Over the years of being on staff, you learn the key things to always have on you in order to be prepared. Recently I noticed that everything I lug around with me in my one shoulder backpack has more meaning then its initial purpose.
Here is my list:
- A journal: To take notes, write down your favourite scriptures discussed in flash and so that your campers always have the option of doodling if needed.
- Band aids: This is key, campers are always getting small bumps and bruises and whether it be a hug, a band aid or just a good cry we are ready to heal.
- Sunscreen/bugspray: Burns and bites can be the curse of the summer but there is an easy preventative and most campers hate putting this stuff on, so by leading by example, we put some on, then they to will see the benefit of lathering up.
- Sunglasses: Blessed with an amazing beach, sunglasses are key when lifeguarding the water of Lady Huron and completing our look.
- Nails: This may seem like an odd thing to carry around with you, but as the past nature director and current ECO team leader, I need nails to put balloons and bull’s eye on targets and the maintenance guys are constantly piecing together decks and ramps.
- Pen/Pencil: As a staff we are always asking around for a pen, marker, anything really to write something down we cant forget, or to write a quick note to a fellow staff as a random act of kindness. You will start with a handful of pens during K1 and by K9 you still have the same amount of pens but not the pens you started with.
- Broken watch: It is required for all staff to have a watch on them at all times but its camp and life happens so more often then not the wrist strap breaks and the watch end up on a carabineer, a water bottle or thrown in you bag because it is the only to be punctual.
- Lighter: Cook out is a counsellor’s time to shine because they get to build, start and maintain a fire worthy of cooking on and that life long skill is still useful for program staff because we often have build a fire worthy of singing around that everyone will be hypnotized by.
- Unfinished bracelet: Bracelet making is a great arts and crafts session that campers can work on throughout the week to keep their hands busy during flash or down and out. Staff love it just as much as the kids and we always seem to find ourselves with not enough hours in the day to finish our own.
- Flashlight: Walking down cabin path or the lane to Harmony House can be the most terrifying experience without something to guide your way. Many of us know the path so well we can manage without but campers love lighting the way to their cabins at night. It is one of the few time counsellors are not the leaders and campers can help bring us all home safely after another big day.
There are so many other things I am currently pulling out of my bag that I know are important but this list could go on for days. The best part is that no matter what life throws at us we will be ready. The skills gained at camp are not something you can learn in the classroom but are so applicable to everyday life that I don’ know who I’d be or what I’d do without camp in my life.