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Former camper becomes counselor – bringing impact full circle August 20, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Experience, Interviews, Profile.
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Floyd walks with a camper to breakfast.When Kingsley Floyd, who has Merosin Deficient Muscular Dystrophy, came to Pine Tree Camp for the first time in 2011 as a camper, she was scared and embarrassed.

“I was so nervous arriving,” said Floyd, who is now 19 years old. “Then they announce your name and cheer. Wow –I’d never had that sort of ‘rock star’ treatment before. It was an experience I wasn’t ready for and was instantly embarrassed.”

When Floyd’s session was over, she couldn’t imagine not coming back. Floyd had completely changed.

“I saw campers go swimming for the first time, tears of joy streaming down their face,” Floyd smiled. “I knew I wanted to be a part of making moments like that. I wanted to help make firsts.”

Floyd connected with Pine Tree Camp director Dawn Willard-Robinson during the winter and after some interviews and paperwork, was officially a Pine Tree Camp counselor.

Floyd chats with campers at the overnight location.“I remember my counselors vividly from Cabin 4 my first summer,” Floyd said. “It was so powerful to me to spend six days with these extremely committed people. I left my session jealous that they got to stay and have more of camp, meet more people, help more campers have firsts.”

Floyd spent the summer of 2012 learning the ropes as a counselor at Pine Tree Camp.

“In the beginning, campers would see it as, ‘oh, she used to be a camper,” so they thought they could get away with things,” Floyd laughed. “I had to learn to transition into a role where I could assert myself and balance that with compassion towards the campers, letting them know I understood exactly how they felt adjusting to camp life and in everyday life for that matter.”

As her second summer as a counselor ends, Floyd is more committed than ever.

“I have learned so much,” Floyd said. “I feel like I’m able to connect to campers on a deeper level. I truly ‘get’ them. I relate if they’re having a bad day, or a good day. More importantly, I get to learn their ways of adapting and share what’s worked for me. It’s an incredible privilege.”



Learning from each other July 16, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Crafts, Interviews.
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In its second year, the FLEX program (Fun Learning Experiences) is booming at Pine Tree CampLearning to garden - FLEX participants plant and water seeds.

“It’s a chance for campers and counselors to share their skills with everyone,” said FLEX program leader Dan Winsor. “We can learn so much from each other and FLEX is a great way to show that.”

FLEX is an opportunity for counselors to teach functional life skills to campers. Topics range from yoga to crafts, survival skills to gardening, languages to cooking.

“During a session, we had a group do all the prep work in the kitchen for dinner,” Winsor said. “Maybe a camper will now feel empowered to help their family make dinner or even go out in the workforce. It’s all about sharing knowledge and skills with them and proving that everyone is skillful at something.”

FLEX also lets counselors’ skills shine through in unexpected ways.

“One of our counselors is an Eagle Scout and very into knot tying,” Winsor shared. “During session three, we had a group of six visually impaired campers mastering knot tying. The group was so proud and empowered and they’ll take that home and carry that with them.”

Campers can lead FLEX activities and share their special crafting skills.

FLEX has also helped with difficult situations by allowing the activities to be tailored to what the campers are interested in.

“One of the girls in my cabin wanted to leave after one day,” said Andi Jeffcoats, cabin one unit leader. “She was sitting on her bed and we noticed she was making pet toys. We suggested leading a FLEX activity to her. She lit up! She felt so empowered leading the activity and had a great week at camp.”

“The goal is for campers to learn skills here and take them home, sharing them with others,” Winsor said.

It’s nice and hot at Pine Tree Camp but… June 25, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Facility, Waterfront Activities.
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On opening day, free swim usually takes place around 3:30 p.m. On a hot and humid day like today, everyone is looking forward to it. But what happens when a thunderstorm appears on the horizon? A storm is brewing over North Pond.

“The program leaders and I work very closely when there’s a chance of a thunderstorm in the forecast or we notice the clouds start to change,” said Dawn Willard-Robinson, Pine Tree Camp’s director. “We watch the radar closely every day, checking it several times a day to see if any storms will pop up.”

Counselors must report hearing thunder to program leaders right away, along with the time they heard it. Program leaders then connect with the camp director and keep watch for thirty minutes from the reported time, listening for another clap of thunder. During that time, campers must remain inside their cabin or remain where they are until camp leaders have given the “all clear.” Once the thirty minutes has passed with no signs of a thunderstorm, camp programming continues.

“If the storms pick up with lots of thunder and lightning, we always have a back-up plan,” said program supervisor Greg King. “We’ll have quiet time in the cabins. Or if everyone is in the dining or rec hall, we’ll play a movie or group games. We’ll keep it fun until it’s safe to be back outside again.”

Pine Tree Camp Session 2 is here! June 25, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Experience.
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We’re mighty glad you’re here.. June 18, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors.
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We welcome you to Pine Tree Camp June 14, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Counselors, Experience.
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As the 68th season of Pine Tree Camp is set to begin, a mix of new and returning Pine Tree Camp counselors participated in staff development this week.

The week is full of training covering topics from waterfront procedures to camper care to conflict resolution and everything in between.

“This group has been tons of fun to work with,” Program Director Greg King said. “They’ve enjoyed learning camp songs and participating in the mock programming exercises.”

The staff training utilizes mock programming whenever possible. This allows new counselors the ability to get a real world feel before campers arrive and returning counselors the chance to hone their skills more.

“Staff training is not just about this week or this summer,” said Pine Tree Camp Director Dawn Willard-Robinson. “It’s about growing professionals and giving people tools to use for a lifetime. Many of our counselors are attending college for special education, therapies or rehabilitation. At Pine Tree Camp, they’re able to get experience and build a solid foundation working with a wide variety of people with differing disabilities. ”

Will my child make friends? April 4, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Experience.
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Summer camp is all about making friends. Friends hanging out. That’s no different at Pine Tree Camp. Our counseling staff is trained in providing support to campers in making friends. The result is a close bond between cabinmates and support that lives well beyond the camp session.

If you, or anyone you know, has questions about Pine Tree Camp, register for our Information Session Saturday, April 13 by calling 207-443-3341.

Who will care for my child at Pine Tree Camp? March 28, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Counselors, Experience.
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While no one can quite provide the loving care and support of a mother or father, Pine Tree Camp’s counseling staff comes pretty photo by Debra Bellclose. Our staff provides constant care and support to campers. Counselors live in cabins with campers and are on-hand 24/7 to
ensure that campers are safe and cared for. Staff prepare for their important jobs through an intensive two-week training session prior to the beginning of camp and training continues during camp session breaks. Training covers topics including camper care, feeding,
behavioral issues, communication strategies for non-verbal campers and lifting and transferring. Counseling staff spend time with each family upon arrival. They get to know the camper and his or her likes, dislikes, needs and schedule. That information helps ensure
that the counseling staff provides the type of care the camper requires.

For more answers to your questions about Pine Tree Camp, attend our Information Session on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. – Noon. To register, call 443-3341 or email LuAnn Atwood at latwood@pinetreesociety.org.

Who attends Pine Tree Camp? March 12, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Experience, Pine Tree Society.
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Pine Tree Camp welcomes campers with a wide range of physical and/or developmental disabilities. There is a wide spectrum of Enjoying Pine Tree Campcampers – from needing minimal support to requiring extensive support in all aspects of daily living. The disabilities we see include, but not limited, to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, Down Syndrome and autism spectrum disorders. Pine Tree Camp also welcomes children who are Deaf, are blind and have speech challenges.

For answers to more questions, register for one of our Information Sessions by contacting LuAnn Atwood by calling (207) 443-3341.


Pine Tree Camp to offer two informational sessions for families February 26, 2013

Posted by pinetreecamp in 2013 summer, Campers Experiences, Counselors, Experience, Facility.
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Imagine a place where your child's disability doesn't matter.They are just one of the kids, not the kid with the disability.They will make friends that will last a lifetime.

Imagine a place where your child’s disability doesn’t matter. They are just one of the kids, not the kid with the disability. They will make friends that will last a lifetime. They will be able to participate in activities for which Maine is famous – kayaking, hiking on accessible nature trails, swimming, boating, fishing – experiencing freedom and independence. They will be in a safe, caring environment with trained counselors and medical staff watching over them around the clock. And you will be able to benefit from a six day respite knowing that your child is being well cared for and having fun. We’ve been doing it for more than 68 years at Pine Tree Camp.
Please join us for one of the sessions and imagine the possibilities!
Thurs., March 21
5-7 p.m.
Brewer Auditorium, 318 Wilson St., Brewer

Sat., April 13
10-11:30 a.m.
Pine Tree Society, 71 Route 1, Scarborough

Sending your child to summer camp can be scary. That feeling is exponential if your child has a disability. Join us as we talk about everything Pine Tree Camp – from adaptive programming and facilitating friend making to medical care and safety. Pine Tree Camp’s Director will be joined by a panel of Pine Tree Camp parents who will share their experience. Bring your children of all abilities for fun-filled activities offered by Pine Tree Camp’s staff. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP by contacting LuAnn Atwood by email or call 443-3341.