Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Mid-Winter Mid-Shawanni Thank You Circle

As you saw in the last post, Leadership Weekend was many things, and one of the very best things was a taste of summer in the middle February.

As all our campers know, the last thing we do after a week of Summer Camp (our very last program before departure) is say "thank you." A lot of amazing things happen in a week of Camp, and we each always have a lot of amazing people to thank for it, so we hold a Thank-You Circle to make sure everyone gets that chance.

So what better way to finish out Leadership Weekend? Though only two nights and one full day, a lot of amazing things happened over the weekend too, and there were plenty of folks to be thanked.

We had all told some stories, learned some lessons, done some work, made some new friends, and prepared for summer while up to our knees in snow.

All that was left was to circle up and say a couple thank yous. Standing where we had never done it before.

Right smack dab  in the middle of Lake Shawanni.

Hike to the lake, by the lake, on the lake.

Another neat thing about this weekend...

(I know, I never run out of "neat things" about this weekend...)

Is that even though everyone in attendance has had a long relationship with Camp...

Most had still never met each other!

Campers had come different sessions their whole Camp careers.

Staff had worked different summers.
So aspects of this weekend weren't so much "reunion", as a chance to meet new people.

People they instantly had so much in common with.

They all shared a long-term love of Camp.

And love of coffee. Iced Coffee. (Snowed Coffee?)

Yes, whether campers had been here at the same time or not...

They could tell stories of shared counselors, shared cabins...

Common tactics in Battle for the Island...

Favorite skits from the talent show...

And most importantly, why Camp has meant so much, and continues to mean so much to each of them.

And the very COOLEST thing (I know, I never stop...)

Was not everyone's shared past.

But their shared future.  Because everyone at Leadership Weekend was there because...

They wanted to keep Camp a part of their grown up lives...

Keep giving back to the program that meant so much to them as campers...

And keep making the best place there is a little bit better.


One more great thing that happened last weekend, before I stop typing about great things that happened last weekend...we welcomed three new staff members for Summer 2015.

One of the perks about working here for summers and summers (and summers and summers) is getting to watch campers become CITs, and then those CITs become CIT IIs, and then those CIT IIs become Volunteer Counselors, and then perhaps, just perhaps, watching those Volunteer Counselors become full fledged Summer Staff members. It never gets old. 

And while these fine folks are used to cramming a summer of  Camp into only six days, just wait till they see what it's like to live here in the 108 acre woods for two whole months.

Logan, Patty and Amber. Welcome to Summer Staff!

NEXT TIME: Meet your Assistant Program Director!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Leadership Weekend

Leadership Weekend: It's just like Summer Camp.

Except there are no campers.

And no counselors.

And instead of a lovely temperate North Jersey summer the weather goes back and forth between being -10 degrees and then dumping 5 inches of snow on us.

So it's just like Summer Camp, if everything about Summer Camp were different. 

So it's not Summer Camp! It's Leadership Weekend, a time for transitions. Our CIT graduates transition from being campers to being Junior Volunteer Counselors. Our former Volunteer counselors transition to being Veteran Volunteers (or even future staff members). Our Senior Staff transition from last summer to next summer. (And hopefully winter transitions to spring! We've had our Leadership Weekend, thanks for being so appropriately "winter" the whole time, but we don't need you anymore! You've served your purpose. Don't wear out your welcome. Get warm. Start now.) 

Here's some snapshots (literally and figuratively) from the weekend.

The weekend was run by a group Staff Emeritus, sharing summers and summers of counseling experience. 

Fun in the Winter Headquarters. 

The face of a role model.

It's never too early in the weekend for a group photo.

How do you learn leadership? Work projects, that's how!

Work projects like...shoveling!

And more shoveling!

And taking down the Winter Gathering decorations because it's the end of February and we have absolutely no excuse for being the last people in the state with our holiday decorations STILL up!

And working on the benches for our new Lakeside Fire Ring.

Look at those intense, thoughtful stares.

Look at those sparks!

Look at that coiling!

Look at those grilled cheese sandwiches. (Or an early stage of a grilled cheese sandwich. Grilled cheese sandwich larva? Nope, not that. That sounds gross.)
Mass grilled cheese construction requires a good factory conveyor-belt like atmosphere.

Relaxing by the fire was a work project in itself.

T-Nivi is at his happiest during the Leadership Weekend.

Hustle and or bustle.

Now the real work project begins! This hill needs sledded down! (Sled down? Sleddeded down? Sleddeding?) Regardless, it needs it! Get to work.

It's a tough job, but some one's got to do it.

Eye on the summit, Schneids, eye on the summit.

Action shot!

This is where the work comes in. Down the hill is easy. Up the hill is another story. 

This kind of thing was happening constantly.

Broomball on the frozen lake?


Well. All this working and shoveling and building and cleaning and leading and learning and sitting and grilling and cooking and eating and smiling and laughing and slipping and shivering and sledding and friendshipping and leading (did I mention leading) have worn us out.

We'll be back with more pictures and reports from the weekend after a quick break to warm up around the fire.
Another difference between Leadership Weekend and Summer Camp!
Here we keep our fires safe inside sturdy metal boxes.

Next Time: MORE From Leadership Weekend!