How We Spend Our Winter

01.29.2018 By Ellen King
How We Spend Our Winter

In October, we published a blog, How We Spend Our Fall. Our goal was to answer some questions we usually receive surrounding the work that we do when it’s not summer. Now that camp is blanketed with snow it’s time to talk about what we, the year round staff, do for Clearwater in the winter.

Remember a few weeks ago when the temperature didn’t rise above zero degrees for a few weeks? For camp, that kind of weather can damage our buildings, docks, shore stations, and shore line. We rely on de-icers to circulate the water around our docks so that the water doesn’t freeze and cause ice damage to our property. It was SO cold those weeks that Bill, our Operations Director, had to de-ice the de-icers. The ongoing Northwoods snowfall keeps Bill busy with snow removal to keep our roads and buildings accessible. Why? The mail still needs to be delivered, contractors continue to work down at camp on building and grounds improvements, and our insurance company requires that camp remain accessible year round. While he does keep our property safe and in shape, Bill’s main responsibility is in the area of Clearwater’s finances. So he has been busy preparing W2’s, 1099’s, real estate taxes, federal and state tax returns, completing our annual audit, keeping the financial books in order, and paying all of Clearwater’s ongoing bills.

Meanwhile Melinda is working behind the scenes preparing for the camp season. She has a check list of things to complete, including making hotel, car, and chartered bus reservations, and setting up schedules for the laundry service and staff training certifications courses. Melinda orders supplies and mails them out to the various gatherings and fairs in different parts of the country. It is also the time for preparing and sending out counselor and Leadership contracts. And numerous required forms for staff are prepared this time of year. All of these tasks add up quickly! Parents may have recently received an email from Melinda letting them know that she’s activated camper forms. Melinda continues to be available to answer any question about this upcoming summer.

Liz is on the receiving end of the supplies for camper gatherings and fairs as she prepares for upcoming trips to St. Louis and Chicago. Maybe you’ve heard that it’s our 85th Summer? Liz has been working with a committee of board members and volunteers to plan the special events and get registration ready among other things. Liz also works with parents, new and seasoned alike, answering questions regarding special diet or health restrictions, and what will it be like when their daughter goes from two to three and a half weeks at camp. She is also taking advantage of some professional development opportunities such as a mental health first aid course, and two upcoming conferences – Camp Owners and Directors Association’s (CODA) conference and the American Camp Association (ACA) national conference. There is so much to learn and bring back to camp that benefits the staff and campers! From staff development to youth engagement Liz keeps looking for ways we can do better for our stakeholders.

Sandy has been working with Liz to plan visits around the country while Liz is out doing recruitment gatherings in the hopes that Liz might be able to connect with you when she is in your area. Sandy works to express Clearwater’s appreciation of your love for, belief in, and support of camp. This is her year round goal! To achieve this goal in the winter specifically, she “shows” rather than “tells” how your support impacts our campers’ lives by bringing to your attention their own words and stories about camp via email, our website, social media, and mailings. You will see the results of some of that work soon when we publish our impact report. Sandy also makes use of this time to take a deep dive into our fascinating database so that we can utilize this powerful tool to the greatest extent possible for the benefit of current and future generations of Clearwater campers.

Lastly, Ellen has been working to hire our amazing and talented staff members for this upcoming season. We found that hiring staff has a domino effect. If Ellen is able to hire staff earlier, then Melinda won’t have as many staff forms to distribute and monitor in April and May. Ellen is also working to maintain our ACA accreditation. Did you know that through our accreditation, we are reviewed on over 200 standards? In non-visit years we submit what’s called an Annual Accreditation Report, which examines several standards in-depth. Ellen also completed the latest Telltale, which arrived in camper mailboxes last week. Let us know what you think! Is this something your daughter enjoys? We are always looking for feedback on our publications.

Whew! That’s just a small glimpse of what Clearwater staff are doing over the winter. Each person works on multiple projects that fit together to make camp happen. We look forward to telling you about what we do year round in the spring!

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