Q. What makes Camp Hawthorne a unique and special experience for young people?

We pride ourselves in having a very experienced staff. Out of our 40 staff members, 80-90% return every year. Our average age bunk counselor is 22. Our camp directors are both professional educators.
Q. What is the right age to send my child to camp?

If you describe camp to a child between the ages of 7-9, and they're excited to go, then they are ready! Most children have matured enough by the age of 10-11 to benefit from the experience of overnight summer camp.

Q. What are the qualifications of your counselors and what is the ratio of camp staff to campers?
All of our staff are in college or graduate school. Most are in pursuit of a degree in education or environmental science. Our staff-to-camper ratio is 1-3.
Q. What are the cabins like?
Some of our cabins were built in 1919. We have worked hard to keep the simple, rustic feeling of the camp. Our pine cabins are on the edge of the lake, with large screened windows and electricity. Most cabins hold 10-12 campers and 2-4 counselors. Campers are grouped by school-grade in their cabins.
Q. What is the food like?
We pride ourselves in homemade nutritious food. We serve both a regular camp menu and a vegetarian diet. Food is served cafeteria-style with many choices at each meal. In addition to the regular breakfast/lunch/dinner schedule, we have milk 'n cookies (or some other snack) every afternoon, and the occasional evening treat. Our kitchen staff are able to accommodate children with food allergies. Please contact us with any specific food questions.
Q. May we visit our child during the camp session?
Camp is largely about developing a sense of independence and most children do fine without a visit from family members. Visiting your child is only encouraged for campers who are staying for more than one session. Please plan on the change-over day between session I & 2, and session 2 & 3. Around 30% of parents come to visit their child between sessions.
Q. What sort of medical facilities do you have at Camp Hawthorne?
The camp is always staffed by a full-time registered Nurse who lives on site. About half our staff are Red Cross first-aid/CPR certified. We always have an EMT on site as well. We are located 20 minutes from Bridgeton Hospital and 30 minutes from Maine Medical Center in Portland. Campers who need to see a doctor are taken to our camp doctor at his office in Raymond.
Q. Does our child have access to computers, electronic games or TV at Camp Hawthorne?
The only computers/electronics/etc. available to campers are those used for our film and music programs. Camp is a time to get away from electronic devices. There is no T.V. or video games or cell phones at camp.
Q. What happens in the evenings?
Each evening the entire camp participates in a group activity which generally run until 9:45. Evening activities rotate and include things like all-camp capture the flag, campfires (story-telling, singing, music), dances, bunk skits, quiz shows, and many more.
Q. Do you have off-camp trips or an outdoor camping program?
We have several adventure programs that offer overnight white-water rafting, canoeing and hiking trips. (click here for more details...) Campers can also sign up for rock-climbing, ocean sailing and biking trips. We also try to make sure each bunk gets to do an overnight camp out (depending on weather) at our remote cove, or a few miles away at Sebago Lake State Park.
Q. How are the boys and girls grouped?
The camp is built on a hillside overlooking the lake. The boy's cabins are situated on the right side of our Lodge, and the girl's cabins are on the left side. Each cabin is staffed with counselors to supervise the campers at night. Our daily schedule rotates the campers through different groups, so that some activities are by bunk and gender, and some are mixed.
Q. How do you deal with homesickness?
All campers can experience temporary periods of homesickness. Our first line of defense is the counselors, as they help the campers become connected to camp life and their bunkmates. In most cases, after the second night of camp, most children have made new friends and have adjusted to life away from home. In the rare instance that a child continues to suffer separation anxiety, they are helped by camp director Ron Furst who has years of experience as a child counselor and psychotherapist. We notify parents immediately if children do not respond to our support and counseling.
Q. How can we communicate with our child?
The best way to communicate with your child is through traditional mail. Receiving letters, postcards and packages is very exciting at camp. We strongly encourage parents to send a letter that will arrive within the first few days. Due to limited internet availability at the office, please do not send emails to the camp for your child unless you live outside the United States. Please limit the size of your care packages. We do not allow chewing gum or soda at camp. Parents can call the camp at any time to talk to the director, if you are concerned about how your child is adjusting to camp life. We never tell parents that they cannot talk to their child, but we discourage phone calls from parents unless it is absolutely necessary. If you do need to call, please try to call at meal times, when your child will be near a phone.
Q. How will our child choose camp activities?
Our schedule is split into a five-block day. Each week, campers meet at the dining hall and select some of their activities, the rest are assigned to make sure they try everything. There is also an optional period each day where the campers are free to go to any activity they wish.
Q. How will my child get to camp?
90% of our campers arrive with their parents by automobile. This gives the parents a chance to meet their child's counselors, talk with the camp Nurse and Directors, and get a feel for the camp. Campers from further away arrive by airplane or bus, and are picked up at the Portland Maine airport or bus station.
Q. What safety measures do you take at the waterfront?
We incorporate the standard Red Cross Waterfront Safety Protocol. All campers take a swim test, and are instructed in our waterfront rules on their first day at Hawthorne. Young children who are non-swimmers must remain in the first area, where the water is not over their head.
Q. Does Camp Hawthorne have a religious affiliation?
No. Camp Hawthorne has campers and staff of all religious faiths. On Sunday we hold a short nature-oriented service at our outdoor chapel. We are a camp that stresses humanistic values. Campers of all faiths feel comfortable at our friendship service.
Q. How do we get to Camp Hawthorne?
(See the Travel page for more information...)
Q. Can you provide me with references?
Please call the camp Director for references. We try to match parents up with campers from the same region whenever possible.
Winter Office
10 Scotland Bridge Road
York, Maine
207 363 1773
Summer Office
P.O. Box 160
Raymond, Maine
207 655 5069