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Bringing staff together to conduct training and celebrate success.

Camp is meant to be experienced

As Volunteer Coordinator, my main duties and responsibilities when it came to Camp were soliciting businesses for in-kind donations for event needs, coordinating volunteers to assist and provide extra engagement in camp activities, and helping to facilitate choir trips to be as smooth as can be- whatever help that may be. Going into Camp, I expected to do all these things, and in some cases, completed some work beforehand to lessen my load when camp did come. When it came around to it, and I was immersed in the Camp Woodchuck experience everyone was telling me about, I realized that all of the preparation was important but it was never going to be enough to fully explain to me what Camp was. Camp is meant to be experienced.

Camp is crazy, exhausting, fun, unpredictable, long, tiring, and a full schedule. Camp is about campers, camp staff, caring for campers, giving attention, providing structure, keeping each other company, building relationships, nurturing trust. Even though my role put me very much behind-the-scenes of camp, I was still able to observe and note these interactions and sometimes, be a part of them myself. Every time that I went into Kids’ Cove, there was always some activity or some routine procedure I got to see.

To give some examples, the classrooms could be having lunch, watching a movie, making tie-dye, having a potluck, making cookies, doing crafts, getting ready for slip ‘n’ slide, reading a story, or resting in the gym area- tired from that morning. When there was an event, I was responsible for coordinating details with Lark, our Family Support Services Supervisor and Camp Director, and Lindsay, our Family Support Services Coordinator. I secured volunteers, decorations and food for the Fashion Show, Talent Show, Art Show, and Graduation. I think out of all those events, my personal favorite experience was Graduation. Graduation was short and sweet. Sweet not just because of the full size graduation sheet cake we all got to feed on, but sweet because of the personal sentiments camp staff said about their time and personal connection with their camp friends, and now, departing graduates. I’m a sucker for these kinds of moments- it felt good to see that, and I think everyone who got to see our little ceremony felt the same way.

Talking to some of the camp staff, I realized some of them were returning staff, and others were totally new. For the returning, long time staff, they had really grown to appreciate their campers for their uniqueness, having had the time to better understand them and connect with them. As Volunteer Coordinator, I am glad that I got a chance to experience Camp and see a part of Rainbows that I had not yet known about. And I’m glad I could coordinate volunteers and volunteer groups to Camp Woodchuck activities and offer our volunteers the opportunity to experience Camp, the way it is and hopefully, always will be.

This post was written by Jo Truong, Volunteer Coordinator.