Though it’s just passed, I thought I’d offer you a rundown of what we’ve all been working on and doing in January as part of our on-going “off-season” blog series.
The month of January is kind of like a soft “go time” as we kick back into gear after a fairly sleepy December. (But it’s not quite as “go time” as, say, March. You’ll hear about what we do then, soon.)
In the winter office
First they’re busy running W-2s for our employees and contractors so that everyone gets their various tax forms on time. And then there’s the gathering of our own end-of-year tax information for our accountant. It’s a lot of culling, and a job requiring accuracy, timing, and precision. It’s good to get all one’s ducks in a row but no one misses it when tax paperwork time is over!
Then there are other details to attend to, like getting our annual insurance update for camp. Check! And Special Events Director Bonnie Dawson takes some time in the January chill to work on updating our emergency policies and procedures.
Sam and Louise also help me to handle wait list management for the upcoming camp season.
Many eager would-be camper families hope that they’ll hear of an opening. So let me take a chance to remind you that early registration offers the best deal and the best chance of securing a coveted spot at camp.
And of course the office continues to manage the everyday bills and payroll that’s required each month.
Hiring, planning, learning
Programming Director Taylor Fellows and I planned and executed the recent counselor reunion in Charlottesville, Virginia (which we hope to see more of you at next year!)
Meanwhile we’re busy thinking about counselors and staff for this summer. Taylor and I are interviewing prospective Head Counselors together while Taylor continues to interview and hire the remainder of our staff.
In January I am eagerly finalizing our support and medical staffs, talking to people, looking anew at various duties, and generally getting that all nailed down.
During this time, Beth-Anne Clark-Thomas, our Mini Camp Director,
finalizes the hiring of Mini Camp staff, starts communicating with them, and begins to plan for that fun opening week with our littlest campers! (While Term Camp has a waiting list, there are still some spaces left in Mini Camp. So register today before they run out!)
And on the hiring front, to much anticipation and excitement, the Junior Counselor acceptance letters went out. (To read about that process, see a couple of blogs by Chloë Cook, a counselor and Blue-Gray Mentor this coming summer:)
- Why you should apply to be Junior Counselors
- My Junior Counselor summer
- The purplest news of all (my JC acceptance letter)
While JCs were busy getting their news, I was busy at the American Camp Association Virginias Winter Conference where I stayed on to learn to be an ACA Visitor. (If you don’t watch out, this “working at camp” thing can become a lifelong passion!)
As to my new role as an ACA Visitor, I — or rather Camp Alleghany — will have a “visit,” meaning it’s time for our reaccreditation. That means I’m still taking a close look at the ACA standards to get ready for this summer’s visit to our neck of the woods!
This week we’re off for more professional development; we’re heading to the National ACA conference in New Orleans. I can’t wait to immerse myself again in a time of learning with my peers while seeing new product offerings and techniques for today’s camps.
These conferences help with another aspect of winter development as we take what we’ve learned at them to start planning staff training for the upcoming summer.
Meanwhile back at the ranch
Our Facilities Director Garrett O’ Dell is not actually working back at the ranch — er, IN camp — but he’s sure doing a lot of planning and conceptualizing for the facilities at camp. We can’t wait for some of the improvements and new directions that we’ll see in the facilities this summer.
Garrett is also starting to hire Green Team Members, so if you know of some strapping young lads with a strong work ethic and a desire to work in a natural setting, send them our way!
Garrett and I also have a phone call lined up with KANDLE, our new dining service, to get the ball rolling on what we’ll need and what to expect this summer.
That’s about it for January ( a lot, huh?). And there’s four and a half months that are just as busy if not busier coming up before camp opens. Phew!
But we love it and we love looking forward to the Camp Alleghany Alumni Association Winter Reunions that are coming up this month in Richmond and Washington D.C.! See you there!
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, AssistantDirector, Camp Alleghany for Girls