News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 7, 2018
Nichols Day Camps new season hews to tradition
Longtime counselor takes on camp directorship

On the water front

Amy Houghton, Outreach and Communication Coordinator, and Camp Director River Plouffe-Vogel, shown at the Nichols Day Camps waterfront, are preparing camp for the summer season.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

For its 55th season sharing the joys of summer camp with local and visiting children and youth, Nichols Day Camps will offer new programs around food and the environment while strengthening traditional offerings.

Whether in archery, nature exploration, field games, theater and music, arts and crafts or on the waterfront of Walker Pond, a week or two at Nichols builds connections and friendships across towns, states and economic backgrounds.

“It’s really an amazing dynamic,” said camp director River Plouffe-Vogel, who assumed the position after 11 years as a camp counselor. “Some of my best friends are kids who came as counselors from out of state, and I’ve seen that with campers as well.”

A $3,000 Maine Farmland Trust grant will provide morning snacks, the Magic Food Bus will stop by with a story and local produce and, with the increase in food-based trash, the camp will upgrade its composting and recycling while adding a touch of education to campers. The initiative falls within Nichols’ mission “to instill a love of nature and environment,” Plouffe said.

“Composting is such a fun way to provide kids with a valuable lesson. It’s a small thing but will hopefully make a big difference,” he said.

The camp will also continue to develop small gardens around its grounds.

Nichols may not have the most luxurious supplies or a fleet of powerboats, but the excitement, joy and personal connections that the counselors bring makes the kids come back, said Plouffe. “The staff is really the heart and soul of the camp.”

One of the earliest traditions of Nichols camp was teaching children how to swim, and a greater emphasis will be placed on lessons this summer. Kayaking, canoing and sailing round out the waterfront programs.

Camper sessions begin on June 25. Financial assistance is available, helped this year by a $5,000 donation, Nichols Outreach and Communication Coordinator Amy Houghton said. The camp is still taking counselor, counselor-in-training and camper applications. Visit for more information or call 374-9906.