From The Director’s Desk – February 2019
Every few years, I return to one of my favorite stories of all time: Harry Potter. Each re-read brings with it further depth and understanding of author J.K. Rowling’s characters, plot and meta-commentary, on important themes about choice, life, and destiny. One of the signature components of the story is the sorting ceremony at Hogwarts – the magical school. During the ceremony, students are sorted into one of four houses, each known for unique characteristics: Gryffindor: Courage and Bravery; Hufflepuff: Hard Work and Loyalty; Ravenclaw: Intelligence and Creativity; and Slytherin: Leadership and Resourcefulness. I’m sure Rowling would agree, however, that so many of Hogwarts’ students embody many more traits than those in the house to which they were selected.
I returned last week from England for my annual staff recruiting trip. While I was there, I was thinking about Rowling’s houses, as we continued the immense, but amazing task of hiring our summer staff. Throughout the year, as we interview dozens of candidates, we meet and learn about truly incredible individuals poised to make a positive impact on our camp community. In all, we will have hired close to 200 staff members for summer 2019. All are thrilled to meet your children and spend an amazing summer with them. For some, they bring a passion and dedication specific to Capital Camps – either they grew up as campers or joined us as staff, and already have experienced the magic of our family. For others, while they have yet to experience a summer at Capital Camps, they bring talent and excitement to lead that we seek in every staff member.
When I speak with our team about hiring, I encourage them to interview for a variety of traits: of course, we begin with kindness, patience, and an eagerness to work with children. Then, we look for the specific skills that will enable the staff members to do their job. Our sports instructors must have coached before, our visual arts team must be well versed in their medium, and our lifeguards must be one with the water.
But there is an additional aspect of our hiring that is essential. When we build each summer team, we look for balance. We attempt to blend the different houses – some from Gryffindor, some from Hufflepuff, and so on. It is in this balance that we can meet the needs of the diversity of children who ride the buses through our gates. It is essential to our success that we understand this diversity, seeking to capture and celebrate the unique gifts that each individual brings to our camp and to our community.
February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, a month dedicated to highlighting individuals, whose unique gifts are often overlooked, even in the typically warm and nurturing Jewish community. Disability awareness and inclusion has been and continues to be a top priority at Capital Camps. Our long-standing Atzmaim (inclusion) program is just one part of our fierce pursuits of this ideal. In recent years, our definition of inclusion has expanded. To read more about our values on this subject, click here.
As we continue our practice of hiring staff who will join us in this pursuit, I encourage you and your family to discover those gifts for yourselves in your home, at your schools, and in our broader community. Together, we can celebrate the uniqueness that makes our community so very special.
Have a wonderful week,