JMG Annual Testing Camp Hosts 48 Campers from Eight Camps
Report from Director Moose Curtis:
Thank you all for making JMG Camp 2021 possible. We had a successful camp with so many candidates and staff enjoying the opportunity to be out in the woods again working on their outdoor skills.
Forty-eight well prepared candidates represented eight camps. These candidates had a positive and determined attitude, and their counselors represented were quite helpful in assisting the JMG staff with the tasks they were assigned. They did a fine job training their campers and supervising them at testing camp.
The following camps sent candidates to the Stephen Phillips Memorial Preserve testing site: Arcadia (4); Birch Rock (5); Bryant Pond (8); Kawanhee (9); Natarswi (8); O-AT-KA (4); Winona (4); and Wyonegonic (5).
Second-year candidates: 5 out of 7 passed.
First-year candidates: 17 out of 41 passed.
Total passing percentage: 47.9 percent.
Our goal this summer was to make JMG Camp as normal as possible. We achieved our goal of keeping each encampment together by creating a schedule for taking tests. Our evening campfire tradition continued, with candidates sitting masked and separated by camp group. There was minimal socializing between the camps groups at the conclusion of evening programs. In addition, counselors stayed at their own sites during meals rather than helping with the meal testing.
JMG staff member Lou Falank spoke about being a Maine Guide and outdoor educator, and discussed the opportunities and challenges presented by pursuing JMG certification. Maine Guide and storyteller Roger Lambert of Strong joined the group as well. In addition, candidates heard from two members of the Border Patrol, who discussed policing the Maine/Canada border, the differences between the U.S. southern and northern borders, and gave a demonstration of the Patrol’s drug-searching dog.
Rangeley writer Bob Romano, who writes a column for the Northwoods Sporting Journal, gave a talk about the history of the Rangeley area from the times of the Native Americans to the growth of the area as an outdoor sporting destination.
Candidates listed a variety of favorites and not-so-favorite elements of testing camp. Among favorites were talking with testers and visiting with their dogs; practical skills tests, teamwork, and demonstrating their knowledge. Campfire speakers were among both favorite and least favorite elements, and the challenges presented by scheduling tests, anxiety about tests, and serving food they weren’t proud of were among candidates not-so-favorites.
Candidates also made suggestions for improving camp, including more time to relax and socialize and longer blocks for written tests. They also advocated for greater consistency between the book and the test.
Finally, candidates offered advice for future JMG campers. Among them: study more, start cleanup ASAP, get as many tests done as early as possible, and embrace the testing camp experience.