What do a wedding and a summer camp have in common? At first thought, the answer is clearly “not very much.” But of course, you know this is a trick question … so read on!
When you attend a wedding, chances are people will be dressed to the nines, the ceremony will be serene, the music will be soft, and the venue will be tastefully decorated. Contrast that with summer camp, where shorts and t-shirts rule the day, speakers blast out high-energy music, activities abound, and theme-based decor – from space to safari to sea – is peppered all around the site.
So while you would be hard-pressed to find a commonality between two such divergent experiences, they do share one very important thing in common: they both require meticulous planning if they are to be exceptional.
For Fairmont Schools’ sensational summer team, planning for a new camp season is a long-term, highly strategic process. Unlike most other camps – which begin their preparations in winter – Fairmont begins the process almost immediately after the summer season ends. This level of intentionality is one of the many reasons why the program has been voted “Best Day Camp in Orange County” and earned the distinction of being accredited by the American Camp Association.
“Once we wrap up things for the summer, we give ourselves about a week to catch our breath before getting back together to debrief on the camp we just completed,” said Chris Keramidas, Managing Director of Enrollment Operations, who also oversees summer programming. “We go through an exhaustive process to look at things from both a macro level (e.g., What are the big things we feel we can improve upon next time?) to a micro level (e.g., How can we speed up lunch?). It’s a very useful exercise because it provides us with the beginnings of a roadmap for the planning which lies ahead.”
The benefits of summer camp are many, but three of the greatest opportunities it presents for children are building friendships, embracing teamwork, and growing in leadership. Interestingly, these same opportunities exist for the Camp Directors, which is why Mr. Keramidas kicks off the intensive planning period – which begins in October – with team-building time for his leaders. For this year’s activity, the team went to an escape room, where they pooled their collective problem-solving skills to break free from captivity. “The collaboration was amazing and it kicked in the moment the door was closed,” said Mr. Keramidas. “We managed to get out with only 46 seconds left. This team stayed committed up to the very end – there was no way they were going to give up!” As they exited the room, the team checked the leaderboard to see how their time matched up against others. And wouldn’t you know it … they recognized the names of the players with the highest score on record at the location – they were Fairmont students!
Following their team-building, and buoyed by the leaderboard reminder of just how amazing Fairmont students are, they got to work on their first intensive planning session – ultimately coming up with the theme for Summer 2023 (stay tuned!) and a whole host of exciting ideas to take the program to the next level.
The Camp Director team includes Fairmont veterans Karen Saturday, Brittany Ickes, Nupur Saxena, and our newest member, Chrissy Sherbanne, Director of Student Services at the San Juan Capistrano campus. “The experience that Karen, Brittany, and Nupur bring, coupled with the fresh perspective Chrissy offers, gives us the best of both worlds,” said Mr. Keramidas. “With this group of dynamic, imaginative, innovative, and caring people at the helm, Summer 2023 is shaping up to be our best camp yet!”