Well, here they are! The 2012 summer staff of the Episcopal Conference Center, minus a few (it’s very hard to find a time when there isn’t at least one person working!). This was right after our CIT’s had shown up for pre-camp and just before we sat around and introduced ourselves we stopped to snap a photo. It’s always good to snap a “before” shot, because by the end of the summer they will all be different in all of the best ways: they will love more, they will have helped change lives, they will have given of themselves, and they’ll be exhausted. But we’re still at the beginning, and we’re not that tired yet and we know a little bit of what’s coming but we’re still in for some surprises.
I can’t say enough about these people. They are so good – smart and funny and capable, and they have incredible work ethics, and they love the camp and each other and they do everything they can to make it a beautiful environment. They are much better counselors than I ever was and I love that because I can look at any parent I come across now and say “Don’t be stupid – send your kid to our camp! Because these are the role models you want for your children. This is the environment where you want them to grow and thrive and discover themselves. Trust me. Just send them.”
And so far, they are sending them. Our registrations are coming in every day. And the season hasn’t even started yet! We’re going to have SO much fun next week that I’m pretty sure just about every kid is going to insist upon coming back if they haven’t already signed up for one already. Oh yeah, I’m sure of it. Just watch.
The counselors aren’t my only great staff though. We have a dynamite kitchen crew (I mean, really, how they can be so fun and loving and supportive of the community while they are doing the dishes is beyond me, but they do.) We have an incredible City Camp Coordinator, a compassionate CIT trainer, a staff coordinator who should probably be in charge of the whole camp, a registration assistant who’s like a machine, a great facilities assistant who can run all the machines, a program director who – though completely new to RI – has jumped in with both feet to help everything run smoothly, a nurse who provides popsicles, and a couple of cooks who make impressively good food for a summer camp. I am surrounded by greatness.
And finally, I get to work with Joyce and Lance. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen two people work so hard. Their dedication to this camp astounds me, and the care they show the community – even after years of uncertainty and transition – is astounding. Most nights when I go to bed at midnight Joyce is still at her desk working, and in the afternoons when I sit down to take a break and chat with some friends I learn that Lance has been crawling around on bathroom floors fixing the plumbing. Their list of things to do is hopelessly long, but they just keep at it, stopping to answer a constant stream of questions (many of which come from me!) and help whoever needs their immediate attention. And they love – my goodness they love – those young people that they work with. They have two of the biggest hearts I have ever seen (Lance tries to hide his in a grumpy package sometimes but he’s totally faking it) and I feel incredibly grateful that they have welcomed me on to their team. I would be lost without them.
So to say that I’m excited about the summer is an understatement. In fact, I’m sad that pre-camp is already over because I would happily choose to spend my time with these people any day of the week. Thankfully we have seven weeks left, and the best part is still to come because the campers are coming, and they are the reason we’re here. I can’t wait to see this staff in action, and I can’t believe how blessed I am to be among them.
Oh, and by the way – there’s going to be an abundance of silliness at camp this summer. There might even be too much silliness. It’s going to be awesome.