When I tell people what I do for a living, the responses are usually something like “I wish I could go to camp all summer!” and “That must be so much FUN”. And it is. It really is.
I spend 3 months in a place designed to make children happy, surrounded by people who are doing what they love to do. What could be better than that? However, the last couple of summers were starting to feel a little like the number-crunching desk jobs that I thought I escaped by marrying a camp director. I spend a lot of time managing the behind the scenes operations of camp, which are heavy on administrative duties. This summer, I decided to take matters into my own hands, get out of the office, and start having some fun.
Here are some of my week 1 highlights:
I set a goal for myself this summer to try every instructional at camp. To be honest, I’m not even sure if that’s possible given the number of days of camp and the number of instructionals we offer, but the point is we have some really fun things going on here, and I never get to do them! Until now, that is.
My first instructional was Stand-up Paddleboarding with Crystal. This zen-like activity was a perfect way to ease into things and most importantly, I didn’t fall off my board and embarrass myself in front of my fellow paddlers.
My next instructional was computer animation. My inner-techie drew me to it (I was a computer science major in college), but this was much cooler than coding logic algorithms in C++. We made little green balls bounce in 3-D! I’m sure day 2 was even better, but I was on to…
Fishing! I expected another mellow and meditative experience, but fishing with Ranger is action-packed! Every time someone spotted a bass (approximately every 30 seconds) there was excitement!…and yelling!…and then the fish would swim away, probably because we scared it. But I did learn to cast a line.
I never would have thought Inspection would be a highlight of my week. Each morning, campers are supposed to clean up their bunks after breakfast and then we, the Inspectors, stop by to make sure they are and give them a score. I was assigned 2 fifteen year old camper bunks to inspect this week and I set my expectations accordingly (low). Day 1 started with me explaining why they lose points if they don’t bother to flush the toilets. But, by Day 3, beds were made, clothes were put away and I couldn’t have been prouder. The best part was an enthusiastic dance party for bonus points in Bunk 9 that nearly earned them a perfect score that day. I still smile when I think about it.
Canteen was a highlight for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s new. This is the first year we’ve had a “store” that campers can visit each day and “buy” items with their “Toubucks” (digital currency). I think Canteen actually deserves its own blog post (and you will see one), but to sum it up, it was INTENSE! There’s nothing quite so scary as 200 sophomores and intermediates lined up and licking their chops over a piece of candy. But we had fun serving it up AND a surprising number of campers actually chose our featured farm fresh snap peas or freshly popped popcorn! Hurray for healthy choices!
So it’s not your typical work week, and yes, I do have a pretty great job. Especially when it doesn’t involve payroll and bills. At camp, it’s about making the most of what’s right in front of you and finding extraordinary moments in unexpected places. Next up: Woodworking.