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The first Co-Ed week in camp history is halfway through and going smoothly. The boys and girls are talking to each other and have the chance to mingle during classes and sit together at lunch. We plan to make it even better in the future with more special events for the 14 year olds that are aging out. Tonight we are going to a nearby planetarium run by Mr. Larry Berz, a senior instructor at camp. He has been here for all 21 camp seasons. When your little penguin gets home shout “Volcano” and see what happens. We are taking a bus for about 30 minutes to Easton Maine to get to the Francis Malcolm Science Center for a quick show. While the bus takes the first of two groups (of 45) the others will go downtown to buy some non-peanut products. Parents, please remember to not send peanut products since some campers have severe allergies. 

Classes are moving along well. In the LEGO Robotics classes, they are working out the kinks and plan to have a competition on Thursday. In Creating Brave New Worlds the campers are making ceramics and horns. On Thursday, Mrs. Fernandez-Mitchell will be making a paper kiln and showing the students. I have no idea what a paper kiln means because my mind thinks paper burns, but we will see.

The class spotlight of the day is Geology. They made simple seismometers and tested by kicking the desks. Of course it doesn’t measure the desk kicks accurately, but it shows the process so they understand it more. I was in Japan during the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and talked to them about that. Another instructor at camp, Mr. James Dochtermann, was also in Japan and closer to the epicenter AND on the 9th floor of a building. He wins that hands down. 

In another class they learned about how soap will cause food coloring in milk to separate. It was interesting seeing the way it kept moving. I also stepped into the Reptile Garden class and saw how strong snake skin really is. The instructor, Tom Moore, was telling the kids to really scrape the inside of the skin hard, it was almost impossible to rip it. 

One of the evening activities was rock climbing at the University of Maine, Presque Isle. The kids really challenged themselves to go as high as they could. One girl, Violet, virtually sprinted up the wall, then asked to do the 3rd most challenging section. She made it up, but it was hard to find footholds. Finally, back in the dorm some girls were playing with the Giant Jenga set and seeing how high they could get it. Then it turned into me filming them knock it over in slow motion.

Tomorrow we will be interviewed by WAGM TV and in the afternoon, if it warms up, we will bring out the mega waterslide.  
 
Thanks and stay tuned.
 

Sunday check in went smoothly and the first Co-Ed Capstone week is off to a good start. They had staff introductions and then made their family flags and family intro skits in the auditorium. Next week we will show them a little bit about being on stage. Some groups had their backs to the audience and mumbled, but all that is fixable. The winners of the intro skit, family flag, and unplanned impromptu Dance Contest will get an ice cream party later in the week. We didn’t have a campfire and did the intro skits inside the auditorium as opposed to outside by the fire while making smores. The weather was supposed to be thundershowers all day, but it only rained hard for about 30 minutes then stopped. We figured at the very least the ground would be wet.

Monday for breakfast the instructors introduced themselves using wordplay with their names. For example, Mr. Beckwith uses a lot of tech in his class so he said, you will use tech-with Mr. Beckwith”. After that we had morning classes where so far they are just doing prep work and instructions for the class. One exception is a new teacher for the last three weeks, Mr. James Dochtermann who is teaching Clean the Ocean, a robotics class, and a version of Parts & Pieces. Also, in Mrs. Lisa Fernandez-Mitchell’s class they started etching copper plates already.

We take the group photo after lunch and this week we will use the drone to get a good shot. Wednesday, we have a special trip to the Francis Malcolm Science Center in Easton, Maine. Our very own Mr. Larry Berz will give the kids a show that is literally out of this world. Sigh, sorry. Thursday, weather permitting, will bring out the 100 foot x 20 foot waterslide powered by the Limestone Fire Department. 
 
Thanks and stay tuned.
 

Classes went well today. The campers are preparing their final projects and getting ready for the celebration of learning. In the past we have tried various different methods, but this year we went with the video compilation of all the classes. Last year, we started with kids getting up on stage and talking about what they did in each class. We said, “do not give a day by day recap of everything you did. There are 22 classes, so going over 3 minutes means a long presentation.” Sure enough, every group got up and said, “on Monday we…” After about 3 hours of hearing that we changed to tables around the cafeteria and kids would walk around and look at each place. The problem there was it took about 2 minutes to get to the next station and then they only about 2 minutes to see the presentation. This year we are trying to collect video clips and one of the instructors creates a 30 minute video highlighting all classes.


 
The theme for today is Super Hero Day, which is connected to the event tonight, Monster Night. Staff dress up as various monsters and provide various challenges for the kids to sign the sheet.
 
The big event of the day was the waterslide. Last week we had a “mostly successful” slide, but it needed improvement. One thing in our favor last week was the weather. It was a scorcher. Today is warm, but cloudy at times. Last week the slide was 10 feet wide, by two sheets of 25 foot long 4 mil plastic. They occasionally came un-sandbagged and slipped apart. That won’t happen again. We have a 24 foot wide by 100 foot long 6 mil sheet and a firetruck to supply water. It’s like a runway. Plus the drone should be back from repair (don’t ask) and we hope to get some good aerial shots. 


 
This weekend we will have about 20 boys staying over for two weeks. We take the two weekers out to play mini golf and either a movie or the Francis Malcolm Science Center for a planetarium show.
 
Thanks and stay tuned.
 

Sorry for the delay in updating the blog, but we’ve had a busy week. Sunday check-in went smoothly and all 110 boys are accounted for. They got together in their families and created intro skits and family flags and then we had a completely unplanned impromptu dance contest in the auditorium where two kids won a trophy for the unplanned impromptu dance contest.

Campers standing together on the playground.

On Monday, classes began full swing as did activities in the afternoon such as swimming, board games, tournaments in checkers, chess, ping-pong, billiards, and this week a new tournament was requested. Some kids have asked for a Magic the Gathering tournament which we will offer for them and have some medals at the end of the week. I keep referring to it as the Magic Show and they get mad that I don’t know what it is (I do).

Camper looking at 3D printer in classroom

Classes are creating interesting things already. The We See 3D class has four 3D printers producing creations from children’s imagination. I’ve seen a miniature ping-pong set, some teachers are creating hats for hat-day, and kids are making spaceships and such. In the Just Launch It class the boys are already building trebuchets. Some interesting airplane designs have been tested for What’s in the Sky? Calculus and Thermodynamics are getting into the nitty-gritty. Finally, parts and pieces are tearing apart things and learning where they come from. 
 
Tomorrow we’re really excited about the big new waterslide that is 100 feet long and 24 feet wide it’s like an aircraft carrier. Then Friday we will have the celebration of learning video that we will upload soon for each week.
 
Remember to call between 6PM and 7PM not dinner time which is 5-6. Or email the campers at mssmcampers@gmail.com and we get the message to them.
 
Thanks and stay tuned.
 

We start the MSSM Summer Camp Boys’ Week 2 on a good foot. Check in went smoothly and everyone who should be here is here. There was a scavenger hunt for the boys who took the long bus ride from Portland. Once they reach the final leg of the trip and get to Houlton (one more hour), we created a visual scavenger hunt for them to find things on each side of the road. It might be “two silos with the letters N & S” or “10,000 license plates”. From what the counselor said, they had a great time looking for things and it made the time fly by.

Once everyone arrived, they got in their family groups and met the other members as well as their counselors and mentors. Mentors are paid staff members that have attended camp in the past as campers. They need to be 15 years old at least. The Counselors need to be closer to 18, if not older and have been Mentors and campers in the past. The instructors must have Bachelor’s degrees and be passionate about something in the STEM field.

After an outdoor BBQ and staff skits the campers made their own skits. Of course, with an hour prep time and the boys being that age...most of the skits were just giggling or silly memes, but a few had really clever ideas. Then we had a planned, impromptu dance contest to the songs “Shake it Off” and then “Beat It”. There was a tie between campers Tucker and Lucean.

On the way back to the dorm, the boys stopped and gazed through the large telescope aptly named, Goliath, and saw Jupiter. Then it was back to the gym for a snack and on to wings to get ready for bed and the busy week of STEM learning.

We have some big things planned for the kids. We have a giant Jenga game, which is oddly not as giant as we thought. It wouldn’t make sense to have a Jenga game that was 20 feet tall, but that’s what we thought it would be. We also have a large chess set and this week we upgraded our waterslide. Last week, we had 3 20 foot long sheets that kept coming apart so this week we will have one single 6 mil sheet 100 feet long and 24 feet wide. That’s like and aircraft carrier. Can’t wait for that. Hope it’s a scorcher Thursday. 

Stay tuned for more fun !
 

Camper Email: mssmcampers@gmail.com
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