What does your shirt say about you?
By Ruby Compton
If you have had a camper at GRP in the last three years, you may have noticed that on Closing Day of each session, our staff were wearing t-shirts that had a single large word on the back. Many summer camp staff in the camping industry dream about the day that they finally get that camp t-shirt that has the word STAFF written across the back. It is something to be worn with pride. It is a shirt to be earned. It is token of the time and energy invested into camp and of the incredible work that is done every day.
I have been fortunate enough to be the beholder of a STAFF shirt. And there is something magical about donning a garment that so definitely expresses who you are. However, Green River Preserve is not like other summer camps so when I came on as Program Director in 2013, I wanted something more, because our staff is more than your run-of-the-mill summer camp staff.
Fast forward to this summer where black shirts with gold letters on the sleeve claimed #grpismagic. On the back of 2015’s shirt was the word CREW. In the most elaborate theme yet, the 2015 staff were welcomed to camp with a musical number performed by the GRP administrative team to Pippin’s Magic To Do. A theatre theme was an obvious choice because, well, no matter what, the show must go on. The first day of orientation, the staff saw the performance. They were welcomed, moved into cabins, and saw the show as we expected it to be created for the parents on arrival days. Overnight, the Lodge was transformed to backstage with a prop table, costume rack, old set pieces, and a collection of Tonys (which were mostly framed photos of famous Tonys. You know Tony Blair, Toni Morrison, Tony the Tiger). For the rest of training, staff saw the comparison of the front of the house and what the performance looks like compared with the back of the house and all that is required to create the magic of summer camp. If they learned nothing else, the staff understood that All the world is a stage and all the men and women, merely players. And what if the world were a little more like theatre?
2016’s t-shirt is a big secret and we aren’t telling until the staff arrive at camp. What do you think 2016’s theme will be? What do you hope the word will be on the back of the shirt?