Staff are hard at work preparing the site for campers’ arrival to Merrowvista in less than two weeks.
From installing docks in Dan Hole Pond to setting up new little libraries around camp, you don’t have to walk far on the grounds to see exciting changes made by the incredible facilities team.
Campers will notice significant updates, such as the addition of four tiny libraries installed all around the campsite. Merrowvista has also installed two new gender-neutral bathrooms and two gender-neutral shower spaces. This Super BIFF (Bathroom in the Friendly Forest) is one step in the AYF’s ongoing efforts to create safe, gender-inclusive communities where everyone feels welcome to explore their identities as individuals.
The last substantial update is the overhaul of the flagpole area near the Farmhouse. During camp sessions, the area is used for viewing the morning flag-raising, when a Village (cabin) chooses a common theme for the day, such as gratitude or service to community. After introducing the theme, each camper shares their thoughts with the community as a whole.
While facilities put the final touches on the buildings and grounds, staff training for all seasonal staff members began Thursday, June 16.
“I’m excited to train the staff to create a wonderful and intentional community,” said Program Coordinator Jamie O’Hagin.
The Central Staff team of year-round and seasonal leaders is working hard to refine the two week-long experiential training that helps grow people from staff to youth development professionals.
Director of Programs Matt Loper said a Merrowvista youth development professional has acquired the necessary skills to align all aspects of summer programming with the American Youth Foundation’s mission.
“Creating an environment that promotes an inclusive community for campers to discover and grow their best selves doesn’t happen quickly. It takes a thorough training process for all staff members,” Loper said.
During the next two weeks, staff will grow and bond as a cohesive community. “We want to focus the summer on joy and play and make sure we create an environment here at camp that kids need,” said O’Hagin.
Although Merrowvista is actively buzzing with the staff training for the summer, one thing is still missing: the singing and laughter of campers. See you soon, Founder Friends!