They’re Happy Campers, Come Rain or Come Shine

Laconia — July 15, 2009 — While the Lakes Region is finally in the midst of its first real stretch of sunny weather this summer, the cool, rainy weeks that preceded affected many annual summer events and activities, including summer camps. Yet some summer camp directors say the rain has had only a minimal impact on both activities and enrollment.

“People who really love to camp come rain or shine,” said Nancy Hess, executive director of Camp Calumet in Ossipee.

“We’ve had a really good time,” Hess said in summing up the past several weeks. She added that when she spoke to counselors, most said they continue to supervise campers in outdoor activities if it is a light to moderate rain with no thunder and lightning.

“They said they do everything they normally do, only they get wet,” Hess said.

Hess said when the rain is heavy, there is a large, covered pavilion at the camp under which campers may stay dry while still
enjoying the fresh air. There is also a large lodge.

Hess said the weather has not hurt the number of people registering for camp, and she does not believe the economy has had an effect either. She added that the late end to the school year at most New Hampshire public schools due to winter and early
spring closings did cause enrollment to be down the first two weeks the camp was open.

“But enrollment during the rest of the weeks has been holding steady,” Hess said.

Hess said the camp, which also includes a family campground section, is the only Lutheran-run camp in New England, which
gives it a loyal following among Lutheran families.

“People are less concerned about the weather and more concerned about fellowship and meeting friends and family there,” Hess said.

The camp also has several spots open each summer for children of low-income families, so that they may enjoy an experience
they might not otherwise have. The camp is co-ed and for children ages 8 to 18 and can have up to 250 children per session.

Jim Talbot, director of Camp Tecumseh in Moultonborough, also said the rain has not been much of a hindrance to summer fun. When it rains, campers may watch movies, participate in wood shop or play indoor games such as ping pong.

“We also have an indoor climbing wall that is very popular,” Talbot said.

Camp Tecumseh is an all-boys camp for children ages eight to 16 and is located on Moultonboro Neck Road. It is a nonprofit, nonsectarian camp with an emphasis on sports, drama and mountain climbing. Talbot said the economy has only had a slight
impact, as enrollment is down by approximately five percent.

“We’re doing fine,” Talbot said. “We’re one of those camps where children come year after year. In some cases their parents and grandparents came here also.”

Talbot said the 106-year-old Camp Tecumseh hosts approximately 170 campers for up to seven weeks. Campers can choose to stay the full seven weeks or to stay for a three-and-a-half-week half-session.

Nathan Parks, director of Camp Berea in Hebron, said campers there also made the best of the rainy weather.

“We’ve had huge slip-and-slides, we’re just using the puddles as our own pool,” Parks said. “The rain has not been a hindrance, people seem to like getting wet, whether they are swimming in it or walking through it.”

Parks said the camp has an indoor gym and multiple buildings in which campers can meet for games and activities.

Camp Berea is a nonprofit camp for children in grades one through 12. The camp runs in one-week sessions, usually hosting
220 children a week.

Rick Ross, director of Camp Mi-Te-Na, a YMCA camp in Alton, said the number of people attending is down a little, but not by much. He said the economy is more of a factor than the weather.

Ross said when it is light or moderate rain with no lightning and thunder, they give the boys the option of continuing with outdoor activities or doing indoor activities. If it is heavy rain or thunderstorms, they have all indoor activities, which include games and crafts.

The camp is an all-boys camp for children 7 to 15 and it has the capacity for 166 boys each week.

They’re Happy Campers, Come Rain or Come Shine