Hi, this is Kenzie Roads with Camp Loughridge and I am sitting here again with Michael Steers, our programs director for our summer camp. We’re just going to continue talking about everything– summer camp Tulsa out at Camp Loughridge. We’ve talked about just a few miles west of the Tulsa Hills shopping Center, Tulsa’s hidden gem out there. Mike, let’s pick up on just talking about your summer staff because that’s just such an important role. That’s the front line of the people who are working with the kids and building those relationships. Just tell us how you find the summer staff and a little bit about what you’re looking for? Wedding Venues Tulsa
Michael Steer: Well, that’s the trick or that’s the hard work especially this time of year– because we are looking for a lot more than just a babysitter. We are looking for a lot more than just someone who is a kid who’s looking for a summer job. I really want to get strong Christ followers. Kids that have a strong spiritual sense about them and that really see this opportunity is more than a job, but it’s a real mission. It’s a real opportunity for them to feel what it’s like to be in ministry full time. I’m looking for kids that have that sense of purpose, that sense of mission about them. One of the things that I say at Camp Loughridge, you can work at camp but you can stay at home because we are a day camp. We don’t have overnight facilities. There’s a lot of great Summer Camps Tulsa in the area but they are resident camps. You’re packing your footlocker and you’re moving to camp for the summer, but at Loughridge you can stay at home. I usually hunt [laughs] for kids, recruit kids, at area high schools. I really try to narrow my focus to leadership communities like student Council or key clubs or National Honor Society or leadership councils within the school to really try to get those kids who already have a sense of leadership about them. I know that a lot of kids need as a part of their high school diploma, they are going to need to get some service hours so I know that they’re on the hunt for something that they can participate into. There’s an old urban legend about a high school assembly that the four services of the branches of the military came and spoke to them. Of course the Army guy gets up and the Navy guy and the Air Force guy they all get up and they talk about how great the traditions are in their branch of the service and why these kids should get up and come talk to them at their table about enlisting in their particular branch. Then the Marine gets up and he basically just says, “None of you guys could cut, it’s just way too hard. There’s no way that you guys have what it takes to be a Marine.” And then he goes and sits down. They set them up at different tables around the gymnasium and of course, you guessed that the Marine was the one with the longest line because everyone– that challenged them to be more than they were. I guess that their phrases be all you can be but he was actually challenging to be even more. I think that’s what a job at Summer Camps Tulsa– that’s what a job at camp does. It really pulls that giant that’s asleep inside all of us, really pulls that giant out because camp is hot. Camp is tiring. There’s a lot of pressure and stress. When you have a group of about 10 eight or nine-year-old boys and they are high energy and they are running every direction and your job is to be with them, swim with them, do archery with them, do arts and crafts with them, sit with them around a table at lunch. Our day starts at 8:30 in the morning and goes until 5 o’clock at night and you are ready for a break by the time you get to the end of the day. I don’t try to sugarcoat it. Being in a camp could be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done in your life but it’s going to be one of the more rewarding things because when you bless, there’s just something very special about being involved in that way in the life of a kid, that’s different than anything else. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Absolutely, you have to not only lookout for their well-being for those eight hours a day, but you’re also trying to instill spiritual truths into them as well. I can only imagine that.
Michael: I’ve often said that being a counselor at a camp will almost force you into a realistic walk with Jesus because it’s easy if your chaplain or your youth pastor comes up and says, “You know what, I want you to do a devotion next week.” You’ve got time that you can prepare, you can Google stuff, you can look up in your concordance, you can find that verse or you can rip off a devotion that you’ve heard from someone else that really went well. But when you’re at camp and you have a little girl in your group and she falls down she skins her knee and she starts crying and she looks up to you, you can’t go look at your notes, you can’t Google that, you can’t call your youth pastor and say ‘”What do I do?” The only thing you have to give to that little girl, is what you’ve got inside. Do you have what it takes? Basically, that’s the message. Those are the kind of kids that we get at Camp Loughridge. We get those kids that want to be in that place, they’re saying “Give the ball to me. Let me be in that place. I want to do that.”
Kenzie: Absolutely. You’ve mentioned that you go to high school to look for summer staff. College kids coming home for the summer? Is that–
Michael: I’ll go to Oklahoma state, go to OU, Oklahoma Baptist, John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Southern Nazarene in Bethany, University of Tulsa or Roberts University. These are just some of the colleges that I’ll try to go to. It is a little bit of a challenge because I’m looking for kids. First of all, it really helps if they’re from Tulsa because like I said, we don’t have a place for them to sleep but if they’re coming home to Tulsa, those are the kids that we’re looking for. We have about 80% of our summer staff are college-age kids and about 20% are high school. We not only have counselors but we also have lifeguards. We have specialty instructors that teach archery, canoeing, arts and crafts, nature hikes, those kinds of things. We have some leadership staff that help organize and schedule and program and things like that. We will hire about between 60 and 70 kids for the summer.
Kenzie: If I’m a college student and I want to come work for you for a summer, do I sign up for the month of June, do I sign up for eight weeks in the summer? What’s that look like? Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: A lot of kids, they’re looking for a job for the summer. We certainly want to hire them for the summer but some kids say, “I’ve got a school trip that I have to take in July so I really just need to work the four weeks of June.” We can do that too. And then there’s some kids that say, “I’ve got a soccer camp that I have to go to the last week of June. I’ve I got a family reunion that I have to go to in July.” We can work with kids. In fact, our camp attendance starts off pretty big in June. We’re a lot of June is all hands on deck and then it tends to taper on July. It’s not unusual for us to have some kids that don’t work during those weeks that are lower attendance.
Kenzie: I’m asking this on behalf of all broke college students. Does the summer staff get paid?
Michael: Yes, the summer staff gets paid. A lot of the Summer Camps Tulsa do pay their staff. Some expect their staff to volunteer but at Camp Loughridge, we pay our staff. Usually we pay our staff by the hour and it stands to reason. The more certifications like lifeguards, they have to be certified, ropes course text, they have to be certified. These people usually are paid a little bit more than counselors. CIT’s aren’t paid. They’re the younger kids and they’re in a training position. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Right. Okay. The training for the counselors– there is training? Wedding Venues Tulsa
Michael: Yes. We do a week of training for the leaders and these are the older staff kids that have more responsibility. They will do a week of training for summer staff. In the training, we talk about everything from process– how do we greet cars in the morning? How do we run camper pick up in the afternoons? We go over the schedule, we go over the themes, we go over all of that plus every staff member gets certified in CPR and first aid, so that’s done as well. We have a big staff manual and we go through the summer staff manual about what’s appropriate, what’s not appropriate, dress code, lost camper policies, what do you do. All these kinds of things we do during training week.
Kenzie: Okay. And if I was looking for a position at Summer Camps Tulsa specifically at Camp Loughridge, can I go online to look at that or I get in contact with you?
Michael: There is a section on our website that you can click on for summer staff and there will be all the information that you need. Wedding Venues Tulsa
Kenzie: Okay, perfect. Well, thank you Mike for your time again. This is Kenzie and Michael Steers from Camp Loughridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Michael: Thank you.