A Boy Goes to Camp

By James Delorie, Communication Manager, Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council 

My wife Mandy and I have camp in our blood. We both attended summer camp at YMCA Day Camp Tracy as kids, worked at camp and both were camp directors at one time. It was safe to say our son Cooper was destined to be a camp kid. We had talked since he was young about him going to camp and thought Farm Camp was a cool concept. As Cooper grew, we realized his love for animals and all things kind, so farm camp seemed to be a great fit.

We waited until after kindergarten (so not too long) to choose a camp for him. Being from central Maine and hearing so many wonderful stories about Hart-to-Hart Farm; a working dairy farm in Albion, and then talking to Cooper about it, our choice was easy. During Fourth of July week, we put Cooper in his large rubber boots and dropped him off at farm camp. His favorite activities included, in his words, “adopting my chick I named Baby, playing on the hay bales and the slip-n-slide, of course.” Every day he came back dirty, tired and as happy as could be. The staff did a wonderful job engaging the campers and keeping them hydrated on the hottest week of the summer. We gave Cooper the option to stay home on the Fourth of July and not go to camp; he quickly refused. He was hooked on camp. This might have put a small smile on our faces… ok, more like ear to ear grins. Camp ended with a show and tell for parents and families. Cooper was finally able to hold Baby the chick for a long time while he wiggled; something he worked on all week. He even enjoyed getting Baby to perch on a counselor’s head.
By the end of the week, Mandy and I knew the answer but asked Cooper anyway; “Are you going back to camp next summer?” He screamed,” Of course” and then mentioned that when he is 7 he can go for more than one week. I see many summers with trips to Albion in our future.

While Hart-to-Hart Farm Camp is a great option for those in Central Maine and has several choices depending on a child’s age and interests, there are many other farm camps around the state, including southern Maine. Farm Camp is not only an opportunity for your child to learn the answer to “Where does your food come from?” They also have the opportunity to learn the care and work that goes into growing or producing that food. It might also spark an interest in them that will lead to them one day becoming a farmer or gardener, or simply give them a greater appreciation for those who do farm.

As winter winds down, your stock of frozen berries probably has as well. If you have any Maine wild blueberries left though, I have a couple of recipes for you. The second recipe will allow you to incorporate some tasty maple syrup that you acquire at any Maine Maple Sunday event!

Jim Delorie is a member of the Maine Dairy and Nutrition Council’s Moo Squad. He competes at numerous Spartan Obstacle Course Races, as well as other running and obstacle course events.