The memorable second choice

In the summer of 1982 I was not quite 11 years old and I was excited. For the first time I was going to get to go away to Boy Scout Camp. My mom also told me that she had signed me up for the Audubon Youth Ecology Camp at Hog Island, Maine. I would be going there for 10 days then coming home for a week, then going on to Boy Scout camp for a week.

I was not that excited. It seemed like an obstacle between me and Scout camp, something to be endured while waiting to go to that awesome place where I’d get to swim, play games, participate in archery, earn merit badges, etc..

When the time to leave rolled around we packed up a foot locker and loaded it into the car for the drive up the coast from Massachusetts to Bremen, Maine. I was prepared to endure my time while thinking of all the fun things I’d be doing in a few weeks when Scout camp finally arrrived.

The truth, of course, was exactly the opposite. Nearly 30 years later I still recall my first glimpse of Hog Island across the mist shrouded bay as I was dropped off on the shore with the other kids. It’s seemed like another world, and it was. There was hiking, learning about the coastal ecology, boat trips, exploration, amazing meals, and nightly presentations and singing songs in the Fish House.

In the end, I can’t recall much of what I did at Boy Scout camp, to which I never returned, but I did go back to Hog Island in 1983 and 1984. After that I was too old for the youth camp, but I never forgot it.

Years later I thought to look it up again in hopes of sending my daughter in a few years. I was sad to see this camp is no more. I would pay dearly to have her go and experience the magic of that island in Maine.

4 thoughts on “The memorable second choice

  1. Good Morning Ethan,

    I heard a passing reference to a girls camp in Jefferson, ME that still uses or visits Hog Island. Not having a daughter myself I don’t know much more than that. Good luck!

  2. Dear Ethan,

    Your beautifully written comment brought a tear to my eye, as I saw that 11 year-old boy disappointed being trucked off to some camp, on some island, away from his friends, to then discover the magic of Hog Island that embraces all who have trodden its moss-laden paths.

    With this note, I hope to rekindle that magic and bring a smile to you. Hog Island is open!

    We are looking forward to another successful year in 2011. Friends of Hog Island has become a legal entity dedicated to providing a sustainable future for Hog Island and an endowment. We plan to maintain communication with ALL the alumni, whether it be by electronic communication, snail mail, or a phone call. We want to harness all those memories and energy and propel ourselves into a future that will ensure others can benefit from the experience and go on to do great things.

    To see the programs for the 2011 season on Hog Island, check out http://hogisland.audubon.org and, of course, continue to visit and browse the FOHI website for updates.

    Thank you again, Ethan, for taking the time to comment. If there is anything I can do or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, or I’d be happy to chat with you on the phone. It means a lot to the board of FOHI to hear from you and know that those memories are alive and thriving in the hearts of the alumni.

    Looking forward to seeing you on the island and your daughter.

    Juanita

  3. Hello Ethan,

    I am a fellow alumni of that very first Youth Camp on Hog Island, as well, and have the same recollections…a long drive to an unfamiliar destination, then a slow awakening to the island’s sweetness, not just its hidden beauties and magic but the comraderie fostered by the incredible staff who became mentors and friends. I too had the opportunity to return both as a camper and a student assistant in later years. How lucky we were!

    Patti D’Angelo

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