MOUNT DESERT — Summer programs at Camp Beech Cliff are scheduled to begin next week, with offerings for kids of kindergarten age all the way up to teens entering 11th grade.
Camp Beech Cliff’s traditional camps for kids going into kindergarten through eighth grade will begin on Monday, June 20, with four separate programs for different age groups. Kids entering kindergarten and first grade can sign up for CBC’s Starburst Camp, which has an “active daily schedule designed to meet the developmental needs of our youngest campers.”
The camp, located on the western shore of Echo Lake, is requesting that parents signing their children up for Starburst Camp do so for no more than four weeks due to high demand. Children must be at least five years of age to sign up.
Children entering second and third grades can sign up for Thunder Camp, where kids will gain experience in outdoor activities and be encouraged to try new things and explore their interests.
Those going into fourth and fifth grade will be a part of Lightning Camp, designed for youths who want to exercise their independence and strong interests in specific program areas. Campers at Lightning Camp will be able to choose two skills a week to focus on, while also participating in regular activities such as swimming, sailing and kayaking.
Sixth, seventh and eighth graders can sign up for Quasar Camp, where campers can “learn new skills, share ideas on group projects or work independently.”
Cost for the traditional camps is $200 a week for residents of Hancock County, $290 a week for non-residents.
There also will be Friday overnights at the Seawall Campground for campers in the Thunder, Lightning and Quasar camps. Thunder campers will have overnight opportunities on July 1 and 29, Lightning campers on July 8 and Aug. 5, and Quasar campers on July 15 and Aug. 12. The cost for the overnights is $45.
Camp Beech Cliff also will offer dozens of specialty camps for children going into fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades that will run for approximately one week, each with a different focus. Campers in specialty camps typically will begin their day at the specialty camp and return to the traditional camp in the afternoon.
There are some new camps offered this year, according to Alexa Bonsey, communications coordinator for Camp Beech Cliff, but “we have a bunch of specialty camps that we’re bringing back because they’ve been really popular,” she said.
The first specialty camps will begin the second week of camp, beginning June 27, starting with a Wilderness Survival camp and a Lobstering 101 camp, where campers will “experience the life of a lobsterman” and learn about the processing of lobster in Maine.
Wilderness Survival will be a part of the Junior Maine Guide (JMG) programs Camp Beech Cliff offers, which is a “comprehensive, well-rounded outdoor curriculum for young people, developed in cooperation with Maine Summer Camps and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.” Camp Beech Cliff will offer a JMG camp every week except for the weeks of June 20-24 and July 25-29.
Camp Beech Cliff also will offer a babysitter course for kids going into sixth through eighth grade the week of June 27-July 1. Participants will be certified as a Safe Sitter and learn how to deal with threatening situations and basic first aid.
The week of July 5-8, specialty camps will include JMG: Canoeing, Casting and Catching; an Acadia National Park Jr. Rangers’ camp where campers will explore the park and learn about its history and its ecology; and a dog sledding instructional. The dog sledding course also will be offered the weeks of July 11-15, July 18-22 and Aug. 1-5.
The following week, July 11-15, Camp Beech Cliff will offer another JMG camp on wilderness first aid and navigation and a self-defense course for girls, where participants will “build physical and inner resources for self-defense and self-confidence” and “learn a style of martial arts that applies to real world situations.” The course will be taught by karate expert Mike McEnroe.
July 18-22 campers can take a JMG course on building campfires and using a camp stove to cook in the woods, along with shelter building and overnight preparation. They also can take a course titled “Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack and Jills,” where campers will learn from National Geographic Television outdoor survivalist Tina Scheer of Trenton about logging sports such as axe throwing, cross-cut sawing and chopping.
“That camp will actually have a Friday night event associated with it,” Bonsey said. “The Great Maine Lumberjack Show” is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. on July 22.
During the week of July 25-29, campers can take specialty camps in raft building and baking. Students in the baking course will be taught by Jenny Jones, owner of 365 Bakery and executive director of the Bar Harbor Food Pantry. They will be making goods not only for themselves but for the community by bringing their baked goods to the food pantry.
Offerings in the first week of August will include another JMG: Wilderness Survival program and a drumming course “exploring Brazilian style rhythms: samba, bossa nova, cha cha and rhumba.” That course will end with a performance by Flash in the Pans on Friday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m.
The week of Aug. 8-12 will have another JMG: Canoeing, Casting and Catching camp; a geology and rock climbing exploration of Acadia’s landmarks, such as Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach and Thunder Hole; and a robotics course for girls. Campers in the robotics program will be a part of teams designing, building, programming and competing with their very own robots.
“We’ve had robotics, but we’ve never had robotics for girls,” Bonsey said.
The last week for the specialty camps will be Aug. 15-19, with offerings for children to explore plein air (outdoor) painting and drawing in the park and to be a part of “Circus Superstar,” where campers will learn circus skills and perform them on the last day of that week at 6 p.m.
The cost for the specialty camps ranges between $200 and $275 for residents of Hancock County, $300-375 for non-residents.