Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Welcoming Wednesday (Part Two)

Here we are with our second post for Welcoming Wednesday!

The next staff I would like to introduce (or re-introduce) is Judi Zollweg! Judi will be returning for another season with us and will our Camp Clerk.  Last summer she was a jack of all trades and the camp would not have run without her. We are hoping her organizational skills will help us to get our camp store off the ground! When she isn't at camp she is a teacher at the Frankfort-Schuyler School. She has been a part of the camp for many years and we appreciate all the hard work she does for camp! Judi is also a member of the campfire council.



The next staff member is also a reintroduction- Kathleen (KAT) Walsh! This summer she will be running our wood working program and trying to keep out of trouble. In the off season she has helped with many projects and has volunteered for the Manor House Restoration, building screens for the Rec Hall, and fixing stuff around camp.

She attended camp many years ago, and has always been a strong advocate for  campers and staff alike. Last summer she ran the arts and crafts program and helped us to create a wood working class for campers. We are looking forward to another summer with Kat! And like Judi, Kat is on the campfire council and is volunteering for the summer!
Please join me in welcoming (or in this case re-welcoming ) these two staff members!!!!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Welcoming Wednesday! (Part 1)

Do you know what day it is? It's Welcome Wednesday- What is that you ask? Each Wednesday we will introduce a few of our summer staff to everyone.

This week I have the pleasure of introducing one new and one returning staff members.

Courtney Gleichauf will be returning as a counselor for another year. always one to help the campers, she helped us raise money this winter by jumping into the lake for the Freezin for a Reason fundraiser.

Here is what Courtney has to say about herself.

I have recently graduated from Greece Arcadia High School and plan to attend Keuka College, majoring in biomedical sciences, in the fall.

In my spare time I enjoy to play lacrosse with my friends and family as well as coach for my local K-2 boys lacrosse team. I also play tennis whenever I can, sports are my hobby!

I have taken 6 years of American Sign Language, making me fluent in the language. Alongside that I intend to minor in ASL studies in Keuka.

Can’t wait to see and meet new people at camp this summer!



Another one of our female counselors, Madisyn (Maddy) Zimmer , is new to camp and will be joining us this summer.


Here is Maddy's bio.

My name is Madisyn Zimmer, but most people just call me Maddy. I am currently studying to major in outdoor recreation. This will hopefully put me on the path to even more careers in a camp setting like Camp Sacandaga. I am very excited to be working at camp for the first time this summer. I am excited to be able to give kids an awesome camp experience and to work with my fellow counselors.



I am so excited to have them on staff this summer!!! Please join me in welcoming these folks to our staff team! And join us next Wednesday for more staff introductions!





Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Not your typical weekend

I had it all planned out for the weekend. I had an Air BNB rental arriving on Friday, I was going to give a camp tour Saturday morning, and I was going to drive to Watkins Glen, NY to be a part of the Carnival at Hidden Valley 4-H Camp.

I got my start in camping at Hidden Valley many years ago, and I wanted to give back to a place that means a lot to me and created some of the founding principles of the program I run now. I was suppose to be a celebrity chef and cook chili, and I had everything here to cook it up and bring it for the event.

And then the storm blew through camp.

We lost power late Friday. I reached out to the Berrios family who were driving up from the Bronx to let them know about the storm. At that time the estimates for the power to come back on seemed really good, so I wasn't concerned. Mr. Berrios' response? "Sounds exciting. Were still about an hour away. Thank you for letting us know. See you soon."

When they arrived it was very dark, but I had set out battery lamps and gave them a tour of the Annex. Since they arrived after 10 pm, they pretty much settled in for the night. It's a good thing that the Annex has propane heaters that don't need electricity to run. 

I went to bed with every expectation that the power would be back on in the morning...I was wrong.

When I woke up, the power was still out, so I got out the coleman stove and got the coffee going. I also heated up water for hot cocoa. Berrios were up, I cooked bacon and pancakes (with everyone's help!) We then took a walk around camp and I gave the family a tour. I kept trying to check the weather and look for updates as to when the power would return. 

 As I saw posts on facebook and got more information, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to go to the carnival at Hidden Valley. The family on camp took precedent, and I couldn't see leaving them here without power. Also when power is restored, I have to go around camp to make sure everything comes back on and that there are no issues.

The family decided to take a trip to look around at the mountains and do a few other things. I worked fixing the tin on the roof of one of the cabins that got bent in the wind. When the family got back, they played catch and relaxed in the sun.

half way through the day, cell service went out. Apparently the cell tower had a battery back up- but it doesn't last that long. But it wasn't an issue. We survived without our phones, and I got a chance to relax without looking at my phone every 5 minutes to see if there was a power update.

That evening we had a great meal of steaks and chili (yup, I made chili on the coleman stove, since I had the ingredients ). And I got the campfire set up for Stories and Smores. We even had Jiffy Pop popcorn!


It was a wonderful way to spend the night. There is nothing like telling stories around the fire! Even the children had a story or two to share! I want to thank Judi and Chris Jakubowski for being here and helping with the food and the campfire. 


I especially want to thank the Berrios family for being such troopers! Most families would have gone home after the first night. But their sense of adventure and awesome outlook made it a great weekend. They are a great family and are raising two amazing children.
 
I know that they came as Air BnB guests, but they are now a part of the Camp Sacandaga family. I hope they get the chance to come up again. And we may even see the the young ones here during the summer camp program!

I can't wait to see them up north again. And I hope there is power the next time they visit. 

But even if there isn't power when they visit, we still will have a great time!






Wednesday, May 2, 2018

First Campfire of the Season

A young Ben and his cow
Last Night we had an awesome meeting planning a new and exciting event this spring. But that is not what this blog is about! It's about what happened AFTER that meeting.

Since I left Lindley G. Cook 4-H Camp I've kept in touch with the new Director there, Ben Clawson. I've known Ben for a long time, ever since he was a young counselor reading stories to campers in cabin 7. (long story about Ben being in the wrong place for the right reasons....)

He was a counselor, a volunteer, a drama staff, and even was the assistant director. Eventually I hired him on as the Program Director, and over the years we have worked together to make the camp there a great place to be.
















Much of what has happened at his camp is because of all the struggles and work we put into the place. Ben now has a great place, a wonderful wife and little boy, and a cool dog named Woodrow. We have been wanting to get together to catch up in person, but this time of year is difficult for camp directors. And with his new family, we never seem to be able to find the time.

So I sent him out a message asking what he was doing last night. And as luck would have it, and with the stars aligning, we decided to have a skype campfire to catch up.

I built the first fire of the season, set up the call and we talked. And we talked...and we talked The skype call was for over an hour, and then we chatted on the phone for probably another hour, reminiscing about old staff members, sharing ideas for programs and just catching up. And of course I threw in some sagely old director advice from time to time.

I get a kick out of some of the things he is dealing with. Maybe it's karma, or maybe it's just the good old fashion passing of the torch, but he has to deal with many of the things I had to deal with back in the day. And he is handling it well. I feel a sense of pride with where he is taking the camp, and how well the program is going.

But the conversation isnt a one way street. Ben has been a sounding board for many of the issues I deal with here. And he is always quick to support my new camp program (even though he thinks that I am a little crazy for doing it). I appreciate all the help he gives and all the advice he shares.

Camp, no matter what camp you go to, is all about relationships. Even the staff build great friendships. I am still friends with many folks from when I was a counselor back from the days I worked at Hidden Valley 4-H Camp. As a matter of fact, I am going there this weekend to help with a fundraising event. Those friendships that campers and staff make can last a lifetime! That is why I started this camp, and that is why I work hard to make sure all children (and staff) have a place where this can happen.

Ben and I decided that we will do the skype campfire more often. And who knows, we may even meet up in the fall after the dust settles from the summer. Camp friends are friends for life.