Here's a group shot of our camp counselors during lifeguard training, which began June 5th and continues with general camp training right up until the last minute, when the campers arrive on June 15th. From near and far, we're overjoyed to have a stellar team this summer and can't wait to kick things off!
This week, Co-founder and Co-director Steve van der Vorst is in Krakow, Poland for the Camp America Camp Director's Fair, where he will get to hand-pick some of our counselors for this summer! "Our counselors have to be able to show initiative," says Steve. "That’s one reason we conduct many interviews...I can usually get an idea for how energetic someone is, and also, how enthusiastic. A lot of young people want to work at a camp, but most camps in America are large and hire counselors that focus on one specialty. We look for people with skills across the board and we're a small camp, so we want someone comfortable with our family-style dynamic."
In addition to hard skills such as a background in art our outdoor activities, Steve also looks for a sense of humor, experience traveling and being away from home, and a willingness to work hard. Safe travels, Steve, and come back with lots of top picks!
It's been nine long months since many of you have seen Camp Spring Creek and it's impossible to keep up with all of Steve's improvements to our facilities. Suffice it to say, you've got to come see it for yourself! But for our fans from afar, or for those wanting a sneak peek, here's a bit of an update. (Above: the new addition on the left side of our main building!)
We've added a new staff storage area for sporting equipment, a camp store, and a staff lounge. We also built a "kid's lounge" that the campers are going to decorate when they first arrive. "I hope that they're going to make decorating it a project, and really make it their own," says Steve (the hard work behind all this exciting news). "The kid's lounge has a ping pong table and a disco ball; even couches and speakers for a rainy day. The campers can get in there and just have a blast."
We've also added a third girls' cabin area and a volleyball court is in process. Oh, and one more thing: a brand new office for Steve. Three cheers!
More pics? Here:
(New lounge with a soon-to-be screened in porch!)
Our website says that we hire camp counselors who are 21 or older, "with a passion for teaching art, swimming, waterskiing, rock climbing, orienteering, or hiking. Counselors must be good role models for campers and enjoy the energy of children." But talking to Camp Spring Creek co-founder Steve van der Vorst, it's clear there's a lot more to the job than that. "They’ve got to be able to show initiative," says Steve. "That’s one reason we conduct many interviews by phone or Skype. I can usually get an idea for how energetic someone is, and also, how enthusiastic. A lot of young people want to work at a camp, but most camps in America are large and hire counselors that focus on one specialty. We look for people with skills across the board and we're a small camp, so we want someone comfortable with our family-style dynamic."
In addition to hard skills such as a background in art our outdoor activities, Steve also looks for a sense of humor, experience traveling and being away from home, and a willingness to work hard.
This year's Camp Spring Creek counselors were recently featured in our Spring Newsletter. Before camp starts, they will travel from all over the globe to join us in Bakersville at the camp for a week of training. By the time our first campers arrive, the counselors have received certifications in lifeguarding, first-aid, and CPR. They've received training about social and creative concerns specific to children with dyslexia. And they've been given "the talk" from Susie about Orton-Gillingham and the educational aspects of our camp.
Stay tuned for words of advice from some of our returning counselors later this month!
Three cheers! Our Spring 2013 Newsletter went out in the mail this week and we're happy to say that it's also available online. View the entire newsletter by clicking here. This season's issue includes a note from Susie, a book review of Smart but Scattered, camp staff bios, grant funding updates, pics of improvements to the facilities (thanks, Steve!), and a camp counselor photo collage that can't be beat!
This testimonial was originally published in the Camp Spring Creek newsletter. To view or download any newsletters for free, click here. My first year at Camp Spring Creek I was a shy, little eight-year-old. I was scared out of my wits, but that suddenly changed by the third day. I had so much fun and made so many friends and I knew most, if not all, the campers and the staff. I learned more than I could in a school year at the public school in my home town. That first year, my mother and father said that I showed a huge improvement in my reading and writing skills.
After the winter and the spring passed, another six hour drive to Camp Spring Creek was ahead of me. But this summer was different because I was not looking forward to working on my reading and writing skills all summer. But my parents pushed me to com to camp. I was expecting camp to be like it was the year before. But this year, it was different because there was an international staff and it was harder to communicate with them. After a few weeks, it was a bit easier. I learned just as much as the year before. They boys had a new cabin and a new activity--woodshop. Steve was the teacher and we had loads of fun sawing away.
Then I won with my parents and for a summer I got to go to Camp Seagull for a month. I then returned to Camp Spring Creek for my third summer with the same non-willing and poor attitude, but that was a HUGE mistake. Everything changed and in a good way. I had the most fun in my life because I had Miss Amy for my tutor, the food was great, and we had two of the craziest counselors ever.
I think now that I have matured a bit, I have found that I want to come back for a final year as a camper at Camp Spring Creek. I've gained more knowledge, especially from working with Steve and gaining more advanced skills in tutoring with Susie. At some point, I would love to come back as a Counselor-in-Training and then a Counselor.
This testimonial is written by Dana Oman, mother of Camp Spring Creek camper Caroline. My daughter Caroline is having a great school year back at St. Paul. She has not required any outside tutoring or accommodations in class! We are so excited and believe much of her success can be attributed to her time spent at Camp Spring Creek. She was prepared academically, but so much of her success is due to her confidence. Camp Spring Creek is not only excellent at helping kids that struggle with reading, but they build their confidence and teach them strategies to help them advocate for themselves. Caroline loves it there. In fact, she wants to go back again for a third summer!
Our family was also blessed last summer with getting to host three Camp Spring Creek counselors in our home when camp was over. I was blown away by their character and the love of children that these three young men had. Susie and Steve are excellent at choosing the individuals to work with these campers. They make camp so much fun and the small camp size really helps them all feel like a family.
I hope you will pass my recommendation on to anyone you know who has a child that struggles in reading. Camp Spring Creek can change their lives. I feel that strongly about it. It certainly has changed ours.
We are starting another week here at Camp Spring Creek. The days are getting warmer which means soon we will be spending some time up at camp organizing and taking inventory. When we do get up there I will take some pictures of the changes Steve is making so keep an eye out for updated camp shots. I am continuing to post pictures of past years on Facebook so go check them out. If you were at camp please leave a comment.
We are still searching for a camp cook this summer if you or anybody you know might be interested please email us at email@example.com or call at 828-766-5032 for more information.
This past month we have attended many camp fairs. It has been great to meet so many parents and students. The Spring Newsletter is being written. We have almost all of our counselors for this summer and you will be able to learn more about them in the newsletter. It is going to be a wonderful summer with lots of energetic people. If you're not on our email list, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive our newsletter.
Susie continues to work in the public schools in Mitchell County and sees growth in the classrooms. We will be heading back into the schools for post testing starting in April. It will be exciting to see how much each student has grown this year.
Steve has been busy up at camp changing a few things around for this summer. One of the new exciting things at camp is some new refrigerators that will help make preparing meals more efficient.
For everybody who was excited to hear about Mimi, camp's new dog, she is growing everyday and is full of energy. I know when camp comes she will be very excited to greet everyone.
Keep an eye on our website I have been adding some new things. There is now a place where we will be linking articles it’s under About Dyslexia. If you have read any articles that you think others might like to read please email them to me email@example.com
We are still looking for a cook so if you know of anybody who might be interested please let us know.
Susie spent last week in San Antonio at the LDA conference. This was the first time Camp Spring Creek has attended Learning Disabilities Association which Susie said she would attend again in the future. We are very excited about the number of campers we have for this summer so far. There are also new inquiries every day. We are hoping to have a full camp all summer.
Steve is working on selecting the counselors and finding a cook.
Let us know if you want more information about camp or if you know somebody else who might. firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-766-5032.
This article was originally published in the Mitchell County News Journal. Camp Spring Creek is an academic and recreational summer camp supporting dyslexic children ages 6-14. The camp facility is located in Bakersville and was founded by Steve and Susie van der Vorst.
Susie and Steve met at a camp for children with dyslexia in New York in the late 1980s. In 2002, Steve and Susie went to work for a similar camp in Colorado; it was there that they decided to start Camp Spring Creek.
"There are currently only two other camps in the entire country that can be compared to ours," said Susie. "What these camps and Camp Spring Creek have in common is that we are all residential camps that strictly adhere to the Orton-Gillingham philosophy of teaching in a one-on-one setting. We are one of only three residential camps accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators. We're very proud of that fact!"
Dyslexia can be a real challenge to overcome, yet some of the most successful people in history had dyslexia, including Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, and Walt Disney. Some modern day people who have dyslexia are Robin Williams, Tom Cruise, Henry Winkler, and Charles Schwab. This is proof that with enough understanding and support, people with dyslexia can lead lives of accomplishment.
"It is for exactly this reason that it's so crucial kids have access to programs like the one offered at Camp Spring Creek," said Susie.
Camp Spring Creek is active in training educators, parents, and community members who express an interest in becoming more effective in their efforts to help all children, but especially those with dyslexia. Visit www.campspringcreek.org or on Facebook for more information about this uinque camp and how it's changing the lives of children and families all over the world.