North Star Camp for Boys

Monday, January 26, 2015

Great NSC Road Trip Stop #1 - Athens, OH

I always look forward to the end of January and then February because it means travel for staff recruitment as well as the American Camp Association National Conference. You can check out the different stops that Andy and I will make over the next several weeks. On this current road trip Andy will join me in St. Louis on Friday, but I am flying solo to our college staffing fairs. Stop #1 was Athens, Ohio and Ohio University.

This is my first visit to Athens and Ohio U. Many of my campus visits are staff fairs or info tables, but the folks in the Outdoor Recreation and Education Department gave me a special opportunity. One of the instructors in the department invited me to speak to a few of her classes as well as a few other classes in the department. I was excited about gaining the additional exposure and the opportunity to sell a captive audience on the values of working at camp. When I was sent the schedule of classes, I was told that not only could I make an announcement, but for two of the classes, I was being asked to speak for the entire class period.

I pondered the idea of wearing a tweed sport coat and doing my best professor impression. That aside, It was really neat to be able to speak first to a senior seminar and then to a primarily  freshman/sophomore intro course, telling them about the summer camp industry. Only one person during my four presentations fell asleep, so I felt that it was a success.

Over the course of the remainder of the day I had an info table set up in the Baker Union. Campus visits are always a bit of a roll of the dice and sometimes several people stop by, other times you sit there and figure out creative ways to pass the time, because no one is biting. Thankfully today was one of those days where we have some serious candidates as well as others who wanted to learn more about jobs at camp. 

One of the things that Andy and I truly believe is that while some folks are going to do a great job at a camp, it may not be at North Star. It may be that the job seeker wants something closer to their home. We also talk to lots of female students who want to be cabin counselors. We are happy to do all that we can to help them find their fit. Selling the value of working at a camp was a great honor, and hopefully we'll have a few OU Bobcats working at North Star this summer. 

My time in Ohio continues through Wednesday before heading to Western Illinois and then Mizzou at the end of the week. Keep an eye out for more reports from the road!

Monday, January 19, 2015

2015 January/February Travel Schedule

January/February 2015 Travel Schedule
1/26: Ohio University - Athens, OH
Info Table and Classroom Visits
12pm - 6pm  ■  Baker University Center

1/27: Hocking College - Nelsonville, OH
Info Table
11am - 2pm  ■  Natural Resources Building, 1st Floor Lobby

1/28: Ohio State University - Columbus, OH
Summer Job and Internship Fair
10:30am-3:30pm  ■  The Ohio Union, Archie Griffin Grand Ballroom

1/29: Western Illinois University - Macomb, IL
Summer Camp Job Fair
10am - 4pm  ■  University Union, Grand Ballroom

1/30: University of Missouri - Columbia, MO
Info Table
10am - 2pm  ■ MU Student Center (facing Kate & Emma’s in the food court)

1/31: Summer Opportunities (camper) Fair - St. Louis, MO
10am - 3pm  ■  Whitfield School

2/1 - 2/6: American Camp Association National Conference - New Orleans, LA

2/9: Marquette University - Milwaukee, WI
ACA Mini Fair
10am - 2pm  ■  Alumni Memorial Union

2/10: Ball State University - Muncie, IN
Campus Visit
2pm - 6pm  ■  Student Center, near Tally Restaurant

2/11: Indiana University - Bloomington, IN
IU Summer Camp Jobs Fair
11:30pm - 3pm  ■  Indiana Memorial Union, Alumni Hall

2/12: Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
Camp Recruitment Day
9am - 3pm  ■  Stewart Center, Rm 214 B (T-06)

2/16: University of Wisconsin Madison
Information Booth
11am - 3pm  ■  Education Building, Morgridge Commons

2/17: University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
Summer Camp Job Fair
10am - 3pm  ■  Dreyfus University Center, Laird Room

2/18: University of Wisconsin La Crosse
Summer and Part Time Jobs Fair
10am - 3pm  ■  Cartwright Center, Valhalla

2/19: Winona State University - Winona, MN
Camp, Internship and Volunteer Fair
11am - 3pm  ■  Kryzsko Commons Student Union, East Hall

2/23: University of Wisconsin Parkside - Kenosha, WI
ACA Mini Fair
10am - 2pm  ■  Main Place: Indoor common area in front of the library, within Wyllie Hall

2/24: University of Wisconsin Whitewater 
ACA Mini Fair
10am - 2pm  ■  The University Center

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Siren: Kicking off New Staff Hiring Season

Today marks the unofficial kick-off of our new staff hiring season. We’ve actually been hiring new staff for a few weeks now. This is on top of a great returning staff that we are putting the finishing touches on as well as a great group of Counselors in Training. While we have already hired new staff members, tonight is the yearly kick-off event for us. From 6-8:30pm, we’ll have a table set-up at the Summer Opportunities Fair at the University of Chicago (In the Quadrangle Club).

Truth be told, we haven’t hired all that many staff from UofC over the years, but we go every year for a few reasons. We enjoy talking to prospective staff, the fair is free of charge, and Andy and I usually visit Medici, a restaurant best known as President Obama’s local pizza place in Hyde Park. Most importantly, the Summer Opportunities Fair is our version of spring training. We get a chance to polish up our staff fair skills before hitting the road later this month.

Along with our returning staff, some of whom are back for year #2, others back for #20, we put a lot of energy into recruiting the new staff that we hire. We believe that having a great crew of new staff is vital to North Star’s success. Having a balance of returners and new staff means that we’re able to keep a stronghold on great traditions and North Star values while injecting each summer with fresh ideas and energy. Things like Glen’s Game and Espionage are a few of many NSC favorites and that were brought to camp by people who didn’t grow up at North Star (Glen Miller & Julie Schmitt Gersch). We truly believe that new staff are vital to a healthy camp culture and a healthy camp culture will lead to new staff who love and respect camp as much as our returners.

In the coming months, we’ll visit over a dozen college campuses throughout the Midwest. We’re putting the finishing touches on a schedule that will take us to old favorites like Western Illinois University, Winona State and UW-La Crosse. We’re also excited about some prospective new stops like  The Ohio State University, Ohio U, and The University of Missouri. We have seen the benefits of meeting face to face with as many new staff as possible. Beyond the interviews, we call references, conduct criminal background checks and do a significant amount of due diligence on each new staff member that we hire. 

Putting a staff together is like assembling a puzzle and we eagerly approach this process. It’s also a lot of fun to meet and interview the men and women who are going to make a big difference at camp this summer. We’ll introduce you to all of our returning and new staff in the coming weeks and as we move towards the summer of 2015. Keep an eye on The Siren for new about where we’re headed and updates from the road.