Staff Orientation Day 2 (OR 1 ~ by Blake Boles)

Here at Not Back to School Camp we like to think of ourselves as a progressive organization. We have a relatively flat hierarchy, are inclusive of all teens, and recruit staff from all walks of life.

Yet here at Staff Orientation, our lives our dominated by the most common feature of traditional organizations: the meeting.

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Meeting during staff orientation

Meetings meetings meetings. We love meetings. We have a meeting in the morning, followed by a meeting in the late morning. Then we have a meeting during lunch. After that there are some meetings, and then some more meetings. Then we meet. And then we eat and meet. And then we meet again.

Okay, it’s not that bad. All these meetings take place in the breathtakingly gorgeous outdoors of Camp Latgawa. Each day has been approximately 77 degrees, sunny, and marked by a pleasant breeze. It’s hard to shake a fist at this weather. And we do take breaks to stretch and play games. In the middle of the day, for example, we took an entire hour and a half to hike to the swimming hole and jump into icy cold depths.

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NBTSC staff at Camp Latgawa swimming hole

Unlike more bureaucratic organizations, each our meetings has a clear focus. How to become a better advisor. Assigning leadership roles for all-camp activities. Brushing up on psychology concepts relevant to camp. Organizing the logistics of bringing 70+ campers in Southern Oregon via plane, bus, and automobile tomorrow afternoon.

But what really makes these meetings palatable—and even enjoyable—are the staff. Many of us have known each other for many years, and some more than a decade. We’ve done these meetings so many times before that they end up feeling more like a reunion than an obligation.

Yes, NBTSC is a regular organization with meetings and paperwork and bills to pay. But beyond this superficial outer layer, we are a community and family—and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon!

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Staff at the swimming hole
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The author, Blake Boles, mid-selfie.