Each morning we gather the whole camp in a close circle. This week that number was somewhere near 400 campers and counselors, standing together in the early sun, welcoming the new day with our summer family.  I don’t use a bull horn or a megaphone (I think somewhere in the Camp Director job description it says “Must have ability to project surprisingly loud voice”), and I don’t have announcements or handouts. I remind our campers and staff about the Summer Fenn Way, that kindness and positivity are contagious, and that they’re in for a great day. We often sing a silly, fun song.

Then, every single day, I ask campers to “Turn to your counselors and ask- WHAT’S NEXT?” Our Camp Director has been asking that same question in the morning circle for 15 years. It not only cues the curiosity of what the day has in store for campers, but it reminds us- the camp’s leadership and staff- to always think about what we can do tomorrow that could somehow improve on today.

This constant inquiry drives us to seek out feedback from our camper families with more concerted effort. It makes us eager to find out what children will be curious about next week, next summer, and beyond.

While we cherish the comfort of the traditions our campers have come to know and love, we explore the important balance between tradition and novelty. This is how ceramics and woodworking programs come to sit side by side with our Makers Lab and robotics camps.  We move forward with confidence, but not complacency, all because we invite this self reflection every day.

We think of staff training not only as pre-season workshops, but as an ongoing way to work at supporting our team, and giving them more tools to do their best work throughout the season. They are eager to grow, to become experts, to put their tools into practice. That's what makes them so special, and makes me so proud. 

This past week we wrapped up the first half of our season. Four amazing weeks in our fond memories, four more weeks of opportunities lie ahead. If your child is coming to camp on Monday for the first time, you can be certain that we’ve been excited for, thinking about, and planning for this week, this opportunity, to make your child’s experience amazing. And if your child has been attending Summer Fenn all summer, we still have so much to share and do and learn. It’s all about the way we begin, together, by asking “What’s next?”

Posted by maggie on Saturday July, 25, 2015