New Faces of the Community Center – by Sue Jurjevic

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Our 2017 Summer Camp program is going strong here at the Community Center. As you drop your kids off for summer camps, you may have noticed several new faces here at your Community Center. We have the pleasure of having new recruits join us each year for our summer camps. We welcome these new camp counselors and are thrilled to add them to our summer camp family!

We must prepare our new staff members for their summer camp counselor experience. Our preparation begins before any of the campers even set foot in a camp. For a week prior to summer camp, we conduct a week of training for new and returning counselors. Our training week is vital to the success of our summer camp program because the staff puts so much effort into preparing for each camp. Our goal is to provide a great experience for each camper learning while having fun here at the Community Center. We need to ensure that the new and returning summer camp counselors help us meet our goal.

It is equally important that our summer camp staff have a great experience as well. The week of training and orientation allows us to come together as a team to discuss the City and the Department policies. We all want the same thing: a safe and fun summer camp experience for the summer campers-the kids!

Our summer camp staff training consists of videos, discussions, and interactive scenarios on a variety of topics including conscious discipline, customer service, pool safety, CPR, and First Aid. The training provides each staff member the opportunity to engage, ask questions, and gain a better understanding of how to keep the kids engaged and focused while learning and enjoying the camps!

The new camp counselors also participate in games and ice breaker activities to get to know one another. They really bond and become a great team! Next, we take our newest staff members through a dry run with the actual activities before they are in front of the kids! It is important that our new staff members know exactly what to expect, and how to handle different situations as they may occur.

I have been involved in this process for several years, and it is always a pleasure to watch our staff come together and meeting our simple goal of providing the best service and care for our patrons, the campers.

I must admit I also love seeing our returning staff mentor the new staff. I cannot thank all the Recreation services staff enough for everything you did to make the orientation week so great! I know our new and returning staff will make all of our unique summer camps great!  In addition, I see how well our summer camp team is bonding and will provide safe, fun, and memorable experiences for all the kids this summer! We even have some new staffers who will be able to stay on in the fall!

Sue Jurjevic is the Senior Recreation Specialist for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872, or via email at s.jurjevic@manassasparkva.gov.

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