Best. Present. Ever.

Best. Present. Ever.

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This time of year is filled with nostalgia, thanks and gift-giving. We decided to ask folks at Chewonki: “What was the best present you ever received?” Here’s a few of our favorite answers:

1. Corn Hole

“A corn-hole (bean-bag toss) set in 2004. This sturdy Cincinnati sports team set is still around and gets great use. It spent many busy summers at Boys Camp.”

– Keith Crowley, Director of Educational Partnerships

 2. Coffee Shop

“Last year my oldest brother gave me gift cards to my four favorite coffee shops in Portland. He knows how much I love hanging out in coffee shops. ”

– Sophia (Semester 59 student from Casco Bay High School, Portland, Maine)

3. The Millenium Falcon


“My Millennium Falcon toy was the perfect spaceship vehicle for creative play with all my Star Wars figures. Han, Chewbacca, Luke, and Leia could all fit into the ship, and I created adventure after adventure, occupying my imagination for hours on end. I still have it in the attic at my parents’ house.”

-Garth Altenburg, Boys Camp Director

4. A Super Helmet Seven

“I have an uncle who won’t ever let me forget how excited I was at about seven years old when I opened up a really cool helmet that had all kinds of lights and buttons on it. It was called the Super Helmet Seven. I loved wearing that thing.” 

– Greg Shute, Vice President

5. A Mummy Bag

“My first mummy bag–an extra-long. My parents gave it to me when I was in college. I’m about six feet tall and I had trouble with previous sleeping bags. Either my shoulders got chilly or I had to stay partially curled up all night long. In this one, I could actually stretch my legs out. Fantastic.

– Shelly Gibson, Team Development Coordinator

6. A Fuller Bit Set

“A Fuller bit set used for pre-drilling and countersinking screws. I had used these bits working on wooden boats. My wife’s dad gave me a full set in a wooden case and had wood-burned my name on top.”

– Carob Arnold, Facilities Manager

7. A Scooter

“I got a super-cool red scooter way back when. It was the best. I immediately went outside and rode around the street with it. My brother got a bike that year and we spent the whole day outside.”

– Chris Percy, Spanish Teacher, Maine Coast Semester


8. A Piano

“My mom rented a baby grand piano for six months of my senior year of high school when I was deep into college auditions and playing at lots of competitions and exams. Normally, I played on our very old, very plunky upright piano that we got for a few hundred dollars when I started taking lessons in elementary school.”

– Hilary Crowell, Assistant Farm Manager

9. A Bicycle

“A BMX bike. We were only the second family on our hill [in Cork, Ireland] to get one. I had to share it with my brother and sister, but I was so excited. It snowed that Christmas. It never snows in Cork–but it did that year, so we had to practice riding in the hall of our house.”

-Carol James, Housekeeping & Facilities

10. A Hand-made Hat

“My younger sister, Louisa, knit this wool hat for me about five years ago. I love it. During the winter I wear it inside and outside. I often wear it on the job in the kitchen. It’s warm and stylish.”

Bill Edgerton, Kitchen Manager

11. A Tent

“The year I turned 18, my parents gave me a two-person tent. Not only was it an incredibly practical gift for me, a budding outdoorswoman and trip leader, but it held a significance similar to that of a car–it was a gift supportive of my independence and maturity.”

-Emily Bell-Hoerth, Teacher, Grades 3-4, Chewonki Elementary School

12. A Good Boy

“My favorite gift was our yellow lab, Riley. He turned 12 this year and is an awesome dog. My dad got him on Christmas Eve outside a grocery store called Kroger in my hometown of Lapeer, Michigan.”

Austin Muir, Waypoint Coordinator

13. The Bieb

“Two tickets to a Justin Bieber concert, one for me and one for a good friend I usually only saw in the summer. We had such a good time!”

Lucy (Semester 59 student from the Chapin School, New York, New York)

14. Drum Kit & Sleeping Bag

Mia: “My first really good sleeping bag. Great present. I was so excited.”  Cali: “I can’t think of anything right away…” Mia: “Remember the drum set you got?” Cali: “Oh, yeah! That was fantastic.” Mia: “I was so jealous. It was such a huge present!”

– Mia Salinas (Drew School, San Francisco, California) and Cali Salinas (The Bay School, San Francisco, California) (Sem 59 students and twins)


15. Boombox

“When I was 12, I got a black boom box with a double cassette deck and a CD player–really state-of-the-art at the time. I also got a Bruce Springsteen box set, and I remember going into my room, loading those CDs, blasting Springsteen, and feeling so cool.

-Willard Morgan, President


16. A Telescope

“My telescope. I had always been interested in the stars…A close second would be my trampoline. I had been saving to buy one myself and had $20 left to go, but on Christmas, someone said, ‘That present has your name on it.’ It was just a little box with a spring inside; the trampoline was sitting right outside the house.”

– Fer (Sem 59 student  from the Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Georgia)

17. Elton John

“Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album! I had a little suitcase record player and I loved Elton John. I was maybe five or six years old.”

-Angie Klein, Health Center Nurse


18. Space Camp

“Space Camp. I asked my parents if I could go to Space Camp and they said yes. Unbelievable. I stood under an Apollo-class rocket rocket bigger than anything you can imagine. Science!”

– Cullen McGough, Director of Communications


19. Rocking Horse

“An amazing wood rocking horse I got when I was two!”

-Olivia Lukacic, Senior Outdoor Educator, Science


20. A Carrot

“A handsome carrot from the farm for my nose.”

– Semester 59 Snowman

What was your best gift ever?