In January 2016 we had staff interviews. We narrowed down the field and hired 7 new staff members, 6 returning staff members, and 1 intern for summer 2016. Each staff member from the previous year can decide whether or not they want to return. Some of them graduate college and move on to bigger and better things. Some of them return for a second, third, fourth, or fifth summer. Some just decide not to return. Not all people are cut out for camp. If we are lucky we get a lot of returnees to guide new staff members through the summer to create more returnees for summers to come.
After they have received the news they’ve been hired, most of them still have a couple of months left of school to focus on, but that doesn’t stop the excitement. They get to know each other by becoming friends on Facebook and talking and planning things for the summer, while Salmon and the other Program Directors are busy planning the Statewide Staff Training. All Summer Staff have to go through a week-long training session at one of the six 4-H Centers each year. This year it’s at the Airfield 4-H Center. They get to meet the staff from every center and make new friends and learn about their jobs, homesickness, childhood development, roles and expectations, anything and everything that has to do with camp. This is the place that prepares them to be a staff member. It is a whole week dedicated to making sure they know what they are doing. When they get back they have another week of training here at Holiday Lake. We go through our specific training with them.
Training, training, training, lots and lots of training, it may sound like too much, but you can never have too much training when kids are involved. We train these Staff members for 2 weeks. Each staff goes to the statewide training and then has their own center specific training. It’s not all boring. We do our best to make it fun so they retain the information. During the center specific training our staff learns all our specific policies and procedures and the traditions of Holiday Lake, like our Thursday night campfire ceremony for example. It is a rite of passage every staff member goes through. They hear the story and experience the feeling of being in such a historic place. I don’t know if the campers have that same feeling when they hear the story, but it certainly means a lot to us that work and live here.
After 2 long weeks of preparations, staff bonding, and of course, training, we finally have our first camp, Family Camp! This is a camp for, you guessed it, families. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Sister, Brother, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, you name it. They do camp just like everyone else. They take classes together and on their own. It’s just like regular camp. We’ve watched these families grow up and felt like we’ve become part of their families. We say goodbye to Family Camp and hello to county camps. There are 8 weeks of county camp this summer, and we are excited for every one of them. We know our staff is eager and enthusiastic to get started.
13 days ‘til the first day of camp.