Camp Modin is located on the shores of Salmon Lake, in the pristine wilderness of central Maine's Begrade Lakes region, twenty minutes from Augusta, the state capital. Modin is approximately three hours north of Boston and seven hours north of New York City.
Staff can fly into either Portland International Jetport (75 minutes away) or Boston's Logan Airport (3 hours away). Both are serviced by major airlines. Modin provides pickup service from Portland Airport only. A variety of bus and van companies provide shuttle service from Logan Airport to Portland Airport.
Greyhound Bus Lines offers service from New York City to Boston and Concord Couch Lines provides services from Boston to either Portland or Waterville, Maine.
Many staff members choose to drive their own vehicles to camp for use on days off. There is no public transportation in the area, nor does Camp Modin provide vehicles for days off. If you have the opportunity to bring a car, it is a good idea. All vehicles must be in good working order and have a valid registration and proof of insurance. Car rental companies are available in town, but generally limit rentals to staff aged 21 and above.
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 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 Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Ecuador, England, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, 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 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.
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.
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.
Do I have to be Jewish to work at Modin?
Absolutely not! Many of our staff, including a vast majority of our international and specialty staff, are not Jewish. While it is important for our campers to have Jewish role models, it is equally important that we find the most qualified, professional and caring individuals and teachers to nurture and guide our young people. Over the years, we have recruited hundreds of amazing individuals from such places as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. These individuals bring tremendous energy and enthusiasm to our program and their religious background is completely irrelevant to their success as a Modin counselor. At Modin, we work hard to ensure that every member of our community feels comfortable. Many current and former Modin staff members are available to speak with you and will be happy to allay any questions or concerns you may have.
What is Pre-Camp Orientation like?
Pre-Camp begins one week prior to the campers' arrival (except for Waterfront and Pioneering staff, who arrive approximately four days earlier for specialized training). Pre-Camp begins with dinner and informal introductions. The ice breaks really quickly. Within forty-eight hours of everyone's arrival in Camp, what was a diverse group of people is now a cohesive, functioning collective of Modin counselors. Indeed, the night before the children arrive, the feeling of "I cannot believe I have known these people for only a week" comes right along with it. What results is that, when our campers arrive they are greeted by a Camp Staff that is primed, unified and giving off an excitement that makes the campers feel that we have been eagerly waiting for their arrival.
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.
Do specialists participate in activities?
Because we function as a community, it is our goal to involve everyone as much as possible. We do not like to separate general counselors from specialists. Thus we try to allow specialists to participate in such activities as overnight trips, out-of-camp excursions, birthday parties, evening activities etc. Keep in mind that we can't cancel activities so it is not always possible to allow specialists to be with their bunks. We do our best to get all of the specialists involved in all of the activities.
What age children will I be working with?
Unlike other camps, we do not pre-assign staff to certain cabins or age groups prior to their arrival. The only exception to this rule is for returning staff who often return to work with their same group of children, though not necessarily. The first few days of pre-camp orientation affords us the opportunity to meet you and determine which group of children you will work best with. In addition, it gives you a chance to meet your fellow colleagues to determine if there is anyone you don't connect with. We take all of these factors into consideration in making our final placements. Rarely do we make mistakes. Sometimes staff members who believe they will only work best with younger children are surprised by how well they do with teen campers. Other times, individuals who want to work with older children find an assignment in the younger cabins to be an amazing experience. Keep in mind that we have limited spaces in our older groups, many of which are filled by returning staff. In addition, specialty staff have less flexibility in selections as certain bunks have specialty slots and others do not. Relax. Everyone ends up forming a strong connection with his or her campers, regardless of age.
How many people live in a bunk?
The camper body is divided equally between girls and boys, ages 7-16. 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.
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 your personal effects.
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.
Staff members are required to be in camp by 1:00AM each night and in their assigned cabins by 1:30AM. This policy is enforced to ensure that the staff are well-rested and the campers are attended to.
What about days off and free time?
While we're all here to spend quality time with the campers, we recognize that everyone needs time off to rest and recuperate. During the seven weeks that the campers are in attendance, all staff members receive 5-6 days off (depending on your start date) that are about 25 hours in length. Staff are also provided with a number of evenings off, generally beginning at the end of evening activities and running until curfew. If not on-duty, staff are free to go off camp, work out in our fitness center, play fooseball or pool in our game room, grab a bite to eat in our camp 'canteen' or catch a movie (we have a 2000+ video library) in our magnificent lodge.
What is the smoking policy?
Camp Modin is strictly a non-smoking camp. There is no time during the day scheduled and no facility provided for smokers. Anyone caught smoking at camp will be dismissed.
The salaries at Modin are very competitive. Staff members have no expenses during the summer except, perhaps, for items purchased on days off. The benefit of working at camp is that most staff members depart at the end of the summer with their entire paycheck, having spent very little. Modin provides staff shirts free of charge. In addition to salary, Modin provides free room and board, as well as linen and laundry service.
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.
Which programs are your main focus?
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 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)
Although the boys and girls participate equally in activities, they general 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.
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.
Camp Modin requires that all staff members maintain an appropriate level of personal hygiene and at all times be conscious of their personal appearance. Camp Modin reserves the right to require staff to wear camp uniforms and to enforce any dress or grooming codes as it sees fit. Earrings shall be small and modest and worn only in the ears. All other body piercings are unacceptable. In addition, Camp Modin reserves the right to ask any and all staff members to remove apparel deemed inappropriate. All staff members shall wear their hair in a neat and tidy fashion. All staff members are expected to wear proper attire-including SHIRTS-when teaching activities and/or supervising campers. Camp Modin reserves the right to ask any and all staff members to adjust their hairstyle, facial hair, or dress to conform to such camp standards as it may deem appropriate. We provide all staff with three Modin staff shirts free of charge.
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 65°F/18°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 you arrive 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. -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, as with the other Belgrade Lakes, it affords access to continuous waterways for exploring.
Is being a counselor for me?
Ask yourself one simple question: "Do I love children and want to make a difference in their lives?" Camp is a hard job. We are responsible for these children 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We need to supervise them, nurture them, teach them and guide them. If you come to camp for the right reasons, this will be the most memorable experience of your life. You will develop a life-long bond with your campers and leave a better person. If all of this sounds great, why not apply online right now?