Zoo Camp Planning Leads to Successful Summer

By Amanda Casteneda, Education Manager

Camp just started on Monday, and it was a rewarding first day after months of planning! Putting on programs for up to 700 kids, 70 counselors and 150 camping families takes a lot of planning and organization, but summer camp is also the best part of my job.

Each year, we hire the whole camp staff all over again, but many return from year to year. I start advertising and interviewing for teachers and assistants early in the year, and I am usually filling spots all the way until camp starts. This year we have 14 staff members for camp, including me. It is such a great group to work with, and 12 are returning from last year because we have so much fun! There are 10 teachers, a teen coordinator who oversees the counselors , an overnight coordinator and assistant for the Family Overnight Safaris , and a camp assistant.

Coordinating Zoo Camp is all about schedules, schedules and more schedules! Almost immediately after camp ends, I begin planning the schedule for next year. I have a file of the camp titles and descriptions I like and I also scour the internet and my own brain to try to come up with new ideas. I make some changes in the class schedule based on the experiences of the summer before. This year we decided to separate the 7th and 8th grade summer classes into a new program called Zoo Quest! These classes are the next level after Zoo Camp. They delve into real world Zoo and Science careers, so it was time that they became a world of their own. Look for changes to this program in the years to come!

The Teen Coordinator, Robin, and I also have to coordinate the summer schedules of 69 busy teenagers to fill all of the counselor spaces every week. Robin planned and ran an awesome teen training this year (look for her blog entry to come).

There are a lot of schedules to coordinate and then a bunch of supplies to buy. Check back soon for part II and our creative shopping adventures.

Your camp coordinators hard at work!

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