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History & Mission

Why Birch Rock

Set Apart by Our Small Size & Focus on Non-Competitive Achievement

Birch Rock Camp

Today, 90 boys and 35 counselors come from around the country and world to build a close, trusting summer camp community at Birch Rock each session. A boy’s energy, curiosity and sense of fun are strengths at Birch Rock.

“While Benjamin embarked on the Birch Rock experience with some trepidation and anxiety, we are very impressed that he thrived there and wants to return next year. We have really enjoyed hearing all his stories – from playing Orb, to bed-making, to the food, to swimming his Duck, and getting other badges! Thank you so much for all that you and the team do to create such a special environment that is the ideal fit for boys like Benjamin.”


Birch Rock is proud to be Maine’s smallest boys camp, but biggest in terms of heart and soul! With only 90 boys at a time, just four campers in each cozy, lower camp cabin, and everyone coming together for family-style meals, we build profound community. Campers and counselors gladly ditch their electronic devices and relish the chance to talk, hash things over, confabulate…and listen. For over 90 years, BRC has intentionally stayed small to make sure that every boy is well known, appreciated, and having the best summer of his life.


Our greatest resource is the dedicated staff that keeps Birch Rock rocking and rolling summer after summer. Most staff rise up through the ranks as campers and counselors-in-training, steeped in our unique traditions, rituals and lore. They believe wholeheartedly in Birch Rock’s mission: turning modern boys into old-fashioned gentlemen. Our counselors are highly trained to soothe homesick campers, create esprit de corps in a cabin of rambunctious boys, and generate enthusiasm for daily cabin clean-up and bedmaking! And at Birch Rock, everyone learns to “Shake a Hand, Make a Friend.”


We are blessed to be on the shores of tranquil Lake McWain—a place where boys can revel in being boys. We pride ourselves on Birch Rock’s traditional, back to basics approach. Our original Lodge has been lovingly restored, but there’s no need for lavish facilities when the main attraction is nature in all its grandeur. A boy’s imagination and can-do spirit are sparked by learning to coax a fire to ignite, hit a bullseye with an arrow, and paddle a canoe to a campsite in the wilderness. Birch Rock offers plenty of energetic fun, but also downtime for campers to rest, read, and daydream—and come evening, listen to the enchanting call of the loons.

History and Traditions

Freshwater and a Hill

In the summer of 1925, Massachusetts teachers William “Chief” Brewster and his wife Leona––known as “Onie” set their hearts on starting a boys summer camp in the lakes region of Maine. They knew the state from their summers working at a camp on the coast, but Chief and Onie wanted their own camp to sit on a freshwater lake so campers could enjoy swimming and boating. They specifically chose a spot on the eastern shore of a lake––prime along with the natural beauty of the Maine sunsets. Their goal was to forge a community in the woods, rooted in traditions that celebrate adventure and achievement.

“Birch Rock has become a part of who we are… it goes way beyond the seven week experience. I will be forever grateful to BRC for playing a vital role in the growth and development of my sons.”

Pam, Mother, South Paris, ME

The Birch Rock

When the Brewsters walked through the cow pastures and the maple grove on the side of McWain Hill they looked out over the lake and were enchanted by what they saw. They happened upon a graceful white birch tree growing on top of a huge boulder––the birch on the rock––and they knew they had found a home for their boys summer camp in Maine.

“Birch Rock is the best thing we can give to our son – a chance to leave the humdrum world and enter an enchanted place of cabin buddies and campcraft and capture-the-flag.”

Francie, Parent, Larchmont, NY

Small Beginnings

Birch Rock opened on July 1, 1926 with just 13 campers, a main lodge, 5 cabins and a washhouse. Camp enrollment doubled in 1927 and tripled in 1928. Chief and Onie ran the camp until their deaths in 1973 and 1982 respectively. Since then, their children and grandchildren have continued at the helm.

“The wonderful staff, the beautiful setting, the delicious food, the quality care, the feeling my son is safe and supported…….makes all the difference.”

John, Father, Baltimore, MD

Initially started in 1926, Birch Rock Camp, Inc. is a Maine nonprofit corporation, which is tax-exempt pursuant to Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Camp’s mission is as follows:

Birch Rock Camp is dedicated to giving boys a fun-filled summer experience that helps build self-confidence, resilience and non-competitive achievement. Our back-to-basics program emphasizes enjoyment and stewardship of the natural world and mastery of traditional camping skills. We model lives of simplicity and creativity. Traditions and daily rituals help bring campers and staff of all ages together in a collaborative community. We foster a welcoming and accepting atmosphere where campers from all backgrounds feel valued and included. With our motto, Help the Other Fellow, we encourage boys to grow in generosity, integrity and mutual support. 

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