If you’re privileged enough to live in Eastern Maine during the summer, there’s no better way to make the most of it than getting outdoors – and Washington County Community College’s Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) is looking to encourage area residents to do exactly that. This year’s schedule offers several new activities for local youth, along with some new opportunities for adults as well.
Join Shead High School science teacher and biologist Stephanie Allard in a week-long adventure exploring the diverse marine ecosystems found in Washington County, Maine. Travel by foot, lobster boat, and sea kayak exploring tide pools, rocky intertidal zones, mudflats, and local waters. Look for whales, fish for lobster, tow for plankton, dig for clams, and hunt for creatures hidden in the rockweed. Be prepared to get dirty, have fun, and learn a lot! The camp will run from June 24-28th and is intended for ages 12-16. The cost of the camp is $200.
Two backpacking camps, one for ages 10-12 and one for ages 13-14, are planned for July. Both camps will teach team-building skills, orientation, gear packing, camp site set up and take down, leaving no trace, navigation, and geocaching. The beginner camp will take place from July 15th-19th, with an overnight campout at Cobscook Bay State Park on the 18th. The expedition camp will take place from July 29th-August 2nd, with an overnight at the Bold Coast on August 1st. The fee for participants is $150 each.
From August 5th to 9th, there will be a high school canoe camp at Keene’s Lake. This is an entry level canoe camp providing practical experience on preparing a tandem canoe trip. It promotes safe paddling, maneuvering, and team communication. It will be for ages 14-17 with a cost of $150.
Also in August is the always-popular Youth Summer Sailing Camp, organized and sponsored alongside the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club. “It improves team building as youth are working with a partner to learn how to sail a vessel,” McCormick said. Partners are rotated through for variety and opportunity to work with different personalities. “It gets you out of your comfort zone, and it’s good for self-growth,” McCormick explained. “It’s a fun environment that attracts kids from all over Washington County.”
The Youth Summer Sailing camp involves two beginner sessions, one intermediate, and one advanced. The beginner sessions will be held at Indian and Keene’s Lake from August 5th-9th and 12th-16th, respectively. The intermediate session will be at Keene’s Lake from August 19th-23rd. The advanced session will be at Boyden’s Lake from August 26th-29th. The camps are open to ages 8-18, with the exception of the advanced session, which is for ages 12-18. Both the beginner and intermediate camps cost $135 per participant while the advanced session is $150. Scholarships are available thanks to the generous support of the Passamaquoddy Yacht Club.
Adults wishing to build upon their own canoeing skills will benefit from a late July course. Participants will become certified in Level 1 Skills and Combined Safety and Rescue on Flatwater through the American Canoe Association. It will run July 27 and 28th for a fee of $180 is intended for ages and 16 and up.
Adults wanting to take it a step further and become certified in teaching canoe skills themselves can do so with a Level 2 certification from the American Canoe Association gained during a special instructor workshop from August 20-23rd at Keene’s Lake. That workshop is $550.
The OAC also maintains the college rock wall, currently open on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The public is welcome to come and give the course a try over the summer months. In addition to the rock wall, the OAC is currently developing its rope course, with team-building actively taking place on the low ropes/challenge course. The high ropes course is anticipated to be installed this summer.
As always at the OAC, community members can rent mountain bikes, canoes, sea kayaks, paddleboards, and ample camping gear, including tents. Hours vary over the summer and interested parties are encouraged to call ahead to reserve or request gear.
Register for any summer program by going to www.wccc.me.edu/oac, calling 454-1060 and leaving a message, or e-mailing email@example.com .