2016 JMG Camp Report

by Moose Curtis, JMG Director, August, 2016

The Junior Maine Guide Camp of 2016 was another memorable and successful one. 68 candidates attended this year’s Junior Maine Guide Camp representing 9 camps. Here is a list of camps and the number of candidates they had:

This was the nineth year using the Stephen Phillips campsite on the Kennebago River in Oquossoc, Maine. The following camps sent candidates to the testing camp this year:

moose1Camps and # Candidates

  • Camp Arcadia - 6
  • Birch Rock Camp - 2
  • Bryant Pond - 9
  • Camp Kawanhee - 9
  • Natarswi - 5
  • Camp O-At-Ka - 4
  • Camp Runoia - 7
  • Camp Winona - 9
  • Wyonegonic Camps - 17
  • 13/15 of the second year candidates passed. (One of the second year candidates could not complete the testing due to illness.)
  • 15/53 first year candidates passed.
  • This made a total of 28/68 candidates become Junior Maine Guides for a passing rate of 41%. This is slightly lower than the 10-year pass rate of 48.6%.
  • 2009 – 29
  • 2010 – 38
  • 2011 – 26
  • 2012 – 31
  • 2013 – 38
  • 2014 – 35
  • 2015 -  32

Since 1937 (JMG’s first year), 2609 Maine campers have become Junior Maine Guides.

Overall this was a younger and more inexperienced group than we have tested in recent years. With that being said, this group had a great deal of determination and stick-to-itness. Using their positive attitude, they completed all their tests.

The test that showed the most improvement from recent years was first aid. The written test that gave the most problems to the candidates was wilderness regulations. The staff though that the canoeing skills were not as strong as they have been in recent years.

The candidates continue to enjoy our campfire speaker programs. JMG Camp hosted the following speakers:

  • Monday night was Bruce McDonald. Bruce is a JMG, Maine Guide, JMG examiner and JMG parent. Bruce shared his paddle collection with the group and discussed a brief history of the Rangeley area and fishing in this region.
  • Tuesday our speaker was Warden Scott Stevens stationed in Eustis. Scott talked about the roles of a warden and how to become a warden. He described a search and rescue that he had been on earlier in the day, and concluded his talk by relating some of his warden experiences to the group.
  • Wednesday’s speaker was Maine Guide Roger Lambert of Strong. He is an entertaining individual and had several great “guide” stories to tell.
  • Our final program on Thursday evening was John Albert and Jeff Bottcher of the U.S. Border Patrol. They described the role of the Border Patrol and how to become an agent. They mentioned how different it is to patrol the U.S. – Mexico border compared to the U.S. – Canada border. As usual Agents Albert and Bottcher brought a display of some of the equipment that they use in their job.

This session completed JMG’s 9th summer of using the Stephen Phillips Preserve on the Kennebago River and the site has become a great home for the JMG program. We appreciate the opportunity to use and to help care take this beautiful piece of Maine. We are close to our goal of establishing 20 campsites there. Over these years the JMG program has gained the support of Bill Roy, the campsite’s overseer, the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum, and, most recently, the Rangeley Guides Association. These groups are so supportive of the outdoor awareness that the JMG program instills in our candidates. The Heritage Museum invited the JMG counselors to tour their museum on Thursday.

Here are some quotes and suggestions from this year’s candidates:

Favorite Experiences:

  • Wet day fires – love how practical the test is.
  • The common atmosphere that was created by everyone here and to be able to share our common experiences with the understanding of testing to become a JMG.
  • The ability to choose when to take the test.
  • Being able to spend time in such a beautiful place and our contact with nature.
  • Campfires – we liked the speakers and making friends from other camps.
  • Besides learning wilderness skills, learning about myself in these surroundings.
  • The opportunity to face new challenges and to respond to them.

Least Favorite Experience:

  • The map of area seemed to be the least favorite test.
  • It was hard to demonstrate my canoe strokes because of the wind.
  • We didn’t enjoy the stress before the tests and thinking we won’t have enough time.
  • Waking up early and doing all the dishes.
  • The last night because we were so sad to leave.

Suggestions:

  • Map of Area should be a minor (and Wet Day Fire a major).
  • More free time to interact with the other campers and a later curfew and waking up later.
  • More time for testing and lunch.

Advice for future JMG Candidates

  • This is a two-year program; make sure that you can come for two years.
  • Manage time wisely; maybe write a schedule for yourself.
  • Study hard and never leaves answers blank.
  • Be prepared for anything, but remember to have fun. The time flies.
  • Try your best and don’t get discouraged.
  • Take this experience and learn everything you can from it. It’s something that not many people get, but they really should.
  • Stay positive and confident. Don’t fight with your fellow campers because they are trying just as hard. Be nice to them.
  • Have backup desserts.

Special thanks to the JMG staff for the time and energy they devote to making the JMG program so exceptional. They are an amazing dedicated group who keep returning to JMG Camp summer after summer. All are JMGs or Maine Guides – or both! Below is a list of this year’s group of examiners.

  • Lynn O’Donnell-JMG, Pondicherry
  • Ginny Geyer-JMG, Wyonegonic
  • Marie Keane-Maine Guide
  • Bill Southwick-JMG, O-At-Ka
  • Gard Thompson-JMG, O-At-Ka
  • K Bolduc (Maine Guide and JMG Natarswi),
  • Lindley Brainard-JMG, Arcadia
  • Katie Curtis-JMG, Hebron
  • Carrie Curtis-JMG, Hebron
  • Moose Curtis-Maine Guide, JMG, Winona
  • Ron Fournier-Bryant Pond
  • Bruce McDonald-Volunteer