Segued from STW to Shutaf right after Tisha'a Ba'av. Camp had started already on 8/11 but I didn't finish STW until the 18th so Miriam, my partner, was doing yoeman's work and it was work this season as we had 40 kids, 7 young adults with special needs (and some were quite involved in terms of needing facilitating) and lots of staff. Our staff felt overwhelmed at first at the multitude of issues - emotional and behavioral - as well as just adjusting in to the program, the heat and the day. We worked on the fly to solve problems and educate the staff as best as possible but it wasn't a slam dunk. Funny how having 34 kids for 6 days before Pesach was complicated but doable but once you have 40 kids and 3 weeks of camp, you're in that game of camp with all of it's warts and stuff and day to day support of staff even more than the kids in order to get the through the experience. We learned alot for the next camp which is fine.
There were many best things but one of the best things were our volunteers. There is nothing quite like the NRG of a 14/15 year old boy and we had a few teens, (one girl too) who came and worked hard and really enjoyed the challenge and look forward to returning to Shutaf for our next camp. That's pretty cool. We also had some other younger staffers this year as well as one retiree who joined us as a volunteer - all added to that feeling that we're building a community and not just a camp. Good karma.
Now, we move on to planning the fall. Once again, sweating the funds, trying to plan a fall fundraiser and trying to figure out how to make it happen for the next year. It's exhausting and very multi-dimensional work and I'd really just like a vacation.