posted on 9:44 PM, August 24, 2010
Sasamat Summer Camp 2010 is winding down (none of us can believe it went by so quickly) and what a fabulous summer it has been!
Camp has run like a finely tuned machine this year, largely due to the efforts of all of our summer camp coordinators, counsellors and volunteers. We have had so many positive comments from parents and campers about the staff, programs and, of course, the food, at Sasamat.
The new climbing wall, vertical playground and high team challenge activities were a big hit with campers this year. The weather didn't hurt either.
As might be expected, behind the scenes, things sometimes felt a bit chaotic. It is no small chore running a summer camp, particularly when there is a large Day Camp component like there is at Sasamat. We transport about 120 children and staff in and out of camp daily to the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, with an additional 80 or so from Resident Camp (and all their luggage) on Mondays and Fridays. Staff have to deal with all of the last minute transportation changes by parents, ensure that every camper is on the correct bus, and make sure that every camper is accounted for at the beginning and end of each bus trip.
Between arrival and departure, we have to schedule an array of exciting activities for all of those kids and make their stay at Sasamat fun and memorable. There are swim tests for every camper on day one of each week, group assignments, camp tours and rules for campers, daily activity schedules and offsite activities to plan, overnight stays for Day Campers (which means we have 170 children and youth either running about camp or on an overnight on Twin Island or Widgeon), sick campers, first aid issues, homesick campers, behaviour problems (no, they're not all little angels), special events to plan, visiting groups, volunteers to coordinate, and on and on......
Senior staff are kept busy handling the big picture - staff issues and evaluations, program concerns, parent concerns, safety concerns, registration, subsidies, rental groups, funding, reports - ensuring that the chaos is converted to that well-oiled machine. There are literally hundreds of phone calls to deal with - consulting with anxious parents, dealing with campers that have failed to show up or parents that have failed to pick up their kids on time, lost and found calls by the dozens (you wouldn't believe how much stuff gets left behind at camp), diet concerns, medical issues, and all of the calls that involve the business aspects of running a camp.
Our maintenance and janitorial staff are going flat out all summer to keep the facility clean and in good repair. Kitchen staff are kept busy preparing the thousands of meals involved. We are really proud of our ability to provide a clean, well-maintained camp and some of the best food you'll find at any camp. Kudos to all of the camp staff that keep this end of things going.
Every summer weekend, Sasamat reverts from a full-on summer camp to a venue for community groups, Neighbourhood House Family Camps or our own Family Camps. That means that everything that belongs to summer camp has to be cleaned up and put away on Friday and brought out again on Monday. It's hard work for staff, but it allows a lot of people to enjoy Sasamat in the summer who couldn't if we ran a six or seven day summer camp program like most camps.
Camp is a very busy place and we look forward to it every year. We also breathe a sigh of relief when the last bus is clear on the last day of camp. It will seem quiet next Monday when campers and staff have gone home for the last time this year. We will still have schools and community groups at camp enjoying the beautiful fall days, but the energy level definitely changes when all of our summer staff have gone back to school or moved on to other jobs.
Summer camp is a special experience for everyone involved. If you ever had the opportunity to attend camp or work at camp, you will understand that it is that magical mix of kids and the kid in all of us that brings us all eagerly back to camp each year.
To everyone that made Sasamat Summer 2010 such a special time, campers and staff and volunteers, have a great year. We will look forward to seeing you at Sasamat in 2011!