In the process of winterizing cabins last fall, I stumbled upon a treasure-trove of kid wisdom and humor. Greta, our Girls Program Director and year-round Associate Director, had captured some of what comes out of campers mouths during the summer, written it down on post-it notes and adorned the wall in front of her desk with these nuggets. There were some funny ones, some philosophical ones, and some that made me blush. But one stuck out and made me laugh out loud.
That guy’s the owner? I thought he was just kitchen staff.
It’s true, in an effort to help out in the kitchen I spent a fair amount of time after meals slinging dishes–maybe too much? Whatever the case, besides providing a bit of refuge, and relishing the satisfaction of cleaning up a mess and restoring a bit of order, working in the kitchen and dish room has always giving me an opportunity to show staff and campers that no job here is beneath us. “Those people” don’t do our dishes, clean up our messes, and take care of us–we do. This sentiment was behind the move to rotate all staff into dish duty throughout the summer. And while I don’t think anyone really ever looked forward to it, all staff participated, and surely felt better for their contribution.
Camp is, and always has been, a great leveler. It’s a collaboration in its simplest form and the inter-reliance knows no strata, status, or side. I think it’s a big part of why kids feel comfortable saying the darndest things at Camp, willing to reveal themselves in a way that the strictures and structures of other places may not support.
Whatever the case, I imagine I will still find time to help out in the kitchen, and ask our counselors to do the same. It’s a simple way to practice what we preach, and sometimes one can even find a fresh, warm cookie waiting for them at the end of the shift!
Steve Purdum, Executive Director