Junior Maine Guide (JMG) Program: For Seniors. Session 1 only. For the first four weeks of camp, campers work each day to develop new outdoor living skills, such as fire building, cooking, map and compass skills, shelter building and more. The fifth week, campers go to a JMG testing camp where state officials test and observe a candidate’s skills. Campers who pass the test earn a Junior Maine Guide (JMG) certification from the State of Maine. Note: Campers meet two full periods per day during Session 1 (four weeks) and attend the JMG test week offsite during a fifth additional week. Cost for the JMG test week is $1,350. O-AT-KA pays the JMG Test Fee and expenses.
Lifeguard Training Program: For ages 15 and up. Campers participate in the American Red Cross lifeguard training program, a 36-hour course in theoretical and practical skills. Successful candidates will earn their LGT certificate, as well as First Aid and CPR certification from the American Red Cross. The course meets two periods a day during the first session only. There are no extra costs for the lifeguard training program.
The Order of Sir Galahad
Camp founder Rev. E.J. Dennen developed a character-building program modeled after King Arthur’s court which he called The Order of Sir Galahad. Mr. Dennnen’s motto was, “It is easier to build boys than to mend men.”
Within this Order there are five degrees. Each one serves as a building block leading a boy towards a better life. The degrees are: Lads, Pages, Esquires, Knights, and Knight-Counselors. Each degree has its own motto, vow, and prayer. The mottos are, respectively, helpfulness, obedience, truth, chivalry, and service.
Each step in the Galahad program reflects the developmental challenges of the boys and young men of that degree. For instance, middlers, age 11–13, take on the vow of obedience—something that can be a challenge for that age group!
During his stay at O-AT-KA, every boy can expect to go on at least one overnight camping trip. Often, trips are organized by cabin or unit, and form part of the fabric of the unit experience. Interested middlers and seniors may also register for elective trips that challenge each boy to set and attain goals, take care of himself and his equipment, and to become the kind of person that others can turn to for support.
Wilderness Trips at Camp O-AT-KA are 2-5 day adventures and include hiking, sea kayaking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing on remote Maine lakes. Camp also offers, as well as an annual trek to the summit of Maine’s highest peak, Mount Katahdin, and a trip to explore Maine’s Acadia National Park.
The leadership cabin is a four week program designed to be a capstone camping experience that helps to develop and enhance the young men’s leadership skills and character development.
Campers ages 15-16 will be in a single cabin together with counselors specifically selected to support their growth in this program. There will be frequent activities as a cabin, led by their counselors, to help support their development.
For much of the time, the boys will be fully involved in the life at Camp by participating in crafts and Senior Unit activities. At other times, they will be participating in specific programs designed to develop their leadership skills including:
- Lifeguarding skills – as part of their swimming program, campers will take the American Red Cross (ARC) lifeguarding course. Successful completion of the course will make them certified as ARC Life guards.
- Wilderness skills – campers will participate on a 5-day, 4-night wilderness trip involving both hiking and canoeing. This will be a “true” wilderness trip that will draw upon their outdoors skills that they have learned in previous summers. This will also support preparation for JMG test camp if they elect to it (if JMG is a desire, it is strongly recommended that you participate in the first session).
- Service Learning – campers will go to a community center in the Portland area several times a week to work as mentors to young, disadvantaged boys from the Portland area. This will be an extension of our outreach work as a part of the Dennen Program at Camp.
The 7-week Counselor-In-Training program provides participants with an experiential education in effective leadership skills while focusing on the specific skills necessary to work effectively with children. It also focuses on the value of creating lifelong friends in a healthy supportive environment.
C.I.T.s hone their skills to an advanced level while learning important safety skills, and eventually act as assistant staff members while they learn the skills necessary to lead group activities and be a cabin counselor.