Dear upcoming Maine camping season,

we need you.

That last 12 months have been incredibly hard on so many Maine families. And sure, there are a multitude of reasons that I could list off about the pandemic that have made the last year so hard. Masking, distancing, job loss, business closures.. you name it, it's probably on the list.

However, the biggest thing that most of us are missing out on and yearning for is, simply put, time together. Not just our extended family but our friends, too. We haven't been able to have large gatherings, go on trips or hug anyone over 65. That's why this year's camping season is so important. Sure, we had a camping season last year, but even that was different.

This year we need time at Maine campgrounds to reconnect with people we've spent so long only seeing via Zoom and Facetime. We need those late-night campfire-sitting, song-singing, beer-drinking nights back with 20 of our closest friends while our littles sleep under the stars.

We desperately need time away from work and out of our homes. For a lot of people 'work and home' have become synonymous due to remote working. That makes it even more important for people to get outside and take back a piece of the normalcy we are all so badly craving.

The vaccine gives me hope. Love it or hate it, science seems to agree that it's making a big difference and by May, there should be enough vaccine available to everyone who wants it. So take it or don't, but hopefully this will bring with it a return to a life that seems so far away now.

My family is so lucky to be part of a group of friends that centers its summers around camping. Most weekends you can find us Beaver Brook, Duck Puddle, Lake Pemaquid or Cathedral Pines and we couldn't be happier about it.

I need my campsite cornhole tourneys back. I need my stupid camping pranks back. Heck, I even need my "I can have a beer at 9AM because we're camping!" excuses back. I just need my normal life back, and spending a weekend under the canopy of the pines at a quaint Maine campground is the epitome of 'my normal life'.

Happy camping, friends.

Matt.

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