As we begin our countdown to the start of Camp Edmo and Camp EdTech, we thought we’d provide you all with an inside peek into a typical day at camp for one of our stellar Camp Directors. Although at our camps, no day is typical, we do know that each day is enriching and lots of fun for campers, and staff. Here is Courtney Hann’s (4-year veteran Camp Director in Palo Alto) day…
This past summer as I sat in my office, I was enthusiastically visited by a camper who couldn’t wait to tell me that he had figured out what he wanted to be when he grows up! He had decided that he wanted to work for Camp Edmo! With equal amounts of excitement,, I asked him which role at Camp Edmo he would want to take on; a Counselor or an Instructor, or even a Camp Director like me? Without a second’s hesitation, he responded back, “I don’t want to be a Camp Director, I want to have fun!”
This is not the first time I heard about the position of Director and what it looks like from a camper’s point of view. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I once had a camper tell her Counselor, “Courtney’s job looks so easy – she doesn’t even do anything!” Rather than simply explain that in actuality my job is a TON of fun, (and yes, I actually am rather busy throughout the day) I think it is time to break down the walls and give everyone a sneak peek into the day of an Edventure More Camp Director and what it is that keeps us pumped, smiling (and busy) during camp.
7:15 – 7:45 Open Camp
The day starts the second I walk in the door. While navigating questions from early arriving staff, I multi-task to get that day’s schedule written and printed and to get the school unlocked before everyone arrives.
7:45 – 8:00 Staff Meeting
Then comes our AM staff meeting. Each day, I lay out a list of announcements and points for the staff to concentrate on throughout the day. I also work to create a level of energy that will be duplicated by the staff once our excited campers start to arrive.
8:00 – 8:45 Beginning of AM Care
Next, our AM Campers begin walking in and all of the staff jumps into gear. I walk around checking in with each staff member and classroom to make sure we are prepared for the day. I field staff questions, make adjustments and greet our campers.
8:45 – 9:15 Check-In
Check-in begins with a bang as we work to seamlessly check-in an average of over 100 campers and get the fun started. I make myself available for all special questions and requests from parents, while addressing any and all concerns and auditing our staffing numbers and flow as more campers enter our site for the day.
9:15 – 9:30 Rally
It is time to lead rally – my personal favorite time of the day! I call out “What’s up, Camp Edmo?” to be greeted with a loud response of “What’s up, Courtney?” I then get the exciting task of using skits and songs to get our campers pumped for the day!
9:30 – 2:30
During the bulk of the day, there are endless tasks on my plate. I take roll, making sure the information on our clipboards matches the campers in each group. I make any data updates and changes to information that we received during check in. I audit each classroom and provide in-the-moment feedback to a staff of fourteen, trying to give each of them tips and hints on ways to improve the experience for each of our campers. Meanwhile, I work to learn the names of all of our campers and make personal connections with each of them. One way I do this is with STUMP TIME! I make sure to visit Team Time for each of our 5 groups to give them a chance to try to “stump” me with their awesome science, art and animation knowledge. I also make myself available with office time for coaching and mentoring any staff that needs it, while simultaneously being present for any camper who needs to spend time in my first-aid/nap station. I make sure to send out our daily emails to give our parents a sneak peek into what we have going on at camp that day, trying to add a meaningful Director’s note with any additional notes I think will be relevant to our parents in providing a better experience for our campers.
2:30 – 3:00 Rally
Again, it is time for exciting skits and songs! These moments make all of the time I spend on administrative and logistic details during the day so worth it! I love the opportunity to sing, dance, and just be “goofy” with my fantastic staff and amazing group of campers.
3:00 – 3:30 Check-out/Transition into PM Care
Every day we strive to provide the smoothest check-out for our families that we possibly can. Counselors pass out projects and work to keep the kids engaged at the picnic tables, while others walk each individual child out to their parents. Staff members check IDs and lists vigorously to make sure we are keeping our campers safe and sending them home with the correct person. Again, I audit the flow and efficiency, while making myself available for any concerns or special requests our families might have.
3:30 – 6:30
Though camp is over, my day is far from done! I oversee our three extended day programs (LEGO, Media Lab, and PM Care), run an end of the day staff meeting hearing staff’s feedback on the day, and finish any administrative tasks that did not get done. I check in with the staff working our extended day programs to make sure they have what they need for their lessons and to make sure they are prepared. Once everyone has been picked up, I count computers, check windows and lock up our site. On a smooth day with limited interruptions, I leave camp around 6:30, over 11 hours after I arrived. On a busy day, it is even later. Many days, I stop at the store on the way home to pick up any supplies we still need at site while fighting the Bay Area traffic home.
9:30 I’m asleep!
Running camp is rewarding but exhausting, and I am lucky to squeeze in dinner when I get home before I make a beeline for bed. I am fast asleep the second my head hits the pillow. After all, I probably have to get up early the next day to dress for costume day, run to the store on my way to camp, or both!
Courtney Hann has been working to educate children in a variety of settings for 10+ years. Starting out working with children as the manager of a kid’s martial arts program, she then found her passion for summer camp when she began directing a Humane Education camp while working towards her Animal Science degree. After graduating from Calpoly San Luis Obispo and spending many years in the shelter industry, including working for two years as a surgery technician for veterinary medicine, she decided to make the exciting switch to a full time emphasis on summer camp with her move to the Bay Area to join Edventure More. At Edventure More, she has the exciting role of Outreach Manager during the year and a Camp Director during the summer.