One of my favorite (and most frustrating) jobs each year is assembling the Boys Camp staff team. I have a large dry erase board in my office with around 75 squares on it. On about 40-45 of these squares, I write down the various positions that I think I will need at Ocky for the summer. Then the trick is to fill each square with the name of a super hero counselor. Unfortunately, they don’t grow on trees. Fortunately however, we do grow quite a few of them right here at Camp. Then we import a few from overseas. Finally, we usually have a few spots left for guys who are brand new to Camp and a handful of former campers that are now old enough to be staff members. It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle.
This dry erase board rests on the wall directly across from my desk, so I look at it constantly. I may be working on something else, look up, have a brainstorm, and get up to change someones’s name from one square to another. On other days, a former staff member may call me up and tell me the great news that they can come back to Camp for the summer. Other days, the phone call may be bad news that someone who thought they could come back had something come up and now they can’t be here this season. This is how my winter and spring goes each year. It requires lots of Tums!
As nerve-wracking as it is with the board constantly changing, it is also immensely gratifying to watch the board fill up and evolve over the months leading up to Camp. Watching names that were in Assistant Counselor slots a few years ago move into a Village Chief or Activity Director slot always makes me smile. This year, there is only one name left that was on the board during my first summer as director (Yeah, James Otwell!). Many of the other names belonged to campers in 2005. Other names belong to people who had never even heard of Ockanickon 7 years ago.
I spend a lot of time each year staring at that board. I remember people that used to be on it that have moved on into the “real world” and I am encouraged by the young names that are gracing the board with their presence for the first time. Even though the names are constantly changing, the substance behind them stays the same. Our goal is to make sure that each new generation of Ocky super heroes builds on the hard work of those that came before us and to make sure that the values of Caring, Honesty, Respect, and Responsibility will continue to be the cornerstones that our Camp programs are based on. I am very happy to say that the 2012 board is coming along quite nicely and that I look forward to announcing these names in the coming months (once they stop moving around!).
Boys Camp Director