The Day In The Life Of A Camp Director

December 01, 2016 By Admin
When I think about going to camp, wonderful memories flood my mind. At 39 years old, it is really all I have known. I have attended overnight summer camp every summer since I was 5 years old. 

I wake up every morning at 6:30am. That is 2 full hours ahead of the all-camp breakfast. Quite frankly, it is the only time during the day when I don’t hear my name shouted left and right. It is the perfect time for me to exercise. Regardless of what time I fall asleep the night before, I roll out of bed and get going for either a bike ride, swim, jog or weight lifting session. At that time of the morning, it is simply beautiful out. Often times I am cold initially when leaving my house. 
It is during my morning exercise when I think about the upcoming day and prioritizing the long list of things my staff and I have to get done. As you can imagine, a Camp Director has many things to oversee including: staff supervision, programming, field trips, evening activities and special events, health center procedures and of course office management.  
I am often asked, “Fried… when do you have fun?”. I immediately answer, “when I see all of you (the campers and staff) having fun!”. That is my main role. I want everyone on camp to have fun always. While most people think about fitness goals while exercising, I think about the theme to the upcoming dance, battle of the sexes activities and our Color War Breakout. I love it! Summer time is my most creative time and I use my morning exercise sessions to establish my plans for the upcoming days and weeks. 
When I walk into the Dining Hall for breakfast, everyone looks like they just fell asleep an hour earlier. Haha. Breakfast is by far the quietist of all meals so of course, its my loudest! I love singing my son’s (1 year old) favorite morning song to everyone, “Good Morning”. I am proud to say that by the end of the summer (2016), I had almost everyone signing along with me. 
Most people would say that I have an unusual amount of energy. I want to portray a happy, energetic and spirited camp and I know it starts with me. 
I am very fortunate to have a wonderful support team that works right alongside me. Following breakfast I meet with my entire team of adult staff and each morning I surprise them with a morning song of my choice. I usually nail it with my choice because you cannot go wrong with 80’s music. This gets us all off on the right foot. 
As the day progresses, I see and hear it all. Some kids can’t get enough of what we are offering and some just want to “chill”. Regardless, I am very confident that our Camp Shalom campers are having fun and getting the most out of camp. 
One of my main priorities is getting to know each and every camper personally. By the end of the first day, I know everyone’s name. I want to make it clear that everyone from my staff will be there for anyone anytime. 
I spend at least 2 periods a day walking from activity to activity. I try to participate in as much as I can. I am an avid athlete (washed up however) and try to play in at least 1 game a day with the kids. If I make it out without injury, I thank the heavens and promise not to push it again until tomorrow. I sing, play, cook, ride bikes, waterski, climb, laugh, socialize and dance each day. With that I also discipline, plan, organize, diffuse drama, mentor and adapt each day. 
We have 6 periods a day with lunch and rest hour smack in the middle of the day. Dinner is preceded by flagpole at 6pm. As breakfast is usually quiet, dinner is anything but. Dinner is loud, spirited and filled with energy. After dinner, frequent spirit sessions raise the roof off the dining hall. 
A credo I live by is to always “finish strong”. This is true to our camp day as well. We save our best activity of the day for last. Our evening activities are simply amazing and something we take pride in. Whether it be an activity where campers dress up for Family Feud, perform on stage during Bunk Skit Night or search for their counselors during Counselor Hunt, each night during the summer will offer campers something exciting and fun!
After dessert and/or a visit to the canteen for a late night snack, its time for the campers to head to their cabins for cabin time and bedtime. 
My day s Camp Director is still not complete. Its usually at this time when I can finally visit my wife and son, take a shower before heading out for some late night bonding sessions with my staff and oftentimes with campers in their cabins. 
It’s a long day but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I wake up the next morning, I will say once again “How lucky am I that this is what I get to do each summer!”
Camping has been such a tremendous part of my life and I appreciate it more and more as I get older. At Camp Shalom, we are far from perfect but we strive for perfection everyday. 


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