A few words I’d like to share about this year at iD:
A new year, another season at iD Tech. I was ready for all the shoutouts, and nachos, and crazy personalities (campers and instructors, myself included). I knew there would be certain things that would change. I knew that policies often adapt, procedures get a refresh, and courses get renovated. I just knew that for all the things that would change, there would be so much that would stay the same, mostly the great experience. So why did this year feel so different? So much more ridiculously awesome than prior years? How did iD manage to feel completely new and exciting, and remain the #bestjobever?
After two years of working my “fearless leader” and regional manager Zero, there would be a shift. I received a call from Megatron, asking me to join her Decepticon army, and switch from the “stone’s throw away” campus of American University… to Texas. This was the first major upheaval of the summer, and I was ready for the challenge. Trinity University was a very different animal than AU. The dorms weren’t 20 paces from the lab, there would only be 40 campers (as opposed to 80), and there was only one lab. One more thing… it was in Texas; San Antonio to be specific. The heat was something I hadn’t felt in years, and it would take some getting used to again.
I knew that there would be a completely new staff, and that would also require some adjustment. I received a new director who was “very British,” and a cast of character-filled instructors. It was my first impression that this group was insane… in a good way. I was right. Grizzly would go on to become my right-hand man in devising ways to incorporate iDX challenges and nachos into our daily activities. Turkey would be the “former-camper-turned-instructor” that could bring us the perspective of the current campers, and yet still be authoritative enough to command respect. Z was our older, seen-it-all commuter with more agility than a swiss army knife. Komodo was our oft-misunderstood wild card that brought a lot of fun and competitiveness to the ranks. This motley crew was led by Lou, who was a master of “Directoring.” With all of these personalities in tow, I knew that Trinity could deliver an unimaginable experience to our campers.
Then came my iDX Challenge. My challenge was issued to me in the most “iD” way possible: I found out on Staff Corner. I was to be the leader of the iDX’s Yellow Team. Having known my leadership would be tested in this new environment, I welcomed the opportunity with open arms (or folded across my chest, saying behind a pair of sunglasses “Challenge Accepted”… one of the two). With that new twist, I thought: “Why stop at iDX Challenges? Let’s go for all of the nachos, and even the photo of the week challenges!!” I shared this information with my director, who not only supported me fully but expected to win these things anyway, and then passed the challenge on to the instructors.
From the first Sunday to the last Friday, we had “all of the fun”. Every week, we topped the previous one with just how many activities we could pack into 5 nights, or 4 full camp days. Photo contests were won, challenges were completed, nachos were achieved, but the most important thing – the thing that dwarfs all of the achievements in comparison – the campers learned and had an amazing time doing it. Our evaluations were off the charts, with one week (or several for returners) making the entire summer for so many of the campers who came through. The parents were just as pleased, knowing that their kids were in the right place, and seeing some of the crazy personalities and events via our photo page, then in person at family showcase.
iD is always first and foremost about the people we serve… in our own “Positively Outrageous” way. It doesn’t matter what campus, what staff, or what expectations… it works when everyone understands that. I was prepared for so much to change this summer, but I knew that so many things would stay the same. The constant factor is how much everyone is striving to create the #bestcampever.