Whew…it’s hard to believe that the summer has already come to an end. What a summer!
The word that comes to mind when looking back on this summer is growth. Campers grew physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Staff grew more unified than maybe ever before. Our leadership grew, both in number and in experience. Parts of campus grew (i.e. the flag pole on Flag Pole Hill, activity choices like paintball and low ropes, and the swimming pool slab). And finally, life-long friendships grew in depth and number.
The one big question that I am constantly asking myself is “How is Camp truly going for our campers?” For myself and our staff, this is what it’s all about. And again, as summer comes to a close, I have asked myself this question. The feedback I have received from both our kids and you parents is very encouraging. Campers rated their cabin counsels a 4.82 out of 5, which is the highest rating counselors have received from their campers since we began tracking this metric. I am so proud of our staff and the job they did this summer, and the kids affirmed this fact. In addition, 97% of our parents who took their session ending survey said they would recommend Camp Huawni to family and friends.
Here are some exerts we received directly from parents about their child’s experience this summer.
Our son was so confident when we picked him up. He was so proud of himself. He seemed so different, so grown.
I would tell other parents that this camp is how camp should be done. It is tried and true.
Our kids have been talking nonstop about Camp since the moment we left, and not one negative word has come out of their mouths! Our daughter said this is definitely her best year at camp so far, and our son has had so many great stories to tell (uncharacteristic for a 15-year-old boy:) Earlier this afternoon, my husband came into the living room and started playing the camp song on the guitar and my daughter joined in on the piano and sang. Makes my heart happy! Thank you so much for giving our kids a wonderful camp experience!
She enjoyed every aspect of camp and made many friends. We are hopeful that she will be able to connect with her camp friends as they make their way to family vacations out of state (to our city) over the next year.
He actually just hung out with us, no “I’m bored, can we do this or that, etc.” I was so excited, like he was cool with just being outside.
Not sure what was different this year from years past, but our child said “this was the best year ever”
Fittingly so, it is also important to get parents’ perspective on just how well their child’s experience went at Camp. I am grateful for the 120 families who took time to share your candid feedback. We actually had 19 more families respond this summer than last summer. Parents rated their children’s overall camp experience a 4.72 out of 5, or 9.43 out of a 10-point scale. I was very pleased to hear this. Another good indicator of how well the summer went for the kids is how many campers sign up for our returning camper discount on closing day. This summer, a record 275 campers said they were going to apply for the returning camper discount and come back in 2015.
Our vision at Camp Huawni is to become the premier summer camp in the Southwest. This is a high calling and likely one we will be working on for a lifetime. Recently, I have asked the question, “What does it mean to really be premier?” Thanks to a lot of wisdom of my grandparents, Earl and Retha Adams, and further guidance from mentors, I have honed it down to mean three things: 1. excellent service 2. excellent staff 3. excellent youth development. If we can do those three things with excellence, I feel confident that we can realize our vision. That being said, a big part of making camp work is hiring, training, and mentoring an excellent staff. I can honestly say that this summer’s staff was excellent in multiple ways. Again, campers gave their Huawni counselors the highest rating (4.82/5) that’s ever been given. Our counselors did a fantastic job of handling conflict this summer with one another and with campers. They rose to the challenge of handling conflict directly and timely and the unity we saw at the end of the summer proved their effort. Our staff was relentless in being transparent, honest, and building one another up, which in turn spilt over into the lives of the kids. I am so very grateful and humbled by the lives they lead.
As always, Camp did not go perfect. What went well? Where can we improve? These are big questions as we eye next summer.
Here’s what did go well:
-8,311 photos were uploaded online for our parents to see. Thank you to our photo team, Kayla Cradit, Kaylee Friend, and Claire Earnest!
-Session Highlight Videos were excellent and camp families were elated knowing they had immediate access to them online. Again, thank you to our video team, Jessie Trespeses and Will Aker!
-Parents thoroughly enjoyed our daily blog.
-TNT 4th of July fireworks show
#Giving campers the opportunity to see the USA vs. Germany World Cup matchup
Here are some opportunities to improve. Again, without our parent feedback we would not be able to address these! Thank you Huawni Parents for being candid!
-more rest during rest period
-more hot water
-improve mail call process as packages were not always handed out on time
-improve the process for packing up campers’ belongings and finding missing items
-wait time on the Camp Road during Opening Day
So what is next for us here at Camp? Believe it or not, we are busier than ever in August! Right now our big focus is making sure we get our Returning Camper Discount to as many campers as possible. Even if you filled out an RCD sheet, it is crucial that you still go online to enroll through your CampInTouch account before September 15th, 2014. This is the second and final step all families must take to secure RCD. This is our largest and best discount available only to our families who attended this past summer. Secondly, we have answering the numerous inquiries from new families wanting to enroll for next summer. We will open up new camper enrollment on September 16th. Another big priority right now is hiring staff. Believe it or not, staff hiring starts now, and we will be extending our staff expedited offers this month. Finally, we are less than a year away from Camp Huawni’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. On the weekend of August 1, 2015, we will be hosting our 50th Anniversary on camp property. This will be a special time, and we will keep you posted on what’s to come.
What a wonderful summer it has been. Thank you again for partnering with Camp Huawni in your child’s growth. As we savor this summer, we are excitedly preparing for an even better 2015. A good friend of mine, Patrick, says, “Comfort is the enemy of growth”. I guess that means it is time to get a little uncomfortable. We hope and pray that we can continue to partner with you and that you see real growth in your child’s life this coming year!