Camp Traditions Create Memories and ConnectionsPosted by Alicia Theriault on May 23, 2017
Fernwood Cove’s first summer in 1999 was a single session of approximately sixty-five girls. The following year they welcomed two sessions for the first time. The campers and staff from the first summers helped to develop the original camp traditions. When Jim and Beigette purchased Fernwood Cove in 2004 they looked to build upon the traditions and values that they highly valued from their past camp experiences. Their experience working at a girls’ camp that is steeped in camp traditions allowed them to understand the importance of creating and maintaining traditions at Fernwood Cove. While much has changed since Jim and Beigette’s first days at 350 Island Pond Road, many of today’s traditions have been a part of camp for years.
Fernwood Cove will celebrate its 20th summer in 2018. It is quite young in comparison to many other Maine camps. Even in its youth, Fernwood Cove incorporates many camp traditions that exist in camps throughout Maine and across the country. When Fernwood Cove was established in 1998, the founders sought to create a traditional girls’ camp experience in a half-season time frame. With longstanding roots in girls’ camping, the original owners of Fernwood Cove planted the seeds of today’s camp traditions.
As showcased in this month’s social media campaign of Moxie’s Favorite things today’s traditions fill every day at Fernwood Cove. Many of our traditions, like Reveille and Taps, are found throughout camps across the country. And so many of our traditions are part of what makes Fernwood Cove unique. Some of our unique traditions exist in our end of camp ceremonies and campfire songs, or in special activities planned for specific age groups. The traditions of planning Banquet or speaking at Services are markers of older campers becoming leaders in the community. And Traditions like “guilty” counselors having to jump in the lake following Counselor Hunt remind us that there’s always a time and place to be a kid again! It’s the combination of the old and the new that allow us to remain true to the roots of traditional camping, while ensuring we are connecting with today’s girls.
We often invite girls to help create new traditions through writing songs or creating new events and ceremonies. This allows the girls to gain a greater understanding of the importance traditions play in camp. It also allows today’s campers to leave their legacy and make an impact on Fernwood Cove that will remain for years to come. And as campers learn more about how Fernwood Cove traditions were created they are reminded of the many campers who came before them. And the girls who will follow in their footsteps in the summers to come.
Camp Traditions Create Connections
When campers reconnect the camp stories begin flooding out. It’s amazing to hear girls recount their days of summer. Their faces bright with smiles, the air full of laughter. Often it is the moments created around Fernwood Cove traditions that have the greatest impact. Campers remember how friendships were developed through evening Bunk Circles. And CITs are a barrel of laughs when they discuss emceeing Miss Fernwood Cove. As an article from the American Camp Association explains, traditions are memories in the making. Each day is filled with traditions. Traditions create memories. Camp traditions create connections.
The connections developed begin with the campers, CITs, and staff who have shared experiences and shared memories. As the Fernwood Cove family continues to grow each summer the web of connections grows as well. A song written during Rest Hour can quickly become something sung for generations to come. When campers, CITs, and staff leave camp they carry the traditions of camp with them. When former campers return as counselors, they bring past traditions back. And when we’re not at camp it’s our memories and the camp traditions that rekindle our connections. No matter where you are in the world if you yell “I love camp!” to a Fernwood Cove camper, CIT, or staff member you’ll receive an “I love camp too!” in reply. Try it. You will quickly see how the simplest of traditions creates the greatest connections.