To paraphrase a familiar conversation starter, “We’ve got some good news and we’ve got some great news.”
The good news is that Clearwater continues to grow on all fronts thanks in large part to the energy, dedication and talents of Executive Director, Liz Baker. In just the first three months of 2016, Liz attended 4 camp fairs (JAC did 2, thank you!), 5 gatherings in private homes in 3 different states, 1 Midstates camp conference, and 3 Foundation Board meetings, all while networking and representing Clearwater on regional and national levels. At the same time, Liz has also been recruiting staff, completing the American Camp Association (ACA) accreditation, and leading numerous projects – from websites to road signs.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had two Lizs? In fact, that was the inspiration behind the role of the Associate Camp Director, a full-time, year round management position that works in alliance with the Executive Director. An extensive job description was crafted by Liz and the Board, highlighting the supporting role of the Associate Camp Director in the areas of recruiting, programming, training, marketing, events and Board involvement. At its core, the Associate Camp Director would exemplify the Clearwater philosophy and contribute to the long-term success of camp’s mission, culture and strategic goals.
Here’s more good news: we got over 30 inquiries when we launched our national search for the Associate Camp Director last December. Inquiries came in though job postings and an email blast to our Clearwater community. Some candidates had connections to Clearwater; others came to us through the ACA, our national community of camp professionals. The candidates’ career experiences were impressive, from the fields of camp management, business, outdoor education, public health, sports and fitness. Six strong candidates moved forward with interviews, and by the end of March two finalists came to Minocqua for a visit with staff and tour of camp.
And now, here’s the great news: we’re thrilled to announce that Ellen King will be joining the Clearwater family as our Associate Camp Director, starting May 16th. Ellen brings to Clearwater a passion for the camp experience through various camp leadership positions she’s held at residential and day camps in Connecticut and Wisconsin. Ellen grew up in Michigan and Ohio, and graduated from the College of Wooster in 2010 with a Sociology degree. Ellen’s strength in leadership and commitment to youth development led to two years serving with AmeriCorps coordinating k-12 service learning and leading a team of eight young adults on service projects throughout the Midwest.
Knowing she wanted to pursue a career in residential camping, Ellen completed her Masters of Science in Natural Resources from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, with an emphasis on Youth Programming and Camp Management. What’s more, her Master’s thesis points to Ellen’s interest in overall camper health and the camping experience: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity at Residential Summer Camps: An In-Depth Examination of Programming. Additionally, Ellen is an active member of the ACA and hosted an activity session at the 2015 ACA Annual Meeting.
As impressive as Ellen’s knowledge of programming and camp management is, what really shines through with Ellen is her energy, drive and love for the camping experience. She knows the value of camp as a place for youth to be outside, bond and live in nature, as well as a place to develop confidence, friendships and community. Ellen’s own love of camping has taken her to many the places Clearwater explores, including the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan and the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin. The photo we have shared is of Ellen in the Olympic National Park in Washington State last summer.
When asked to share her thoughts about joining Clearwater, Ellen exclaimed, “I can’t wait for staff to arrive, and moreover, Is it June 22nd yet?! I can’t wait for my first summer at Clearwater Camp to begin!” Ellen looks forward to meeting campers, staff and our vast network of alumnae and friends this summer and in the upcoming year. She’s anxious to embrace Clearwater history, values and traditions, learn our camp songs, and enjoy our “diamond days” on Lake Tomahawk. “I believe strongly in the power of summer camp for the life experiences and learning opportunities offered to campers and staff,” shared Ellen.
Ellen has already hit the ground running, working alongside Liz by assisting with the ACA accreditation process and developing pre-camp staff training. Liz remarked, “Ellen has already gone above and beyond what is being asked of her, very true to the Clearwater spirit!”
Welcome to Clearwater Camp, Ellen. We’re mighty glad you’re here.
We would also like to include a letter to you from Ellen:
Dear Clearwater Family,
My name is Ellen King and I would like to introduce myself as Clearwater’s Associate Director. The Associate Director is responsible for supporting the mission of camp, its operations and financial health. In this role I will be working alongside Liz all year round to provide our girls with the experiences that will help them grow to be confident and successful adults.
I am new to the Clearwater family and know that I have a lot to learn regarding Clearwater’s 83 years of rich history and traditions. I am definitely up for the challenge! I am bringing with me several years of camp leadership experience and have been passionate about residential summer camps since my first summer as a ranch camp counselor in 2008. It was that summer in particular that shaped me more than any other of my camp endeavors. I believe strongly in the power of summer camp both for campers and staff. I look forward to providing the unique Clearwater Camp experience to girls for many years to come.
To tell you a little more about myself, I graduated from the College of Wooster in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Originally from Ohio and Michigan, I have called Wisconsin home since 2013. I am currently finishing up my master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point where I am studying Youth Programming and Camp Management. My research examines how Wisconsin residential summer camps provide healthy eating and physical activity for their campers.
In between my schooling I spent two years serving as an AmeriCorps member both in Michigan and as a team leader for the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), where I traveled across the Midwest completing team-based community service projects. Ever since completing my AmeriCorps terms I have slowly worked my way back into residential camping. Those years of service, combined with my many different camp experiences have shaped me to who I am and who I like to be.
My goal now is to continue to build on those experiences in order to better serve Clearwater and to increase my understanding of its great values, history, and narratives. As you are part of the strong Clearwater network, feel free to reach out to me! I also look forward to meeting many of you this summer and in the upcoming year. Speaking of summer, is it June 22nd yet? I can’t wait for camp to begin!
Looking forward to getting to know you,