Agassiz Village is a beautiful 330-acre woodland camp in Poland, Maine on the shore of Thompson Lake, in the traditional lands of the Wabanaki people. The waterfront has a shallow sandy beach, large dock, and opportunities for swimming and canoeing. The Dining Hall is one of the world’s largest free-standing log buildings and there are large dance spaces for us to enjoy, an open-air amphitheater, and a gazebo that was once a carousel. Agassiz also has a large central field for playing games, basketball courts, and hiking paths.
The camp about 40 minutes north of Portland, about a three hour drive from Boston, and six hours from New York City.
2023 will be CDSS’s first year of programming at Agassiz Village. We are just beginning to learn about this beautiful environment and how to best prepare our campers for the space. We will add to and update the information as the camp season approaches.
How to Get There
Agassiz Village is located in Poland, ME, north and west of Portland. The camp address is 71 Agassiz Village Lane, Poland, ME 04274.
Agassiz Village office: 207-998-4340
Camp is open from 4pm on the first day of the session, and dinner is served at 6pm. Departure time is by 10am on the last day.
Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to Agassiz Village, but if you need help getting there, you may be able to coordinate ride-sharing with other campers by posting a message on the the CDSS Family Week at Agassiz Village Facebook page.
Most of the cabins at Agassiz have electricity, two lavatory facilities and large porches. They are fully walled, have lots of bunk beds for family groups, and each has a separate “counselor’s quarters.” The cabins do not have hanging storage or many internal divisions, so you may want to pack a clothesline and extra flat sheet to hang as a curtain.
In addition to the larger cabins, there are a small number of double occupancy rooms. Tent camping is also available
Families will be housed together and grouped according to the age of the youngest children. A Pied Piper will lead the young children back to their cabins at bedtime, and roving monitors will be on duty after that so parents are free to enjoy the evening dancing. You may wish to bring a small headlight or reading lamp for wind-down at bedtime.
Showers are in separate buildings nearby. Campers are asked to bring their own bed linens and towels.
Campers will be given their housing assignments on arrival. Space is limited, and we can’t guarantee that all specific requests will be filled, but if you let us know what you want, we’ll do our best to make it happen. For instance, you could request a specific cabin or roommate. You can make housing requests when you register, or by logging into CDSS Commons at any time afterwards. Please notify us of all housing needs at least 10 days before camp starts. If you need disability/medical/access accommodations, please list this clearly on your housing preferences, and contact the CDSS Office if you have any questions.
In the cooperative spirit of camp life, all campers have a daily job to help make camp run smoothly.
- Jobs are usually a half hour or less per day, every day, and the same job all week.
- Generally campers will be given their job assignment on arrival.
- You have the opportunity to make specific requests about your job assignment when you register, or you can log into CDSS Commons to update this information at any time. We can’t guarantee that all specific job requests will be filled, but please let us know if you have any preferences or limitations (e.g., dust allergy, unable to lift heavy objects, difficulty staying up late or getting up early).
At Family Weeks, children ages 6-12 may be given a job to share with an adult family member.
Types of Camper Jobs
Dining Hall and Kitchen
- Campers help with setting and clearing tables for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Other kitchen jobs can include serving food, making tea and coffee, and washing dishes after meals
- The dance pavilions and other camp spaces need regular sweeping to keep them clean and ready for dancing
Snacks and tea
- Some of our camp weeks have a snack or teatime scheduled in addition to the main meals
- Campers help with setup and tidying up afterwards, food preparation, and making teas
Parties and events
- Some campers will be asked to help out with setting up and tidying away for parties, auctions, and other camp events
- Helping with the late-night parties can be a great job for people who like to stay up late, but there are also daytime events that need help
- The CDSS office staff sometimes need help with clerical work, which can include folding or stapling papers, helping with paperwork at fundraising auctions, or working in the CDSS Bookstore
- Some sessions will have a camper job to coordinate mealtime announcements, or to help update schedules with any changes during the week
Greeters and tour guides
- We’ll ask a few campers to arrive early to be ready to welcome everyone else and give directions to new people
Meals: The camp serves three meals a day, from dinner on the day of arrival through to breakfast on the day of departure.
If you have any dietary restrictions, please let us know in advance so we can make sure the kitchen is ready to feed you. You let us know your dietary needs when you register for camp, and you can also log into CDSS Commons after registration to update your information at any time.
Agassiz Village can easily cater for vegetarians and will try and meet other dietary needs, but the camp has a very small kitchen staff and cannot cater to every special diet. If you have very restrictive or severe food intolerances, you may need to bring some of your own food to supplement the camp food. Refrigerator space is available for campers to use for this purpose. Please contact us in advance if you have any questions or concerns.
In addition to the main meals, an alternatives cart and refrigerator are stocked with most of the following (available to all at each meal): hard boiled eggs, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly, carrot and celery sticks, bread, cheese, and hummus. These can be used both by people on restrictive diets or for children who might be fussy eaters.
Snacks and refreshments: A mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack are served daily. Some after-dance parties are scheduled with food supplied by CDSS, but campers are encouraged to bring their own snacks and party food to share and to host parties.
What to Pack
Here are a few suggestions for what you might want to bring with you to camp, and what you might want to leave at home.
- Bring enough clothes for the whole week; there are no laundry facilities at camp
- Bring dance clothes, but make sure you’re prepared for colder weather or rain as well
- Dance shoes
- Trail or hiking shoes are a good idea for the paths around camp
- Bring more than one!
- Flashlight & spare batteries
- Toiletries, sunscreen
- Water Bottle
- Sheets, sleeping bag or blankets, pillow
You may wish to bring:
- Musical Instruments
- Tunes, songs, dances, and stories to share
- Snacks and food to share for parties
- Auction donations and ideas for services
- Food (if on a special diet)
- Fancy dress or costumes
- Bug spray
- Tent/sleeping bag/mattress pad for camping
Please leave at home:
- Computers (if you must bring electronics, please keep them in your cabin and away from camp social life)
- Electronic games
- Recorded music
- Scented products (deodorant, shampoo, etc.)
- In order to make camp safe and accessible for people with chemical/fragrance sensitivities, we ask that you refrain from bringing scented products to camp where possible
- All the cares and worries of home and work
The CDSS Bookstore offers dance and song recordings and books, postcards, T-shirts and more. This includes recordings, publications from the talented staff. It is open for browsing from Sunday lunch until Thursday afternoon. Item may be taken only after they are checked out during posted staffed hours. Bills can be paid near the end of the week. You can pay by cash, check, or card (Visa & Mastercard accepted).
A resident first aider is in attendance at camp and available at all times for basic first aid. We are unable to dispense any medicine or medical advice; if there is an emergency or medical question we will direct you to the nearest hospital. There is a first aid station stocked with band-aids, ice packs and basic supplies. You should bring any specific first aid supplies or medication that you think you may need in the course of the week. CDSS and Agassiz Village assume no liability for accidents or illness or for their treatment.
Illegal use and sale of alcohol and drugs is prohibited at Agassiz Village. The legal drinking age in Maine is 21. While recreational use of marijuana is illegal in New Hampshire, all campers must follow the camp smoking guidelines. Parents and guardians are responsible for making sure that their children do not use alcohol or drugs at Agassiz Village.
All the normal outdoor dangers: raccoons, ticks, poison ivy, etc. come with camp life. Do not approach or handle wild or tame animals and let us know if any contact has occurred. Standard precautions will be explained at camp.
The lake is visible from most of camp and is fun for everyone. It is a walk to the swimming area – bring a beach bag for towels and a change. For your water safety, lifeguards are on duty at the lake for specific periods each day. The lake is out of bounds at when the lifeguard is not on duty.
Minors (those under age 18) may only swim or boat under the supervision of the lifeguards.
- Campers 9 & under must be accompanied by their parent or guardian.
- Campers 17 and under wishing to swim beyond the roped off shallow end of the lake or to use a boat must pass a swimming test.
Canoes are available during swim times for use by people who have passed the swim test. By state law, all boaters must wear a life jacket.
CDSS and Agassiz Village assume no responsibility for campers swimming or using boats.
Lifeguard equipment is for use only by the lifeguard or in the case of a swimming emergency. If you swim when or where the lifeguard is not on duty, please swim with a friend. Do not swim if you have been drinking alcohol.
2023 CDSS Sessions at Agassiz Village
CDSS is hosting one camp week at Agassiz Village in 2023: