I’ve been involved in youth camping in one way or another since 1960, when I took up at Camp Kawanhee with some apprehension as one of its youngest campers. Since then, I’ve observed the camp experience from many different angles, as camper, counselor, trip leader, camp administrator, parent, Frank Foundation board member, and now as a co-Executive Director of the Foundation. When our children were quite young, there was also a period of about a dozen years when I had little involvement with Kawanhee. Taking some distance from the camp experience was certainly valuable for many reasons; in a curious way, it reaffirmed my abiding belief that Kawanhee is simply one of the richest educational experiences out there.
Along the way I’ve become increasingly aware of the chasm between those who have had a summer camp experience and know its value and those who have yet to discover that value. Those of us who have been profoundly influenced by a camp experience, or observed a child who has been, can be positively effusive when trying to articulate the virtues of camp. I know I’m headed down that road now, and I apologize for my zeal in advance.
Boys these days have their work cut out for them, for reasons too complex to address in a paragraph or two. I suppose that growing up has always been difficult, but the particular challenges confronting boys in the early 21st century have to be as daunting as ever. The ramped-up pressures to compete and win, the elusive definition of boyhood, the curious and frenetic influence of technology in the digital age, the limited opportunities for experiencing the natural world and spontaneous play, the increasingly high stakes of scholastic achievement and college admissions … these forces, among others, tend to leave boys little time for play, reflection and the spaces in which to learn about themselves.
Boys survive what our society throws at them, and many even seem to thrive, at least by some of the measures that have won favor lately. But those measures tend not to tell us much about some things that matter a great deal, intangibles that defy measurement. This is where Kawanhee becomes most relevant.
Camp is, first and foremost, a fun time. It is a welcome release from school and the pressures that attend it (and, in some cases, from school friends and the pressures that attend them). It is fun in its own pure way, perhaps in a way that is only possible when boys are keeping their own company, guided by college-age mentors who live with them and give them much to aspire to, surrounded by abundant opportunities for play and adventure. Friends are made quickly at camp, as though kids are as keenly aware as grown-ups that summer is indeed short and they’d better get on with it. Once camp friends are made, they tend to last, often long after a camp career has given way to college, a livelihood and a family of one’s own.
Camp friendships endure because they are honest to an unusual degree. When new campers come to Kawanhee, they tend to shed their bravado and their inhibitions quickly. They learn from the veteran campers around them that it is acceptable to express their affection and enthusiasm for their lodge mates and for their camp. They come to embrace Kawanhee’s traditions, rhythms and quirks without apology. Boys feel safe at camp, safe expressing who they are and who they are becoming. I am convinced that boys yearn for environments in which all of this is possible, indeed expected. Any of us is lucky to find such a place.
Kawanhee is not a specialty camp or a sports camp. It is, very intentionally, a liberal arts camp. Our program is premised upon the conviction that a summer at camp should be an experiment in trying out new things, pushing beyond the familiar, taking a dare to struggle and to succeed. There are myriad ways to struggle and succeed at camp, the footrace, the tennis match, the clay piece turned on the lathe, the model sailboat chiseled and rigged by hand, the biscuits baked in a reflector oven, the Eskimo roll executed in a fury of white water, and on and on. It is an integral part of the culture of Kawanhee that all of these pursuits are affirmed and respected. Camp is a fertile place for finding new passions, and some of those discoveries are profoundly life-changing.
We also hold to the belief that free time is essential to the mission of camp. Children are busy, and their schedules at home and at school are often tightly-packed. Although a typical day at camp conforms to a schedule and has a predictable rhythm, it also affords a generous amount of time when campers are accountable to themselves rather than to adults. These are the spaces in which boys can figure out what makes them tick, what gratifies them, what matters to them. Learning to keep one’s own company and the company of one’s peers, deciding on the spur of the moment to shoot hoops or go fishing, having an uninterrupted hour or two to talk with friends, these are tremendously important ingredients of a day spent at Kawanhee.
Although we speak often of the Kawanhee family, a broad universe meant to embrace all campers and counselors and their families, past, present and future, one’s immediate family at camp is much smaller. It consists of a boy’s lodge mates and lodge counselors, those eight or ten guys with whom he lives in close quarters, eats meals, solves problems, learns to get along. Our lodge counselors tend to be college students, and many of our country’s finest colleges and universities are represented within our ranks. The influence of a lodge counselor upon his campers is powerful and overwhelmingly positive, and our staff understands the unique position they hold: mentor, friend, role model, surrogate parent, all in one. Boys acquire new interests and aspire to better things when they live with counselors whom they admire and want to emulate. We look for counselors who inspire that admiration and emulation, and in many cases we need not look far. Most of our lodge counselors have grown up within our ranks; we invite them to be counselors if we have the requisite confidence in their judgment and their ability to lead. Our counselors recognize that it is a privilege to live with and mentor other people’s children, and most of them choose to return to our staff for as many summers as they can manage.
In closing, we understand that camp is a major commitment for families, as it is a major commitment for us. For all of the reasons expressed above, and for many not expressed here, we believe that it is a commitment well worth making. If you have any questions about Kawanhee, or simply want to talk about it, please be in touch.
~ Mark Standen
A camp experience plays a special and unique role in the growth and development of a child in today’s world. It provides opportunities that cannot be found anywhere else. At Kawanhee, a boy can step outside of his fast-paced, everyday routines and experience life and relationships in a brand new context. He can remake himself if he desires, try on different aspects to his developing identity or simply express and expand those characteristics and behaviors which have served him well. A Kawanhee camper does this all within the context of a cohesive and supportive community, where each and every child and adult is considered a valuable member and individual differences are respected.
During activity times, boys gain specific outdoor living and athletic skills. Every camper is encouraged to try every activity that is offered and then, after several weeks of scheduled activities, is allowed to sign-in and out of activities depending upon what he has learned his interests to be and how far he elects to pursue his participation and achievements in that activity. Campers gain memories from climbing Tumbledown Mountain, canoeing down the Androscoggin River or camping out on Skookamee or on Monhegan Island. They also gain respect for the natural world as they become comfortable within it and carry forward a desire to care for it.
At Kawanhee we have a healthy respect for free-time as well, which becomes a chance for boys to hang-out and talk with each other, play a spontaneous game of Frisbee or tether-ball, read, fish, take out a canoe, or go for a sail. Although free-time activities are not always directly supervised, they are when safety demands it; no boy is able to take a boat out by himself until he has passed the necessary boating and swimming tests, and a beach guard is on duty to supervise boat sign-outs and check-ins.
Camp is about traditions, traditions that bond us to one another and help to define the community to which we all belong. Whether it be the legend of Chief Kawanhee, our spirited Maroon/Grey competitions, Saturday night campfires, these are all time honored traditions that have existed here at Kawanhee since its beginning in 1920. We often say about the Kawanhee experience that here we make “Friends for the summer, and family for life!” The majority of our staff, both lodge counselors and non-lodge counselors alike, have been campers at Kawanhee, helping to carry forward the sense of tradition and family that is such a prevalent feeling here.
Our goal at Kawanhee is to have campers leave their camp experience with greater self confidence, a sense of responsibility both to themselves and to others, the ability to make good choices and to develop greater respect for others and their individual differences.
Last, but not least, Kawanhee is about having fun! The photographs in the catalog best illustrate how we do that. We hope you enjoy these pages; please do not hesitate to call with any questions or feedback.
Hope to see you next summer!
Mark and Liz
Homesickness is a normal piece of the Kawanhee experience for most boys. When a new boy arrives at Kawanhee, he is afforded the warmth and acceptance of the entire Kawanhee community. The Camp Mom provides boys with additional support and nurture, recognizing boys who may need additional attention or love. The Camp Mom plays a huge role at Kawanhee, especially during the first couple weeks of camp, when boys are discouraged from calling home in order to assimilate more effectively into the community. During this period, the Camp Mom can communicate with parents to ease any concerns or issues.
The Camp Kawanhee kitchen provides filling, varied and nutritious meals over the course of the camp season. A thirty-item salad bar compliments both lunch and dinner and hot soups are often offered as well. Breakfast offerings include a wide range of cereals, oatmeals, bagels and a hot main entrée. We now offer evening snacks and have cut back on the fried foods in order to provide more balanced options for campers and staff. The addition of smoothies at breakfast proved to be a big hit this year and everyone looks forward to the Maine lobster bake at the end of the 4th week, along with chowder made with fish caught on Monhegan Island! Sean Minear and his experienced kitchen staff look forward to another exciting camp season this summer.
Conveniently located near the sleeping lodges are the dining hall, rec hall, nature building, campcraft/wilderness living headquarters, rifle and archery ranges, ropes course and climbing wall, camp infirmary, shop, sailing shed and boat houses, and the “fort”, the name we affectionately give to our toilet and shower facility. Most of Kawanhee’s buildings are original, dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s and many are made of heavy log construction. They are rustic but comfortable, nestled among pines along the shore of the lake. The lodges accommodate from eight to ten boys, along with two counselors.
Kawanhee Lobster Bake
Kawanhee Lobster Bake
Kawanhee Lobster Bake
Kawanhee Lobster Bake
The health and safety of Kawanhee’s campers is our paramount concern. We have a full time Maine-licensed RN on staff and available at all times, as well as an arrangement with a local pediatric practice when a doctor’s services are necessary. Kawanhee has an infirmary where the camp nurse resides and where there are beds available for boys who are ill or needing some rest. Every staff member at Kawanhee is trained in first aid and CPR and in specific activities, (wilderness living, trips and waterfront, for example), further training is required. Kawanhee offers these trainings each summer during the week prior to the start of camp. Our accreditation requires that we meet certain safety standards and Kawanhee staff exceeds or meets these standards in their training.
Sue Cook & Amber Ramsey, Camp Nurses
Emily Lou McClean, Camp Nurse
Enroll Early and Save!
Enroll by November 30th and make your payments by the February 28th & May 31st deadlines, to recieve a $200 early bird credit.
Program Price Chart
7 Week Program --------------------------- $8,750.00 | Sunday, June 24th, through Saturday, August 11th***
4 Week Program --------------------------- $6,900.00 | Sunday, June 24th, through Saturday, July 21st
3 Week Program --------------------------- $4,900.00 | Sunday, July 22nd, through Saturday, August 11th***
2 Week Program (Option 1)-------------- $4,000.00 | Sunday, June 24th, through Sunday, July 8th
(For first time campers under age 12)
2 Week Program (Option 2)-------------- $4,000.00 | Sunday, July22nd,, through Sunday, August 5th
(For first time campers under age 12)
JC I option (16 yr.-olds) -------------------- $7,200.00 | Sunday, June 24th, through Saturday, August 11th***
JC II option (17 yr.-olds) -------------------- $7,200.00 | Sunday, June 24th, through Saturday, August 11th***
(No Early Bird Credit)
***Campers traveling home by air at the end of the camp season will be shuttled to the airport on Sunday, August 12th
Bring A Friend and Save! Any family that refers a non-scholarship camper that registers for our 4-week or 7-week session will receive a tuition credit of $400.00 and a free lobster dinner at the Kawanhee Inn for their camper and friend!
A $750.00 deposit is required with the initial application.
Incidentals and Spending Money - $175.00 ($250.00 for the Leadership Training Program) is deposited with the camp for each boy's weekly allowance. At the end of the camp season, any remaining cash balance will be mailed to parents, or a charge will be made if the deposit is exceeded.
Bradbury's Market & Diner
Calzolaio Pasta Co.
A Letter to Parents
Why Camp? Why Kawanhee?
Food and Facilities
Health and Safety
Tuition and Fees
Area Lodging & Dining
Parent Log in