Staff training will soon be drawing to a close, and the whole crew here is very busy getting the last-minute touches all set for the campers to finally arrive. And though we should all be enjoying the last few nights of real sleep, most of us are too excited for camp to officially begin. We’ve had enough peace and quiet all winter, and are anxious for the kids to arrive!
Over the last week, I’ve been amazed to watch this group of 124 staff members come together as one cohesive unit. Every year, I’m awestruck to see how tightly-knit a group of 100+ strangers can become in such a short amount of time. To see so many staff members committed to making a difference in the lives of children reminds me why I love camping so much; it’s awfully hard to be in a bad mood when surrounded by so many happy, fun-loving people. And I know that as soon as our 190 campers show up, those 124 staff members will truly come alive and the entire camp community will be complete, and we’ll all grow closer than ever.
If 124 staff members seems like a lot, that’s because it is. We hire more counselors than most camps. It means we have to pay more money in salaries to our staff but it’s worth every penny. More counselors means better supervision and more people around to encourage your children and help them to have the best summer possible.
By this time, your daughter should be all packed for camp. She might be a little nervous, which is completely normal. We want you to know that it’s okay for you to be a little nervous, too. After all, sending your daughter away for four or eight weeks is a pretty big deal, and we don’t take lightly the impact that has on our campers’ parents. We know that it’ll be a significant transition for both you and your daughter, and we are here to help in any way we can. If you have any questions in the next few days, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
On the first day of camp, we’ll all be incredibly busy making sure that all the campers and their luggage arrive safely at camp, so if we don’t return your phone calls right away on Monday, please be patient. We’ll make sure to leave a message on the voicemail system letting you all know that everyone has arrived safely and that all is well. We’ll also post the first cabin pictures on the website Monday night, so you’ll have a chance to see your daughter’s smiling face as well as her new cabin mates and counselors.
The first night of camp is filled with meeting new friends and saying hi to old ones, unpacking, getting situated, and having a great time. The first dinner is a special time for the camp community to come together and take part in some time-honored BT traditions. Before we sit down to eat, we read a special poem–one that reminds the campers to be mindful of their time together and of the friendships they will cultivate over the next four or eight weeks. After everyone enjoys spaghetti and a special dessert, as well a ton (and I mean a TON) of very loud cheering and singing, I’ll take a few minutes to remind everyone of some of the rules at camp so that everyone starts off on the same page. These rules cover the basics, including everything from reminders not to leave trash on the ground to making sure that any and all medications are kept in the health center rather than in the cabins.
After dinner, the session’s first evening program will take place, and it’s always a wild one! On the first night of each session, the staff puts on a counselor show, introducing themselves to the campers and doing a good bit of entertaining in the process (we’ll be sure to post pictures of the silly outfits and hilarious skits on the website the following day). Afterwards, while the camper s and counselors get all the beds made and duffel bags unpacked specialty staff members will make their way to each cabin, picking up valuables (to be kept in a safe in the office) and checking to make sure that all is well and that every camper has what she needs.
It’s a lot to fit into one day, but we’re expecting clear skies on Monday, lots of sunshine, and an excellent start to what I think is going to be our best summer yet.