Your contributions go a long way in supporting camp and keeping it sustainable for the future. The program areas, facilities, website, field trips are just a few of the areas that rely on the generous donations from our alumni, parents and friends. We accept money or materials…these donations help keep the price of tuition one of the most affordable in New England.
With help from our directors, we put together a current wish list of some specific needs. Please consider donating now so that some of these needs are met for next summer. Thank you!
Billings Yolo Yaks have embraced the true meaning of YOLO. Their lives have come to an end. This very popular program area is needing some help and replacing Camp’s flotilla of Yolo Yaks is rather urgent. Please make a ship-to-shore call to our fundraising committee to help.
Like the Yolo Yaks, the Paddleboards are also in need of some love. This is another program area that is popular with everyone at camp. We’d like to replace the paddleboards with some newer, larger, more stable, and longer-lasting ones to continue to offer this popular experience.
When I was a Sr. Camper my paddling partner (who was steering) managed to T-Bone a large rock in the middle of the Androscoggin River. The aluminum canoe split down the seam and we each spent the remaining two days of the canoe trip sitting on the floor of another canoe, without paddles, watching our fellow campers negotiate the rest of the river. Well, it now seems that most of the aluminum canoes at Billings have either suffered similar fates or are otherwise showing their age and have been deemed unreliable for the future. Please help us replace our canoes with your generous donations.
To round out the needs of our waterfront, we have a sailboat missing a sail. Over the years this vessel has performed well in Fairlee Regattas and has taught many campers how to use the rudder and avoid the boom when tacking or turning to head for home. I don’t have the details on which sailboat it is, but if you loved this program area, and if you still sail today and want to help ensure campers have access to the same experience you had as a camper, please consider mentioning in your donation that this is where you want the funds to go, or contact Billings to discuss how you can help us get the rigging back upon this temporarily beached sailboat.
Another waterfront necessity for a popular program area will be new oars for the rowboats. Some of the boats currently have mismatched pairs. How will campers be rowed out to take the notorious boat test if our rowboats don’t have oars? With your help, we can ensure that all the rowboats can be used this summer.
The ACA requires that our waterfront and lifeguard equipment be in perfect working order. We’re currently in need of innertubes, whistles, and underwater diving goggles. Please let us know if you can help by donating these essential tools. “Buddy Check!”
Everyone knows that the coolest program area is (and may always be) waterskiing. The excitement that sweeps across a cabin when hearing your cabin can sign up for a spin around the lake that afternoon is always electric! Like the lifeguarding equipment, we’re needing to replenish our waterski life vests. These special vests which fit tighter, have better coverage, and are also padded to protect from hitting the water hard, are required. We need to increase the size offerings of vests and ensure that they are in perfect order to ensure a safe and fun summer of being dragged behind a very powerful boat.
Anyone who has worked at camp in the past couple of decades knows how easily these get lost. We seem to start every summer with buckets of tennis balls and end each summer with very few. These are a hot commodity and are used across many different games in Athletics and Tennis (of course) so please help us keep the tennis ball stock up to date by donating now!
After Funning, I think the program area that gets the most overall traffic must be Athletics. Help us continue to grow our Athletics program with some new fun games, new equipment like balls (basketballs, soccer balls, and playground balls), and general sports gear like cones, frisbees, bats, hockey sticks, Cornhole sets, and more. We’re even looking to add additional coolers for ice water, and an EZ-up tent to provide shade on the lower courts. Anything we can get our hands on will get used…A LOT!
Archery has been a popular program area for years and as such, the shed we use to store the bows, arrows, target covers, (and probably a significantly equipped first aid kit) is falling down. If anyone has extremely fond memories of this activity or has a fondness for the sport and wants to help us replace this small storage shed please let us know.
Like tennis balls, arrows at archery have a habit of disappearing. Well, actually, we’re pretty sure they are all over the swamp behind the chapel and hopefully, the bullfrogs are all ok. Please help us replenish our stock of arrows and our archery instructors will continue to try to teach the campers to hit the targets.
With all our new arrows and new archery shed, we’re also going to need new bows and targets! All the arrows that did hit the targets have left them pretty beat up. We’re looking for some generous donations to help us with new targets, and hopefully, some upgraded bows to help the campers who spend time at this program area continue to improve their skills.
The musical (which is held every summer in the 3rd session) is a great attraction for campers. However, those campers in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th sessions are left to explore musical talents and interests in our music program area. This has grown each year and we’re now in need of some specific instruments to help build out this program to its potential. We’re specifically looking for a quality electric keyboard with a stand, BeatLab software for mixing, and a small drum kit. If anyone has these in an attic or basement and is looking to donate them, or is looking to help us procure these please let us know.
Crafts – Pottery is a HUGE hit!
With the beautiful new craft shop at camp and the additional space offered, the introduction of pottery has been a huge hit with campers. We’re in need of new and additional pottery wheels, and we’ll need a new and larger kiln to accommodate the number of pieces. If you’re a pottery fan and want to help camp continue to grow this offering from crafts please don’t hesitate to donate, or contact us to discuss this need.
General Camp Asks
Were you a top bunk or bottom bunker? After spending one summer up top, I settled into bottom bunks for the rest of my time as a camper. The beds at Billings have been in use since I was a camper in the 90s, and I suspect that they were even slept on for years before that. Needless to say, we’d like to replace all the camper and staff beds a couple of cabins at a time. We’d love as much help on this project as we can get so if you’d like to specify that your donation goes towards helping campers get better sleep at night, please identify that on your donation. Or, even better, get a gang of friends together and help us outfit an entire cabin!
Perhaps even more important than replacing the beds, are the mattresses. One year as a counselor, I remember using a mattress that was about a foot too long for my bedframe, nevertheless, I slept like an elderly cat in a ray of sunshine on the back of the sofa. Oh, to have my 18-year-old body back again. Anyway, we do need new mattresses.
The alumni committee is currently reviewing, revising, and re-typing the famous Billings Songbooks. We’re going to need to reprint a couple hundred and have them bound. Whether we loved singing time after meals or not, we should all agree that the Camp Billings Songbook is iconic, and a core memory for every camper. If you’d like your donation to go towards the re-printing of Songbooks, please indicate that and we’ll respect your wishes. Oh, and let us know what your favorite song is/was. I always got excited for Green Grow the Rushes and Toviska. The first because it’s so fun with the whole camp banging on tables and adding their riffs. And the latter because it’s just such a strange song, which is why when I was the Sr. Counselor in Cabin 15, we made this song our own and would break out with it at any time, at any meal. Because if it weren’t for castles in Toviska, I’d never be a soldier.
Proper Tool cabinet for maintenance:
Having worked in maintenance with Larry for several summers, I can empathize with Camp’s need for a real tool cabinet for the maintenance area. Currently, tools are often piled and haphazardly strewn throughout the garage and It’s never fun having to sort through the melee, or worse, to go from cabin to cabin to see who “borrowed” the staple gun, or hammer, right as you’re settling into replacing Cabin 8’s screen door because an errant elbow or foot has gone through it again. Please help us help camp by helping organize our tool storage.
Water bottle filling stations:
Almost every camper carries a water bottle now at camp. In fact, I think there may even be a bit of a fashion element to what type of bottle and what stickers may be on it. Ensuring bottles are full and campers are hydrated is super important, but we can’t have campers in the kitchen, or the infirmary, and the bathrooms may sometimes be a little far away. Therefore, we would like to add filtered and chilled water with water bottle filling stations at the dining hall and outside the infirmary. These need to be purchased and installed by a plumber.
Covid Protocol Kits:
Each cabin needs its own cleaning kit. This means there is a lot of cleaning supplies to purchase. From Lysol spray, wipes, gloves, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and more. For those who have been to camp, they know that these products have traditionally been stored in the maintenance shed and are shared across all cabins. To replicate these kits for each cabin for the entire summer is a significant addition to our costs so if we can alleviate this with donations it will be greatly appreciated.
Lost and Found:
Lost and found organization is needed. This way we create a space for lost items that campers can easily look through to find their favorite lost item. Traditionally, everything is thrown in a box, and a couple of times per session it is scattered across the green benches in the hopes that kids will recognize stuff. If we can sort by different items, like towels, hats, t-shirts, water bottles and so on, it will be much easier for campers to find what they are looking for, without sorting through everything.