Friday, 22 August 2014

...And Just Like That, The Summer's Over

So summer has come to an end, all the kids and most of the staff have left camp, and now just a few of us remain to work the Fall season, which runs until mid-September. The last week of camp was just a crazy and awesome as I expected it to be, with so much going on and so much excitement and anticipation from all the first year staff for their upcoming travels.

The final week of the summer is always a good one and this year really didn't disappoint. I was super busy getting every last bit of footage we needed for our amazing promo video that's been my main priority this summer (look out for it online in the coming months...there's going to be a big release), so filming took up most of my days. Everything was very dependent on the weather, so as soon as the sun shone, out I went with the camera, instructing people to do this and that, trying to the get the perfect shots!

We also had our annual all camp Lip Dub activity on Thursday evening, which basically involves splitting everyone on camp (kids and staff alike) into separate groups, giving each group a part of a song, letting them come up with a dance routine, and then filming them all performing to the song in one long take. It's always a very stressful, but very fun evening and the result this year is possibly the best one we've ever done. It's a fantastic way to end the summer, and I love having a video that we can release straight away to all our followers and our #sloanefamily as soon as the summer ends.

Before all that though, we had the final intersession of the summer...where just some of the kids stay over from one session to the next, meaning only about a quarter of the staff are working and the rest of us are off (on camp). This is the perfect opportunity to hang out with people you don't often get to spend time with, and do some activities that you wouldn't otherwise have the time to try. We had out annual soccer match against Camp Hi Rock, our rival camp which, although the end result didn't go our way, was still a great game and a fun time. And then a bunch of us went horse riding...yup, I actually got on a horse for the first time since I was about 10! Mental. And it really wasn't as scary as I thought it would be!

Anyway, like the title of this post soon as it started, summer was over and it was time to say our goodbyes to all the campers and then all the staff. We had an awesome staff banquet with awards, funny videos and a few tears, and then off they all went on a big yellow school bus, back to NYC and off on their travels.

And now it's Fall camp, one of my favourite parts of working at camp. There are 13 of us here, doing jobs around camp, working with the college groups that come for 1, 2 or 3 days at a time, and generally having a pretty great time. I'm here for about another 2 weeks and then it'll finally be time to go back to England, after almost a year and a half away.

So it's goodbye to summer, see you next year!

If you want to stay up to date on all things Camp Sloane, follow us on any (or all) of the links below:

Twitter: @CampSloane
Instagram: @campsloaneymca

Thursday, 7 August 2014

One Week Left Of Summer

Yep, you read it correctly. There's only one week (ONE WEEK!) left of the summer until all the kids and staff go home and just a few of us remain on camp to work the Fall season (okay, well actually 1 week and 2 days, but you get the idea). Anyway, that's mental! I know I keep saying it, but this summer has completely flown by... much faster than any of my previous summer at Sloane!

Opening Campfire!
So much has been happening in the last few weeks since my last to day life has continued on as normal, more kids have come and gone and I've been crazy busy (as usual) doing my Media thing, taking photos, making videos and planning the most awesome Promo video for camp that has ever been made. We've been trying to get this promo thing done for the last 3 years but other stuff has always just taken over, but this year (or rather in the last few days and then the coming week), we are really getting into gear and getting it DONE!

Doing My Media Thing
That's the sort of stuff that excites me, making things that everyone is going to see...hopefully this is going to be a video that helps camp in the long run and shows people how amazing Sloane really is!

We're working, I promise!
In the last few weeks we've had another square dance (no rain this time luckily!), another magic show, some pretty fun days off and plenty of laughs with friends and campers alike, and we even had a total first at Camp Sloane the other day in the form of Color War. It was absolutely awesome, probably the best theme day we've ever had, with everyone getting really into it and supporting their team throughout the day!

Color War!

So now we've got just one week left and I can't wait to see what it will bring. If you want to find out more about life at Camp Sloane, you can find us all over the web at the links below:

Twitter: @CampSloane
Instagram: @campsloaneymca
Yeah, that's our Camp Director on a horse!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Halfway Mark

So last Saturday was the halfway point of the summer...I know, how crazy is that? I cannot believe that we are into the last 4 weeks of summer camp already, and really now there's only 3 and half weeks left! I'm staying for Fall camp too, so really I have about 7 weeks to go, but there's only just over 3 weeks with kids permanently on camp. This summer in particular, it seems to be flying by super fast, more than any other year, and I'm not sure I like it...I would work here forever if I could!

Anyway, these last few weeks have been the usual camp madness, with lots of photo taking and video making going on, as well as some fun evening activities, and some crazy weather. We had our square dance last week, which is always a good time, even if we did have to stop midway through and move the whole set up inside as a mental storm came crashing over us (honestly, in the whole of Connecticut, it only rained over Camp Sloane!).

Another fantastic evening activity for the Juniors & Pioneers (the two youngest sections on camp) was a magic show put on by the father of one of our counselors, and it was such a treat, just to be able to sit and be entertained for an hour or so...the best part was seeing the kids' faces when he did a cool trick and you could see them all wondering to themselves (and out loud sometimes too) 'how did he do that!?!'

Last weekend also saw us have our first official Alumni Day, where we welcome many camper and staff alumni from years gone by to camp for tours, a commemoration service for our new Swim Beach Pavilion, and a special campfire with extra special skits put on by current staff and campers. It really was an excellent day, and so interesting to hear about what camp used to be like from some of the alumni who haven't been back here in about 30 years!

Then Sunday was the all camp Theme Day, with the theme being Harry Potter vs Pirates. The teams battled it out all day, doing all sorts of crazy games, building immense forts and ending in a final game of capture the flag. The Pirates came out on top in the end, but fun was had by all and I'm sure the Wizards will be back with a vengeance next summer!

Yesterday was my day off again (it comes around so fast each week!), and we had a super chilled one, with excellent food and even better company. And now it's halfway through week 5 and things are getting hectic for me in the media department, as I try to gather all the footage I need for our Promo and Lip Dub videos!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Sloaning Around

Camp has, as always, been pretty excellent this past week. I'm loving almost everything about this summer (there are always going to be minor stresses and annoyances in any job, nothing's perfect), especially my friends and the kids that we've had these past few weeks. It's always awesome when some of your favourite campers come back summer after summer and you can watch them change and grow up into these amazing people, that's probably the best thing about working at summer camp.

Performing Arts: 'The Little Mermaid'
The weather last week was pretty incredible, with every day being sunny and hot, making a nice change from the previous week of rain and storms almost every day! It seems that the rain and sun are taking turns though, as this week looks to be just as rainy and wet as the one we had 2 weeks's a shame, especially as it affects my ability to film things like our annual lip dub video and the promotional video we are putting together this year...nobody wants a grey, rainy sky in the background really, do they? Last week I also got a chance to go out on the waterski boat and go tubing with all the other activity heads one evening as a reward for all our hard work, which was pretty awesome and an amazing way to watch the sun go down!

We've just started our new session, so camp is even more full than it was last week, as we now have around 278 campers, filling almost every corner of camp. I love camp when it's full like this, all the noise and chatter and laughter is what it's all about! On our intersession break (when only a handful of kids stay over from one session to the next) we were all 'off on camp', so the majority of the staff went down to the lake to go boating or swimming, but I thought that I'd just chill out, catch up on some sleep and all my favourite TV shows and then just hang out with my besties, lie in the sunshine and order food and ice cream. It was absolute bliss...I love being on camp but having a moment to just be us and not surrounded by children. Just a short break from the mayhem is lovely and totally refreshing.

And now it's the start of week 4 (or week 8 for me, as I've been here since the end of May) and everyone is ready and raring to go...we're almost at the halfway mark!

Opening Campfire moved inside due to rain!

Follow along with all the goings on at Camp Sloane YMCA here:
Twitter: @CampSloane
Instagram: @campsloaneymca

Friday, 4 July 2014

Another Busy Week At Sloane

It's been another very busy week at camp, just like all the weeks past and all the weeks to come. I've been out and about all over camp taking lots of photos, making videos and keeping the parents up to date via our social media channels (do you follow us yet? Check out the links to find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram)...all the usual Media stuff. I even went to the batting cages on my day off to hit some balls and get a bit of a break from the camp 'bubble'.

Boy's dining hall.
This week was the start of a new session, which meant we saw a lot of new kids and our numbers increased MASSIVELY from about 50 kids to just over the noise levels have definitely gone up too! It's awesome to see camp busy and full of life and energy, not just from the kids but from the staff too, all of whom have been on top form all week.

Girl's dance party.
The weather this week has been totally insane, ranging from incredibly hot, humid and gross at the start of the week to having two enormous storms the last two evenings, meaning that the whole of camp has to head to the dining hall to stay safe and dry. Last night was particularly spectacular, with huge lightening strikes ripping across the sky which meant that we were inside from dinner at 6pm until about 8:45pm...quite a long time to keep all the kids entertained and happy. But we just turned the music on and danced the evening away, with the boys even having a 'boyband off' and coming up with their own dance routines.

The storm approaching!
Some amazing stuff this week, with plenty more to come this summer I'm sure, starting with our Square Dance tomorrow evening (fingers crossed the weather holds up for us!)

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Where Does The Time Go?

We've come to the end of Session 1 here at Camp Sloane, and I really can't quite believe how quickly this past week has gone. I feel like it was only yesterday that I was writing about how excited I was for the kids to arrive! And now they're here, for the next 7 weeks, or 49 days, however you want to look at it. I remember my first year at camp and how long the 8 weeks of summer camp felt, but this year I have a feeling it's just going to absolutely fly's going to be the end of the summer before we know it, so it's time to make the most of it while we can!

Opening Campfire
It's been a busy week, full of fun activities, lots of games and many laughs. It's so awesome to be back surrounded by all these kids, some of whom I've now known for 4 summers, and some of whom are brand new to camp. It's great to see them all having a great time and making new friends and really enjoying their camp experience, and experience that can truly impact their lives for years to come.

A little bit of Wake boarding
This week has been super fun for me too - I've been making videos, taking lots of photos and just loving being back into the swing of everything this summer. I've been out on the water ski boat (one of my favourite things to do here), hung out down at swim beach and I even ran an all camp evening activity the other night with huge success. It was a Scooby Doo themed mystery night where the kids had to figure out which villain (or supervisor) had 'taken' our Program Director... it was pretty special to watch the kids (and staff) having such a great time doing something that I'd planned. And I think that's my favourite thing about camp really, that moment when you can see the effect you are actually having on a child's whole experience.

The Mystery Machine to the rescue!

Check out our closing campfire skits from this first session!


Follow along with all the goings on at Camp Sloane YMCA here:

Twitter: @CampSloane
Instagram: @campsloaneymca

Friday, 20 June 2014

And So It Begins...Almost.

It's been another pretty full on week at camp, full of more training and lots of fun. Almost every member of staff has arrived now and everyone is starting to get excited at the prospect of the kids finally arriving on Sunday! For those of us who have been here since the end of May, it really feels like it's been a long time coming, and I for one, am so pumped for this place to be full of chatter and noise and all the tiny humans having an absolutely amazing time this summer!

My home for the summer
This past week has also been a pretty incredible one weather wise too - everyone is sporting some sort of tan (or burn) lines as we've been out and about in the sunshine either swimming, kayaking, de-weeding the lake, sleeping outside in the middle of a storm (with tent-ripping results), and even square dancing!

De-weeding the lake!
Yes that's right... square dancing. During every two week session we have a square dance with all the campers and last night we had one just for the staff so that everyone can get to grips with the songs and dances so they can then in turn help out the kids with their own groups dancing. It's always a pretty special night (and ALWAYS absolutely boiling hot... the lovely clothes and make up we all put on is totally ruined by the end of the night and we all end up a hot, sweaty mess) and a great way to get to hang out with a few more people that you haven't yet had the chance to properly chat to.

Sleeping in Hammock Haven
That's one of the greatest things about coming here to camp every summer - the amount of people I get to meet and interact with, people whom I would never have met otherwise. It's a fantastic opportunity to learn from others and open your eyes to the world a little bit more.

And so, we're all off out tonight on our day off after a hard slog this week, then tomorrow afternoon brings the final prep to make sure we're ready for the influx of kids on Sunday! Here we go!

Everybody loves a Square Dance!