Meet The Person Behind The Camera: Austin Collins

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Summer after summer, parents entrust their most precious cargo—their children—to summer camps all over the nation. The foundation that allows these summer camps to flourish is built on a vital element: trust. As parents, they place their faith in the capable hands of camp staff, understanding that their children’s well-being is a top priority. Although the separation can be nerve-wracking, families embrace the camp experience, communicating with their campers through heartwarming handwritten letters and eagerly anticipated photos. Embracing the courage to let go and embrace the adventure, this leap of faith transforms into a thrilling journey for both campers and their families.

An essential part of this trust and communication is fulfilled by our excellent communications team. Each day, they work tirelessly, all around camp, capturing the smiles and excitement, and meeting their impressive quota of one hundred photos per day. Although their work is always recognized, the comms team themselves often go unrecognized. Austin Collins, Machon communications specialist, gives us some insight into his day to day and how he and the communications team operates.

Q: How does your role as a communications specialist contribute to the overall camp experience for the families of the campers?:

A: “Giving parents the opportunity to see their children having fun is an impactful experience. A photograph is a lot more than a letter. Kids’ mail is often rushed and broad because they’re more interested in spending time with their cabin mates rather than writing home.

Q: With so many activities happening simultaneously at camp, how do you decide which moments to capture in photographs?

A: Great places to get photos are skiing and inflatables, especially on hot days. There is always fun being had on the waterfront.

Q: Can you share some tips for aspiring photographers among the campers who might want to improve their photography skills?

A: Practice and learn. Get experience. With the new phone policy, campers are encouraged to use digital cameras. Keeping one with you is important so if the moment arises for a great shot, it can be captured. Surround yourself with other photographers.

Q: Have you noticed any particular moments or activities that consistently make for great photographs and memories?

A: Ski, ropes, and especially bikes. The activity areas where kids have an opportunity to learn a new and valuable skill make for the best photos. Capturing those ‘aha’ moment faces are the greatest memories. A particular situation I go back to over and over again is when a bike’s staff lets go of a learner for the first time and they cruise on their own. Their smile is contagious.

Q: Do you have any funny or heartwarming stories related to capturing a special moment at camp?

A: A moment I love to capture is the giant swing at ropes. The fear that turns to joy when they first fall on the swing is an incredible emotion to photograph. Many campers begin scared, but then realize how fun it is the moment they drop.

Indeed, each click of the camera captures more than just a moment in time; it encapsulates the spirit of our camp community—the laughter, the friendships, the adventures, and the growth. The efforts of our communications team play a crucial role in preserving these memories for years to come.