ABOUT MAINE TEEN CAMP
Our mission is to provide each camper with an invitation to experience and explore a safe and supportive environment that promotes emotional, social, intellectual, and physical development in a natural setting. MTC aims to improve confidence and independence, provide the motivation to explore new interests, and develop leadership abilities, which collectively, foster a summer of personal growth, challenges, friendships, and adventure. Maine Teen Camp and its staff empower campers to make good choices, encourage kindness and compassion, leadership, connection and belonging, and embrace individuality and diversity, allowing space to flourish as young adults and responsible community members.
Our Core Values
Responsibility – We encourage understanding, consideration, and acceptance that the consequences of our actions impact others and the environment.
Respect – We encourage others to recognize, seek out, and value diversity in ideas and people.
Empathy – We strive to foster empathy, creating space to understand the feelings and perspectives of others and use that to guide actions.
Integrity – We value honesty, sincerity, trust, loyalty, and fairness. We encourage the authentic self.
Perseverance – We encourage commitment in working toward goals despite discouragements, obstacles, or difficulties. Camp is a place to safely learn failure.
Equity – We recognize that different campers have differing levels of resource. We strive to create equity of access to the camp experience.
Continual Growth – We are committed to a culture in which all feel encouraged and empowered to continually develop skills and knowledge that can be used beyond the camp experience.
Community – We all contribute to and benefit from the camp community. Camp provides an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution and celebrate and encourage the contributions of others. Community cannot occur without the impact of all members.
Place – When we combine our individual stories to create meaning in a particular space, it becomes a place. When we do this, that place then belongs to us, and we belong to it. In an increasingly placeless age (internet, global community) finding such a place to which you belong is vitally important for happiness and social emotional health.
Established in 1984 as a specialty program for teenagers 13 (or entering 8th grade) to 17, Maine Teen Camp aims to provide each camper with a diverse camp experience in a safe and supportive natural setting that promotes a sense of community, friendship, personal growth and leadership.
The beautiful 55-acre site between Stanley & Trafton Ponds has been home to a summer camp since the early 1900s. Prior to 1984, the site was that of Camp Hiawatha, a traditional camp for girls. After Hiawatha closed, Maine Teen Camp was created according to the joint vision of founding Directors – Jay & Karen Stager, and Kris Kamys. Recognizing the pressing need for a summer camp uniquely designed for teenagers, MTC was founded as a largely preferred alternative to teen travel programs.
Offering the safety and community of a summer camp, MTC was different. It was, and remains, a safe place for the teenager new to camping or changing camps, to arrive as a first-time camper and be immediately welcomed into an open social environment. Free of cliques and embracing individual diversity, MTC is not just different from teen travel programs, but is different from much of the teen “scene” in the outside world. This focus continues to this day, as does the developmentally appropriate programming that does not compromise by offering activities that are directly catering to the wants and needs of teenagers. Simply put – unlike most summer camps, MTC is not trying to be everything to everyone – we recognize the experience of adolescence is unique and special, and demands specialized programming and staff training to make for the best camp experience.
MTC has never wavered from its commitment to teenagers. The skills and experiences at camp have life changing impacts. Independence, self-confidence, resilience, social & leadership skills, reduction of stress and anxiety in an outdoor setting; all well documented outcomes of a summer camp experience. We encourage playful and silly interactions as a return to the innocence of childhood that far too many have lost to our stressful and fast-paced worlds.
Taking a respite from the demands at home and school, away from relentless devices, when combined with prolonged exposure to nature, works to connect campers to each other – the psychological “healing” that happens as a result is profound and well acknowledged by our families as beneficial to emotional and mental health.
Our camp is not just our home, it helps shape and promote our mission.