Category: camp staff
By: “H” Rothenberg Co Owner & Director 6/7/14
As a camp director, I often get asked, “What do you do the rest of the year?” I normally respond with, “We operate groups year round on our ropes course and offer nature and science programs to School and Scout groups.” However, what we do most is spend nine months preparing for three. That to me is an amazing statistic. Where else in the world do you spend nine months preparing for three? Not even in pro sports does that ratio come into play.
During the “off season” we spend time promoting camp, marketing to and recruiting campers. Improving the property which this winter included paving Camp Road. We also give about 100 tours. We interview, check references and hire staff as a big part of our preparations. We even go to many of our summer campers sporting events, plays, and community happenings. All part of preparing for these magical three months. We have been pretty fortunate that over the last 15 years we have lived on the grounds of Triple C Camp and even taken some great vacations during the months of November & December when our camp families and staff are not as interested or engaged in thinking camp.
We are also fortunate that we have time to volunteer. Libby has been a dedicated volunteer to the Scouting Movement. First, she was our daughters Troop Leader and Service Unit Coordinator for the Monticello region of Virginia Girl Scouts. The last several years she has been the Program Coordinator for our sons Boy Scout Troop. My volunteer work used to be on the basketball court as I help found VABA’s Developmental Basketball League. The last couple of years I have been serving the American Camp Association as the Professional Development Chair for The Virginias which hosts three conferences a year with about 125 people at each conference. Also, during this time, Libby will enjoy reading a book on the beach and I definitely enjoy time on the golf course with the quest to obtain the perfect golf shot. This too is preparation for the three months of summer.
Well, those three months this year have been shortened just a little bit due to old man winter. However, now the time has come. This Monday (June 9) we will have over 100 campers in camp. Our returning staff will be working with those campers while our first year staff members (and a few returners) will be in staff training. The following week we will be closer to our average of 275 campers. Staff training for me is the most important week of the year. All the conferences we attend, the trainings, the reviewing of the cutting edge child development strategies all come down to this critical week of training. Of course one of things I’ve learned this year is that training doesn’t take place just during training week, we are training the staff all summer long in our daily morning meetings and our two in services we schedule each summer.
The past two weeks have been filled with Life Guard Training, Ropes Course Training, preparing the camp grounds, International Staff arriving, and other preparations for the greatest summer ever! Now, the time has come. The fences are painted, the grass is cut, the green is on the trees and our Leadership Team is prepared for the summer of 2014. A lot goes into preparing for a summer. However, it does not compare to the summer itself.
This summer we will average about 275 campers a week and 70 staff who will grow and develop our campers through the activities we offer. Many people look at summer day camp as child care. Our focus has always been to train our staff to develop each individual child. Each year we look for new and innovative ways for staff to connect with the campers and peel back the layers of each child to help them grow into better young people and specifically more responsible and confident young adults. Every child has some thing to offer. Something special that the staff can make a connection and lead them toward a great path.
This summer we have “GUIDE” on the back our Staff members shirts that they will wear each Monday. We hope that our staff recognize their role as a guide through this experience. Parents are giving the most prescious thing in their lives to us… their child. We must guide the children toward the goal of taking steps to become a better friend, and growth and development of the whole person. This is a responsibility we do not take lightly. If you have an extra few moments this summer, please make the effort to be a GUIDE to someone in your life. Whether it be a child or a peer. The opportunity will be there. You have great gifts to share, please share them with those around you.
Here at camp, we will be busy with buses, activities, food service, staff soccer matches, flag ceremonies, and so much more. Please come by and visit us some time and see the magic of camp in action. There is plenty to see during our three months that are not to be missed. Come be part of the action, and help Guide to “MAKE IT A GREAT ONE!”
By “H” Rothenberg Co-Owner/Director
Overnight camps have a long standing history of hiring international staff. Back in “the old days” International staff came to the U.S. to hang out with some kids, work a little bit, party a little bit and sometimes would even go up to Canada, then reenter the U.S. with a new visa. Easy Peasy. Not such the case anymore.
Today, they have to pay several hundred dollars in program fees to a company to help organize a visa. They must make an appointment sometimes a thousand miles from their home at an U.S. embassy, they must be excepted into the program and they must leave the country on a designated date. If any of these procedures are not adhered to, they get red flagged and may not be able to come back into the U.S….ever!
Then there is the camp side of things. We have a relationship with a U.S. placement coordinator. We review applications, we interview prospective staff members on the phone or skype. We have many levels of follow up interview questions, references, back ground checks, etc. We pay the agency a fee for the staff member and a sevis fee. It is all pretty complicated and as a camp, we MUST provide room and board. All just for international staff??
ABSOLUTELY! One of the greatest joys is seeing the friendships and long lasting relationships that develop amongst our staff. Most far outlast the summer. Some have even gotten engaged and married. We also have many staff that return year after year from England, South Africa, Australia, Russia, etc. It’s one thing when a staff member who grew up in Charlottesville returns for two or three years, however this summer will be Skooby’s sixth summer. Pretty special. She has become another daughter for me and Libby and an amazing big sister to so many of our campers. This year Loz from OZ will also be returning for her fourth summer after taking last year off she will be back. Travis Yuille is on his fourth year from South Africa. We also have 2nd and 3rd year barn staff from Australia (Kasey & Sasha) and Ben W. & Benny P. on their third years from England! It amazes me.
The camp really benefits. Not only do our campers get to learn about different accents, cultures, experiences, etc. we learn games from other countries like netball, cricket and touch rugby. Our international staff are the backbone of our camp and are so dedicated and committed to our campers, it is very special.
Another special aspect is the way our camp families and staff open their hearts and their homes to our international staff. Many invitations for dinner at an American home is a big deal for our staff from over seas. The average age of our international staff is 24 years old and they really want to learn about American Culture. On many occasions, our American staff’s families have invited many staff to their home to meet their extended families. All around pretty fantastic.
I could not imagine TRIPLE C CAMP without our international staff. Now in our fifteenth summer, they have become a staple of our camp and we have hundreds of friends around the world that we would not have otherwise. We look forward to this summer with great joy to work with the children, and to welcome our friends from over seas for another fabulous experience!