I just responded to a message on Facebook from Miriam Shwartz, at JCC Ranch Camp. Miriam, and her husband Gilad, took such good care of us on our first pass though the country visiting camps. We have incredibly fond memories of hiking around with the goats, chickens, horses and dogs while we visited the other myriad of animals that live there. Miriam was just checking in with us and while writing my message back to her I realized how grateful I am to be doing what Im doing and how proud I am of the projects that Jack and I are working on this year.
GO CAMP PRO
Probably our biggest project is Go Camp Pro. We are creating a membership site where Travis and Beth Allison from Camp Hacker, along with James Davis from Summer Camp Revolution and us are going to gather and share the best teachings we can find on how to run summer camp. We aim to create the most useful space for summer camp directors and professionals to learn and become even better than what they do so that more kids can come to better camps. Jack and I are excited to have finally found what we think is the best way to share what the camp community gave us on our journey across the country. We just came back from interviewing Cory Harrison from YMCA Camp Benson about “Getting Started in Fundraising”. For us, I think we are pumped to go and find and interview the people we admire and hear there opinions and philosophies and share them with the rest of the camp world. As a team we are also creating online courses on things like Marketing and the Business of Camp. It is exciting to be harnessing the power and brilliance that happens when camp directors get together after hours at a conference and make that available through forums and an online community all year round.
Camping Coast to Coast For Teens
Jack and I are also partnering with Scotty Jackson, at YMCA Camp Seymour, to run what we are calling a Leadership Development Excursion. We are going to take 10-15 teenagers who are in leadership programs or young counselors at camps, on a 17 day trip along the west coast to visit, volunteer at and learn from 10ish different camps. By talking with different directors, seeing different camp cultures and looking at different camp settings and facilities, how can you not fall deeper in love with the institution of camp and what camp provides for so many kids across the country. We love summer camp, and we loved summer camp when we were 16, 17 and 18 but if we were not encouraged and didn’t have the chance to see summer camp as bigger and more powerful than simply Camp Stella Maris, the camp we grew up at and love to this day, we would never be the advocates and frankly the people that we are today. So our hope is to inspire and fan the fire for others who find home at summer camp. If you want to be involved in the Leadership Development Excursion or know great teens that you think would benefit from an experience like this please send us an email we are always excited to talk about this trip. You can also donate to help send teens on this adventure here.
Finally last but certainly not least... The Stomping Ground, is a one week summer camp we are starting with Scott Arizala, Sylvia van Meerten, and James Davis. We are running the program out of Johnsonburg, a summer camp located in New Jersey. It is so exciting to create a program from scratch. Everything from wake up times to how we market we are taking a fresh look at. The program is going to be all about giving campers as much autonomy as we can within a safe and loving community. The most magical things that we have witnessed at camp is when a camper feels empowered and loved enough to take charge of their day and choose what makes them happy. If campers come away from a camp experience knowing that we trust them to make themselves happy and that we can be there to help them find the avenues, nutrients and resources to help them make their dreams come true, we believe there is nothing better than that.
Every year Jack and I get more and more excited about the new things we are learning, the skills, and the connections we are making. At times tackling some of these projects can feel like banging our heads agains the wall, or floundering in a mess of unknowns, yet it is fun to look at what we have learned as a result of our drive to do it on our own and to do it from scratch.
So much love!