What age does my child have to be to attend West End House Girls Camp?

West End House Girls Camp campers are 7-15 years old. We offer an invitation only LIT program for 16 year old campers and at 17 a camper is eligible to be invited as a Jr. Counselor.

Where are you located?

We are located in Southern Maine at 39 Pineridge Road, Parsonsfield, ME 04047. Our location is an hour West of Portland and two hours north of Boston. Please download detailed driving instructions, as some GPS services do not have accurate directions.

What are the session dates?

Session dates coming soon!

How does cabin bunking work?

Camp friends are friends for life! At WEHGC your child has the opportunity to make new friends from their neighborhood or from the other side of the globe! This opportunity is part of what makes the camp experience formative and unique. In order to aid this process, WEHGC has developed the following guidelines:

  • Bunking is age-appropriate.
  • We honor all reciprocated bunking requests provided they fall within our guidelines.
  • In order to prevent cliques, we allow each camper a maximum of two friend requests.
  • Bunk requests made less than two weeks before camp may not be honored.

WEHGC understands that having four or five friends in the same cabin gives a sense of community, but we find that it hinders the growth process for our campers and creates barriers to making new friends. We want to set our campers and parents up for success and encourage them to take advantage of the chance to make new friends.

How much does camp cost? When is payment due?

2020 rates coming soon!

How can I prepare my child for summer camp?

  • Don’t make a “pick-up deal.” Instead of saying, “If you feel homesick, I’ll come and get you,” normalize their anxiety and talk positively about camp.
  • Double-check the camp’s packing list.
  • Spend practice time away from home.
  • Label everything.
  • Double-check the opening and closing dates and times. Use a wall calendar in the months prior to opening day to make an exciting count-down to the big day.

What can I do if my child is homesick?

Dr. Chris Thurber, a leader in the summer camp industry, says this about homesickness:

  • Homesickness (or “missing home”) is normal. In study after study, researchers found that 95% of boys and girls who were spending at least two weeks at overnight camp felt some degree of homesickness. Children at day camp may also feel pangs of homesickness, but less frequently.
  • Homesickness is typically mild. Nearly everyone misses something about home when they’re away. Some campers most miss their parents; others most miss home cooking, a sibling, or the family pet. Whatever they miss, the vast majority of children have a great time at camp and are not bothered by mild homesickness.
  • Homesickness builds confidence. Overcoming a bout of homesickness and enjoying time away from home nurtures children’s independence and prepares them for the future. The fact that second-year campers are usually less homesick than first-year campers is evidence of this powerful growth.
  • Homesickness has a silver lining. If there’s something about home children miss, that means there’s something about home they love, and that’s a wonderful thing. Sometimes just knowing that what they feel is a reflection of love makes campers feel better.

So if nearly everyone feels some homesickness, what can be done to prevent a really strong case of homesickness? Here’s a recipe for positive camp preparation:

  • Make camp decisions together. Where to go, what type of camp to attend, and how long to stay are all decisions your child can make with you. Also, shop and pack for camp together. Involving children gives them a sense of ownership.
  • Arrange lots of practice time away from home. Overnights at friends’ houses, weekends with grandparents, and other time away from home teach children to cope effectively with separation. It also gives them a chance to practice the primary way they’ll stay in touch with you at camp: letter writing.
  • Speaking of letter writing…If you want to get any mail yourself, be sure to pack pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes in your child’s trunk.
  • Share your optimism, not your anxiety. Talk about all the positive aspects of camp and share your concerns only with another adult, such as your spouse or the camp director. Avoid giving your son or daughter a mixed message by saying something like, “Have a great time at camp. I hope I remember to feed your dog.” Giving your child something to worry about while she’s away will only increase homesickness.
  • Never ever make a pick-up deal. Saying, “If you feel homesick, we’ll come to get you” undermines children’s confidence and ensures they’ll be preoccupied with home from the moment they arrive at camp. Instead of making a pick-up deal, say, “I’m sure that if you miss home, you and your cabin leader will be able to work together to help you feel better. Camp will be a blast!”

OK, then, what are the most effective ways of coping with homesickness at camp? What advice can you write in a letter or e-mail to your son or daughter if you get a homesick letter?

  • Stay busy. Doing a fun, physical activity nearly always reduces homesickness intensity.
  • Stay positive. Remembering all the cool stuff you can do at camp keeps the focus on fun, not on home.
  • Stay in touch. Writing letters, looking at a photo from home, or holding a memento from home can be very comforting.
  • Stay social. Making new friends is a perfect antidote to bothersome homesickness. Talking to the staff at camp is also reassuring.
  • Stay focused. Remember that you’re not at camp forever, just a few weeks. Bringing a calendar to camp helps you be clear about the length of your stay.
  • Stay confident. Anti-homesickness strategies take some time to work. Kids who stick with their strategies for five or six days almost always feel better.

Your help preparing your child for this amazing growth experience will pay huge dividends. After a session of camp, you’ll see an increase in your child’s confidence, social skills, and leadership. And while your son or daughter is at camp, you can enjoy a well-deserved break from full-time parenthood. Remember: Homesickness is part of normal development. Our job should be to coach children through the experience, not to avoid the topic altogether.

What should my child pack for camp?

What to pack for summer camp seems challenging if your child will be away from home for multiple weeks. Please see our comprehensive packing list of what to bring and what not to bring below.

How does transportation to and from camp work?

WEHGC is located an hour west of Portland, ME and two hours north of Boston. Parents have the option of driving their campers to camp or take advantage of our charter bus service.

Charter Bus Service

West End House Girls Camp offers charter bus service from Joseph Prep School at 617 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02134. Arrival and departure times will be confirmed in your welcome packet.

What is your dismissal policy?

While problems of the following nature are rare, our primary goal is to ensure that all campers have a positive camp experience. Therefore, it is understood that a camper will be dismissed from camp, without refund, for reasons including, but not limited to the following: Use or possession of chemical substances, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs, unauthorized use or possession of cellular telephones, unauthorized use or possession of weapons, persistent inappropriate language, teasing, bullying, conduct which is dangerous (i.e. sneaking out of the cabin at night unsupervised), illegal, or in the opinion of the camp directors, conduct detrimental to the camp and/or other campers.

Campers sneaking out after curfew, unsupervised, will be expelled from camp without a refund.