After Summer Camp Ends
“What do you do when camp is over?” As year-round camp staff, we get this question a lot. The hustle and bustle of summer camp is an amazing and wonderful (and tiring) time of year. There’s a lot of that happens even before that first camper drives down the road for summer camp, and in the quiet of August, now that everyone is gone, it feels like a lifetime ago.
Before campers even arrive, the summer staff are here at camp preparing for the thing that we call summer camp. They are learning how to build a fire, how to sing all of the camp songs, how to lead archery and kayaking and challenge course and rocket launching and bubble soccer and human foosball and… you get the idea. They are learning how to comfort a camper that is homesick, how to perform a rescue for a struggling swimmer, and what to do in the event of severe weather. They learn the legend of the Horsethief Cave, the names of the cabins, and how to make a God’s Eye. All of these things have to happen before the first camper even arrives at summer camp.
Before the summer staff arrive, there is curriculum and Christwalk narratives to write. Supplies have to be purchased: beach balls, pool noodles, kickballs, tiki torhes, bows and arrows, yarn, glue, paint, lifejackets, beads, balloons, and more. Trainings have to be scheduled. Staff have to be interviewed and hired. Manuals have to be updated. Schedules for each camp program are written and planned.
Before any of that happens, brochures and promo videos must be published and distributed. Churches, schools, and camp staff must coordinate to advertise the camp program and recruit campers. Previous camp seasons have to be evaluated in order to improve the camp program and make the next year even better. New program ideas are evaluated and implemented. Budgets are planned and put into place. The next summer’s schedule is researched and set.
So, what do we do when summer camp ends? Well, we’re getting ready for next summer! It feels odd right now to have an empty site that just a few weeks ago was teeming with people. However, even as campers and summer staff are getting ready to return to school, we are planning for 2019 and how we can be even better. How can we make camp more fun, more amazing, more impactful than it already is? That’s work that never ends.