Posted by John Larkins | 11.02.2020 | Uncategorized
Summer Camp All Year Long
The most common question asked to camp administrators is, “what do you do for the other nine months of the year?” Our main season is only three months of the summer and within those three months, we run up to twelve weeks of camp across eleven different programs, each having between twelve and eighteen participants. That’s a lot of campers. If you have ever been to summer camp, you know those weeks are packed with fun activities, new friends, and awesome staff. But how do we get to the beginning of summer, ready to provide these awesome experiences to participants?
The nine months outside of summer are considered our “off-season.” After the last camper leaves on the final day of camp, the administrators get to work. The first thing we do is break down the summer by checking through all the physical equipment to know what we have and what we no longer have (summer camp can be rough on equipment). Then we break down how camp ran by conducting exit interviews with staff and writing up summaries of the summer. This shows the ins and outs, the good and the ‘needs improvement’, and the highs and lows of camp. We use this information to make improvements to programs. Then, we can start all over planning for the next summer. All programs and program dates are set to be released in November for the following summer. As soon as this is set, we open enrollment and the fast track to summer has begun. Some programs fill in November, so the first couple weeks of open enrollment are spent talking with parents. Luckily, we love talking with parents, so don’t be scared to call and ask questions!
After enrollment gets going, we turn our attention to staffing the summer. We hire roughly 75 seasonal staff each summer and we put a lot of time into the hiring process. Our staff come from all over because we are looking for the best. Not just great surfers or counselors, but we look for people who will take your experience to the next level. We build teams that complement each other and bring together outside life experiences to make every summer the best we’ve ever had.
After finalizing hiring and working to get everyone into the right program, we focus on preparing the logistics of summer. We prep our facility, housing, and our gear and then get anything we need. We start prepping camper travel logistics, bunking, and experiences. When we know what every participant is doing, we can design our staff training to fit this summer’s needs. New instructors bring in a lot of experience and talent, but we still have to train them to do what we do. We use methodology that has been honed over twenty years of providing program and we add into training any new challenges we foresee. This past summer we spent a substantial amount of time in training focusing on operating camp during Covid-19. The entire purpose of the training stems from our mission: to cultivate a love and respect for the ocean by building confidence, developing character, and inspiring stoke through safety, fun and learning. Safety is always first.
All of this planning brings us to May. The first of our seasonal staff come on and the training begins. Staff training falls on the first week of June and then it is time for camp! We spend majority of every year planning so that our participants can have the best week of their lives. Every participant, from the first camper to arrive on the first day of camp to the last camper to leave on the last day of camp, should get the same epic experience. We are here to make it happen!