A Summer Experience
at Camp Caribou
Lasts a Lifetime
A Cultural Tradition
Founded in 1922 and originally called Camp Winslow, Camp Caribou began as a family business and is still family-run, nearly 100 years later. Camp Caribou sits on a picturesque, private 200-acre peninsula in the heart of Maine’s lake district. This safe and secluded natural paradise is the idyllic setting for children ages 7-15 to have one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.
“Camp friends are friends for life,” says Bobby Lerman, co-director of Camp Caribou and part of the 3rd generation of Lermans, who have run the camp since 1968. Bobby works directly with his sister, Lori, and her husband, Alex, who was a Caribou camper himself. Kids return year after year to Camp Caribou for a number of reasons, but the primary one is to see the friends they made from the last summer.
There’s a lot about camp culture that helps form these life-long bonds. For new campers, it may be their first time away from home for any extended period of time. For returning campers, it’s the opportunity to share a unique experience with their friends, surrounded by nature, with new and exciting activities every single day.
Camp Caribou’s highly-trained staff facilitate the friendships formed between campers. Counselors pride themselves on providing a positive, nurturing environment for the boys. “Camp Caribou is a character-based camp,” says Bobby. It’s a place where athletics and creative arts are intertwined with kindness and respect. “It’s cool to be nice at Camp Caribou,” adds Alex.
The vibe at Camp Caribou is one of equality, teamwork and group participation. From day-trips into the surrounding wilderness to weekly campfire sessions, campers are encouraged to embrace each other’s differences. The attentive staff act as mentors, providing the framework for campers to gain confidence, independence and friendship.
“One of our priorities as directors is to help kids make the initial connection,” says Bobby. “We want to help them find commonalities and acclimate quickly.” The 1st year campers are paired with other first time campers, the alumni paired with other returning campers. The bunks are created with thoughtful care.
Camp Caribou is not just about socialization. The camp offers a wide variety of athletic and artistic electives that promote campers’ independence while encouraging them to try something new in a supportive environment. With 2 miles of private lakefront and a high counselor to camper ratio, kids can participate in sailing, swimming, water skiing, wake boarding, paddle boarding and fishing, all in a safe environment.
On land, expert instruction is provided to campers who want to play baseball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, golf or archery. The famed “Fenway Park” whiffle ball diamond is there as well. Tennis, roller hockey, ropes course—the list goes on and on. For the artistically-inclined, Camp Caribou’s arts & crafts and woodshop facility is top-notch, overlooking the lake and loaded with all the tools and machinery needed for campers to create amazing projects. Attentive woodshop and artistic directors keep a close eye while allowing campers to truly express themselves. Out of the woodshop the culinary arts, magic, digital photography and the theater programs offer kids more opportunities to discover their next life-long passion.
All the activities—the delicious food shared during meal times, the hiking and day-trips to nearby attractions—serve one overarching purpose at Camp Caribou: creating memorable experiences and life-long friendships. “There’s really a family atmosphere here at Camp Caribou,” says Bobby. “We offer a daily structure that balances specialty instruction with elective afternoons, but really, it’s our intangibles that set Camp Caribou apart. We are a warm, nurturing camp, not super competitive. We offer competition without being unwelcoming and friendships without judgment.”
A Second Home
“We have a size that enables us to know every camper, the dynamic of every cabin,” Alex echoes. “My wife (co-director Lori Lerman Rotman) tucks kids in at night. We want our campers to feel like this is a second home.”
Ultimately, Camp Caribou is for the active child who wants to participate in a variety of activities regardless of ability level. Parents can rest easy knowing their kids are attending a values-driven camp, one that prioritizes character over competition, where the beautiful, private surroundings enhance Camp Caribou’s overall culture of being kind to one another above all. And when the kids come home, they’ll inevitably ask, “When can I go back? I want to hang with my new friends!”
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