George - An Introductory Ballad
When Jack asked me to take the lead hosting the Stomping Ground blog I didn’t think “YESH” right away. My first few thoughts were things like “George, you haven’t written anything since Obama’s second term… possibly T1”, “out of context, no one is going to know what you are talking about, who even is the Man with the Milk?”, and “responsibility: yuck”. Next I checked my schedule. For about nine months out of the year I keep myself busy with a few part time jobs, a handful of what I’ll affectionately and generously call my “freelance gigs”, and by devotedly maintaining what I consider an incredibly valuable sense of play. Then I thought about how important camp is to me and how much joy it brings to my life; I started thinking about the offer as an opportunity to let that joy seep into the next few months while we get ready for camp, and even more to prepare myself for the somewhat daunting new position I’ll be in this summer. Eventually, I looked at the compensation offered for the project and figured I could take on the role and morally feel pretty okay about the amount of effort and quality of work I expect myself to deliver. And here we are.
In 2019 Stomping Ground will run for its fifth summer. I’m so lucky to have been there for every year, every week and every hour since that wacky, laboratory experiment in New Jersey in 2015. I’m not sure, but I believe the only other people who can make this claim are Directors Jack and Laura, and SG Camper Legend: Rocco. An elite group to be sure, pictured above. Over this time I’ve worn a few different hats at camp. I’ve been a cabin counselor. I’ve been the onsite EMT, a role that surprisingly transformed into Health Director when our nurse was suddenly called away. I’ve run the Waterfront, which was once unanimously declared “best area of camp”. Last summer I lead the Pioneer village as a Panda and got to witness and support staff as they developed their skills as counselors. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve led the Red Team to countless honorable victories. Over the last half-decade I’ve seen a huge amount of growth and progression in our program, and I’m beyond enthused and excited, as I am every year, to see what what the next summer will bring.
This year I’ll be working as Assistant [to the] Program Director under Kate, one of my best friends, former landlord, and mentor in creativity, compassion, and all things camp. I’ve seen Kate clearly and efficiently host dozens of programs, she’s seen me distribute and clean up thousands of tennis balls, but the thought of leading one of these all-camp games alone while she’s taking care of some other superhero duty she’s pulled away from camp for this summer still gives me the willies. So as previously mentioned, I’m seizing control of the Stomping Ground blog in the guise of preparing myself for what’s ahead.
I hope you’ll join me over the next few months while I introduce the camp-related schoolwork and workwork from our awesome staff, talk about what I and our fearless Director Team are really excited about for the upcoming summer, and giggle to myself as I recount stories about how Good it is to Be Together.