It’s 5:45am and I am not the only one up at camp right now.

A few staff are pacing in and around the office right finishing off final preparations for our camper pickup that begins today. We’ve had a team of staff at camp since early April, when there was still snow on the ground and the lake was frozen over. Gradually, the number of eager staff members have grown as presummer trainings began a few weeks ago. I’ve spent the past week with our entire staff reviewing everything from modeling appropriate conduct in competition to handling homesickness, understanding trip procedures, managing allergies and how to use an epipen.

I could not be more impressed with the team we have in place this summer! There are 185 men and women who are here with one goal in mind – to make this the best summer experience ever for our campers…and a safe one! Whether is be in the bunks, in the fields, on the lake, in the theater, in the dining hall, or in the health center, everyone is approaching camper arrival day with incredible enthusiasm, energy and diligence.

The majority of our counselor and activity staff have been at Manitou for years! Collectively, our counselor and senior staff group comes from quite a diverse geographical background. Some quick staff math for you:

40%: Percentage of counselor staff who are former campers
33: Number of states represented
19: Number of professional educators on staff
11: Number of high school and college coaches
7: Number of countries represented

I am always amazed by our former campers who return year after year. They bring so much spirit to camp life and model our camp values well. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised because I did, but given the pressures of padding the resume with more “professional development” work experience and internships, I know this choice can be a difficult step. I will say, however, that our counselors are making a very smart decision. The quality of experience and skill development that our staff get it hard to match anywhere. Here is a great article that describes what I am talking about…Camp Counselor vs Intern

Our staff value at camp is tremendous, and it is often those relationships between a camper and his counselors that make the camp experience so meaningful. Here is an article I like that gives a glimpse into what makes the camper/counselor so great. Why Camp Counselors Can Out-Parent Parents

And if you think those staff who “missed out” by going to camp and not taking an internship or traveling far far away for community service, check out the colleges of our Junior Counselor class of 2012

Here’s to our camp counselors and the enormous task they have ahead of caring for our campers.

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