The back deck of the Widji Longhouse

I get asked many times each year what I do in the off season. Most often I explain that I spend nine and a half months preparing for the blur of a summer at camp. I suppose people assume that what they see in the summer is all there is to camp ministry. Well, it’s not. This fall has lots of outdoor projects to finish up, plus I had 100 men for a retreat the first weekend of October. The meetings and planning for next year have already begun. There was clean up to do and discovering the stuff that wasn’t cleaned up by summer staff, evaluations, maintenance, finding all the supplies that went missing during the summer and more.

One camp director explained it like this, “It’s like planning a wedding. A wedding doesn’t happen over night either. Now try planning a nine week wedding… yeah there is a little prep to be done“.

Last fall in a Facebook group called, Summer Camp Professionals, Stephanie Ruby Compton posed the following question and got some great responses including a couple from me:

I was working on a blog post this afternoon and realized that there really are so many hats/jobs/skills that camp directors fill at work. Just a few that I brainstormed: boss, maker of fun, writer, accountant, garbage man, bathroom cleaner, cook, bus driver, social media guru, mom/dad, health care professional, photographer… What others can you think of?
• computer programmer / IT expert, story teller, psychologist, educator, HR, grounds keeper, student of the world
• copy writer, trainer, graphic designer, mentor, sales person, programmer, coach, janitor, security guard, advertiser, therapist, comedian, handyman, visionary, fundraiser, safety manager, team builder, inspector, disciplinarian, detective, storyteller, and mediator
• psychiatrist
• Barista, recovery diver, videographer
• Judge & Jury
• Teacher, Risk Assessment Advisor, Public Relations Coordinator, Banker, Referee, Construction Manager, Contractor
• Peacemaker
• Nurse, fill in counselor, fundraiser
• Head camper, grant writer, maintenance, cook, dishwasher, store manager,
• Mentor, friend, bad cop, night shift worker, mower, fundraiser, accountant, volunteer coordinator, alumni relations director, programmer, policy writer, scholar, social media guru, and ultimate source of awesomeness
• Zoo keeper/camp pet care provider
• Life coach, cheerleader, weather forecaster.
• Plumber
• Waste remover
• Hero
• Themeing guru, props builder, leadership developer, instructor of all things camp, risk manager, budget creator, chief purchasing officer, and people wonder what we do the rest of the year
• Grant Writer, Project Manager and Electrician

Not sure if that clears it up, but there you go. OH, and I do take a few weeks vacation and catch up on my sleep and hang out with my wife!


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