Camp Ondessonk Counselor Comparison- Letter from a Camper Mom

Camp Ondessonk Counselor Comparison- Letter from a Camper Mom

I just returned from 3 days at Cub Scout camp with Luke (parents have to go to provide the correct adult to child ratio). Although it was an enjoyable experience, I could not help but compare it to my experiences as camper, staff and volunteer at Camp Ondessonk. Camp came out on top in so many ways!

What struck me the most was the the 16 – 20 year old staff. I had taken for granted the effort that is put into the selection and training of the staff at Ondessonk. Because of the superior quality of the Ondessonk summer staff year after year I had forgotten the care that is obviously taken to help them provide the level of care that they do. I watched 16 year old texting on their phones instead of interacting with campers. I thought “I know that Dan and Evan tell the staff that texting while with campers is certainly not acceptable”, but then I thought “I wonder if they even have to say it, or do they hire such intuitive and responsible young people that it does not even have to be said?” I watched the young staff more interested in having fun with each other and sharing inside jokes, than in interacting with the campers. Some staff were too bored or tired to muster up enthusiasm for their activity, or let the parents to most of the teaching. I am not saying that the staff was entirely below par, I am just saying that there was certainly room for improvement.

What I am trying to get across is I know that many hours are spent agonizing over the hiring of staff, and then many hours are spent developing the training activities to help them do their job to the best of their ability. The effort is worth it. To think about what those young staff members do in sometimes extreme conditions is mind boggling. They are role models and confidants for the campers. They are what makes the thunderstorm bearable, and the 105 degree day fun. The staff make it cool to slog uphill through 6 inches of mud just to get to dinner a cool thing to do. Your staff make it okay to try to hit the target for the fifth time, after missing on the first four tries. Your staff make the skinned knee from going through Fat Man’s Misery feel like a badge of honor. Your staff is a large part of why campers come back year after year. They are a large part of why Camp Ondessonk is the fabulous experience that it is. Please thank the staff for taking a very difficult job and making it look easy and fun. They are the heart of camp.

Jen Schauster


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