Hello dear readers…
I would have preferred to write this post in a more timely fashion but I would be remiss if I didn’t post it at all.
In the picture below is (most of) our 2014 Kitchen Staff. This summer our Food Service Staff were THE most highly skilled and trained team I have ever had the privilege to work with. From my Assistant, Chef Kimmie, who is a powerhouse in guiding the daily operations of the kitchen at Ockanickon & Stockwell… to Jess (not pictured) leading the team at Matolly, who graduated from the Burlington County Institute of Technology last June from their Culinary program AND was the Valedictorian of the entire student body… to my returning staff members Max and Manuel (Manuel is also a recent graduate of a Culinary Academy in Mexico… to the rest of the crew, all fresh, first time staff members who brought a whole host of special talents, skills and experience to us from their home countries.
It was an epic, busy and I dare say, legendary summer. As our Camps grow and grow, we too must keep up with the expanding needs. This summer we served the most meals per day in, what I understand, the 108 year history of our humble Camp.
2200 meals per day at the height. That equates to each one of us on the 15 person team to be responsible for about 150 meals per day (146 to be a little more precise). Our Lake Stockwell attendance was off the charts and our Overnight Camps had some of the largest attendance records that I have seen in my 18 year career here.
On top of the sheer volume… and I think I’ve mentioned this before… but we continue to hit the mark on every meal “deadline” including having meals out going in 13 different directions on one singular day. “The Perfect Storm” day.
Simply amazing to me.
I got the inspiration to write this post now, after the dust has settled from Summer Camp and a very busy Fall with our Outdoor Center firing on all cylinders, because I recently got word from two of our international staff members that they have already begun the process to come back and work with us again and serve our children with one solid summer of intense experience under their belts… and I couldn’t be happier.
It’s hard to point out each person in the picture because of the arrangement… but… Max, Kevin, Maria, Fernando, Alex, Kimmie, Manuel, Dani, Fausto, Laura, Jose, Paulo, Jess, Gary and Candy (last 3 not pictured)… THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! You made me proud… you served our Campers with care and kindness… you were on the ball with all of your duties at every step of the way. To the internationals… I know you are all hard working University students back home and I am ever grateful for the time you took to come and share this experience here with us. I know you probably could have stayed home, enjoying a relaxing summer somewhere… but you chose to take a leap of faith and try something new. To my returners, Max and Manuel, thank you for having enough faith and trust in myself, Chef Kimmie and our organization to come back to work with us again. Collectively you have enriched my life and your support made my job a joy to do. I can’t thank you all enough… and I hope you ALL can come back to our little slice of heaven this summer.
And to Gary (also not pictured)… thank you for being the greatest pinch hitter of all time!!
I have planned some great new trainings for the new and returning staff members for our 2015 season and it is my hopes that our Food Service program here at YMCA Camp Ockanickon soars to even greater heights!!
Thanks for taking the time to read folks!!
Chef Jason (far right, in red)