When I tell people that I am a Director of a Summer Camp 90% of the time the very next question is “What do you do when it's not summer?” To be fair, it is a good question. The view from the outside is that my job has huge importance for three months during the summer and then the rest of the year I disappear from peoples minds. I can understand this even as I started on summer staff I did not fully understand what the year-round staff did during the “off-season.” Now that I have worked in a year-round position for a few years I figured I could give you a little insight into some of what I do as a director when it's not summer time.
Planning. Planning. Planning. If you are reading this and know anything about me you probably found this as a surprise. I am not someone who plans a lot in my personal life, but when it comes to my work, it is what takes up a lot of my time. As a director, I am planning everything that Camp needs to get done. From social media posts, to maintenance needs of buildings and property, to retreat groups and eagle scout meetings, I am always planning. While camp is a bustling place during the summer, it doesn't just close once that is over. The property is open year round with different groups using our facilities for everything from mission trips to family reunions. That means that all of our buildings and grounds need to be ready for people all the time. Speaking of summer camp, the campers and staff that make that happen every summer don’t just show up at our door every week. I spend a lot of time getting our staff hired, registering campers, and making groups for our weeks of camp.
Programming design. No, I am not sitting at a computer designing the next best operating system, but I am developing what our campers and our staff are going to learn throughout our summer. Very early on in the offseason, I start working on what went well with our programming before and how I can make it better for the next summer. I look at what I want my staff to learn and discover as they work together. I develop and assemble our theme for our campers. After I have the big decisions made I then study, research, and fully detail out all sides of our programming. This means our campers will have bible verses, songs, crafts, and games all developed and planned for what they will be learning each day. Then for our staff, I will have gathered resources on how to build their leadership abilities, strengthen their teamwork, and build their confidence both at camp and in their everyday life. I place high importance on programming because it is our main product, so I take a lot of time to develop this fully.
So there's just a little look into what I do as a Director at a Summer Camp. This is just a taste of what I do, and there is so much more that could get thrown in. To me, one of the most significant aspects of this job is that no two days look the same. There are days where I am reading and studying leadership theory all day and then the next I am outside making sure our lodges are ready for retreat groups coming for the weekend. I love my job and is unpredictability; it keeps me entertained and always looking to learn something new. I hope this answers the question at least a little bit and that you can see all the hard work that gets done behind the scenes just for those big three months.