Josh Goes Back to Camp
Wednesday, December 27, 2017
Camp has always been a special place for me for many reasons and will continue to be for my family. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the Camp Wenonah family for 7 years before working at CampBrain. I met my wife Maia at camp and we were married on the shore's of Clear Lake in September of 2008, I met many of my best and most trusted friends at Camp, and I learned how to work with a diverse staff, campers from all over the world and how to get the job done. Soon after my last summer at Camp Wenonah, I began working at CampBrain and have been fortunate enough to have worked here since.
One of the great things about CampBrain’s office culture is that the staff team is made up of past alumni from many different camps around Ontario. We are encouraged to continue to be involved within the camp community and head back to our camps to help often. This past August, the stars aligned and I had the opportunity to head back to camp and be the Director of Period 5 at Camp Wenonah. Period 5, is a 1 week introductory period for campers aged 7-13 that haven’t attended Camp before and might not be ready to do a two-week session or month-long option yet.
It was so great to be back at Camp as a staff member. Over the years, I had returned for Alumni weekends, building weekends, and a variety of other weekends. This week was different because, this week, I had the directors role. While working at Camp I had the experience of being a counselor, boys section director, office administrator, maintenance and more. Obviously, the director role carries a lot of responsibility. Organizing campers, making phone calls home to parents, and checking in with the Health Center were just a few things on my daily "Must Do List". I knew going into this week, that I would have a great team with me, including the full-time Summer Camp Director, Section Directors, Counselors, the Health Care Team and more. I really couldn't have had a better team for this week of camp.
The week as a whole was a pretty incredible experience. We welcomed 150+ campers for the week, 10 of those campers were new Canadians that had never experienced a "traditional" camp setting like Wenonah's before. In fact, a couple of them had only been in Canada for as little as five months. Seeing their faces light up with excitement as they got off the bus and looked around for the first time will be something I will never soon forget, and in that moment I truly saw one of the most amazing impacts that camp can have in the world.
Laughing, singing, hiking, paddling, crafting. sailing...all of these things were in abundance during this week of camp. One of the great things about this week at Camp is that most of the registered campers are trying activities for the first time. Or if it's not for the first time, it is the first time without mom or dad to guide them. Watching the magic that is Camp, transform kids from when they first arrive at Camp to their last day is always something I enjoy watching and experiencing throughout a week at camp.
At the end of the week, we conclude with a campfire for all of the campers, where we had an amazing Canoe Ballet, lit the "Flaming W" and sang our closing campfire songs. One of the great traditions at the Closing Campfire is to hand out candles to specific individuals who have shown his/her appreciation of camp during the session. This privilege is done by the Director. So, I had to come up with who I wanted to present the candles too. It just so happened, that there were five first-year staff members as Counselors for the week that were first-year campers during my last year working at Camp full-time. So here I was, working at Camp again and being able to see Counsellors who I remember as campers working, learning and doing an amazing job! No doubt, these five individuals contributed to the success we had during Period 5 Camp has always been a special place for me and my family. As I stood on the shores of Clear Lake I remember feeling so thankful that Camp Wenonah is and will be the most special place for so many young campers to come.
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