originally published on ACAcamps.org
Let me first say, I am so intensely jealous of you. I think every person who has had the pleasure of working at camp, be it for one year or five, is envious of anyone who gets to be there when they aren't, and for good reason. Summer camp is a magical place. But it's not just the landscape that encourages those who enter camp grounds to be the greatest version of themselves. It's you who makes this place magical.
Right now, you may not be feeling super magical. Maybe you're a returning counselor who's scared of not knowing the answer to questions you think you ought to know. Maybe it's your first year as a counselor, and you're scared out of your mind at the crazy cheers, chants, and games already going on. No matter what your situation, any nerves you feel right now are good. It means you want to do a good job. Everything you need to know will be laid out for you in your training, and anything that isn't covered will come naturally or will be solved with a simple question and answer once the campers arrive. And I've got some practical tips for maintaining your sanity this summer.
A is for art! One of our most popular programs at Camp Swift, we love utilizing our creativity to craft camp favorites from lanyards to friendship bracelets with our campers!
D is for dance parties! Everyone knows that the best way to end a meal is with a dance party! What’s your favorite dance party memory from Camp Swift?
G-R-I-double L-E-D Grilled cheese! Grilled cheese! Everyone’s favorite day of the year is Grilled Cheese Day! Remember to be follow all of the fun of Grilled Cheese Day and each day at Camp Swift through our social media. Find us @SwiftYouthAZ and through #CampSwift2019.
J is for join us! Did you know you can see Camp Swift in action during Visitor’s Day? Find out more at SwiftYouth.org/VisitCamp.
L is for life skills! In schools, life skills education is often overshadowed by a focus on academic achievement. All of Swift’s programs including Camp Swift incorporate the development of essential life skills such as character building, leadership training, goal setting, and teamwork.
P is for partnership! Each summer we partner with Prescott Outdoors. This local outdoors company provides the canoes and equipment that our campers utilize while they are out on the lake. For many campers, this is their first opportunity to see a large body of water like our lake! Thank you, Prescott Outdoors, for your help creating this unique experience for our campers!
Q is for quiet time! Each action-packed day of Camp Swift also includes an intentionally scheduled rest hour for our campers and counselors to take some quiet time for extra sleep, reading, or to practice some of their mindfulness activities.
S is for success! Swift intentionally measures the success of our positive programming by surveying our campers and counselors at the end of each session. This data helps us evaluate the effectiveness of our impact and shape our future programming. Learn more at SwiftYouth.org/2018Impact.
U is for unit head. Each session of camp, we have an “Admin” team that is comprised of our adult volunteers who are eager to take on additional roles and responsibilities while at camp. One of the Admin positions is unit head. Each unit head is responsible for one of our three different aged units. They support their unit’s counselors and ensure that the campers of the unit have a great camp experience. Do you remember your first unit head?
X is for eXploration! Interest in exploration encourages our counselors to be more curious, inquisitive, and eager to learn new things. Interest in exploration is also one of the eight domain areas that we survey in our campers and counselors to ensure the effectiveness of our programming. Find out more by visiting our yearly Survey Outcomes.
Z is for Zane! Chef Zane is just one of the many professional chefs that generously give of their time to prepare three nutritious meals each day and daily snacks for our campers and counselors. Dedicated volunteers like Chef Zane make all the difference in our camper’s experience!
Traveling all the way from Nevada to be a part of the magic of Camp Swift, our guest blogger is a long-time Swift supporter and volunteer who L.O.V.E.S. grilled cheese! Thank you to Grant Frailich for writing this creative look into Camp Swift.
It's almost here, Summer 2019!
As the countdown to Camp Swift winds down to the single digit number of days that remain until camp, we are winding up our efforts to prepare for the best. summer. E.V.E.R.!
One way you can ensure you have an excellent experience at Camp Swift is to take an extra minute or two to double check your suitcase or duffel bag!
To help you prep for you week at camp, we've prepared the TOP 10 ITEMS YOU'LL PROBABLY FORGET as reported by our seasoned Support Staff. Enjoy!
Top 10 ITEMS YOU'LL pROBABLY FORGET...
It's all fun and games until your campers decide that
"Paint the Counselor" is the best way to spend that first block of Cabin Time...AM I RIGHT!? Don't get caught covered in paint and realize you forgot all of the essentials!? A mini checklist of the must haves:
9. Warm Clothes
Although we are experiencing current highs in the 90's, get ready for Prescott's nighttime lows in the 60's! Talk about snowman status-BRR! Don't freeze during the overnight! Pack a comfortable pair of jeans and a great hoodie to stay warm around the campfire!
8. Appropriate Clothing
As prom season wraps up, pack away the dress and the tux back in your closet and remember that you're packing for camp...NOT Prom! There is nobody to dress to impress at Camp Swift ;) instead think of how you are dressing to set the best example for your campers who are learning from your every move.
7. Sleeping Bag AND Pillow
As any seasoned counselor or Support Staff can tell you, your sleep is sacre saint! Make the most of your down time by remembering to bring the sleeping bag and pillow!
Each bunk has a mattress but not much else, so pack the essentials for a good night's sleep!
6. Flashlight AND/OR Headlamp
As exciting as a glow stick lit trip to the bathroom with your campers at 2am sounds... it's not really all that great! Pack a trusty flashlight and even better a headlamp for those nighttime jaunts to the john!
PRO TIP: Before packing your flashlight/headlamp, remove batteries and invert them. This will insure that you will not accidentally lose your battery power during travel! (Just remember to flip them back the right way before you head to dinner on the first night)
5. The Grilled Cheese Day Essentials
These timeless outfits happen out of careful planning and diligent execution! Don't want to get caught rifling through the last of the Keppies to find that perfect orange shirt to show your affinity for #TeamGrilledCheese?? Plan ahead and pack all that you'll need for a picture perfect Grilled Cheese Day!
4. Cabin Decorations
Get your cabin looking Pinterest perfect by deciding on how you'll decorate to welcome your campers! Half the fun of hanging out in your cabin is making it feel a little like home! Check out our College Theme Pinterest Board for some great ideas to get your brainstorming underway!
3. A wrist watch
Don't forget Camp Swift is a "phone free campus", meaning that we do not permit teen counselors or adult volunteers to use their phones until after campers have gone to sleep for the day. Since most of us use our phones to keep time, don't forget a wrist watch to keep you and your cabin from missing a minute of our positive programming!
2. Reusable Water Bottle
Brace yourself, the HydroFlasks are coming! Whether you are a part of the HydroFlask movement or you are just on-board with helping out Mother Nature, we HIGHLY recommend that you pack a reusable water bottle. There are multiple fill stations throughout camp and H20 is always available at all meals. Take advantage of these opportunities to hydrate and set a great example for your campers! Swift stickers will be provided to make sure your hydration is on point. ;)
1. Swimsuits AND Towels
With Lake time and multiple Pool visits, you will get your fair share of time in/on the water while you're at Camp Swift. Don't forget to pack a swim suit (or two) and Lake/Pool towel IN ADDITION to your shower towel. Don't get caught sopping wet after an adventure, pack a towel! Of all forgotten items, this was the #1 thing that most Support Staff reported forgetting to pack!
Also remember you will be in/on the water alongside your campers playing Marco Polo, canoeing the lake, and maybe even teaching a camper how to swim for the first time. Appropriate swimwear is crucial for your enjoyment at camp. If you wouldn't wear it to your grandma's house, don't wear it at Camp :)
Have an item that you always forget to pack or can't live without at Camp Swift! Comment below and we'll add it to the list!
The Grilled Cheese Gazette features blog posts from Swift staff, volunteers, and community members! Contact Us if you're interested in contributing to our blog!