Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A Director's job is never done

I'm often ask "What do you do in the "off" season while kids are not at camp... Well, I'm not going to go into the website, Department of Health paperwork, fiances, Chamber of Commerce Meetings, menu planning, emails and phone calls... But I also do a lot of work around camp. 
For example, here is a project I've been working on. I found these closet doors at Twigs- a local group that takes in old treasures and resells them. I put them together and made a changing screen for one of the cabins ! (If you have these types of doors sitting around, let me know! I need more!) 

cracked pump housing
Shower cartridge
 Of course with an old camp, there are always things in need of repair -especially the water system. And if you have ever lived up North, you know it's impossible to go through the winter without a pipe leak or two... I had leaks, split valves and split traps under sinks. We had a few cracks in shower cartridges. Some of the shower heads were plugged. And the distribution pump was cracked. Apparently the pump housing was so old it was obsolete -so it had to be replaced.

New Pump
And  it wouldn't be spring if I didn't crawl under at least one building... Had to repair leaks from under the girls bath house.

Fixing leaks under the Girl's Bath House
Enough about water... what else have I been up to? One of the lights on top of the pillars was out, so I replaced both bulbs with LED lights- hopefully they will last awhile. And the light on the back of Cabin 9/10 which illuminates the assembly area for fire drills was broken. (We wont talk about changing the bulbs on top of the Rec Hall- That is one slick metal roof!)

I  found that two of the lights in the dining hall kitchen wouldn't work. After some research, I found that the ballast were bad- so another trip to Amsterdam (1 hour there, 1 hour back) to get some replacements. I also went online to check to see if I could get replacement lenses for the lights in the girl's bath house. Two came loose (I think the squirrels had something to do with it. When in doubt, blame the red squirrels) and I was looking to see if I could get new ones. Well, when I typed in the model numbers, I found that all four lights were on recall!!! Apparently the posts (at the end of the bulbs) heat up and could cause a fire. Eaton's Lighting Solutions are sending us four new ones. I guess I can't be too mad at the squirrels...

Broken Blocks

We got new numbers and painted them for the Cabins- (Thanks Judi!). Yes, we did keep the number 21 for Cabin 21... We numbered the cabins from 1 to 10 (and 21) in a counter clockwise pattern. You can see the numbers from the front of the Rec Hall (except 9, and 3 and 4)

We also had to get some help to fix the piers under the girl's bathhouse and re-support the center beam under Cabin 6. Next summer we have to completely replace the piers under Cabin 3... But that is next year.

In the kitchen we found out that the dishwasher wasn't draining, and water was spraying out underneath the machine. (It's suppose to spray INSIDE, not outside). Glenn helped get the solenoid freed up for the drain and I have to drive to Northville to get a small part to fix the leak.

We had to inventory and clean the kitchen. And re-organize the shelves.
After first scrubbing with the cleaning brick

Then it was time to attack the griddle.  Here is a before and 6 hours after pictures.

Much Better!

 And of course there is grounds work to be done. I takes about 8 hours to mow and trim the entire camp. Of course it takes even longer when the string trimmer breaks- so it was off to the store  to see if it could be fixed- unfortunately the weed eater ate it's last weed- so we got a brand new one! 

Well, that's just some of the adventures of getting camp ready for the summer! Never a dull moment!

 And there is so much more to do! I better get back out there. See you all soon!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Moose Hat Drawing

So, today's the day! Using the most up to day random generator ( my old Dungeons and Dragons 8 sided dice...and to think my Mom wanted me to throw them away...) I took the 8 entries from last week and numbered them in order of when they were received. I rolled the dice, and number 7 was the number I rolled.

This week's official winner is of the moose hat is .... James Zollweg! Congratulations!

This weeks challenge- Any person who donates over the next week will be eligible to win a brand new, hot off the press hooded Camp Sacandaga sweatshirt!

Drawing next Tuesday! So get out there and donate! We are at 12% of our goal!

Thank you everyone for your generosity!

Monday, June 13, 2016

I Wish...

Good Morning Everyone.

A few posts back I had talked about our go fund me campaign. Things are going well with fundraising, and I look forward to working toward our goal. So many people have reached out, and have been supportive both financially and with their kind words.

Something that I did not mention in the go fund me campaign was other ways to support camp.For many people, times are tight, but they still want to be part of getting Camp Sacandaga up on it's feet and running.

Camp needs many"things" for classes, running of camp and to make the camp a better place. You might have a couple of things lying around the house, gathering dust in some closet. Things like camping equipment, fishing poles, sports equipment.

Maybe you just bought a new washer and dryer, and need to get rid of the old ones (camp does have a trailer we can use to haul donations!) You have some old tools you dont need. Or maybe you have a box of old craft supplies that are taking up room in your spare bedroom.

Camp can use all of these things. We have put together a basic wish list of things we need at camp. We are constantly updating it. You can find it on our website at http://campsacandaga.com/wish.html. Please call the camp office (518)548-4742 if you have something to donate!

We also can use help getting camp ready. We often post events on our face book page. And we have other opportunities for people to volunteer their time. If you visit http://campsacandaga.com/Support.html there is a list of things to help with.

But one of the number one ways you can support camp is... Tell people about us! The more campers we can get, the better the program will be. Each person you convince to come to camp builds the program.

All of these things can help camp. It's challenging to build a program that has been dormant for many years, but your enthusiasm and support are amazing, and with your help we will make camp great!

Thank you for all you do for camp!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Throw back Thursday- Sort of...

It all started with a stick. A piece of wood. This week I happened to message an old Sacandaga staff member about fundraising a donation of camping equipment this year, when I looked over and saw this stick in the corner of my office.

It use to hang above my desk at LG Cook.  It was given to me by the same staff member that I was just talking about. DJ.

He told me the story of carving it at a campfire, rubbing olive oil on it to preserve it, carving runes in it, burning the ends to preserve it. ( all of the details are kinda fuzzy- he told me this story over 18 years ago...)

And then he gave it to me. As a young director I didn't think too much about it, but was thankful for the walking stick. Over the years I used it for ceremonies, walking through the woods and even threatening bears with it. It even has wax on it from when I use to sit on a stump with a candle attached to it for a ceremony at LGC a long time ago. (before the lantern).

But that simple little stick has been in my office for along time. Which made me look around my office for more things. 4-H buttons, a lobster (from my time at hidden valley), frames with photos of past staff, a letter from a blind camper thanking camp for making her an honor camper, and a bunch of mugs on the bookshelf.

Everything has a story. Even each mug has a story. You may notice the famous moose mug III next to a hand made moose mug (a mug made by Amanda Eddings to hold me over when moose mug SR. was broken) and a clear plastic container with Moose Mug Jr.' pieces in it) . To this day I still dont believe the staff that told me a chipmunk knocked it off the mantel of the fireplace...The rattlesnake mug from the summer I spent catching rattlesnakes in a bucket when they wandered onto LGC and releasing them into the woods. The Tigger mug and the Campbell soup mug from my early days at Sacandaga. The Navy mug and the Life is Good mug from a dear friend that had passed away. And the LGC mugs. So many memories in small pieces of ceramic.

It's funny how things can have a meaning attached to it. Take this bowling pin for example. Just a random bowling pin found out in the woods. But to people at camp- it symbolized Back Woods Bowling- a EE class that was taught for a time here at camp. Or this can of Dehydrated Water-  That can and left handed smoke shifters saved the minds of many a counselor (and probably the lives of a few campers) as they tried to cook campfire stew for their tribes.

Or calling something by a different name- Bug juice for koolaid. Or simple little hand gestures-  for some it means ok...  For you old staff- Gottcha!

That is the magic of camp. Small silly little things have great meaning. Maybe its because everyone is living together in a small little cabin together. Or maybe it's because we slow down for just a moment. Or maybe it because camp is the most special place that many of use grew up in, and these silly little trinkets are snapshots for our minds- we take a "picture" of a moment when all was right in the world.

It's not just items that have meaning. Take an old counselor into any cabin on any camp and the first thing they do is inhale and say" Smells like Camp!" On any given day you can catch a camp person humming a camp song. And how many of us catch ourselves stomping in a puddle just for the heck of it.

All of this points to one conclusion- Camp is a wonderful place that makes memories for a lifetime. And as I sit here in the camp office, I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to make a place the will have that kind of impact on the next generation of campers. And I am thankful for all of the support everyone is giving me to make this happen- You will make this place be meaninful for kids. And I am looking forward to the week of camp when new campers will find their own things to attach meaning to.

So- If I didn't say it then DJ- Thanks for the Walking Stick!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


We had a great weekend with alumni visiting and helping get camp ready ( I will post later about the alumni reunion), and we had a few families stop by for the open house. It's great to see camp active again, and the place looks great.

We had our campfire council meeting, and over the past few weeks I have been talking to a number of people about camp and it's future. We all knew that starting a business is hard. Even with decades of experience and so much support, time just wasn’t on my side for this summer.

Normally, camp recruitment and marketing begins as soon as the previous summer ends. Unfortunately, we had a late start (March) and by then, the many families and organizations that expressed great interest in the new Camp Sacandaga program were already signed up for other summer programs. Our original plan was to open for 4 weeks, but at this time enrollments do not support that.

So, I decided that it was time to circle the wagons and come up with a plan. For the inaugural summer, Camp Sacandaga will be offering 1 week-long session to model the full summer camp program after. With current enrollments and the anticipate additions, we will be able to offer a fantastic week of camp.

In addition to that one week, we will offer a "Mooseling" Camp for children ages 5-8, a "Grown Up" Weekend Camp for campers 21 years and older and a family camp weekend. We are looking for groups to rent camp and will be doing other fund raising events throughout the year.( keep watching the face book page for upcoming events)

In September we can hit the ground running and have a full year’s worth of time and energy to pour into recruiting for the 2017 summer season. The events will raise money, but it may not cover all of our expenses.

We have enough to run the week of summer camp, but in order to keep the camp running until we start accepting registrations in the winter, Camp Sacandaga needs to raise enough money to pay the lease, insurance, marketing and cover the bills. That’s where you come in.

With your help, we can continue to build the program. I will still be pursuing other streams of revenue and loans, but any funds we can raise will help!

The GoFundMe campaign has been set up, and has many fun rewards for different levels of donations. Take a look at https://www.gofundme.com/sacandaga.

Thank you for supporting camp!