By: Jeff Rose, director
It is hard to believe that I began my tenure at Camp George over 10 summers ago! Earlier in my camp career, I used to be the person who knew what happened each year at camp – who was the supervisor of a certain specialty in 2006? Yup, I’d know. Now that I’ve been in the field for so long, many of the summers’ memories have all blended together. I am grateful for each of my summers at Camp George and the camps that I was at before CG. I have learned so much and I’ve grown a great deal as a professional, from each of those experiences.
There is one year that I remember particularly well – my first year at Camp George, in 2007/2008. That year, I moved back to Toronto from St. Louis to with my wife and then 18-month-old daughter. We were super excited to be returning home to be amongst family and friends.
I began that year working in the Toronto office with the outgoing Director, Ron Polster and Karen Kollins (along with the rest of the full-time staff). Ron remained for a few months of overlap to help me get acclimated to the new role. Karen was about to leave on maternity leave as she was expecting her first child. I am eternally grateful for those first few weeks spent with Ron. He helped me hit the ground running so that I was able to begin recruiting for a camp experience I had yet to be a part of and fall in love with!
There was a lot to learn about the Camp George community. Luckily, I met many amazing people whose own experiences guided me as we planned for the summer. The summer itself, summer 2008, was one of my favourite experiences at a summer camp. I enjoyed every aspect of the camp community. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be a part of this world! Each day was an education – learning from the campers, the staff, the professionals and the lay people. I used that knowledge to propel me forward throughout the next ten years.
One of the coolest parts of having been at Camp George for 10 years is having been at one camp for the full cycle of campers growing up to be staff. I distinctly remember sitting on some of our staff member’s couches when they were young and talking to their families about the wonderful world and community of Camp George. Now these young campers have evolved into the leaders of today. I think about this often as I sit on the couches of the new campers today!
I like to think about that first summer and how far the camp and I have grown. When I began we used to comment to people that we were a ‘young’ camp, in the landscape of Ontario camps. Now, as we approach our 20th summer, we don’t say that anymore! Our camp has grown and evolved so much since the very beginning – we are proud of the camp that we have become. Camp George continues to be a leader in inclusive behavior, programs and actions!
I would like to thank all of the campers, staff, professionals and lay people from whom I’ve had the great pleasure of learning from throughout my journey at Camp George so far. I am eager to usher our beloved Camp George into the next decade. I know that more amazing experiences lie ahead for our community!
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