by Adam Delezenne
Ok, we made some changes to the summer schedule this year. It’s new and different, but most of the same programs are there, simply arranged differently. Here’s what you need to know:
We are running fewer weeks of camp this summer
We have restructured how you will register for them, and
We are initially capping registrations at 36 campers per week.
There are two important choices to make when registering for camp:
Step 1 – Find the Week that Works Best for You
This year you’ll go straight to the week that works best for your summer plans. There are three programs each week that correspond to camper grade groups:
Discovery is for elementary school campers.
Adventure is for Middle school campers.
Challenge is for campers in high school.
Step 2 – Optionally Add a Focus Activity
If you want a specialty program, you will find them as Focus Activities in the registration process.
Many campers don’t want to be tied into a particular set of activities, preferring to make their activity choices at camp along with their cabin. If that is your camper, don’t add an activity focus and keep their options open.
However, if you are looking for sailing, climbing, or counselor in training programs, those (and more) can be added in registration. See a complete list of Focus Activities.
Adding a Focus Activity is entirely optional and does not carry an additional charge (this year). However, because a chosen focus will dominate their schedule, one camper can only select one focus per session.
Why did we make this change?
Clarity for Families
The most significant driver of this change is the need to communicate clearly with families about our programs. For many years Camp Westminster offered a wide array of programs in hopes of piquing campers’ interest in trying something new at camp. Our “just camp” sessions were the most popular every year to an overwhelming degree. Putting our core summer camp experience front and center gives families a clear idea of what their camper can expect.
Helps us provide a better experience for campers
Rather than devise an array of programs that may or may not run, we are focusing on better developing our core program based on age group variations. Discovering God, self, and community has a different flavor for each age group. Read an overview of what that will look like.
This tweak in focus will mean a better week of camp for all of our campers and reinforce what is unique about the Westminster experience. Focus Activities become a way of specifying how a camper wants to spend a big chunk of their activity time. Knowing this upfront helps us provide a more robust set of activities better tailored to the campers we know we have coming.
Compressing the summer season helps us reduce costs and focus staff
Last year presented some staffing challenges, which, in turn, led to exhausted staff and challenges in supervising all our campers safely. Emerging from the pandemic seems to have made it much harder to find summer staff. Rather than bed space, the ability to safely supervise campers has become the constraint on how many campers we can take each week.
Reducing the number of weeks in the summer season makes it easier to gain staff commitments for the whole summer. School that ends later and starts earlier threatens to cut into our ability to hire enough staff and run a great program.
You can help with this! Help us find some great staff for this summer. Anyone who is interested in working this summer can reach out to me (Adam Delezenne, email@example.com) or check out our employment page. Hiring more staff means that we can take more campers!
What’s not included this year
Finally, there are a couple of programs that we cannot hold this year. Because of the leadership transition so late in the season and the advance planning that is involved, we have decided to cut our allergen-free camp, Free to Be, travel camps and expeditions, and the two-week camp program. All of these are programs I would like to bring back in the future.
Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions.