Any parent who has ever sent their child to sleepaway camp in Maine knows the experience doesn’t come cheap. Camp Susan Curtis in Stoneham, a program of the nonprofit Susan L. Curtis Foundation, offers Maine kids ages 8 to 18 from economically disadvantaged families the opportunity to attend summer camp for two-week sessions. To help cover the costs of running the camp, the foundation has organized two fundraising events this month with special appeal to book lovers.

The camp is intended to offer a “safe haven where young spirits are nourished, friendships developed, and where the community believes fully and unconditionally that every Maine child deserves to know and realize their full potential,” according to a mission statement on its website. About 500 children attend Camp Susan Curtis each summer.

The fundraisers are intended in part to make up for hobbled fundraising activities during the pandemic. On Aug. 13, ticketholders can attend a Dad & Daughter reading with writer Richard Russo and his daughter, Kate Russo. The evening, which includes cocktails and dinner, begins at 5 p.m. at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield. Buy tickets through Eventbrite for $100.

Between Aug. 1 and Aug. 13, avid readers, aspiring writers – and anybody else – can bid on some pretty amazing online auction items, contributed by some of Maine’s leading writers. Among those items, writer Kate Christensen will name a character in a book after the successful bidder (starting bid $300), writers Susan Conley and Lily King will teach a workshop together for up to 10 students (starting bid $500), and Debra Spark will read a high school student’s college application essay, meet with the student, and suggest improvements (starting bid $300). Find details on these and many more by going to and hitting the link partway down the homepage for An Evening with Maine Authors.

Writer Caitlin Shetterly, who herself is contributing an experience to the online auction, once oversaw a cabin for 8-year-old girls at Camp Susan Curtis.

“I’ll never forget how brave those girls were, how amazing it was to watch them unfurl away from their home lives, how much they wanted safety of all kinds,” she wrote in an email. “It was a moving time. I also remember the way the pine needle strewn paths smelled and felt so smooth under my feet; the piles of mashed potatoes at dinner in the dining hall; the incredibly pristine Trout Lake, which is entirely surrounded by woods and mountains. It is a paradise there, one that is so wonderful to give to kids who need it most.”

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