How do we plan for a new summer? What a question! It’s exciting and something we love doing (as it means that you’ll be coming back to camp soon!). Planning for the summer is also a task that takes all year.
This past summer, camp officially closed out the season on August 11, but before our 2023 summer was over, our Head Staff team was already meeting about our 2024 summer (can you believe it?!). By late August when you were just starting back to school, our year-round team here at camp quickly returned to our routine of regular meetings as we started to brainstorm about the upcoming summer. It is truly amazing how quickly we transition from one summer to the next, as it takes an entire 9 months to prepare for your arrival!
So how do we actually plan for a new summer? Read on to find out how all the pieces come together to make the BEST SUMMER EVER for you campers:
We start by reading the surveys. We have surveys from our campers, from our parents, from the staff, and from new camper families. We read them all. And then…we read them again. All the suggestions are divided into categories that we then sort through, finding similar suggestions (we often have repeat ideas!). After sorting everything, we combine the suggestions with the notes we (as a Head Staff team) took throughout the summer to decide what we want to think about, and possibly change, for the upcoming summer.
Every year we are improving the Greystone property, and part of planning for a new summer is deciding on which improvements to tackle. For some projects, we decide years in advance (such as when we renovated the office porch and updated the Dining Hall) while other projects are based on necessity or a last-minute opportunity (like building the Fort during COVID or adding on to Putt Cove when the property became available). Our upcoming program plans also make a difference; we want to be ready for our new classes each summer!
The summer couldn’t happen without our staff, so kicking off the hiring process is always a big part of our planning for the year. We open our staff application 3 weeks after the summer ends as we want to find the very BEST counselors for the upcoming summer. For this next year, we already have applications coming in and will continue to hire throughout the year until we’ve assembled the most amazing summer team ever!
One of the best parts of attending a 100+ year camp is that we have traditions that date back to the 1920s! How cool that we get to participate in some of the same activities as campers from so many years ago. But along with that, we always want each summer to be new and different. We really put our heads together during the year to come up with fun and exciting surprises to delight our campers! We always start each year with some pretty crazy ideas (one year we even spent a month working on a Jimboy bobblehead before moving on), but the good ideas always come from the crazy!
Some of our preparation projects happen year after year. For example, we redesign our Sparks magazine to send to all of you, get your Penpal cards ready to print, start brainstorming fun Banquet giveaways, make sure our t-shirts are ready to go, as well as many similar projects that help us prepare for a new year.
With all the updates and changes each year, we need to make sure you know everything you need to know to attend camp! The Parent Handbook is our main way of sharing this information with your family, so we work to get that ready to mail out. We also work on our New Camper Blog series to help our brand-new families know what to expect.
Part of the planning for a new summer is also building the excitement. We love a good mailing here at Greystone, so we put a lot of time and energy into fun things we can send to you each year. We also update our social media accounts to keep our older campers engaged with camp, especially as we near Main Camp.
A big part of summer planning is anticipating your arrival! After the holidays, we really start feeling like camp is just around the corner. The weather slowly begins to thaw, the calls from your parents start coming in, and the excitement really starts building! This is one of our favorite parts of preparing for a new year – feeling your excitement (even when you’re far away) gets us even more ready to start another summer.
All in all, it’s a fun and busy year as we prepare for you!