In other places, folks might call their summer abodes “cabins” or “cottages.” Here in Maine, many of us simply call ‘em “camps.” Big or small, rustic or more refined, they’re just camps.

If you’ve been around these parts for more than a summer or two, you know that Mainers love their camps. Heck, comedian Bob Marley even has a stand-up routine that deals with that odd Maine affinity for their camps … which they always go “upta.”

With camps come traditions. Maybe summer’s not official until Uncle Buford lights his whiskers on fire. Maybe your clan recognizes a rite of passage whereby kids aren’t “big kids” until they dare to leap off a specific rock into the cool waters below. Or maybe the camp-opening chores are dictated by tradition.

Whatever your family’s camp tradition, we want to hear about it … and we want to share your memories with our readers in a future story.

So get thinking. Call whiskerless Uncle Buford and see if it’s OK to tell his story. Jot down some notes. Have fun with this assignment. If it helps, you can think of this project as a cool turn on the traditional end-of-summer school essay: “What I always do at camp during my summer vacation.” If you’ve got some cool photos to illustrate your tradition, or your camp, we’d love to see those, too.

Email your responses to us at, or send them the old, slow way to Bangor Daily News, Attn: Camp Traditions, PO Box 1329, Bangor, 04402-1329.

Then keep your eyes peeled: If we get as many good stories as we expect, we’ll be putting a neat story (or two, or three, or more) together before you can say “Upta Camp.”

John Holyoke

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their...