I have a t-shirt from a coffee shop on Martha's Vineyard that boldly states "No Off-Season!" Although the t-shirt was referring to serving year-round residents, not just summer tourists, this shirt now applies to my job as well! At the end of the the summer, many of my campers at YMCA Camp Oakasha asked me what I was going to do when they went back to school... and at the time, I wasn't sure. How WOULD I start my work day without silly songs, a crazy game, or riddle?! But, it only took me a few weeks to see that there is, in fact, no off-season. While my other programs (Parent & Me Sports, Leaders Clubs at Rochambeau & Memorial Middle Schools, Youth and Government with kids from Pomperaug, and teambuilding workshops in the Region 15 BAS Program) have kept me busy, not a day goes by without thoughts of what I need to do to get ready for the summer.
In the fall, we poured over the surveys from this year, looked for trends and problem solved. We heard from parents and staff members about what went well and what they'd like to see change at YMCA Camp Oakasha. From there, we made a big change: going to one week sessions instead of two. We hope that this will allow for more flexible scheduling for our families. Having nine different sessions will give us the opportunity to be even more creative with our variety of session themes and programming! We'll still have four field trips this summer (every other week), but this year we're inviting all campers instead of only the older groups. This will give all campers the opportunity for more adventures outside of camp and make new friends outside of their groups. Our field trips will be on our website/ Facebook/ Patch in May.
Southbury residents should receive YMCA Camp Oakasha brochures in the mail this week with our schedule for the summer and information on registration, which begins March 4th. Our brochures will also be available at the Waterbury YMCA and many local businesses.
My next project: planning staff training to ensure that our staff maximize the fun, friendships, adventures, and memories of our campers all summer long!