Second session has officially begun and all of our campers are here and ready for an amazing three weeks! This session is promising to be an incredible one with campers from 6 countries and many more states. We have our very first campers from Italy and The Netherlands, and as per Chop Point tradition we are hanging new flags in our dining hall for them.
Yesterday the campers arrived after lunch, unpacked, and set off to take the swim test. We had activities going all afternoon for the campers to join in on and then for the evening activity we did “Get to Know You Games.” Campers played evolution, an extreme game of rock, paper, scissors in which, every time you win you evolve to the next level and you can only battle others in your own level. The levels are egg, chicken, velociraptor, princess, rock star. It is a great way to break people out of their shells and get them to meet new people!
This morning we held our annual Wacky Olympics while the campers signed up for trips and activities. Everyone was instructed to dress in their wackiest clothes and meet at the gym. They cheered and chanted and did 3-legged races until all of the sign-ups had been done. They then had the waterfront talk and we began our daily activities. The wind was blowing and the sailing was great.
The evening activity was counselor skits and we all had a pretty good laugh. We had the avengers stop by for a guest appearance and we closed out the evening with “Skippy Fish” and there were screams and laughs all around as one of our counselors showed off his fish’s tricks.
The past few days have seen two of the greatest evening activities of all time. Cabin theme night and Harry Potter night and to top it all off, about 26 of our campers spent the day yesterday white water rafting in Northern Maine.
Two days ago we had cabin theme night, one of my personal favorite nights of the entire year. Each cabin is given two hours to transform their cabin into a theme of their choosing. This year we all had the experience to a bank heist in the cabin of Little John, a spa in Sebago, a jungle safari in Monhegan, a hospital in Cranberry, a haunted circus in Isle au Haut, and an art museum in Manana. All of the themes this year were amazing. Manana and Sebago were the winners. Manana had 6 foot tall back drops for each of their living paintings and each painting had a witty line to say. My personal favorite was when the Scream told us that it was screaming because she had liked her crush’s Instagram post from 42 weeks ago. Sebago was decorated completely in white sheets with oak branch fans. Guests were treated to a massage, facials, and pedicures.
The next day a group of campers went white water rafting in the Forks. They left at camp at 4 in the morning and got up there at about 7 am for a safety talk and then they were in the river. The first part of the day was huge rapids and then they took a break for lunch on the river and continued with the smoother portion to meet the bus and head home. To see the pictures from that day check out adv-bound.com!
They arrived back to camp just in time for Harry Potter night. At lunch Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall showed up to deliver everyone’s invitations and then the whole camp was sorted into their houses by the sorting hat. We had dinner in the great hall (dining hall) and the campers were joined by other professors and students from Hogwarts. After dinner we broke up the houses and played a couple games of Quidditch, learned some new spells, and made it through the maze in the woods. At the end of the night Harry Potter defeated Lord Voldemort and Ravenclaw was awarded the Goblet of Fire for their heroic efforts.
It is the final week of camp and we are all crazy busy fitting all that we can into the schedule. Saturday was car wash/work day, steak and lobster night, and talent night. It was jam packed with fun and running around.
At breakfast, the campers were all assigned to groups for the day. About 36 campers were sent out on 3 car washes in the area and the rest stayed here to work on projects around camp. Those who were on the car washes brought a bag lunch and had the opportunity to raise money for our sister camp, Campo Alegria, in Nicaragua. It was a pretty warm day so they were all eager to get the hoses out and get to work. Those here at camp stacked almost 6 cord of wood, cut down a large tree, and cleaned our dining hall from top to bottom. I have been here for many years and I have never seen a group finish so quickly. They were done with the dining hall before lunch and spent the afternoon setting up for talent night.
Dinner was the ever popular steak and lobster night. Campers got a choice between trying one of Maine’s most famous meals and having a delicious steak prepared by our cooks. Neither choice was wrong. For many campers and counselors it was their first time eating lobster. Everyone left a little happier and a little fatter.
Finally we ended our day with talent night. This night gives campers a chance to show off all of their impressive abilities. Many campers chose to sing or play and instrument, some put on skits or dances, one boy solved a rubix cube in under a minute, and the cabin of Pemaquid closed the night out with a rap. The counselors served all of the campers Doritos, root beer floats, and ice cream. It was a great day and everyone went back to their cabins ready for bed.
The night before last was one of my favorite nights of camp this session. After an early dinner we packed all of the campers up for the hour long drive to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses in all of America and for good reason. There are long rocky shelves that extend from land out into the ocean forming the point of Pemaquid Point. Each year we take our campers there to explore, take pictures, and listen to a chapel talk from one of our counselors. As the campers came past the trees lining the parking lot and onto the rocks there were oohs and ahhs all around. Campers quickly ran out to the end to watch the waves crash against the rocks and spray them with salt water. Others gathered around the few cameras present and took some beautiful pictures with one of the most scenic views in all of Maine in the background.
After about an hour of exploring all of the rocks, the whole camp gathered on one of the larger rocks to sing and listen to the chapel talk. A counselor shared his thoughts on “God the Dangerous,” a God who is unpredictable in his teachings and mighty in his ways. He concluded by quoting something that the counselors talked about during staff week, one of my favorite quotes of the summer. “God does not promise to be our pillow, but he does promise to be our rock and our foundation.” He promises to be strong and hold us up when we are weak, but he does not promise a soft landing or that life will always be easy. Everyone enjoyed it and we were all excited to be on the bus and get back to our warm beds after spending so much time near the ocean.
The past few days have been packed with adventures. Two days ago we had obstacle course night. Many of the campers were saying that it was their favorite one in years. Some of the obstacles included sliding down a soap slide, answering a riddle, muddy tire runs, kayak hurdles, canoe rack army crawl, and running through kiddy pools. Each cabin got a chance to go through the course together and then individuals could choose to redo it if they wanted to. Sebago won for the overall fasted cabin. The night ended with an all-out counselor run where the campers got to throw mud at some of their counselors.
Yesterday was beach day, so we all packed up camp and went to Reid State Park for some sun and surf. We had two groups get to try surfing for the first time this summer. Many of them got to stand up and a few really started to get the hang of it.
While those groups were surfing the rest of us were enjoying the beach and the rocks. One of my favorite things to do at the beach is explore the rocky tide pools near the shelter. For lunch we had grilled chicken sandwiches and then headed back out for another few hours at the beach.
The evening activity was supposed to be campfire but while the rain held out for the beach it did not wait for the activity to be finished. We decided to still do campfire night and have it in the lodge instead of outside. We sang campfire songs and made s’mores with marshmallow fluff. Everybody had a blast and we ended the night with one of everybody’s favorite songs: Swing Low.
The fourth has officially passed! Chop Point campers and staff had a busy few days. On the fourth, a group of campers went into Bath early in the morning to run either a five mile or a one mile race. Chop Point did extremely well with one of our girls being 10th place overall and 1st place for the women and another of our campers winning first in his age group.
The rest of camp met them after breakfast for the annual parade and while we were all there, a few groups of campers started a dance battle across the street while the bath bands and floats provided us with music. Some of the dance moves thrown about included the Macarena, the worm, and some very synchronized line dancing. Everyone had a blast and we were all excited to return to camp and enjoy the beautiful afternoon full of activities.
We had a snack for the campers of fried dough at about 3:30, for some of the foreign campers it was their first time experiencing my favorite food. We ended the day by having red, white, and blue birthday cake and singing happy birthday to our favorite country. For our evening activity we had a special Disney night complete with some of our favorite princes, princesses, and villains.
For the evening activity on the fifth we all made our way back to bath to enjoy their carnival and fireworks. We had an early dinner so that we could make the most of our time there! Many campers opted to enjoy the ferris wheel, zipper, or gravitron, while others chose to eat their way through the midway and then find a place on the waterfront to hang out until the fireworks started. All of the campers got to enjoy some of America’s best foods: funnel cake, fried dough, fried chicken, and fried oreos. The fireworks show was beautiful and as we all made our way back to the buses and vans they shot off a few more for us all to enjoy. We got back to camp around 10 o’clock and everyone headed off to get a great night of sleep.
This morning every cabin got a 5 (the highest possible score) on their cabin inspections! It was a great end to a phenomenal weekend here at camp!
There’s a famous tale in Maine, the story of a 12 year old boy named Donn Fendler who got lost on Mount Katahdin, in the largest wilderness of Maine. For 9 days, he survived on nothing but stream water, wild strawberries and prayer, struggling through treacherous terrain, until he finally stumbled upon a camp and was rescued.
This week ten lucky campers from Chop Point, inspired by Donn’s story, embarked on their own – much safer – Mount Katahdin adventure! They hiked the first leg of the journey to Chimney Pond, and then started the grueling ascent on Saddle Trail. The path winds up the beautiful mountainside, through trees and over streams, until it becomes a sheer scramble with hands and feet up a rock face. When they arrived, out of breath and sweaty, at the plateau a mile from the highest peak in Maine, they were greeted by winds gusting up to 40mph, fog, rain, and temperatures hovering around 40 degrees, conditions identical to those faced by Donn Fendler 80 years ago. A less hardy crew might have given up, but these campers pressed on, well protected by fleece jackets and rain coats, encouraged by chocolate and jokes from their counselors, until they reached the 5,268 foot summit.
The climb back down was slippery and cloudy but unlike their predecessor, these campers stayed together, followed the trail closely, and made it safely back. It was a tired and wet gang that returned to the tents that afternoon, but there was no shortage of laughter and pride.
The next day, instead of simply returning to camp, the hikers decided to tackle another peak: South Turner Mountain, a 3,177 foot beauty with an alpine forest at the top. The distance was only 2 miles, but it was 2 miles of intense climbing up natural rock stairs that culminated in a final “mountain goat” scramble over boulders to the top. South Turner offered phenomenal views of Mount Katahdin and the surrounding backwoods, and everyone was content to sit and stare at the raw beauty. To make the day even better, on the hike down, the group stopped at a pond where 2 moose happened to be feeding! You’ve never seen a troop of teens fall silent so quickly.
During his days lost in the forest, Donn Fendler always dreamt of a doughnut with a glass of milk. So in honor of his courage and their own accomplishment, the campers stopped off for doughnuts and milk and a quick dip in the river, before returning to Chop Point, singing all the way.