Each season, the Berwick Boys Foundation gathers boys, beginning at age 12, for the summer activities that take place during the six to eight week camping season on Dyer Island, off the coast of Milbridge, Maine. This 750 acre island, “Down East” from Bar Harbor, is owned entirely by the Berwick Boys Foundation and is an excellent location for a boys’ camp of this type. The Island has a beautiful stand of virgin timber and several natural harbors, making it very conducive to a rugged way of life at camp.
The summer program is run by boys, for boys. Island rules and regulations are formulated and enforced by the boys themselves, primarily by the Boys Council, composed of several boys who have been at camp for one summer or more. Boys learn the importance of participating in the community, the value of self-reliance, the responsibilities of leadership, as well as respect for themselves, others, and the environment. In addition, they learn valuable trade skills. Work projects are divided between a number of crews including cooks, boat crews, woods crew, engineers, construction crew and carpentry crew. Each crew specializes in a particular skill and each crew member learns that craft. The types of projects the boys work on provide a chance for them to make decisions that have a concrete and immediate impact.
The first year a boys is at camp he spends the majority of his time learning how the Island is run and becoming adept at the job that interests him most. A boy’s second or third summer might be spent as a crew leader in charge of five or six younger boys and responsible for the duties of that crew. The Boy Director is a young man who has been with the program for several years and who is totally responsible for the coordination of crews, projects, and summer activities in general. As a boys spends several summers at Berwick he receives more and more responsibility and learns how to work with and help his associates.
One Third of a boy’s time on the Island is spent working with a crew on a community project, such as the hauling of supplies from the mainland by boat or the construction of a camp building. These projects are for the good of the community as a whole and give each boy the feeling that he is contributing towards a project which will benefit everyone.
Another Third of a boy’s time is spent working in small groups, or individually, on a project which holds special interest and which the boy has chosen to do. These projects include the construction of individual cabins and special projects in line with a boy’s interests.
The Last Third of island life is instructive recreation, including sailing, swimming, boating, fishing, and educational trips. The division of the time into thirds affords the boys contact with many aspects of island life.
For more information, click on a link below: