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    Why should I send my child to an overnight camp?

    Why should I send my child away to an overnight camp? Whether you have asked this question or not, it’s certainly a natural thought that may cross your mind as you begin to explore all of the different options for your children throughout the summer.

    Sending your children away to camp is a big (and sometimes scary) decision, but it’s also a very exciting one too! The idea requires a lot of thought and discussion amongst the entire family. Whether or not everyone is on board with the idea, it’s a question that we hope families are asking and continue to ask for generations to come.

    With another summer season just around the corner and many new families getting ready to join the O-AT-KA family, we wanted to share some of our biggest reasons why families should consider this big decision. While some reasons are more obvious than others, it never hurts to remind ourselves of the importance and value that an overnight camp experience can offer our youth.

    Our biggest and probably most obvious reason why is to gain independence. Many of our new (and even returning) campers deal with feelings of homesickness in their first couple of days at camp. It is a natural reaction that we recognize and acknowledge amongst our campers. We specifically at O-AT-KA are proud to say that our staff is highly trained and prepared to deal with homesickness even before it hits. The experience of going away to camp is invaluable in terms of gaining independence from home and also building confidence in oneself.

    Subsequent to becoming more independent, overnight camps offer kids the chance to take risks, try new things, and learn new skills all within a safe space. Most traditional, overnight camps offer a long list of activities for campers to choose from (from land sports to water sports, the arts, and wilderness trips etc.). Staff members are trained in their program areas, and they are excited and eager to teach and share those skills with their campers!

    Overnight camp offers the chance to build relationships and make new friends. This is another obvious reason but a good reminder that camp is a place where kids form strong, lasting relationships and even make life-long friends from all over the world. These bonds can be formed at any camp but may be even stronger when kids are living together at camp.

    Lastly, overnight camp offers a change in pace from the busy academic year and — perhaps even more obvious than that — a change of scenery. There is something to be said for time spent not only away from home, but also within nature where a new perspective can hopefully be found.

    “May the lake, the trees, the wide spaces of the fields and all the nature sights and sounds of earth and air be unto us as gates whereby we may enter – and think quiet compelling thoughts.”

    -Excerpts of the O-AT-KA Prayer

    Unplugged at O-AT-KA

    Soon our campers will be arriving for our 113th Season at O-AT-KA. We couldn’t be more excited! As our families plan and prepare to send their boys away for the summer, we want to remind everyone of our policy concerning technology. Our policy at O-AT-KA places a high priority on safety and the importance of our boys learning independence, self-reliance and building community with those around us. There is so much value in face-to-face interactions, being present in the moment, taking time to focus on what is here rather than what is elsewhere. As we have found from extensive experience, we are best able to achieve these goals in an unplugged environment. For this reason, campers are not allowed to bring cellular phones to camp nor do they have access to the camp telephone during their stay.

    Boys are encouraged to write home on a weekly basis. Who doesn’t love receiving a letter in the mail? This is a tradition that is appreciated and shouldn’t be lost! Members of the camp staff are always available to assist our families with urgent matters that require communication with our campers. We ask that our families and friends please help support our policy and refrain from sending campers to camp with cell phones or other devices that connect to the internet.

    Families should also refer to our 2018 Parent Guidebook that is located on our website under the Parents > Resources tab. This is a very helpful resource that includes a lot of information pertaining to all things camp and how to best prepare for the upcoming summer. 


    2018 Pre-Camp Checklist

    June 24th will be here before we know it! It’s always smart to handle the pre-camp to do’s now to get ahead of the crunch of spring sports playoffs, school graduations, pool parties, etc. Below is a checklist we have prepared to hopefully help our families stay on track and be ready for opening day at O-AT-KA!


    ☐ Schedule your son’s physical exam to ensure you’ll have time to secure any forms or prescriptions in time for camp

    ☐ Make any travel reservations if needed.

    ☐ Check your son’s trunk for camp gear needs

    ☐ Talk with your son about his goals for the summer and communication expectations while he is at camp

    ☐ Sign your son/family up to be Camp Ambassadors! This is an exciting new outreach program to empower current campers to help recruit new campers and raise awareness about camp within our communities. This is a wonderful leadership opportunity that includes other perks. For more information, please contact Annie at abowe@campoatka.org

    ☐ Begin filling out all necessary forms in our camp software Campminder (please see instructions below).

    ☐ Register for CampMeds if needed (please see instructions below).

    ☐ Begin packing camp gear

    ☐ Confirm transportation to/from Camp

    ☐ May 15 – all forms, camp meds registration and final tuition payments are due!


    ☐ Final packing items packed and ship trunk if necessary

    ☐ June 23 – All international campers are picked up at Boston Logan Airport

    ☐ June 24 – OPENING DAY!


    O-AT-KA uses the CampMeds pre-packaged medication program. Every camper who will be taking medication while at camp, with the exception of short-term antibiotics, dissolving tablets (e.g. Reditabs), or injectable medications must register with CampMeds at www.campmeds.com or by calling (954) 577-0025. CampMeds will send pre-packaged doses of your son’s medication directly to the camp infirmary for administration. Families will pay a $40 processing fee for the program if registered by May 15. An additional $25 charge will be incurred for families who register after May 15. Families arriving on-site with a camper requiring daily or long-term medication and who have not pre-registered with CampMeds will be charged a $65 packaging fee. The only exception will be families whose insurance is not accepted by CampMeds or those for whom CampMeds was unable to provide a particular product. Any camper needing daily vitamins or over the counter (OTC) medications will incur a fee of $40 if not packaged through CampMeds.

    For access to all necessary forms, please follow these instructions:

    • Go to the camp website:  www.campoatka.org
    • Go to About, click on the Resources tab to log in to your account.  Enter your email address and click to retrieve your password.  CampMinder will reply immediately with a temporary password.  Use that password to log in.  You can then change your password in “login details.” 
    • If the system does not recognize your email address, either we have an outdated or incorrect one in our records.  If this occurs, send an email to info@campoatka.org from your preferred address, and we will update your records.  We can’t promise we will beat the automated system, but we will do our best!
    • Once you are logged in, you will see the Parent Dashboard, which will guide you through the rest of the process.  

    As always, please feel free to call or e-mail us with any questions.  You can call the office at (207) 787-3401, or you can e-mail us at info@campoatka.org. Good luck with the remainder of the school year, and we look forward to seeing you all this summer!

    Spring is here at O-AT-KA!

    May 1, 2018

    Greetings from O-AT-KA on Sebago Lake, and Happy Spring! We can’t believe we have already reached the month of May. Thank goodness that the snow has finally melted, and we can now dust off our equipment, begin spring cleaning, put the docks in, and prepare to open our doors to welcome our campers for our 113th summer.

    We are in the final stages with staffing, cabins, and other programs. Our counselors, staff, and leadership team at O-AT-KA have spent months planning exciting events, organizing activity schedules, and ensuring that our upcoming summer will be amazing. Their hard work and preparation is a testament to how passionate they are about O-AT-KA and how excited they are to welcome our returning and new campers on Opening Day (June 24).

    We are so excited to be kicking off our blog as a way to share our love and stories of camp while also keeping everyone updated on our latest news/updates/events. There is so much to look forward to, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

    Stay tuned for more posts leading up to Opening Day and throughout the summer season!


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