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.

Tristan

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.

Sincerely,

Jean

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.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Did Phil see his shadow? Who cares? All I know is that summer at Chop Point is coming.

Welcome to the new website, with updated photos and information. Looking at all these pictures makes me really long for Summer along the Kennebec. While I love the snow and the fun it brings during the year, there is nothing that compares to those few perfect months that we get between June and August in Maine. So enjoy your winter but start making your plans to join us this summer at Chop Point.

Here are a few summer-winter photos for you non-locals to see camp in the winter.