As I wrote recently to begin this series, there’s No Off-Season in the Camp World. What that means is that it takes a full nine months of work by our administrative team to achieve a successful camp season come summer time.
But because people always ask me what that means (usually thinking that we don’t work at all the other nine months), I started this “off-season” series to share a behind-the-scenes view into what we do. This one covers our to-do list in October and November.
Camp is soooo much more fun than paperwork! But it takes plenty of paperwork to make the fun part look easy and breezy and go off without a hitch.
So, like it or not, when our fiscal year wraps up on September 30th, we start working on taxes and other boring but necessary fiscal matters. We all contribute in some way to this in terms of solid record keeping of expenses and costs associated with our areas of duties, but thankfully our crack Office Manager (and my beloved sister-in-law) Louise Dawson does the heavy lifting here.
For me, October is the time I hunker down on the college recommendation letters that counselors ask me to write. Most are due November 1st, so this is the month to get them finished! I just finished four this week, along with another reference for a counselor seeking a job. You see, it really does pay to have a Camp Alleghany counseling job because we know you well enough to write meaningful recommendation letters! 🙂
Always learning, always growing
During the fall the team also heads to the American Camp Association (ACA) Virginias Fall Conference, this year held in Shepherdstown, West Virginia for the second year in a row. I’ll share more about this in a blog next week but the short story is that we come away from these professional development and networking opportunities excited and renewed for the year ahead.
That means that after the conference we do things like take a fresh look at our marketing strategies (this year’s theme was on marketing), and explore ways to stay engaged with our greater Alleghany community while also keeping in touch with potential campers who are sending us enrollment inquiries.
Speaking of which, enrollments are coming in pretty steadily. First Term is entirely full and there’s already a 30+ person Wait List, so we are scaling back on our recruiting parties but have a few planned in November focusing on Mini Camp recruitment. There are a few slots left for second term so if you know of someone who has said they definitely want their daughter at ‘Ghany next summer, you should prod them to enroll in Second Term ASAP! 🙂 (And don’t forget about our new $200. refer-a-friend discount!).
One big but fun job is getting the Yearbook finalized, printed and sent to us. We can’t wait to see the final product and we bet you can’t wait, too. So look for them in the mail later this fall as we’ll be sending them all out very soon.
Now that summer is finished I’ve had more time to work with our various website teams on updates and edits, so be prepared to see some new pictures on the site pretty soon.
We’re still in our final trainings with our new camper management system, CampMinder, so we’ve had several conference calls for training purposes. This is a program to add to our efficiencies related to campers so we’re thrilled to be working with this new software.
Lucky us, we’ve taken a few (and plan to take a few more) trips to camp to check out the progress on the Cottage porch, Rifle Range expansion, and other projects that Garrett and his team are working on. I wrote about some of these in a recent blog. It’s always fun to get back to camp and with the gorgeous fall weather and beautiful fall foliage, the trip is a real treat.
Because the barge is usually pulled out of the water and work stops near Thanksgiving or as late as the first week in December, Garrett and his team work diligently every day, praying for decent weather as the clock is ticking! So let’s hope for more of these temperate days.
Eager and prompt would-be and returning counselors have already sent in applications and so Taylor got down to business and started hiring, with five positions already filled! A few more interviews are lined up, too, and we’re excited to see staff applications coming in every day.
You know, there’s nothing better than already knowing what you’re doing for work and connection for the upcoming summer so if you want a load of stress taken off of you send in an application today!
Just a reminder that Junior Counselor (JC) applications are due November 1st, which is this coming Saturday, so get cracking!
In early November we get all of the JC applications together for the JC hiring committee to review and then we prepare to notify the 2015 JCs in early January.
The rest of our days and weeks include ongoing program planning for 2015. This year, we’re taking a close look at certain areas of camp and will be excited to blog about what’s being planned once some decisions are made!
Thanks for reading and keep following the blog to find out what our December is like!
— Elizabeth Dawson Shreckhise, Assistant Director, Camp Alleghany for Girls