By Nikki Reiff, Outdoor Center Program Director
Though this is my second spring working at Camp Mason, it will be my first spring training, and my first spring as a Program Director. After a week and a half of leading and participating in it, I can tell you that—much along the lines of spring training as it pertains to baseball—it allows new and returning team members to enhance their skills and serves as practice before the season begins.
This season, our naturalist and per diem team is made up completely by returning staff with the exception of two new faces. However, this didn’t stop us from re-training in all the different activities that we offer here at Camp Mason year round. Thus far, we have covered a majority of our science education, high rope elements, and team building initiatives. So what does training look like for our outdoor center staff?
We have hiked a few miles through a foot of snow to study native wildlife and their adaptations.
We have climbed the firecracker, vertical playpen, climbing wall, and zipline. And we have belayed… and belayed… and belayed.
We played laser tag because a group that belays together, plays together! And a team that plays together, stays together! (Or rather we did this to help unite us as a team outside of a work setting)
We have been through team building ourselves to share new ways to challenge groups and debrief participant interactions.
We have refreshed our CPR and First Aid certifications, as well as run through emergency procedures.
We hit targets through riflery and archery, and then set targets for what we as a group aim to achieve together.
…All this, and we are just getting started!
Looking at our full time seasonal line up—We have three new senior naturalists; Sara, Rebecca, and Michael all looking to expand their skills from seasons prior. We have got Mark and Chris, who are taking on new coordinator roles of high ropes and the ranges, respectively. We’ve got Christian a seasoned day-camp counselor who is working his second OE season, Carly who was previously a per diem but has chosen to take on more responsibility full time, Leighann who is working on developing new ecology curriculum for our school groups, and Erik who is tackling our garden and sustainability here at Mason. Combine this team with Co-Program Director Sally, Senior Camp Director Anna, and myself, and I can confidently say this spring we’ve hit a homerun.