After a particularly wet summer...
"[Our son] had a wonderful time, again, in spite of the rotten weather. He loved the challenges of Katahdin and the Bagaduce ... we'll camp tonight and he'll show us what he learned. Just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate Flying Moose and how grateful we are that you exist!"
"[Our son] looks forward to returning next summer and we are delighted that his first extended time away from us was such a good experience for him. Thanks for all your efforts in making it happen."
Six years later, same camper:
"The FML experience ... has been all that we hoped for and more. One would expect prowess with axe and canoe, but how about acting awards and stealth camping? FML's good humor, challenging trips and woods camp ethic have been a great curriculum ... and have played an important part in his development during these past six years. He is very proud to have earned Distinction and considers it a major achievement in his life so far. We couldn't agree more."
From a holiday letter shared by the mother of a 4th generation camper:
We picked [our son] up with much anticipation on July 19, not quite sure what to expect. Did he really have a good time ... [He] talked for the 3 ½ hours on the ride home about his camp adventures — more than he had ... his entire twelfth year. He couldn't wait to call his Grampie from the car: ‘Hi Grampie. I have so much to tell you. Did I tell you about the blueberry pie I made? I picked them myself ... he was great. We went running every morning at 6:30 ... Yeah, the Bagaduce River. It was my favorite trip ... Yeah the views from the top of Cadillac Mountain were unbelievable. I wish I had had a camera ... Yeah, it's cool how you lose track of time ..."
"I take the camp in. It is everything I want it to be ... The platform tents are rugged, Spartan ... There is no electricity, no hot water. Entertainment props consist of a rustic workshop for building canoes, a ping-pong table, a tetherball, and a dock. Grampie is in heaven, the heavy pine scent wafting into his nostrils like a hallucinogen allowing him to relive some of his happiest childhood memories."
First-time campers from Summer 2007:
"Thanks so much for giving [our son] such a great experience at Flying Moose. He came back so much more confident in himself and frankly we're more confident in him after seeing him succeed on his own. (I'm thrilled with his new-found cooking skills. He's still making his favorite camping meals for us and there's never any leftovers!) ... Again, thank you so much for creating a place where ... so many different spirits can thrive. I saw them at the first day, where connections from previous years and previous generations were so clear."
Observations from an outdoorsman encountering a group of Moosers (long but worth the read)
"One of your groups stayed the night in the site next to ours at Lamoine State Park campground this week. They were traveling by canoe and were headed over to Mt. Desert Island and beyond to another island. This was an ambitious and adventurous agenda but the kids seemed to know what they were doing and were looking forward to the trip. They were unusually well-prepared and given the rarity of the skills they demonstrated (safely paddling an open canoe even short distances in the ocean and coping with the wind, waves, and the possibility of an upset in extremely cold water requires skills and judgment beyond the reach of all but a few canoeists and I was listening to them baking brownies in a dutch oven while I went to sleep), your staff would seem to deserve much of the credit.
Equally important, the kids seemed to be having fun. They were taking care of the tasks that needed to be done and were considerate and polite to the other campers but they were also laughing and joking and acting like 14-15 year old boys. I have been around (hiking AT Me-Ga 1984, canoe Penobscot West Branch, Moose River Bow, Saco, Swift, Rapid, Webb...) and watched a lot of trip groups (including Scouts, Outward Bound, and some guided adult groups) that were unable to strike this balance. Again, your staff deserves a lot of credit.
Lastly, the canoes you provided for the boys were beautiful as well as practical. The fact that the boys were able to make repairs to the inevitable nicks in the canvas was equally impressive. I paddle a lot of the shallow rocky rivers and streams and have mostly used plastic canoes but learned to paddle with my dad's wood/canvas canoe and dream about building an 18.5 foot White. It was a small touch, but one that I especially noticed and admired. It seemed to fit so well with the rest of the experience you are providing."
And more from parents:
"Thanks for having [our son] again this year at Flying Moose. He had a great time as always and looks with great fondness on his years at FML. His experience at Flying Moose Lodge certainly helped him grow and mature as a person and develop a love of nature. The confidence in himself achieved at FML has helped him emerge as a leader in his school activities and at church...."
"Thank you for the follow-up report on what was one of [our son's] most thrilling and valuable life experiences thus far — three and a half weeks with you and the other Flying Moose campers. His first words off the plane were 'Next summer I'm going for seven weeks!' Clearly he loved being part of your woods camp. He entertained us and anyone else within earshot, with song after song, tales of adventure and plans for next year for the balance of the summer. Your carefully crafted and executed program has helped him to reach new levels of self esteem and confidence and enjoy a more relaxed and adventurous attitude. He was and continues to be a 'happy camper'. You are truly masters at the art of teaching children both mutual and self respect, of raising and meeting expctations, and of gaining greater appreciation for the real treasures of God, Nature, and fellow humans have to offer each of us...."
"Thank your for the note and pictures. I'm still hearing stories of this summer. He wowed the father of his friends (who is a canoe enthusiast) with his tales of the Allagash and hand-made wood/canvas canoes. Flying Moose Lodge has played a major role helping [my son] develop into the fine young man I'm so proud of. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being who you are."