Its nice to be back home for a few hours, so I figured that everyone wanted to spend their Superbowl Sunday morning reading about my journeys across the Midwest. When you left me, I was in Athens, OH, after spending the day at Ohio University. I quickly started heading west, with my Tuesday stop being Hocking College.
Hocking College is a two year college in Nelsonville, OH with a great Ecotourism program. I was able to speak briefly to a class before spending a few hours in the Natural Resources building. I knew I wasn't in a typical college when I saw a Siberian husky walking around one of the common areas. The most entertaining part of my trip would soon follow. I was speaking with a student, telling him about working at camp when one of his friends walked up behind him, and I quickly did a double take and noticed that the friend was holding a squirrel. Yes, a squirrel. The squirrel was no longer living and I was a bit startled, as was the student talking to me. A few minutes later, I spotted a few other students carrying squirrels. I never got a real answer on what was going on, but I am going to assume that perhaps they were taking a taxidermy class.
I talked to lots of students at Hocking, and from there I headed up to Columbus, OH. Wednesday was the Ohio State University summer jobs fair. The fair was pretty big, over 100 summer employers, most of which weren't camps. About 90% of the students came dressed in business attire, so they likely weren't looking for camp jobs. I did talk to a few students, however, including one member of the Buckeye football team. He didn't hold it against me that I was a Badger fan.
The roughest drive of the trip was from Columbus all the way to Macomb, IL. It took me about 7.5 hours to get to the Home of Western Illinois University. Thursday was the WIU Summer Camp Job Fair, a fair that was exclusive to camps. The WIU fair has been great for us, and hopefully it will prove to be again this year. While there, 2014 staff members Zach Woodbury and Jeff Padesky stopped by. A few hours later I was on my way to the University of Missouri.
Mizzou was a quick stop for me. Since I was meeting Andy in St. Louis for the Summer Opportunities Fair, I figured I'd see if I could do some recruiting at the University of Missouri. My time in the union wasn't all that fruitful, but it was great to hang out with NSC alum Jordan Santo. From Mizzou, I headed to St. Louis, where Andy was going to meet me. He flew down from Chicago and on Friday night we had a great reunion pizza party with many of our St. Louis campers at Dewey's.
The last day of the road trip was the St. Louis Summer Opportunities Fair. This fair is a yearly event for North Star and about 160 other camps. It's always fun to catch up and see many of our friends from other camps. We also have the opportunity to speak with people who are looking for camps for the summer. We were visited by current and former campers and parents, all of whom do a great job selling camp to those who stop by. After the fair, Andy and I headed straight back home. The weather reports were ominous, and rain did greet us in central Illinois. We were fortunate to beat the snow back to Chicago, however, and after about 1,650 miles, road trip #1 was done.
So while its nice to be back home, and my dogs are happy to see me, weather permitting I'm off today for New Orleans. The 2015 American Camp Association conference is this week and I'll head down to NOLA this afternoon. Andy will head down on Monday. We'll report from the conference and do our best to not eat too many beignets.