The off-season has a definite rhythm to it that tends to repeat year after year. Along with our team, I spend a lot of time in the fall thinking about and dissecting anything that we can improve upon as we look to the next summer.
We go through all the surveys and talk about every detail from the previous summer: what was good, what could be better, and then how we can make changes. The off-season is also filled with fun mailings and projects (Sparks, Alumnae Sparks, Christmas mailing, scheduling concerts, planning EPs, and more). After the holidays, we are “all systems go” for camp; it starts with the Parent Handbook and we are full steam ahead to get ready for the next summer.
Much like a teacher would in school, I have a continual to-do list that repeats every year (it’s 14 single-spaced pages long!). I divide out the tasks by month, so each week, I am looking at my month to-do list and figuring out how to tackle those projects.
Also each week, I usually spend time writing some sort of blog, reading through staff applications, emailing with my prayer partner on our Head Staff team, and then knocking out any bigger projects that need to get done that week. I absolutely love the creative part of my job - thinking through how to improve an aspect of camp or coming up with a fun new event or EP. Some of the monotonous yearly tasks can be a drag, like sorting through our thousands of photos so pictures are ready for print projects. But, it’s a great mix of activities to keep me busy!
When I’m not working, I spend most of my time with my husband, and two boys (10 and 6). We love adventures, so we spend a lot of time outside. We love a good fire and are especially loving these magical flame kits that turn your flames different colors.
We probably visit the library 3-4 times a week right now and are especially loving all of our Christmas books (I think we have 90+ checked out right now - ha!). Sara Oliver taught the boys how to play SkyJo this summer, and we keep the game out on our table as we play so often. Personally, I love to run, read, hike, and watch college basketball; if I ever have any free time, I’m usually doing one of those activities!
The two biggest things I can think of are random holidays and reading, and they go hand in hand. We like to celebrate some random holidays in our house and usually read some fun books connected to that holiday. For example, we do a big December 1 holiday breakfast to kick off the Christmas season and start reading our Christmas books. We also have our annual Feliz Navidad party coming up in a few days.
After the new year, we’ll read lots of books about the Lunar New Year and have a special theme meal for that. We celebrate national puzzle day, Valentine’s Day, April Fools, Cinco de Mayo, Back to School dinner, and more. It’s fun to have these random days we celebrate that are consistent each year, and we especially love reading books connected with that holiday.
My friends at home always ask what I do during the year, and I always tell them “a little of this and a little of that.” It’s hard to explain a camp job!
I would sum it up by saying that I help manage our off-season projects we are working on throughout the year, while doing quite a bit of design/marketing work with some event planning sprinkled in. Camp work is never boring!