Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Camp America Placement

I received an email from Camp America Enquiries asking whether or not I was still interested in the program as I hadn't logged into my account for 4 months, and saying that if I wanted my application withdrawn then just not to reply to the email. So I didn't. I had given up hope.

Then, in a display of painful irony, the very next day I received an email from Camp Cedar Lodge in Michigan saying that they want to talk to me about a placement as head of Arts and Crafts at their summer camp! Safe to say I wrote a groveling 'please don't delete me' email to Camp America in a flash. The only issue Cedar Lodge had was with my availability dates, which I have had to bring forward to 12th June as their summer program begins on the 13th.

Nothing is definite as of yet; there are a number of applicants that have been shortlisted. This is the email that they've sent me, it seems incredibly intense - I need to be able to manage and run the entire arts and crafts department, providing continuously fun and engaging projects for up to 60 children that appeal to kids aged 8-16:

Greetings from Cedar Lodge.

You are one of several applications that I have just reserved from Camp America as a possible applicant to fill a job I have open for this summer. The position I am looking to fill is for a camp counselor that would stay in the cabin with kids, and a specialist that has at least one major area of expertise, and several other areas that they are very strong in as well. Our camp is quite small, but offers a variety of intense different programs. Because of that, all our cabin counselors are also program heads. I am interested in your application primarily because of your Arts and Crafts background. Here are some links to our web site that may tell you more about us: www.cedarlodge.com

Now that you know something about us, I have some questions for you.

Arts and Crafts: This area is a large program in our camp. I just lost my return counselor for this area and it's a bit of a scramble for me. That being said, I am looking hard for the right "fit". Here is a link to a page on our web site that talks about this program:

This is one page, I could probably have dedicated several into this program. Like I said, it's a big program and very popular. The craft "barn" will be open all 6 hours of the day, though perhaps not always with the same person. I am looking for someone that is qualified enough to head the program. They must feel confident in working in various types of art and crafts, for different ages (8-16) and different abilities. They must be able to handle group projects and also smaller groups. They must be able to come up with daily ideas of different craft projects, some that may be simple and only take a small bit of time, and some for more advance students that might go on for hours, days or even weeks. They must be able to organize the craft barn, inventory and supply buying lists of what they need. I am looking for someone that lives and breathes A and C and doesn't mind being in the barn for 4-5 hours a day, 6 days a week, 8 weeks for the summer. There is a partial list on the link that I have supplied. That would be a good place to start. How many of those things (and others) do you feel confident leading? When I say leading, I mean coming up with, organizing and implementing without outside help or prodding. Tell me your feelings on the above and then we can go from there.

One more thing. I have attached a pdf that has to do with the A and C program we did at Winter Camp this last year. I think it will give you a good idea of what we expect for our program. I will be interested on whether you feel that this is a program that you can put together and run.

Additionally, you would be expected to handle at least one evening program a week with the entire camp, so past work with large groups is a plus. All general staff have this responsibility:

As you see, there is a bunch of information, but those links should give you a great start! It is very important to me that you feel comfortable about the job that I am offering you. With our small size (60 campers),we operate more like an extended family. That is why it is so important to me to try to make sure that everyone is happy with their placement here, and that we are all here for the same purpose, namely working with children and dedicated to the idea of them having a great time. After you have reviewed the information, if you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. If you would like to talk to me I will be happy to phone you if you could tell me when it would be convenient, but truthfully, if we could do this by e-mail I would prefer it.

I would be interested in whether you feel you are right for a program and whether we would be the kind of place you would like to work. Lastly, I hate to do this to you, but I need you to contact me ASAP. I only have your application on hold for a short time and I will have to make a decision whether I have heard from you or not. I would certainly like to have some contact from you (e-mail is fine with me) before I have to make that decision.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day,

Amy Edwards
Cedar Lodge

At present the prospect of heading an 8 week program is freaking me out, to say the least. I have some skills I can use already, such as paper making, book binding, casting, and even silly things like tye dying; it's simply a matter of thinking of innovative ways to utilise basic skills. If I got accepted for the placement I'd definitely be able to over-prepare myself before June 12th - I go to an Art College for god's sake! So right now I'm being optimistic and trying to persuade Cedar Lodge that I'm an incredible human being that loves kids and 'lives and breathes arts and crafts', and I will cross the actually-having-to-teach-people-things-bridge when I come to it.

There is also the minor issue of my possible alternative summer plan, and still not knowing if I've been accepted onto that program. I should find out in the next week or so, but if I do get on and have to choose between the two then I'm definitely screwed. How can I possibly know which of these experiences will benefit me more in the long run??

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