We have a lot of things to be excited about as we look forward to Summer 2023, and one thing in particular that gets us very excited right now is our Summer Staff that we hire! Our camp could not run without the 50+ college students who devote their summer to making an impact in the lives of our campers. But what do they do during the summer and where do they come from?
This past summer over 50% of our staff were actually former campers themselves! Which is a very special thing for both them and the campers. For them, they get to spend their summer at their second home where they have spent as many as 12 summers for some of them. Getting to be on staff after being a camper allows them to not only be recipients of the magic of huawni from being a camper, but they get to be someone who helps create that experience for the other people. They are afforded the opportunity to lead Sing Song, tell the stories at cookout, adn help lead little red church just to name a few. Our former campers on staff get to see and understand in a whole new way what Camp Huawni is all about and how the magic happens! This is also a really cool thing for our current campers to see because they get to see people who they were campers with (or maybe even their siblings) be on staff and grow and potentially be their counselor! How cool of an opportunity is that?
We also love hiring staff who have never heard of Camp Huawni before or didn’t get to come as campers! They get to dive in as adults and experience the magic of Camp Huawni with the unique perspective of never being a camper, and become the recipients of the magic of Camp. In the past three summers alone we’ve had staff come all the way from Wisconsin, Kansas, New York and Georgia as well as the states surrounding Texas. Having former campers and non former campers alike help create a fun mixing pot of personalities and giftings to create a truly diverse and special place for our campers. This mixing pot of staff helps our campers find someone who they can truly connect with, and creates a safe place for our campers to be themselves and discover their True Significance and Purpose.
But what does it mean to be on staff? To be on staff means that you are giving up your summer to invest in the lives of our campers… and have fun while doing it! Our staff’s mission is very simple, to Love the Kids (or LTK as we call it). Whatever we do throughout the day, be it meals, flag raising, hang times or activities, it is all from a place of LTK and to show them that they are loved. But it’s not all work, we are just as serious about fun as we are with our purpose. They get to participate in the Hike to the carving tree, critter, as well as getting to come two weeks before camp starts for training and orientation to have fun and learn what it’s like to be a Camp Huawni Staffer.
As fun and special as Camp Huawni is, I think we could all agree that Huawni would not be as special or fun if it were not for our college staff who come and work every summer. Be it as a counselor, CIT, photographer or any other role that we have, our staff get to spend their summer not only having a lot of fun, but making a difference in the lives of campers.