About Us


Founded in 1968 by Helen Herz Cohen, The Main Idea is an extraordinary and unique ten-day, residential summer camp program that provides economically disadvantaged girls with a life-changing camp experience.

Sharing the same idyllic setting as Camp Walden in Denmark, Maine, The Main Idea provides girls, ages 8 – 14, with a close-knit, family-oriented camp environment that allows each girl the chance to develop her personality, increase her self-confidence, and acquire new skills ranging from belaying on the ropes course, to team problem solving, to conflict resolution. 

The friendships and bonds that develop among campers, counselors, and staff are all ingredients in The Main Idea’s special mix of warmth and spirit. 

Although the girls are together for only ten days, many of the friendships formed continue to grow long after their magical summer experience has ended.

Our girls come to us from various cities in the Northeast, as well as  from several rural Maine communities. We partner with over a dozen different social service agencies and schools throughout these areas. Each year, approximately 130 girls attend The Main Idea, and more than 70 percent are returning campers or junior staff. We have a “steps program” that offers our girls the opportunity to return each year, learning new leadership skills along the way, with the goal of eventually becoming full staff members. The young women are thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to a place that has given them so much!