By Joe Slade
Senior Assistant Director
Each year before camp starts, 100 staff members arrive nearly a week before campers. Some, our Leadership Staff team, have been in training since Sunday, covering topics such as supervision, communication, and mentoring. This week is a frenzy of activity as we work to prepare the camp, programs, cabins, and themes for the arrival of our campers.
However, the most important activity happening at camp during this time is our Staff Orientation process. During this intensive weeklong training, staff members are educated about a host of topics vital to ensuring a safe, healthy, happy summer for each one of our campers. Training topics include safety and security (with an emphasis on fire and weather safety), child development theory, the preparation of Jewish educational programs, camp policy, developing positive relationships with campers of different ages, and much more!
A highlight of Orientation is also our annual Parent Panel. Each year, several Indianapolis-area parents of campers come to camp to talk about how important camp is to their children and what an enormous responsibility our staff is undertaking this and every summer. We understand that the care of the children in our trust is vitally important, and our work with staff this week reflects this realization.
This is also a time when our various specialists undergo their formal training in running various programs: the Migdal (alpine tower), Canoeing, and Archery programs all have outside trainers coming to camp this week to ensure that all our specialists are running programs that conform to the best practices in their fields, both in terms of programming and safety. In addition, we make sure that key members of our staff are certified in CPR and First Aid (in addition to our live-on professional medical team comprised of Registered Nurses and physicians).
In short, this is a hectic week at Goldman Union Camp—but we wouldn’t have it any other way! We are so excited for the arrival of the rest of our camp community!