Camp Modin is located on the shores of Salmon Lake, in the pristine wilderness of central Maine's Begrade Lakes region, about seventy-five minutes from Portland and twenty minutes from Augusta, the state capitol. Modin is approximately three hours north of Boston and seven hours north of New York City.
How do campers get to Modin?
The camp provides pickup and drop off service to Portland International Jetport in Maine, which is approximately seventy-five minutes from camp. Portland is serviced by most major airlines. All flights are met by Modin staff and, upon arrival at camp, a Modin representative will contact you to confirm your child's arrival. Camp Modin offers a chaperoned bus service from Lexington, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb. The trip is approximately three hours. Camp Modin also offers a chaperoned bus service from the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, New York, which is approximately fifteen minutes north of New York City. The trip is approximately six-and-a-half hours. Some families choose to drive to camp. Upon arrival, families will be given a tour of the grounds and your child will be escorted to his or her cabin where we will then begin the unpacking process.
Howard Salzberg and his wife Lisa Wulkan are the full-time owners and directors of Camp Modin. Ultimately, all responsibilities relating to Camp Modin fall to them. Howard first began his camping "career" at age nine when he first came to Modin and joined the "Beavers bunk." He was a camper for seven years. After that, he joined the Modin staff as a counselor, and then Head Counselor. Working closely with the owners on a full-time basis, Howard was promoted to the position of Assistant Director. In 1991, Howard became the full time Director of Camp Modin and eventually purchased the camp in November of 1992. Howard's combined camping experience, both as a camper and staff member add up to over thirty years. His family was part of the first Modin enrollment class dating back to 1922.
Lisa joined Modin in 1991, where she first met, and later married Howard. She began her Modin "career" first as a Counselor, then as a Head Counselor, Assistant Director and finally, Director. Her background is in elementary education and she has taught first, fourth and fifth graders.
Samara Lender is the full-time assistant director of Camp Modin. She began her Modin career as a camper in 1999. Samara's journey at Modin included two years as a counselor followed by three years as the girls' head counselor. Upon graduating from university Samara was promoted to her current position of assistant director. Samara is a native of Rockland County, New York and comes from a large family of Modinites, including four of her siblings.
Together, they are responsible for all administrative functions, staff development and the well being of the entire community. They know each and every camper personally and spend the bulk of their time with the kids - at meals, on the waterfront, at campfires, everywhere. They like to operate "out in the field" and not behind closed doors. Their mission is to provide children with a healthy, safe and memorable summer experience. Lisa and Howard are the proud parents of a son named Jack, now enjoying his own Modin experience.
Where do the staff come from?
There are numerous counselors, specialists and administrative staff at Camp Modin. Many are former campers who have advanced through the ranks and whom we have selected to join us. Quite a few staff members are referred to us by current and former counselors. General counselors at Modin come predominantly from Jewish backgrounds in the United States. Specialists and support staff come from all over the world. More than half of our staff return each year.
How does Modin select its staff?
Modin assembles its staff with great care and consideration. Each staff member must complete an extensive application process, including a lengthy interview with at least two Modin administrators. We meticulously check and verify references. Beyond this, at Modin we look for a very specific type of individual. To be a great camp counselor, one must be a leader, a role-model, and be prepared to support children as their brother, sister, parent and friend. We seek out individuals who answer "yes" when we ask, "Do you love children and want to make a positive difference in their lives?"
Being a Modin counselor is an incredibly demanding job. Counselors are responsible for their campers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Throughout the summer, we offer staff in-service training programs, and constant guidance, supervision and feedback. All staff participate in a lengthy, in-depth training program prior to the start of the camp season. Most staff find that their summer at Modin invariably proves to be the most memorable and enriching experience of their lives. They will develop a life long bond with their campers and leave Modin as better, richer people.
What is it like having international staff?
Exposing children to different cultures helps children to grow. In this light, we pride ourselves on our international staff. From Australia to Canada, from England to New York City, the Modin staff is comprised of energetic, enthusiastic and mature adults with a desire to provide a nurturing environment in which children can learn lifelong skills. They are hand-picked individuals with tremendous teaching experience and certification in a wide array of specialty areas. Some have been with us for over a decade and their presence enriches the entire community.
General counselor versus specialist?
There are two types of staff who work with campers at Modin: the general counselor and the specialist, all of whom live in bunks with the campers. General counselors travel with the children during bunk activities, while specialists go off and teach their specialty areas. Despite these differences, both general counselors and specialists work together as an integrated team.
What do you mean by "Jewish Camp"?
Camp Modin was founded in 1922 by a group of prominent Jewish educators as "The camp with a Jewish Ideal." Their goal in founding Modin was to establish a community where children from around the world could come together in a breathtaking natural setting, help them pursue their individual and collective Jewish identities, and forge lifelong friendships. Today Modin is the oldest Jewish camp in New England and one of the few private, independent Jewish summer camps left in the world. Modin takes its name from the biblical town of Modi'in, where the story of Chanukah took place.
Are all the camp staff Jewish?
One hundred percent of our general counselors are Jewish, and many of our specialty staff are not. While we hold it important that our campers have strong Jewish role models in each bunk, it is equally important that we find the most qualified, professional and caring instructors in each of our specialty areas. For many years, Modin has recruited amazing individuals from places such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom to head-up and to teach programs in pioneering, swimming, tennis, canoeing, water-skiing, etc. These individuals bring tremendous energy and enthusiasm to our program and have a deep respect for the Jewish culture.
Where do the campers come from?
Our campers come from all over the world and our numbers are equally divided between girls and boys, ages 7-16. Over the years we have welcomed campers from over half the States in America, as well as Panama, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Ecuador, England, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Venezuela. The bulk of our American campers come from the Northeastern United States, including the greater New York, Boston and Washington D.C. communities. With such diversity, it is easy for new children to integrate into the Modin community. We are proud to say that more than ninety percent of our children return each year.
How long is the Modin camp season?
Campers attend Modin for either 3.5 or 7 weeks, though approximately two-thirds attend for the full season. Modin is considered a traditional full season camp in that our program differs each week and does not repeat itself in the second half of the summer. Half season campers who come for the second half of the summer, whether new or returning, assimilate as quickly into the community as do those who arrive in the first half.
How many people live in a bunk?
On average, each bunk is made up of 4 counselors and 12 campers who are generally grouped by grade. All staff except administrative, medical, and support staff live in the cabins with the children.
How is the camp organized?
At Modin, we organize our camper body into four units: lower, middle, junior and senior.
UNIT AGES GRADES FINISHED
Lower 7-10 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Middle 11-12 5th and 6th
Junior 13-14 7th and 8th
Senior 15-16 9th and 10th
The program for our lower and middle unit campers is designed to impart many basic skills on them, such as swimming, team sports, tennis, etc. There is less freedom and more structure in their program, although all of our campers do have an opportunity to exercise their own choice in our afternoon elective program. Our teen campers have much more flexibility in designing a program to suit their own personal interests. They have a greater array of choices in selecting activities and can build on their basic skills to a higher level of proficiency. Our teen program also includes wilderness expeditions, community service programs, and teen tours, which allow our older campers to gain exposure to the world around them.
What is a typical day like?
7:30 am Wake Up
7:45 am Line Up
8:00 am Breakfast (three shifts)
8:30 am Clean Up
9:25 am 1st Period - Bunk Activities
10:25 am 2nd Period - Bunk Activities
11:25 am 3rd Period - Bunk Activities
12:30 pm Lunch (three shifts)
1:00 pm Rest Hour/Free Time
2:00 pm 1st Period - Electives
3:00 pm 2nd Period - Electives
4:00 pm 3rd Period - Electives
4:50 pm General Swim/Free Time
5:30 pm Dinner (three shifts)
7:00 pm Evening Activities
8:30 pm Curfew Begins (varies by age)
How does the schedule differ on Shabbat?
On Friday afternoon we have two elective periods instead of the usual three. We devote the third afternoon period to preparing for Shabbat. As a community, we conduct Friday night services at our outdoor Bimah, overlooking the lake. Afterwards, we enjoy a wonderful Shabbat meal, followed by zmirot, storytelling and singing. Saturday morning, we meet at the Service Point for Shabbat services. After lunch comes a full-camp activity for the afternoon. We conclude the day with a camp-wide show, theatrical performance or musical production, followed by a beautiful and moving Havdalah service.
All of our cabins are spacious and modern, many having been built or restored in the past few years. All cabins have electricity and numerous outlets, running hot and cold water, ample showers, sinks and toilets. Cabins are furnished with solid, wooden bunk beds with mattresses fitting twin-size sheets, as well as ample storage space for each camper's personal effects.
Although the boys and girls participate equally in activities, they generally do not do so at the same time. All morning activities are done exclusively with one's own cabin. It can vary in the afternoons. While programs like athletics and swim instruction are taught generally single-sex, other programs such as performing arts, radio station, arts & crafts and nature may be co-ed. Despite the fact that we are co-ed, one does not find the social pressures that are so often associated with co-ed camps, or even single sex camps when they get together with a "brother" or "sister" camp. We live in a co-ed world and our campers learn to have a healthy respect for each other. Social interaction is closely monitored.
Is Modin a competitive camp?
While Modin offers superb instruction to children in top-notch facilities, it is not an overly competitive camp. Rather than merely focus on winning, Modin has always emphasized personal skill-development, individual instruction, and helping children learn about who they are. Whether the child is a beginner athlete or a varsity-level player or somewhere in-between, the goal is to ensure each camper has opportunities for learning new skills and gaining a newfound sense of self-confidence and worth.
Are there intercamp games?
We compete with other camps in activities such as baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming and tennis. Additionally, we run numerous intra-camp leagues, such as tennis ladders and World Cup soccer tournaments. There are no try-outs to get on a Modin team. No one is cut and every child is good enough to represent our community. Our best athletes do not get more opportunities than the rest of their bunkmates. Sure, winning is a good thing and we strive to achieve our best . . . but true success lies in the feeling that we did perform at our best, not by the number of new trophies we add to our display case.
How structured is the camp program?
The Modin program is structured insofar as we do not allow campers to just "hang out." Our program is busy and active. We encourage our campers to set goals for themselves, participate in activities they have never tried before and experience all that Modin offers. Our program is not rigid or forced and no child will be pushed beyond their comfort level; instead we create an environment that gently encourages each child to take part. Our counselors are experienced in helping campers overcome the fears and concerns that create obstacles for them. No one has to be "the best" at anything. They are just expected to try and with the encouragement of fellow campers and caring staff, they thrive.
What programs do you focus on?
Campers come from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of interests. Thus, there is equal weight placed on all program areas: Land sports, water sports, creative & performing arts, and wilderness adventure. We scour the globe in search of professionals who enjoy life through their art, sport, or performance, and who seek to share their passion and expertise with younger minds. Consequently, our artists and our athletes both find equal opportunity at camp.
Modin offers its campers top-notch facilities, both specialized and multi-purpose, in all areas of its program. From a 50 foot climbing tower to four tournament water-ski boats, from its state-of-the-art performing arts center to a high-tech media center, the Modin program is extensive and well rounded.
What is the level of instruction?
With a commitment to finding the best, most qualified people in our specialty areas, we can honestly say that instruction is top-notch. We balance the need for learning and the desire for skill development with a desire to provide a safe and caring environment where our campers can grow and mature.
How's the food and are there options?
The kitchen at Modin offers carefully prepared menus with a variety of selections. From our fresh salad bar to hearty soups and homemade breads, it's no wonder that campers and counselors alike rave about the Modin cuisine. With standard fare such as pasta and pizza to a full salad bar and vegetarian options, even the pickiest eater finds plenty of items to choose from. Healthy snacks are served each afternoon and again before bedtime. Camp Modin observes the laws of Kashrut. We have separate equipment for milchic and fleishic and the separation between meals is three hours. All food products (including snacks and candies) have a hechsher. Our meat is glatt kosher and all meats and cheeses, along with many food items come from our kosher supplier in Brooklyn, NY. Please note that we self supervise our kitchen and do not have a mashgiach on staff.
Does everyone eat together?
During weekdays, we serve our meals by gender and age group, in three sittings, one for our lower and middle unit girls, one for our lower and middle unit boys, and a third that is co-ed for our junior & senior unit campers. To reinforce our feelings of community, on Shabbat we eat our meals together as an entire camp as well as on special occasions, such as during banquets or cookouts.
Modin is not a uniform camp. However, we do require campers to have a limited number of Modin clothing items, which must be worn when out of camp. They include 5 t-shirts, 2 hoodies/sweatshirts and 2 pairs of shorts. These items, along with a number of other camp-related products, can be purchased from the Modin Online Store.
What is the weather like?
Maine summers are warm and inviting, with daytime temperatures peaking at about 85°f/29°c and evening temperatures cooling to a comfortable 60°f/16°c. Maine is usually spared the sometimes oppressive heat and humidity that affects communities south of us in the summer.
While insects such as black flies are a problem for those of us here in Maine's early springtime, by the time your child arrives at camp the black flies have gone for the season. Mosquitoes can be a minor nuisance, but nothing that a little bug-spray can't cure.
Salmon Lake, on which Modin is located, is the jewel of the beautiful Belgrade Lakes chain in Central Maine, some 70 miles north of Portland, Maine. More than two miles long, Salmon Lake offers a crystal clear, sand bottom, spring fed lake, with water temperatures averaging about 75°-80°f/24°-26°c. Calm and sheltered, our lake is ideal for swimming and boating without the perils that larger lakes can present; yet, with the other Belgrade Lakes, it affords access to continuous waterways for exploring.
What are the health care facilities like?
Camp Modin employs full-time nurses who live at camp and who take responsibility for dealing with the day-to-day infirmary issues. We have physicians who remain on-call throughout the summer and who come out to the camp on an as-needed basis. In case of emergency, two major hospitals are located within 8 miles of camp.
How quickly do spaces fill up?
Because so many Modin campers return year after year, Modin has only a limited number of openings in any given season; with siblings enrolling and new families being referred to us by current Modin families, available camper spaces at Camp Modin fill up quickly. Only a signed enrollment form and deposit will hold a child's space at camp for the following summer. If your family intends to send a child to Modin next summer, do let us know as soon as your decision is final so that a place in the bunk, if available, can be assigned.