MSSM STEM Summer Camp
Frequently Asked Questions
Four weeks, campers attend 1-2 weeks.
- June 23rd - June 29th – Boys (ages 10–12)
- June 30th - July 6th – Capstone 1 (ages 12–14)
- July 7th - July 13th – Capstone 2 (ages 12–14)
- July 14th - July 20th – Girls (ages 10–14)
Four Daily STEM Classes
Classes are announced in April. They are limited to about 15 people per class each year. There are two sessions of two different classes. Campers pick their top 10 preferences on the first evening of camp and we place them according to their camp registration date. Some past classes have included: Calculus, CSI, Art & Science, Astronomy, Robotics, Programming, 3D Printing, Minecraft, Popsicle Stick Bridge Building, Model Rockets, Catapults, Healthy Forrest, Rube Goldberg Machines, Ceramics, Sports Science, and many more.
Traditional Summer Camp Activities
We do not have a lake, canoeing classes, boating, archery, sport competitions, or overnight hiking field trips. We have a campfire a few nights, a large indoor swimming pool, we do camp family skits, and songs, and eat S’mores. Other afternoon and evening activities include tie dye, bracelet making, cooking, board games, rock climbing (at UMPI), Virtual Reality, Monster Night*, mega waterslide, theme days*, Gaga pit, and many more.
* Some activities will be explained more later.
We usually have about 70 to 100 overnight campers and 10 day campers per week. We can hold up to 120 campers per week, but we are packed in.
We have some seasonal staff (teen & adult) and about 5 administrative members. The youngest are 15-year-old Counselors who are often ex-campers. Then there are senior Counselors who are at least 18 years old and often in their 20s. Finally, we have the adult instructors who are usually educators from around Maine, though sometimes they come from all over the US! This year we are developing a leadership position for 14-year-old campers who will be given some low-level responsibilities for their camp families. Though not a paid position, they will get to stay up later than the campers and have some other rewards. They will also get leadership experience and we can watch them in case they apply to work for camp the following summer.
We will also have Dorm Parents who are adults directly related to a camper and have some light duties in the mornings and then afternoons off. The camper would come to camp for free and the parent gets gas money reimbursed as well as a $100 salary for the week. While at camp, parents get three meals a day and a dorm room for the week. Contact email@example.com for more information.
History of Camp
We started in 1997 and are proud to be celebrating our 27th year of keeping kids academically stimulated during the summer. Loring AFB was in Limestone from 1947 to 1994. When it closed, the town went from 20,000 people to 2,000. The previous Limestone Community School building was now empty and became our dorm. The academic building was the old LCS high school. Now MSSM and LCS share the building. The school opened in 1995 graduating its first class in ’96, and the camp opened the following year in 1997.
Is my child ready?
That’s hard to say. We have about 1-2 students leave each week who get here and just don’t like being away from home or mom and dad. It’s not ideal for this to be their first week-long stay away from home. Do they want to come home from sleepovers just minutes away? Have they stayed with grandparents for more than a few nights? It’s a question only you can answer. It helps to not say things like “I am going to miss you while you are away at camp.” That makes them feel like they are doing something wrong. Try, “You are going to have so much fun, I can’t wait to hear about all your adventures after camp.” This year we have awards for most mail from home, most creative mail from home, most photos around the room of family, friends, and pets, and other ways to make campers feel welcomed.
We can accommodate most dietary needs including gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant, etc. The one area that is more difficult for us is serving full meals outside of regular meal times. We have had campers on medications that make them not hungry during meal times and then very hungry during breaks or snack times. It is possible, but difficult and there will be speed bumps.
We prefer “blister packs” where medications are pre-packed and clearly marked, but we can handle pill bottles if the pharmacy is not able to accommodate that. We have a very experienced camp nurse who is also an RN. She can talk to you before camp if your camper has special needs with medication. We are a peanut free campus during the summer.
We give 2-3 warnings before calling the parents. We do not tolerate bullying and will immediately investigate incidents and take action. Our camp brings in quiet, introverted types who may not speak up for themselves. If your camper mentions it, please contact us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have also had a few incidents of campers arguing about politics. We discourage this and our staff will not engage.
We have ramps and elevators everywhere in both buildings. Apart from any mechanical issues, someone in a wheelchair can get to all parts of both buildings. Some outdoor activities may be troublesome, but all classes and indoor activities have ramps. There is a large amount of travel during the camp. Even with ramps and elevators, the academic building and dorm are a ways away and campers are often going back and forth or outside to the field.
We are hoping to reduce the number of forms we have and make more web forms, but they are all done in the interest of safety for your camper. If we have an urgent medical issue, we don’t need to be flipping through a file cabinet looking for medical records.
Blanket or sleeping bag
Shoes that can get wet
Underwear / T-shirts
Books / Stuffed Animals
Small fan / Alarm clock
Addresses for postcards**
Below are optional:
Talent show equipment
Theme Day outfits
D&D / MTG equipment
Postcards and stamps
Free laundry this year
The schedule will be determined later in the spring. Here is a general overview without specific times.
Wake up, get ready, breakfast
Classes start around 8:30–8:45.
3 morning class with a long outside break
4th class, then “chill time” which includes a snack
Two 1-hour-long activity periods, dinner, quiet time, evening activity, snack
Shower time, in wing, bedtime, lights out around 9:30
Discipline Policy / Procedure
At our summer camp, we want everyone to have a blast while staying safe and respectful. We get it, summer is all about fun, and we're here to make sure you have an awesome time. However, we also believe in setting some ground rules to ensure everyone's happiness.
So, here's the deal: if we notice a camper engaging in behavior that's not quite in line with our camp's values, we'll have a little chat with them. We're not here to ruin the party, just to remind them of our expectations. We believe in second chances and understand that sometimes, we all slip up.
But, if a camper's behavior keeps heading down the wrong path despite our friendly reminders, we might need to give their parents a ring. We're all about teamwork, and involving parents can often help set things straight.
Now, let's get to the serious stuff. Bullying? Nope, not here. We take that seriously, and if it's proven that someone's been involved in bullying, they might just find themselves packing their bags and heading home early. We're all about creating a positive and inclusive camp environment, so let's be kind to one another and keep the good times rolling!
Each week we have 1-2 campers that either really want to go home or actually do. This is not the camp for everyone and we know that. Please don’t say things to your first-time camper such as “We are really going to miss you.” Though well-intended, it makes the child feel like they are abandoning them or did something wrong. We suggest “I can’t wait to hear about all the fun you will have when you get back.” We can only process partial refunds if the camper leaves by Monday. We are usually unable to transport campers as our driving-age staff are not able to leave during camp.
Food / Snacks:
Campers get three meals a day in our dining hall as well as 2-3 snacks throughout the day. There are also random ice cream treats (and equivalents for lactose-intolerant campers) as well as other treats for those staying two weeks. We ask that parents do not send many treats with campers because we have to confiscate anything with peanuts or anything made in a facility with peanuts. We return the snacks on the last day of camp as they are leaving or getting on the bus.
The MSSM STEM Summer Camp uses the dorm and academic building of Maine School of Science and Mathematics. The dormitory has X rooms and several adults that live on the wings year-round. There are very few singles, some doubles, some triples, and a few quads. There’s a lower lounge, kitchen, dorm office, mailroom, and gym. The wings have alarmed locking doors on both the internal and external exits. Campers are locked and alarmed in the wings each evening. The doors lock from the outside, but people inside can leave in an emergency. Opening the door will set off an alarm.
There is a laundry facility that takes a card that can be purchased. There are also vending machines on site. Wings have full bathrooms in the hall and campers sign up for shower times. Wings are opened in the morning and locked at night. Staff will check on the campers before locking the wing doors.
Check in / Check Out / Bus:
Check-in is on each Sunday and goes from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. It will be in the dorm gym so please park between the buildings. There will be a large sign directing you to the entrance. It is difficult for us to accommodate campers checking in before 2 p.m.
Check-out is on the Saturday at the end of the week, or two weeks. It is in the same location as check-in but goes from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. It’s possible to check out campers earlier than 9 a.m., but slightly problematic after 11. A staff member will call to confirm who is coming to get the camper before Saturday.
Bus: We hire school buses from MSAD1 to drop off kids on Saturdays from Houlton to South Portland, Maine Mall. It stays the night and returns along the same route leaving the mall parking lot at 8 a.m. and arriving at camp in the early afternoon. The cost is $30 each way and reservations open for it in late winter. Assuming COVID restrictions are lifted by then, they stop for lunch and several bathroom breaks.
Past stops have included:
South Portland (Maine Mall) Lewiston, Augusta Civic Center, Palmyra Walmart, Orono, and Houlton
Mobile phones are not prohibited at camp this summer for campers, but we will also not drop everything we are doing to scour the entire building to help find a lost phone. We encourage campers to not have phones and definitely not tablets. We attract quiet and often shy campers who might prefer to stay in their rooms and not meet people. We will not have Wi-Fi this summer.
Parents can call the dorm office (207-325-3796) after dinner during quiet time (exact times TBD) and campers can either talk then or we can give them one of our work phones to call back. Parents can email campers at email@example.com and the messages will be printed and given to the campers after dinner.
Parents are allowed and encouraged to visit camp and eat a meal with their campers. Just let us know in advance.
We don’t have a specific dress code, but we ask that campers do not wearing anything offense (which includes political these days) nor too revealing. If it’s something you are allowed to wear around the house, then it should be fine here.
The Penguin Club is a new idea to recognize and reward longtime returning campers. We currently give a 5-year award, but the PC will recognize those that have stayed more weeks than others. The details are still being worked out.
This is another new idea designed to give some 14-year old campers some leadership experience. For this year we will handpick a few and ask if they are interested. There is no financial reward, but we will be watching them more closely to see if they would be good mentors for the following year. It does not guarantee them a position the next year, but it certainly bumps them closer to the front of the line. PLs will participate in all camp activities as other campers, but will occasionally have some minor duties within the camp family. It could include things like making sure all campers are present, lounges are clean, etc. They will be able to stay up later a few times per week and have a special pizza party with the staff and get a special wristband.