Fridays with Franky: A Year in the Life
Welcome to the amazing adventures of the WeHaKee Camp Dog!
Happy Friday everyone! In this installment of Fridays with Franky, I would love to give you a sneak peek of what my life is really like! If you aren’t keeping up with me on Facebook, you might not know how busy the year can be, even when I am not hanging out with the WeHaKee campers in the summer.
While every year and every summer is different in new and fun ways, the cycle tends to look familiar year-to-year. It’s a great life for a dog like me, and it’s all in the name of making WeHaKee the best experience for our campers and community.
So whether you are looking into WeHaKee for the first time, or have been here for years, I hope I can shed some light into what I am up too all the time! (I know you’re curious…) We will start with this season!
I can be a little down in the dumps around this time of year. I am missing all my camp friends after making the move home to the WeHaKee administrative office in La Crosse, WI. There are a lot less people around, so I am always happy when we take trips up to camp to work on upkeep, facilities projects, and winterizing. It’s still not the same without the campers, but boy is it a pretty place to run around in the fall.
I do my best to keep it looking nice for the campers… with the help of the other year-round staff! Boats are moved inside, painting is done, and the occasional special project gets done while the weather holds out.
Lots of reflecting upon the summer is done during this time. Each and every camper, staff, and parent evaluation is read, and planning is done to make next summer great. It’s comforting to think ahead as the leaves change and the air gets colder, so that’s exactly what the team is doing.
If you are like me and you are missing your camp friends, now is a good time to write them a letter or reach out. Send some encouragement for the school year, and make plans to see each other in summer 2018!
What a joyful time of year! More of my family is around during the Christmas season, and I am so happy I often offer a sneaky discount to campers registering for the next summer! (Remember, the sooner you register, the bigger discount you get.) This time of year is busy for a lot of people, and the WeHaKee leadership team is no different. They take time to observe and celebrate the season, and their other task is to prepare and schedule the next big season: recruiting!
You’ll see the WeHaKee team out and about during this time of year. We want to meet and talk to as many people as we can. This includes:
- Visiting schools, churches, and camp fairs to talk to interested families about WeHaKee! We love having WeHaKee community members from all over the US and the world, so if you think we should visit your city, let us know!
- Visiting universities to recruit amazing staff. The amazing young women that will eventually travel to northern Wisconsin come from many different places, just like the campers. Any woman who will be 18 or older by June 2018 can apply online, and most interviews are done over Skype. We love answering questions about how working at camp can boost your future career, so reach out and ask away!
- Reconnecting with the WeHaKee community. Our time at open houses, camp fairs, and schools is not just for new campers! If we come to your city, there’s nothing more fun than seeing a familiar face. Wear some WeHaKee gear and come say hi!
- Brainstorming with fellow camp professionals. Bob, Maggie, and Thatch attend workshops, conferences, and networking opportunities to make sure that WeHaKee has the best minds in the business behind it. As an American Camp Association accredited camp, WeHaKee wants to connect with lots of other camps to make camp accessible to lots of people!
Though I often have to stay behind during this time of year, I know it means that camp is coming together.
The anticipation builds! During this time, I’m blogging a lot about how to prepare for the camping season, because it is nearly upon us! I’ll introduce you to our staff team, tell you how to pack, and how to stay in touch with family while at camp, just to name a few. The trips up to camp become more and more frequent, and at the end of May, we finally move back! The offices can be a little cold, but before you know it all the windows are open, boats back on the waterfront, and the sun is out!
Final preparations for the upcoming summer are made, including making sure all the campers forms are in order for a safe and organized stay at camp. Staff training comes together and travel plans are finalized for all our staff!
This time of year is up there as one of the most exciting. First, all the administrative staff return to prepare for staff training and get the program areas ready. The swim area gets set up, the art barn is colorful once more, and the horses have almost finished “mowing” the pasture. Then the staff arrive!
They live in cabin groups just like the campers, and spend time getting to know each other and their jobs!
Then towards the end of the month, the anticipation builds as the first campers arrive by bus, car, and sometimes airplane and bus!
I obviously love the summer because of all the friends I have, but it is also amazing to watch the campers build their own community. There is lots of sharing and learning going on. Some of the things we share with one another as a community are:
- Our favorite music and dance moves
- Our favorite books
- Stories of our families
- Our unique cultures and stories of our hometowns
July especially makes me think of sharing new things with each other because some of our campers and staff are experiencing their first ever Independence Day! I don’t particularly like the fireworks, but I know they symbolise the amazing experience of sharing something special with people from around the world!
In addition to sharing camp with amazing campers, in August we are joined by families and Mother-Daughter groups. It’s another group of friends I love to have around! I just wish it could last a little longer, because the summer always ends too soon!