Returning to the routines of fall I’m often asked how was your summer? What did you do? was it relaxing? For other people, summer is a kick back relaxed time of days at the beach and family barbecues. For those of us who work in the summer camp industry it’s when we bring our best game and our work ramps up to an intensity that is difficult to describe. Having a camp job is not really comparable to any other industry so it is very difficult to articulate what makes it one of the best jobs ever.
It is hard to know where to start when answering people’s questions. Here in Maine saying that ‘I was at camp all summer,’ can mean a number of things. In Maine people often refer to their summer cottage, lake house or even a hunting cabin in the woods as their ‘camp’ so one has to clearly define that you were actually working at a residential children’s camp not chilling in a lounger by the lake all summer or off hunting deer! Once the definition of ‘camp’ has been determined it is typically met with ‘oh that must be lovely you get to be on the lake all summer.’ People’s perception is often that I spend my summer swimming, boating and playing with some kids. They also think I must now have the rest of the year ‘off’ as camp just lasts a couple of months of the summer. My Mum is still not convinced that I have a ‘real’ job!
The reality is that I spend most of my summer in an office – granted it has one of the best views ever and is often infiltrated with generally happy, smaller humans who have something about their day that they want to share. I manage schedules, answer emails and generally make sure all is running smoothly for the almost 200 people that we have on site at camp. I also get to dress up in crazy costumes, have ‘moo off’s’ with my boss and be immersed in a community filled with love and laughter. A day at camp has more crammed into it than a week of life outside so it is a busy, non-stop and highly engaging job. Throw in a few unexpected thunder storms, an afternoon at the top of the zip line tower or an escaped goat and the long days are never dull.
Summer camp in Maine is a large revenue generating industry, with over 200 camps that employ thousands of workers, it is big business and plays a large role in the states tourism industry. Maine summer camps have their own organization that promotes and supports our Maine Summer Camps and we are a committed group of camp professionals that truly believe that a camp experience is great for all kids. We truly love our jobs.
When people ask ‘how was your summer?’ I simply smile and reply ‘spectacularly exhausting.’ I have one of the best jobs, it is truly a gift to see children and young adults grow and develop over their summers at camp.
Our Camp Runoia 2020 season is already open for enrollment because we just can’t wait to do it all again.
We’ll see you on Great Pond!