During Crane Lake’s eight day training process, each staff member attends regular activities with different people while also facing unique experiences meant to push everyone out of their comfort zones. A multitude of opportunities for returning and new staff members are offered so the acquired knowledge can be implemented throughout the summer. Attending mental health presentations, role-playing camper scenarios, simulating full days at camp, learning about safety and security procedures, participating in Jewish learning seminars, programming for units, and overviewing staff protocols, make for an informative – albeit intensive- skill formation process.
A reality of camp is the inevitable unpredictability of what events or problems will actually occur during the summer. Thus we must prepare for the best and worst for all potential situations. Whether the summer brings rain or shine, staff week creates strong teams with decision-making skills and a back-pocket toolbox to face any scenario that may arise.
For the past three years, Crane Lake has been creating ‘Staff Week Families’ that are compiled of general counselors, specialists, leadership team, maintenance and kitchen staff. The purpose of these randomized groups is to integrate all members of the camp community with one another and reflect on their daily learnings. First-year counselor Zach Watson, believes that “staff families are important because we get to talk about everything we did during the day, wind down, and improve ourselves.”
The discussions that occur within staff week training are incorporated into the community and help promote a pervasive culture of interdependence. Regardless of unit placement, specialty area, or leadership team position, staff week creates a bond between all Crane Lake Staff members that invites constructive criticism, physical help, and encouragement from and for every area. A camp “family” can come from any activity. Be it playing tennis with your bunk, small group projects with a faculty teacher, or casual bunk time, the love garnered from each instance stretches from the main lawn all the way down to the lake. Crane Lake staff members work within a well-functioning system, and every role creates a flourishing kehillah.