Hey there! Jaymez Clark here! The countdown to summer is well and truly in swing, and I thought that I would share with you a little insider info on what’s been going on behind the scenes in preparation for what’s going to be the best summer ever! So sit back relax, and here’s a pre summer 2016 insider… Assistant Program Director style!

Once a year summer camps from all over, head to Atlantic City for the American Camping Association: Tri State conference. From talks and workshops by leading summer camping professionals, to a vendor hall filled with many summer camp goodies this place has it all! No joke, you could find at least five different types of NOT peanut butter, including our own camp favourite Sun-nut butter! This year camp invited me to attend Tri State, so that we can get preparations for summer 2016 into full swing! I arrived by train into Atlantic City a day early to the conference, but just in time to attend a workshop by Jim Cain, who teaches lots of exciting games that can be used for multiple purposes all around camp. Having heard about some of the games he has created, from the Physician of Fun himself; Michael Wax, it was a truly awesome experience to actually meet him. One of my personal favourites was a game where we used multiple strings attached to a cube of hooks, to try and remove an armed mouse trap off of someone’s chest…yeah told you it was exciting. In addition to that I became WAH! Champion, which was a proud moment for me. (if you’ve never played WAH! Before, challenge me…I dare you)

Cube String game

I checked into the hotel shortly after the workshop finished and headed out for a meal with some of the guys and gals who work at other summer camps, which was really awesome. It was a lot of fun to be able to share stories about how cool our very own Beber Camp is, as well as hear stories from others about some sweet things that they get up to over this summer. It was clear that I would spend the next few days surrounded by people that  wanted to talk about any and everything to do with summer camp! Score! After the meal I decided to have a nap, and was woken by a call on my phone. “Room 1524” said the voice. Instantly I knew who it was, and raced up to the predetermined location. I was greeted by my partner in crime, none other than Kym Bird herself! Then came a knock at the door. ‘Knock, Knock’. I thought that it was rather strange to see Ron Kaplan as it wasn’t even laundry day! But it was very awesome to be greeted by Kym, Ron and Cheryl, as it is always awesome to be surrounded by your summer family. One by one our summer camp family was reuniting for a weekend of everything summer camp. We were joined later by Joel and Michael, and later on met up with Stefan. The band was back together again!

Life is Good conference talk

The first talk we attended that next day was from John Jacobs, one of the founders of the T-Shirt company Life Is Good. John spoke a great deal about positivity and carrying positive messages throughout life. One of the main things I was to take away from this talk was your use of words can affect how you look at a certain situation. If you are faced with a challenge that you aren’t too excited about completing, don’t see it as you HAVE to do something, see it as you GET to do something. If you are bummed that you HAVE to do cabin cleanup, look at it as you and your cabin GET to tidy up the cabin and make your living space a more pleasant space to be. I guess the summary of the talk fits very well to the title of the company, smile, because Life is Good! Also he threw frisbees out at the start of the talk which was a pretty big deal!

A big chunk of time was devoted to hearing and learning about others experiences and enriching my own summer camp knowledge. The Beber group came together to talk about all the awesome things we have planned for this summer. We got to share a few ideas that we had heard in some of the talks and let’s be real for a second…You guys should all be excited…Summer is Coming! And it is going to be awesome!!!

The vendor hall offered some very awesome, and some very interesting products for summer camps. Having told all the guys trying to sell me bunk beds that I wasn’t in the market for any new sleeping arrangements, I managed to meet a lot of the people that provide us with their amazing products that help our summer run. Sun Nut Butter, walkie talkies, Aqua Parks. This place really did have it all. I got to see all the little things that help our camp to do the things it does, as well as see some awesome stuff that we don’t have. A personal highlight was finding the giant inflatable zorbs. Each person gets into one of these and runs as hard as they can at each other, but because of the padding no one gets hurt! It was brilliant! So naturally I was challenged by Joel to a zorb off. I won’t reveal the results, but will tell you that it was a lot of fun! (Ask Michael for a picture!)

Giant Inflatable Zorbs

In addition to seeing many of the products that make summer camps tick, I got to meet many of the people that help summer camp operate for all of us overseas staff. The company that help us internationals to get to Mukwonago, CCUSA, held a small gathering to talk about the company. I got to meet many of the people that help to run the company that gets us to experience the awesome things we do year in year out. I was also privileged enough to meet some of the government officials that handle visa’s and immigration for the entire of the United States. It was a really rewarding experience to be able to tell them exactly what Beber Camp means to me and what a great opportunity it is for us to come over and hang out in Mukwonago, Wisconsin for our summers! Some of the other people I would get to meet included the team from B’nai B’rith Pearlman Camp. They are such an awesome bunch of guys and shared some truly inspirational insights to their summer that gave me a few ideas of my own. I also got to talk to Pearlman’s very own program director, Louis Stromberg, about a day in the camp calendar where four teams compete against each other in a variety of different activities…I can’t remember what it’s called, but it sounded fun.Unfortunately everything must come to a close, and as is the camp tradition, we sung some camp songs in a circle to symbolise the end of a truly awesome and enriching experience in Atlantic City.

Friends, friends, friends, WE ARE FRIENDS, we will always be.

Friends at Wingcraft

I want to say a big thank you to Joel and Michael for inviting me along for this epic experience, and a thank you to Kym, Ron, Cheryl and Stefan for making the time spent in Atlantic City what it was. To see what makes summer camp operate behind the scenes was a really awesome experience for me.

Summer is Coming…

Jaymez

Wait one second, I almost forgot that I saw one of these on the way to Atlantic City…

tacobell-kfc-pizzahut

YES THAT IS A COMBINATION, PIZZA HUT, KFC, TACOBELL.