Caydince’s Camp Story

February 10, 2023

When you give a Maine child an opportunity to go to Camp Susan Curtis, you give them so much more than a fun camp experience. 

When Caydince, a longtime camper and now a current staff member, started coming to Camp Susan Curtis at 8 years old, it opened up a whole new world and perspective. As a camper, her favorite part of camp was always the closing campfire on the last night. It felt like a celebration of all the new and exciting things she had experienced throughout the camp session. 

Now, as a camp staff member, she still loves the closing campfire – and sees it in a whole new way. “You can really see, when you look at the campers around the fire, the emotions they are feeling. You can see that the past 10 days have been very memorable for them and very happy. I always reflect on how the campers were when they first arrived at camp, and how much they’ve changed and grown.” 

Growth and transformation is at the heart of the mission of Camp Susan Curtis.

As Caydince reflects on her own camp experience, both as a camper and a staff member, she finds it easy to see the ways that camp has helped her grow. “I feel like everything that I’ve ever learned from camp will impact my future. Like always being kind to people because you don’t know what they’re going through. Trying to be a decent person. How to manage stress.” 

Knowing how to handle stress effectively has certainly been an important tool for Caydince during her first year of college at the University of Southern Maine. She’s a recipient of USM’s Promise Scholarship, an opportunity she learned about through the Promise Program’s partnership with Camp Susan Curtis.

As Caydince narrows down her decision on what to major in and considers future career paths (she’s thinking about becoming a Criminalist or a DNA Tech for a crime lab) she attributes her ability to handle stress in healthy ways to lessons she learned at camp.

“College is extremely stressful. I’ve never been good at dealing with stress. But working as a camp staff member last summer taught me how to work through it and manage it. I don’t think I would be able to handle any of this college stuff without what I learned at camp.”  

“I feel like I learned the meaning of family.”

Camp also gave Caydince a community of people that she knows she can depend on. In fact, a Lead Team staff member worked with her to complete the scholarship application that helped her attend USM.

“I feel like I learned the meaning of family. Your camp family. When you are a camper in your cabin with your cabinmates and staff, you are considered a little family. And as a staff member, I think of the Lead Team as mentors. I’ve learned the meaning of family in a different environment.”  

As Caydince navigates her first year of college and embarks on the next phase of her life, she emphasizes that camp will continue to help campers unlock their potential.

“Camp is teaching campers so many things. The campers are the soon-to-be the adults leading this world. I want them to be at their best potential. And camp definitely shows you how you can be your best.

“Something I learned from camp this year is one, to be more mature so I can be the best role model possible for younger campers. Another thing I learned was to use my voice more and to be less shy, this will help me in the future by being able to speak up not only for myself but for my friends and people who need someone to speak up for them.”