October 31, 2012

Summer Camp Registration 2013

Message from our Summer Camp Director,

“Who want to be staff at Camp Kawartha?” I ask to a group of 50 leadership and pre-leadership campers in our Rotary Hall during one changeover. All of them raised their hands.

It’s a camp phenomenon – campers realizing they want to one day become camp staff. There are many stories of parents telling me about their child’s camp aspirations, and campers of all ages saying they want to be staff one day. 

Seeing a goal so clearly defined is a great instrument for learning and growth that I don’t see nearly as often as a teacher in the classroom (my other life). Having a life goal is one of the many contributions of camp that allow children to aim high and expect more of themselves. It breeds self-motivation, and is great practice for future goals and challenges that we all face in our lives.

Currently, I’m going through dozens upon dozens of leadership applications and I’m amazed by the dedication and meticulous detail provided by 15 and 16 year old. In a month from now, I’ll be receiving staff applications from 17 year old staff members with even greater organizational requirements and pressure. These are real-life assignments that will determine the success of one’s goal with real-life consequences – something a child can relate to.  These are lessons provided by camp, and win or lose these individuals become better prepared for the next stages of life.

…but what is it about camp that makes a 12 year old certain that they want to be staff?  I believe it’s the staff themselves. It’s the role-modelling of our counselors, specialists and senior staff that sets campers on this path. I know this first hand because my own path as a career camper began with my first counselor Neil Silver over 33 years ago.

Neil was larger than life. On my very first night of camp, I was introduced to the pesky phenomenon of mosquito bites and for this reason, I was still awake scratching away when the counselors returned for the night. All the other campers in the cabin were asleep except me and a new friend (Gary Gottlieb) I had made that day. Instead of scolding us for being awake, Neil and the other counselor (Michael Rich) invited us over to their bunk, told us some funny stories and gave us a treat (cinnamon Danish cookie) before sending us to bed. Boy, did I feel special, and if he thought I was this special, then I must be.

When I interviewed for my first staff position 8 years later, I used Neil as my example of what makes a great staff member and whom I wanted to emulate.  I ask the same question of my incoming staff at interviews, and get to hear their inspiring stories that set them on the path to staffhood. After eight years of being summer camp director at Kawartha, the youngest campers of my first years are the staff members of today, and the staff members of yesterday are the professionals and active citizens within our communities today. It’s one of the many things that make the job of a summer camp staff so rewarding and I hope to continue the trend of being there to help your children grow through the years, become staff, and become contributing members and stewards of our society.

Last summer was a very successful summer, and we want to continue that tradition for 2013. Here are some things we’re doing to help our families along the way:
  • Fees for regular 1-week sessions and shorter sessions will not increase from last year.
  • Fees for regular 2-week sessions, Session AB, and our Pre-Leadership program (PLC) have been lowered. 
  • Fees for Canoe Tripping and Leadership programs have been increased slightly to accommodate the specialized programming and value placed on these programs.
  • A new one-day session called "A Day in the Life of Camp Kawartha" is being introduced for Friday, June 28th, 2013 that allows both campers and parents to enjoy a day of programming and orientation. Both campers and parents will participate in activities throughout the day, culminating in a traditional campfire and some great cuisine from our kitchen!
    Stay tuned for more details!

I look forward to preparing for another summer, getting past the dark days of winter, and emerging into another great summer of promise and growth among great campers and staff. We look forward to seeing you on opening day, and answering any of your questions along the way!

Adam Strasberg
Summer Camp Director