Ninety Nine per cent of our end of the year reviews of summer camps and teen programs are excellent. Occasionally, we do hear concerns regarding the summer camp director or teen program director.
This past summer, I had the privilege of being Director of Camp Erin New York City, an overnight, bereavement camp for children who have lost a parent, sibling or a loved one.
I would like to share my thoughts as I wear my director’s cap. We DO care about each and every child- as we are in possession of your precious children. Each specific concern while a program is in session, is ultimately our responsibility – a travel complication, bunk request, medical dilemma, equipment snafu, lost clothing, missed medication, food allergy, schedule change, clogged bathrooms – the list is endless. You are a psychologist, safety monitor, problem solver, nutritionist, teacher, mentor, motivator and peacemaker. The reality, however, is that you are only as good as your staff and those around you who are hopefully executing the policies, procedures and guidelines you have set in place. Parents need to have trust and faith in the director to hire and train the most qualified staff to take care of their children. When not directly working with children or staff, a director is constantly monitoring the pulse of the program. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the director is held accountable for the success or failure of a program.
Every camp director’s goal is to succeed and offer a happy and SAFE environment in which kids can learn, participate, live together and share amazing summer experiences and memories. Once in a while, things may fall through a floorboard, as there are so many things to juggle and be on top of. It is not okay, and no one is more disappointed and disheartened than a summer camp director or summer teen program director if something goes awry. Our sleepless nights and hours of prep attest to that. What parents don’t see and what we feel is our hearts and souls as they travel with each camper and teen as they dance, climb, draw and explore.