Friday, January 30, 2009

A message from Eva, Director of Administration

Three plus years ago I accepted the awesome opportunity to work at the best summer camp in the world--Kanata. It is so much FUN to work here! I am responsible for overseeing registration, human resources and general office administration. Camp Kanata is part of the YMCA of the Triangle; I have worked with the YMCA since 1989. Camp work is a lifestyle, not just a job.

Two people even more excited (if that's possible) that I started working at Kanata are my daughters Natalie (age 14) and Caroline (age 8 3/4). Caroline LOVES camp! For the past three summers she has been in the day camp almost every day all summer. On the last day of camp, she asks how long it will be before she can come back to Kanata. Caroline also really enjoys Kanata Mini Camps--she trys to come to every one. Mini Camp is a two night overnight (weekend) camp that Kanata provides a few times between December and May. This summer Caroline will have her first week of over night camp--she is thrilled.

My daughter Natalie started overnight camp when she was 6 years old. At the end of the session when I picked her up, Natalie said (with emphasis) "Why did you come get me?" She has not gone a summer with going to overnight camp since. One of Natalie's goals is to become a CILT (camper in leadership training) at Kanata in 2010. Natalie loves the people at Kanata--they are hilarious. She thinks the counselors are AMAZING because they make you feel at home. Camp is a great place to make friends according to Natalie. She love the activities, particularly archery. It's good to go summer after summer because relationships build and continue. She really enjoys the cheering at meals.

In the three years I have been at Kanata, some great things have been added: a beautiful swimming pool, an incredible Alpine Tower, and a very large sports field. Many more exciting changes are planned for the future. Kanata is an amazing camp and a wonderful place to be . . . for campers and for staff.

Next time you're at camp, be sure to stop in the office and say hello. And, if there's anything we can help you with, don't hesitate to contact us.

Have a FUN day!

Eva Hobson
Director of Administration

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A message from Ryan, Assistant Director

Hey there everyone! This is my first post on the blog and I want to tell you a bit about my Kanata story...

I started coming to camp in 1995. I was a camper in cabin 10 which was a Spartan cabin back then. One of my favorite memories is lying on my back on the picnic table with my head hanging off the edge so I could look at the world upside down. Just goes to show that it's the little moments spent laughing with friends that last a lifetime.

I kept coming back and eventually ended up in the Staff Trainee Program as a CILT and then as a CIT. Those were some of the best and hardest years as I learned that Camp wasn't about me having fun anymore--it was all about the campers having fun! I think I had the most fun serving food in the dining hall and doing the other chores around camp. It felt good to know I was making a difference even if no one noticed.

In 2001 I started on staff in the Ranger unit and the real learning began! Being a counselor was a lot of fun but no one prepared me for how exhausted I would be at the end of every day. It was good going to bed knowing I'd really done something during the day. Ropes was my favorite class to teach and eventually I ran the ropes course for a summer in 2004. In 2005 I joined the administrative team as the head male counselor. In 2006 I was the summer assistant director and then started full-time in the fall.

Now I'm the full-time Assistant Director and I'm in charge of hiring all the staff for the summer--a big job but a fun one--and I make sure Day Camp is safe, fun and exciting for campers and counselors alike.

People always ask if I love my job and I'm always surprised by the question. Of course I love my job! You don't stay at a place for 15 years without some amount of love. I love the people I work with and I love that I can give back to campers what was given to me when I was 11 years old.

I'm looking forward to a great summer and I hope you are too.

Ryan Eves
Assistant Director

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day of Service

I am writing this on Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service and it got me thinking about the impact of volunteers.  What better way to give then to give of your most valuable commodity, your time.  This year we had hundreds of individuals come to Kanata and invest their time to complete work that never would have been accomplished without their help.  This past year volunteers painted every cabin, the arts & crafts hut, the bathouse and the lodge.  Volunteers built benches for our campers to sit on while waiting for archery, they built picnic tables with checker boards on top so our campers could interact with friends over a game.  Volunteers came and planted a vegetable garden, cleared areas of the woods for hiking trails and they built trash cans to place around camp.  

These many things were accomplished through the work of volunteers and we at Kanata can never thank them enough.  Because of the impact of volunteers on Kanata and our staff Zach Friesen, our Operations Director, planned for our staff to do a Habitat for Humanity work day.  It was a small way for us to give back to our community and to say thank you to the volunteers that helped us.  

This year, look for an opportunity to give back.  Getting your family, church group or work group is a great teambuilding opportunity.  If you are interested in volunteering at Camp Kanata this year please let us know.  Give us a call in the office (919.556.2661) and we will find a project for your group.

Thanks for being part of the Kanata family.

Your Camp Director,


Saturday, January 17, 2009

On the road for Kanata

I am at the Y Guides & Princesses Winter Inning today and I have a Kanata information table set up as a way to promote our summer programs. Almost all of the dads and their kids I see today have been to Kanata for there kick off campfire every year. As I stand beside my table and the camp dvd plays in the background I run into two types of children. The first type are the kids who have never been to Kanata before and they are in a trance watching all the fun things we do at camp as the dvd plays. The second type are the kids who have been to Kanata in the summer and they love the fun things we do, but they don't care about the dvd they want to talk about their counselor and their friends and see if they are coming back.

Kanata is a great place with some great activities, but what makes it magical and impactful are the friendships. We hope to see you at Kanata this summer and I bet you come home with some great new friends. See you this summer.

Your Camp Director,


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Professional Development

Every year about this time for the past 8 years (I'm getting old) I have headed to Black Mountain, NC to YMCA Blue Ridge Assembly for the YMCA Campfire Conference. This conference brings YMCA camping professionals from all over the country together for a week of training and energizing as we prepare for the coming summer. I must admit that this conference is one of the highlights of my year for a few reasons:

  1. Some of my best friends are here. I have met some great fellow camp directors over the years and this conference is a time for us to get together and talk about our camps.
  2. It gets me excited about the coming summer. I know that when I come back from this conference it is officially time to start planning for the summer.
  3. I always learn something. It never fails I always come home with something that I know I am going to implement in the coming summer.
I often say that I have the best job in the entire world, and the opportunity to attend trainings like this are part of what make it special. Our goal every year is to make Kanata a little better than it was the year before and things I learned this week will help make that possible. See you this summer!

Your Camp Director,


Friday, January 9, 2009

Come meet us on the road!

This time of year at Kanata is when we start to get kind of busy. I see less and less of our staff because we end up going in many directions as we begin to recruit campers and staff. Tomorrow is our first official recruiting event of the year, and we will be at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh from 12:00 noon till 3:00 p.m. reconnecting with old campers and sharing our camp program with "yet to be" Kanata campers. We will do several more shows like this in places like Raleigh, Wilmington and Charlottesville, Va. We also do "Camp Nights" in the homes of some of our campers. They open their house up, invite a bunch of friends over and our staff show up and tell about the great things going on at Kanata. I hope to see many of you on the road at a camp fair or a camp night at your house.

Not only are we recruiting campers, but Ryan Eves, assistant summer camp director, will be busy the next few months visiting a number of colleges along the east coast trying to find the best staff to be counselors this summer. We are very lucky because the majority of our staff have been campers with us and they know exactly what Kanata is supposed to feel like in the summer.

We hope to see many you on the road this year, but more importantly we want to see you at Kanata this summer.

If you love Kanata be sure to tell a friend!

Your Camp Director,


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Some things I would like to see at camp this summer...

One of the great parts about my job is the fact that I get to dream alot.  I get to spend a good part of the year thinking about what would be a great thing to add at Kanata for the upcoming summer.  Here are some things that I have been dreaming about recently:

  • a beach volleyball court beside the pool - how great would it be to have a full size beach volleyball court for our volleyball classes and for things to do as a cabin or during swim time
  • a pontoon boat for the lake - wouldn't it be great for your cabin to be able to take the pontoon boat out for a spin on unit night during the summer for a "Kanata Dinner Cruise"
  • a disc golf course - I have been playing disc golf like crazy for the past month and we have talked about adding a course at camp for the last couple of years.  I think it would be a great addition to our program and facility
These are just a few of the things I would love to see us have at Kanata, but what are things you would like to see?  If you get a chance send me some things you would love to see at Kanata.

See you this summer.

Your Camp Director

Dave Bell