head for the last few weeks began disappearing one by one. The people were genuinely kind, the food was great, the landscape was gorgeous and the activities were enthralling. And yes, even as a text message obsessed teenager, I even became grateful for the three-week departure from technology. It became quickly apparent to me that the lack of access to my cell phone and my computer was in no way a negative aspect of my experience. In fact, I struggle to recall a single instance of missing my phone at all – it was simply not something that I had time to think about. Frisbee became more important than Facebook and evening activities took priority over emails. This, for me, is the only single-sentence descriptor of the Chop Point experience that there is. I challenge anybody that does find themselves at camp this summer or any summer in the future to attempt this task upon the conclusion of their stay – try to fit your entire experience into one sentence; you’ll see what I mean.

View from the rock.

The aspect of Chop Point that I love the most is the one that took me the longest to figure out – perhaps because it is something I could only dig into looking back at my years as a camper. It sounds like an annoyingly generic claim you might see on a brochure or something – but there legitimately is one space or another where absolutely anybody can excel at camp. I could run and jump and catch, so Frisbee became my thing. I knew thirteen-year-old kids out there on the Kennebec sailing better than counselors twice their age. I knew girls who were so mind-bogglingly talented at making friendship bracelets that they spent practically all of their free time filling orders for their friends. I knew counselors who were so good at communicating answers to my questions that I would come up with a new one every day just to have another conversation. Camp quickly became, without exaggeration, my favorite place on the planet. One morning during that first summer I can remember coming to this realization while sitting on my rock. I had taken a liking to this rock because it was a bit of a vantage point that overlooked our section of the river and the dining hall – seven years later I have yet to find a view that I like more. Dave found me out there on my rock and came over to sit next to me – I assume to see how I was acclimating to the camp environment. We talked for a few minutes about my lack of homesickness and my justification for loving that rock so much. It was almost immediately apparent to both of us, I think, that I was right where I needed to be.


January 2016

January 2016

Dear Chop Pointers,

It is so hard to believe that we are at the point to write the year 2016.  I can’t believe it has been

five months since the last camper departed for home from the 2015 summer.  Maybe it is true that times flies as you get older. 

It was a very warm December and we had no ice on the river so……on Christmas David and a friend jumped in the Kennebec. I did not say they took a swim in the river as there were too many, “That was a stupid idea” comments to count for swimming.Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 1.37.57 PM There was literally no ice.  Winter has finally arrived so I don’t think there will be any jumping in considered for the next few months.  We have little snow cover on the ground right now, last year at this time we where buried. IMG_6801

Speaking of all the years of Chop Point!!!  This coming summer of 2016 Chop Point will celebrate 50 years of camping.   It is very hard for me to believe that I have been here for each and every one of them.  God has blessed me with enough remaining brain power to keep going for perhaps another year or two.

David is in the mist of hiring the staff for the coming summer.  We are hoping for a nice group to return from last year.   Last year’s counselors were some of the best ever. 

As this letter will go out to all of our campers from last year I want to let you know that we have accepted all the French campers we can accommodate for the second session for both guys and gals.  We have only a very few spots remaining for French speakers in the first session.  So my French friends if you have any interest in returning to Chop Point please keep this information in mind and do not delay much longer in enrolling for the coming season first session.

We have been working on the gym here at Chop Point.  Hopefully by summer we will have a complete weight room with wonderful exercise equipment.   We have installed a second floor in the unfinished space of the gym and will soon (hopefully) be installing a lift ,steel stairways and walls.  We have been doing a lot of the work ourselves to save some funding.  

Below is a link to the 2016 Chop Point Camper application.   We are extending the Early Bird Special to January 31, 2016.  That means you can save a few dollars if you enroll by that deadline.   The reduced price for one session would be $1,850. And for the full season the fee would be $3,300.  Sign up today.

Hope to hear from you soon.



Two Perfect Days

June 29/30


Wow! What a great stretch of weather. We have had two absolutely beautiful, 85 degree days. The campers have been out in full force, water skiing, sailing, swimming, tennis and field sports. We have been pushing the idea of staying hydrated and wearing sunblock. We are about as far away from Christmas as we can get, but Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer would be impressed with some of the red noses around here. Our nurse Kez scolds them all soundly before she hands them a bottle of aloe.


Last night we had scheduled Water Night, but a quick moving thunder and lightning cloud kept us on our toes and we hurried to change to indoor Horseraces. Every camper dresses up like a character and then race across a grid on the floor while a caller rolls some dice to tell them when they can move. Campers who “bet” on the winning horse get a little piece of candy as a prize.


Today, a group went out to an island that is visible from our dock and jump off a “cliff” into the water. The rock is about 10 feet above a deep spot in the river. Most campers are nervous to jump off at first, but after a few false starts, jump with a scream. 100% of the participants jumped, with the counselors being more nervous than the campers.


Tonight’s activity is Peter Pan Night. This activity starts during dinner, everyone has to come dressed as either a lost boy or a pirate. It also coincided with “meat night” where we have ribs, buffalo wings, and sausages. Pirates kept popping in during the meal and Peter Pan was dancing about, playing his flute. It was absolute chaos, but everyone was playing along with gusto. We will all be pooped by the time we return to our cabins at 9:00.

Wash that Car to Campers Afar

Anyone who has spent a summer at Chop Point knows about our car washes.  Once a session, we choose some high traffic locals and wash the Maine grime off what a true Mainer would call a “cahhh”.  The purpose of these car washes is to raise money for social service projects that Chop Point has been involved with.

If you are from way back, we raised money for “Widows of Bangladesh” which helped women and children find their way in a society where they were cast-offs.  As time has progressed, we have opened “Campo Alegria” (Camp Happiness) in Nicaragua.  We offer a camping experience, similar to Chop Point, free to poor children.  Our car washes now help needy kids enjoy a break from their poverty and struggle-filled lives on the sunny shores of Lake Nicaragua.  While there, kids are able to enjoy life as a child should, eat gigantic portions of nutritious food, and take part in activities that expand their minds.  We play games, toss them screaming with laughter into the lake, and  teach them science and English classes.  We have daily chapel and their singing practically blows the roof off the buildings.  Every $60 raised can send a child to camp for a week.  We can send about 30 kids to camp with the money we raise with our car washes.

Chop Point School (with several camp alumni) just returned from Campo Alegria.  We spent nearly three weeks there and had two, three-day camps.  One group was from a school that we work with every year.  The second group was from the city of Granada.  These kids parents work in the city dump.  They pick through the refuse to find items that can be sold for recycling.  Many of the kids who came to our camp are destined to follow in their parents footsteps.  So if you were on a carwash in the summer of 2010, you were a part of the fun you see these kids having.  Thanks for your work, and we hope your prune fingers are back to normal.