TV Testing

There have been a few issues with giving out movies for birthdays, some counsellors have said that the iPod wasn’t recognised by the TV. I decided to gather all the televisions and test all the iPods. I found the 4th generation nano did not work on the component cable (all the rest are RCA), therefore I have marked the TV using the component cable so we ensure whoever uses it doesn’t have the 4th generation nano. One of the TVs I have rigged in the teen girl bunk along with an iPod cable, DVD player and Nintendo Wii.

The evening was a variety of divisional activities scattered across camp, for these evenings our department will usually be required to gather materials for certain divisions whilst others will organise themselves. The setup this evening was microphones in the rec hall, the PA system in the Timber Dome and a Speaker/Mic/3.5mm Jack in the hockey arena.

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Opening Ceremony

Yesterday all the campers arrived, it was so nice to see all the kids I had from last year and tell them I will be bunking with them again. The majority of the day I acted as a general counsellors meeting and greeting campers and helping everyone settle in. It wasn’t until the evening when Jay gave a welcoming speech that I had to switch back onto my job and provide an iPod and microphone.

Now that camp has officially started my job has stepped up, I already feel like I have more responsibility this year. I started the day by equipping gymnastics with a speaker and 3.5mm Jack to play music throughout the summer, it slightly concerns me that the sound system from gymnastics last year has gone missing.

I also reviewed the iPod situation for bunk movies. When it’s a campers birthday they get to choose a movie from our database to watch in their bunk, we then load the movie onto an iPod which they collect from their HC along with a TV to watch that evening. The iPods are connected via an iPod to RCA cable. I have prepared an instruction booklet to be kept with each TV, hopefully this way if there is an issue the counsellor can troubleshoot before having to call me to fix it late at night or risk not seeing the movie at all, therefore knocking back our birthday schedule. I have also ordered a new TV for the boys HC as one has disappeared since last year. As the collegiates managed to break an iPod from the previous night – I attempted to repair it but couldn’t get any sign of life from it – I have ordered another 5th generation nano so it will be compatible with the existing system in camp (e.g. new nano’s don’t support TV out function).

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iPod Movie Setup Guide RCA

Last year we ran three buses a week in the evenings for staff to take down to the bar on their nights off. We will be running the same system again this year as it worked successfully last time, I have spoken to Eric Stein (Site Operations) and we will definitely be running the same system. I will construct all the information and notify the counsellors so we can get the bus passes ready and get people out as soon as possible.

The day finished with the opening ceremony, once again running an iPod and microphone in the rec hall. We considered setting up a projector for the lyrics to the Alma Mater but couldn’t find a safe way to floor mount it, instead we handed out printed copies of the lyrics. I had spoken to Jonah (Music Instructor) previously about playing the Alma Mater, in the evening he performed using the keyboard I rigged into the desk (Jack – PreAmp – XLR).

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Day Before Campers Arrive

Today marks the first day campers have arrived, the Florida bus cam in at 4pm with some campers, the rest are expected tomorrow. Seeing the campers has really got me excited for the summer ahead, I’m going to pull all into my role and make it better than last year.

The majority of my day was spent in the rec hall for several talks by Jay. All required the standard setup of an iPod for backing music and one microphone for the speakers. Unfortunately there is still no sign of the green microphone (missing after sing night), I’ve told a range of people about this so I’m certain it’ll show up soon.

One of the talks required a projection of a scene from ‘Saving Private Ryan’. For this I loaded the film onto an iPod and connected it via an iPod – RCA cable. The yellow video went into the projector whilst the red/white audio went into the preamp at the front of stage that is rigged into the main desk (RCA – female to female RCA – RCA to 3.5mm – 3.5mm to 1/4 Jack).

I had the opportunity to meet the drama instructor today so I showed her around the facilities and answered all the questions she asked Like me she wants to improve the facilities in the rec hall (i.e. stage lights) so hopefully we can work together and approach Janie (Girls Head Counsellor) with suggested purchases. As she was interested in the spotlight I decided to investigate why it wasn’t working. I had to re-wire the plug as the connections were loose, I am now awaiting on a new 300W bulb and hopefully it will work.

Finally myself, Jordan (Program Director) and Alasdair (Program Assistant) have all moved into the office full time and can start working together to pull off a range of tasks over the summer. I have been running the department all week by myself so I am grateful to have the team together. I’m expecting a bigger role this year due to my knowledge gained from last year.

Sing Night

Unfortunately the apache relay was cancelled again due to wet weather. Yesterday most of the days activities were rained off meaning I got to have a quieter day than expected, I spent the majority of it compiling the ultimate sing along playlist to equip myself with music for the entire summer. Despite running around and getting all the equipment ready today I ended up shifting my focus on testing the new microphone equipment for the outdoor PA system.

After testing the new receiver I discovered Robbie had purchased the wrong model meaning the microphone was not compatible. After speaking to Shure on the phone I have now packaged up the old equipment to be shipped for repair, this should get back to camp within the week. The new receiver I have packaged ready for return, however we may instead purchase another microphone to work alongside the new receiver, I will discuss this with Robbie.

The evening activity ‘Sing Night’ featured lower, middle and upper camp competing with one another in the rec hall in dance, song and design. All teams brought me devices with music loaded for their acts, I simply followed their instructions for all the audio cues. For upper camp I hooked disco lights on the upper balcony to match their routine.

After the activity I ended up setting up a speaker in the canteen (social spot to relax in the evenings). The speaker resulting in a dance circle being created with all the counsellors really enjoying themselves. Later in the night I was able to plug in the camp iPod and play all the dance style tunes (i.e. Macarena, Cha Cha Slide) which received an amazing response. All the counsellors, maintenance and head staff joined in and had a great evening. A very simple single speaker setup with an amazing response for a fun filled evening.

Spontaneous Creativity/Playlists

Today was another relaxed day, I spent the majority of it socialising with other staff members. There were a few talks in the rec hall which required a standard setup of music and one wireless microphone.

The evening activity was known as ‘Spontaneous Creativity’, for this Robbie had provided me with a playlist that related to each specific activity, it was simply the case of following the cue sheet and responding to Robbie’s announcements. I was also highlighted to everyone by Robbie so people are now aware of my role in camp; it’s nice to receive credit early on in my employment.

Following comments from Jay (Camp Director), myself and Robbie have agreed to review the camp playlist and include more ‘sing along’ music. Along with modern songs Jay wants music to get people up, I tested YMCA and Uptown Girl tonight, I’ll bring up more songs ready for our final playlist Wednesday.

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Being highlighted as the technician to the rest of camp has shown immediate recognition from my peers. I’ve been chatting away to various new faces and helped out someone with playing their music through the speaker tonight in the canteen.

I’m anticipating tomorrow which will be the apache relay. I’ll be meeting with Robbie after breakfast to start preparations.

Moving Into The Department

A lot of the staff orientation today was repetitive and not applicable to my job role so I took the opportunity to move into my office and start pulling things together. The morning mostly consisted of tidying the office and preparing for the new year, I kept a copy of last years documents for reference (i.e. games). I also met the new Program Director, Jordan Haber, he seems really well suited to the job having immediately begun organising the summer ahead, I’m certain this year will run much smoother than the previous.

My first project was testing the new projector I ordered prior to starting my job, it all worked as expected and I can definitely see an improvement in using it this year. There was a minor design fault where the plastic body blocked the VGA port, I ended up sawing off a section to reveal the entire port.

Other checks I began today included adding cables to the portable audio system (XLR and 3.5mm), charging iPods, checking movies played on the girls bunk televisions (need a 12V power cable for one) and that all the speakers were working in the dining hall.

Throughout the summer I will also be responsible for birthdays, this generally consists of a cake at dinner, an ice cream party during snack and a movie in the bunk for night time. As it was a counsellor birthday I located their table and had one of their friends bring out the cake whilst I announced their birthday and played the traditional Timber Lake birthday song (The Beatles – Happy Birthday).

I finally wrapped up the day with a simple microphone and music setup in the rec hall for dodgeball. Overall it’s been a productive day and I’ve made good progress in getting my department together. As Jordan is away for the week and Alistair (Program Assistant) is doing orientation I will be taking the lead for the Program Department.

Arrival At Timber Lake

Today I finally arrived at camp after my long awaited journey, it wasn’t until I got back to Timber Lake that I realised how much I missed it. Thankfully I was greeted by so many familiar faces and had plenty of catching up to do.

It was more so the case of settling in, over this next week I’ll slowly get everything together ready for when all the campers arrive. Along with catching up with past friends and colleges I helped out new arrivals, really building upon my social skills.

My first day couldn’t have been without some technical work as I had to rig the microphones back into the sound desk in the rec hall. For the evening activity ‘icebreakers’ I provided a microphone for Jay (camp director) and Robbie (mc/freshmen head counsellor) and played a preloaded Timber Lake playlist of 2014 summer music via an iPhone.

Overall a successful and easy going first day. It’s great to see so many familiar and new faces, I’m anticipating the summer ahead!

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About Timber Lake Camp

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This will be my second year returning to Timber Lake Camp, having worked as the ‘Program Assistant/Media Specialist’ in 2013 I was invited back again for the summer of 2014 due to my success at the camp. Timber Lake Camp is a 500 acre sit located in the Catskill Mountains in New York State, only a few hours drive from New York City. The site consists of two spring-fed lakes, three hockey rinks, three basketball courts, a gymnastics hall, recreation hall, two baseball fields, a baseball park, olympic heated swimming pool, fitness centre, outdoor adventure area, art shack, amongst boasting a huge range of additional facilities.

Timber Lake is part of a family of camps catering for children ages 7 – 16. It is seen as the parent camp for the entire TLC family; in addition the family includes: Tyler Hill, Timber Lake West, North Shore, Hampton Country, North Shore School. Timber Lake and Tyler Hill are both 8 week resident camps, Timber Lake West is a 4 week resident camp. The day camps are situated away from the Catskill Mountains, with North Shore Day Camp and North Shore Day School both situated in the heart of Long Island’s Gold Coast, whilst Hampton Country Day Camp is tucked away in the heart of the East Hampton.

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The state of the art facilities at Timber Lake Camp are just one of many reasons why it is one of the most expensive summer camps to attend. Campers will be spending upwards of $12,000 for 7 weeks of sports and activities. The camp fosters values of sharing, integrity, responsibility, and respect in a friendly, fun and safe environment. One way Timber Lake achieves this is through a reward scheme for campers known as ‘STARFISH’ (Sportsmanship, Tolerance, Appreciation, Respect, Friendship, Integrity, Sensitivity, Helpfulness). This scheme promotes positive values to create a warming atmosphere that sees a 95% returner rate. Timber Lake promotes the following mission:

To teach children the skills of making and keeping friends, while building their self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience.

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Jay and Mindy Jacobs are the directors for the camp, the couple are also owners of the entire TLC family. They make the camp very much a family affair, clearly demonstrating the background behind the values of the camp. Jay Jacobs was a camper from 1967, since then he has worked his way up from counsellor to head counsellor before becoming the owner/director in 1980. Renowned in the camping industry he was appointed Governor on the NY State Health and Safety Council. He has also served as President of the NY Section of the America Association, President of the NY State Camp Directors’ Association, and Chairman of Summer Camp Opportunities Provide an Edge. Mindy was also a camper and became director of the Girl’s camp in 1982.

A typical day at camp consists of the following:

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My role at camp sees me work as part of a small team known as the ‘Programs Department’. We are responsible for all extra circular activities in camp along with organising all special events and tournaments. Effectively if it isn’t a usual period on the time table then it comes down to us. My input in particular is running all of the media on site, ranging from speaker setups to entire productions. Last year I spent a lot of time running speaker setups for microphone and music play out, with some more complicated setups a few times each week. Sometimes leaders of each age group will ask for certain setups for their activities, other times it is purely the decision we have made as a department (i.e. Carnival Day).

I absolutely love the ever changing and active nature of my job, it is never a dull day. As I am the only one to thoroughly understand the technical equipment it means a lot of the responsibility for running these events falls on my shoulders. Judging by last year the two other members figured out logistics and organisation whilst I focused on bringing in the relevant technology, this year I anticipate having more involvement in the organisation as I can boast experience.

This summer should line up to be even better than the last. Now I have experience of working at the camp I intend to push the boundaries of my department further than they ever have. I really want to see the media improved on the camp as it is often forgotten, I want to show how amazing the events can be and prove why the department needs more investment to continue to make each and every event better than the last. This will be a fantastic summer!