Month: March 2013

Camp through the Eyes of a Program Director

I’m the camp’s Program Director.  I have a very unique job at camp as the person responsible for overseeing the daily scheduling of the camp’s daily activities.  Even though it’s not one of the traditional camp jobs that comes to mind when people imagine working at a summer camp, it’s a crucial one.  I like that it’s a perfect combination of behind the scenes with hands on.

One of the things I love most about my job is that I get the opportunity to get to know most of the campers and staff through daily interaction.  I’m the person they come to with requests for their programs.  I enjoy speaking with them about the things that are working in their activity areas and hear feedback about things that I might improve.

On those rare occurrences when the sun refuses to cooperate with the camp schedule, I get to demonstrate my creative talents by figuring how we can keep the fun going in all of our indoor facilities.  I also enjoy getting out on campus every now to see for myself how the schedule plays out in real time.  It’s a great time for me to take notes for the next schedule.

In the evenings, before I begin working on the next day’s schedule, I often participate in special events.  Sometimes I judge activities.  Sometimes I lead them.  Other times, I host them or just keep score.  The real reward of my job is when I overhear campers telling their counselors that they just had the best day ever as they’re heading off to bed in the evenings.  It’s a great way to begin another day because just as everyone winds down their day at camp, I head back to my office to begin working on the next day’s schedule, ready to create another “funnest day ever!” for our campers.  If you think working in camp programming sounds like a fun job, apply at one of America’s Finest Summer Camps today!

Camp through the Eyes of an Athletic Director

Hi, I’m the camp Athletic Director!

I love my role at camp because in the course of a day, I come into contact with virtually everyone at camp at some point.  I started out at camp as a sports head.  I loved keeping my individual area organized—working with the campers and my staff and maintaining my facilities—so well that I wanted to be more involved.  So I started helping out with inter and intra-camp leagues as well as leading any evening or special activities that involved not just my program area, but virtually anything that had to with sports.  That’s how I eventually became the one responsible for keeping my camp’s entire sports program running smoothly.

My day begins early—sometimes as early as 6:00 a.m.  I’m responsible for seeing off all of the teams heading out to play inter-camp league games.  I make sure we stay on schedule by insuring all of the coaches and their teams make it onto the bus or to the field on time.   If a team is scheduled to be out of camp during any meals, I run by the kitchen to make sure their breakfasts or lunches are ready and, if they haven’t been already, transported to the bus.  I also double check to make sure teams have all necessary sporting equipment, rosters, and, medical forms.  On those rare days when the weather is less than perfect, I also communicate with other camp Athletic Directors about the status of scheduled matches.  It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes games have to be rescheduled.

During the day, I make my rounds to all of sporting areas. I review lesson plans and make sure instruction is adhering to them. I enjoy watching each and every group for a bit.  It’s fun to see the progress of the campers over time.  While I’m there, I’ll check in with the Area Head and Specialists to see if there are any issues that might be impacting the activity that I haven’t directly observed myself.  It’s also a good time for me to give staff members a pep talk by applauding what I think is working and offering some pointers for improving some things.  I might also take some time to schedule league matches with other camps or oversee intra-league play.  At some point each day, I’ll also check-in with coaches to get scores and report updated records for all of the athletic teams to the directors.  During that time, I’ll also communicate any maintenance and facility issues or equipment needs to directors or program director.

In the evenings, I’ll usually help out in whatever way I can with the camp’s special activities.  While sometimes this actually involves something directly related to athletics, the majority of the time, it does not.  A lot of times, I find myself judging contests or dressed in some crazy costume doing something goofy on stage during one of the camp’s shows.  It’s all part of working at a summer camp, and those are some of my favorite moments.  I’m usually pretty exhausted by the time my head hits the pillow at night, but I can’t wait until the next morning so that I wake up and do it all over again!  That’s why I love working at camp!

Going to Camp with Your Siblings

They may fight like cats and dogs at home, but attending camp together is special for siblings.  Parents may be surprised to learn that at camp, they don’t accuse each of being the one to lose the television remote.  Instead, they wave and smile when they pass each other on campus.  They don’t fight about taking up each other’s space in the car either.  Instead, they make special meeting places to talk about camp—everything they’ve done, new things they’ve tried, new friends they’ve made, and how their sports teams are doing how they got a bullsyeye in archery or are going to be singing a song in the show.  Siblings don’t taunt each other when they do something silly at camp.  They cheer for them.  And, parents, you may be surprised to learn that siblings don’t pretend that each other has an infectious disease that prevents them from ever touching at camp.  They readily hug.

As you can see, summer camp may as well be Hogwarts for its ability to transform sibling rivalry into a special relationship.  Camp is a distinct set of memories they share apart from their parents.  Those camp experiences will always be just theirs, which creates a bond that helps them grow as brothers and sisters as well as individuals.  It’s an opportunity that many children who do not attend sleepaway camp don’t get to experience until adulthood.  By being able to share a special set of traditions and values, siblings are able to appreciate their relationships at a much earlier age.   The thrill of seeing each other experience camp firsts and pass camp milestones also helps them learn to appreciate each other as individuals.

And, let’s face it, we know that seeing your children smiling together in a camp photo after hitting the refresh button a thousand times each day makes it all worthwhile for you.  Those smiles are why you put them on the bus or plane each year.  They’re why you post the photos to your on Facebook pages and pass them around, accumulating likes.  You  love hearing them asking each if they remember a certain time at camp or singing the same songs and doing the same cheers.  In that respect, being able to send your children to summer camp together is special for you too.