Let the Camps Begin!!!

by Jenni Kraft

Woo! It has been a crazy few weeks! My first summer conference arrived about 3 weeks ago… and since them I have had 8 other camps visit my campus! I have found that no matter how much communication you have had with a camp, they are always needing something more once they get there. This can be a bit stressful, but I truly love being able to say, “Yes! I would be happy to work that out for you!” They get a sense of relief and I get to be helpful. Sometimes it’s really easy things like, “can we borrow a tug of war rope?” and sometimes it’s really complicated like, “can you design a light show for our introduction tomorrow?” Of course in either case, I’ll get right on the task and find all my resources before I say no. 

On the other hand, I would not like for them to walk all over me or my staff. So it’s always a balancing act of figuring out what the group really needs and what they are just pushing for. Overall, each group brings their different need and excitement to campus and I’m happy to welcome them! 

I must say that one in particular has been quite fun to work with! That would be the Duke TIP program. It’s a 3 week camp for 7th and 8th graders that scored rather high on the SAT (I know, right! What middle school kids are taking the SATs!). It’s a great academic program that these gifted students are really enjoying. I have been able to attend some of their classes and they are all really quite stimulating: debates, building engineering, dissecting, Harry Potter & writing, and many others!

I also think that it is really interesting how the staff and faculty are chosen from all over the country (some specifically from Texas) and they all gather her at Austin College to make this exciting experience happen! I truly admired it when I realized it was something similar to my experience working on Semester at Sea. The full staff and academic team were all recruited separately then had a few days to meet and learn how things worked. Then, BAM the program began! Once I saw that I was truly inspired J If you’ve ever started a new job you can kind of get this feeling… except no one knows each other and you are all learning your roles together. Which means a lot of problem solving together! It’s pretty neat.

Speaking of Semester at Sea: I have to give a shout out! It has been 2 years since I left for my amazing voyage at sea and I have not let that fade away! I will always remember all the friendships, mentorships, memories and more that I gained! I know I will do it again and I cannot wait! If you ever have the opportunity to do it (maybe after graduation or between job transitions) I highly recommend it! There is no other experience like it and you will learn lots! Super shout out to Sarah Frese who I met on Semester at Sea!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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