A Day in the Life of Our Program Directors

A lot goes on behind the scenes at ESP to make our programs the best they can be for all of our participants. To ensure each day at ESP runs smoothly, our two fabulous program coordinators, Jake and Kalon, work tirelessly to make it all happen. As the Coordinator of Program Operations, Jake works with staff, families, and the community to make our programs run effortlessly. Kalon, the Coordinator of Recreational Programs, oversees each individual activity and program at ESP. Below, let’s take a glance at their daily camp schedule to see how much hard work they put into our programs everyday.

Jake and Kalon arrive to camp bright and early to start their days. First off, they both spend time reading and responding to emails from parents, community groups, and staff members. Kalon is already thinking about ways to support new families when 360 starts. Jake could be booking a Java Joy event. Around 7:30 am, staff being to arrive followed by volunteers.

Jake and Kalon run the morning meeting with staff. During this meeting, our program directors go over the schedule, prep staff for the day ahead, and remind them of upcoming events. This meeting is a chance to bolster our hard-working staff with brags; individual staff members are recognized for the unique ways they are helping your participants thrive at camp.

As campers begin to arrive, Jake and Kalon’s roles diverge. Kalon takes attendance of the campers arriving and organizes medications for the day. Additionally, Kalon supervises drop off to ensure a smooth process and greets parents. Jake spends time preparing for flag, including organizing camper brags and creating a routine.

When flag rolls around, Jake and Kalon lead the way by starting with the ESP song. Jake then chooses each unit to sing a song followed by brags. Jake and Kalon give out brags to each camper every week. Both Jake and Kalon love flag, especially all of the camp songs.

Kalon rotates through each unit’s’ activities to make sure programs are up to par, ensuring that each camper is actively participating and learning. She then heads back to the office to check her emails; there may be accommodation questions from a future field trip site or dietary planning for one of the weeks at Camp Twin Lakes. Kalon then prepares for lunchtime medications.

Jake bounces between activities to offer his help when needed. He spends the rest of morning activity time doing payroll for staff, confirming reservations for field trips, and checking on the buses needed for afternoon activities. Jake is already thinking through intern applications for 360 and ideas for NKA & Club.

During lunch time, Jake and Kalon get ready for the day’s afternoon activity. They coordinate with buses to make sure every camper and staff member has a seat. Jake and Kalon also prepare the ESP van and load it with participants’ wheelchairs.

Afternoon activities during the camp week include bowling, swimming, and spending time at Camp Hooray. Their roles at these activities range from general supervision to helping participants change in the locker rooms to making sure everyone has what they need.

After returning from afternoon activities, it is time for campers to go home. Jake and Kalon help organize pick up to make it the most efficient for campers, parents, and staff. Once the campers are on their way home, Jake and Kalon help the staff clean the whole building. This includes cleaning bathrooms, each activity room, and the floors.

Once the building is sparkling clean, Jake and Kalon debrief with all of the staff about the day. Next, they meet with leadership staff to further discuss camp, activities, and the following camp day.

Jake and Kalon head home!

Seems like a pretty active day at work, but it takes weeks of pre-planning to make the magic of camp possible! Jake and Kalon start hiring staff, planning comprehensive training, creating activities, booking space, and working with the many community members who participate in camp all the way in February. They’d both agree that it’s all worth it once the first camper walks through the doors of ESP!

Grace Zeitlin
About The Author

Grace Zeitlin

Grace is a Communications Intern with Extra Special People and a graduate student at UGA studying advertising and public relations!