June 17, 2012
Father's Day Grinch?
Our formal staff orientation begins in a few hours
and, of course, plenty of people are reminding me that this is
Father's Day. Being a father myself, I feel like it's not so bad
that I "make" people work on Father's Day. But I've been hearing
some staff around camp today talking about how their families don't
understand why they aren't home with their dads.
So let this be
my formal apology to all the dads who wish their children who are camp
counselors could be with them. I miss my sons also (all the
time, not just today), and I do understand how great it would be if
your sons and daughters could be with you today. Thank you for
letting them be here without laying too much guilt on them.
Maybe as partial compensation for their absence, you will accept
my admiration for your children. They have chosen to spend their
summer in service to other children, those younger kids who will be
our campers and who absolutely adore their counselors and look up to
them and emulate them. These counselors have learned a lot from
you, their fathers (and mothers), and are helping to create a better
future. They could have chosen summer jobs that are a lot easier
and pay more, but they have decided to make a difference in the world,
the kind of difference that lasts a lifetime.
So, dads of the
world, be proud of your sons and daughters who are camp counselors.
Know that they really wish they could be with you today, but that
their demanding camp director just couldn't figure out how to get
everyone to camp (from all over the world) and have a proper
orientation without impinging on Father's Day.
Yes, I am the
Father's Day Grinch, and I hope you'll forgive me.
June 15, 2012
The Calm Before the Fun
The busiest time of the year for those of us who
work on camp all the time is actually NOT the summertime. It's
those final two months or so leading up to the arrival of our staff.
That's probably why our blogging has slacked off recently.
feels like everything comes together all at once and everyone else in
the world starts thinking about camp when the weather gets warm.
One of the changes in recent years is that an increasing number of
families don't begin their camp selection process until the late
spring, so we've learned to adjust to that and expect that we'll still
be giving lots of camp tours in addition to our usual spring to-do
Since we don't live and work at our camp site during the
school year, we make our annual move up to Blairstown as soon as the
Blair Academy campus is ready to receive us, which is right after
their alumni reunion. As the Blair alumni leave, we roll in with
our vans and start unloading everything from phones and computers to
guitars, boxes of paint, tennis raquets and skate boards. Once
we get the basics going, we rent a couple of big trucks and our
leadership team has the privilege of emptying out our big, local
storage lockers and hauling out the skate park, tons of fans, the gaga
court, the gymnastics floor and lots more. Then we take our
delivery of gymnastics equipment and the drums arrive and it starts to
look like summer camp around here.
Camp people are
excellent multi-taskers, so while all of this is going on we are also
completing our final plans for staff orientation and learning all
about our campers and what they are looking forward to doing this
Right now I'm sitting in my office looking out at the
bowl (and our sundial), listening to some leadership team members out
in the Annie Hall lounge playing guitar and singing. It's
beautiful here in Blairstown, with the late afternoon sun making the
grassy "bowl" almost glow. The campus is very green and lush
right now. Even though we've been working hard this week,
there is a sense of calm settling over the whole camp.
won't last for long because tomorrow morning our returning counselors
arrive and from that moment on this place will be alive with the
energy and sounds that we all know mean "camp". In the afternoon
we will be picking up our staff who are flying in from different
states and countries. They will be very tired, but also very
excited as this is the first time some of them have been to the U.S.
(and the Garden State!). The energy increases on Sunday when the
rest of our counselors arrive and by 3:30 everyone is here and our
week of staff orientation begins. As staff, we are officially
working, but we are actually having huge amounts of fun. It's an
energy level and momentum that's unstoppable and will roll right over
into the eight weeks of summer with our campers.
I just took a
break from writing this to have dinner with the leadership staff (and
listen to Katrina praise chicken ranch pizza to the high heavens),
spend some time working with our nurse team, and then have a bunk
meeting with the leadership team. This was our last formal
gathering as a group before the rest of the staff joins us, so we took
the opportunity to look back over the week and talk about the changes
that had taken place in this short time. Camp is rooted in
tradition, but it's actually all about change, and change happens
quickly. We increase the bonds of friendship, trust and support,
and we gain in confidence for the jobs that lie ahead of us.
This team has grown and changed remarkably this week. It's tight
and ready to go. The summer is already awesome.
took this photo tonight out on the turf field as the leadership team
tried out a new game they've created for staff orientation. I
can't tell you the details because there's an element of surprise, so
you'll have to wait for a future blog to undrstand what's going on
Night has fallen now over the campus. It's quiet
and peaceful. It's the calm before the fun and I can't wait for
the fun to begin.
Have a great summer. I hope I'll be
seeing you at camp.
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