Welcome Back and a Happy New Year to all!!
Part 2 of Autism Spectrum Camp Staff : Click to read part 1
Most recently, we joined our colleagues at our annual CampGroup retreat. Approximately 80 of us spent three days in Western Massachusetts, learning and laughing together. There were over 25 educational sessions on topics such as staff interviewing & training, customer service, communications policies, programs for older campers and of course our number one priority: the physical and emotional safety of everyone in our camp communities. Ironically (as representatives of CampGroup’s least competitive camp!), Kevin and Eric organized the first-ever CampGroup Color War, a series of silly competitions that brought a lot of spirit and camaraderie to the retreat.
The longest and most in-depth session at the CampGroup retreat addressed the topic of LGBTQ campers and staff. We were very lucky to be joined by Jeff Perrotti, the founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Education’s Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Students. Jeff led us through a fantastic workshop about a very important subject. We are passionately dedicated to making sure that camps are welcoming communities to everyone. While there is always more to learn, we feel great about Akeela’s leadership in this area. As a camp for “quirky” kids, Akeela was founded on the principal of warmly embracing those who don’t always feel fully accepted by others; we’re proud to see how that welcoming spirit has extended to people from all backgrounds.
As camp professionals, we believe firmly that there is always room for improvement and growth. To that end, we feel very lucky to have a large network of some of the best professionals in the field with whom we continually learn. We love sharing our expertise and experiences with others and appreciate that they do the same for us. As we teach our campers to be open to new experiences and to learning from their peers, we recognize that need in ourselves as well.