To someone who has never been to Saltash Mountain Camp, the word scraper is meaningless. But here at SAM Camp, “scraper” is commonplace in our vocabulary. While the literal definition of the word refers to a rubber spatula, “scraper” is used here when we speak about our cleaning systems, to bid a group of young adventurers’ farewell, and even as a term of endearment.

For our new second session campers, their initial experience with the scraper was at the end of our first meal together. After our pre-dinner circle, introductions, and enjoyment of delicious pasta with new friends, a few brave counselors and campers jump onto the tables to sing “I will be your scraper, baby” with all their hearts.

This ballad indicates that it is time to spin the “Hello Scraper” Wheel which kicks off clean up. At this time, our community works together to clear tables, wash dishes, take out trash and compost, and restore the kitchen to its sparkling status. With the gentle guidance of returning campers, our new campers did not hesitate to practice good stewardship.

The next day was Pack Out, during which campers are responsible for preparing for their cabin trips—three-day adventures with their new cabinmates. Pack Out, which consists of gear and food packing, testing equipment, team building, and itinerary review, would not be complete without the sticky scraping of peanut butter and jelly into portable containers. The scraper is imperative in preparing for lunch with newfound friends on the trail, whether they’ll be hiking on the Long Trail or swimming at Buttermilk Falls.

Following much anticipation and some well-deserved sleep after wearing ourselves out playing an all-camp game in the rain, the day of cabin trip departures finally arrived! The most important pre-departure ritual involves the spinning of the Goodbye Scraper, with options from “Au revoir! to “Smell ya later!” our support staff sent our cabin groups off into the wilderness to start their epic adventures.

Sure, we could just say goodbye like normal people or assign chores without singing and dancing. While to most the scraper is just a rubber kitchen spatula, for us, it represents the silliness, spirit, and pride trademark of being a supportive and loving member of the SAM Camp community.

— Natalie Honan, Head Counselor at Saltash Mountain Camp



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