by Matt Kaufman
on March 26, 2021
In this week’s video, Susan, Jackie, and Jared discuss ordering camp clothing, new campers, and whether staff orientations will be virtual or in-person!
Hi, everybody. Welcome back to this week’s video. We are really excited to welcome you back and are so grateful for all the wonderful feedback and the questions we receive from everybody each week makes it easy for us to continue to do these videos and to engage you in this way. My name is Jared. I’m one of the directors here at Ramaquois, and I’m very happy to have two helpers this week with our video. So they’re both assistant directors at Ramaquois. So first, let me introduce Susan Sahn, and Susan is our parent communication director during the summer as well. Susan, anything about my clothing attire? You’ve noticed this week?
I definitely did. I noticed you’re representing the Junior Champs today in your gold shirt.
I feel like I’ve worn my Navy, I’ve worn Gray, I’ve worn the light blue, but I hadn’t represented the junior campers yet, so I feel like it was long overdue. So go champs and also joining us again and very happy to welcome Jackie Port, who is also our Girls’ Side Director. And Jackie. Since we’re talking about shirts and last week in our video, you talk a little bit about the whole clothing ordering and the camp shirts process. We had a question that came up from last week’s video and I was wondering if you could offer some clarification on the ordering process and just one or two of the little intricacies that go with that.
Sure, I’d be happy to clarify. I got a question about this as well. So just to revisit last week a little bit, if a family is only ordering the two complimentary T shirts per camper, then Ramaquois will pay for those two complementary T shirts plus the shipping. If you are ordering any other additional items, you would then be paying for your additional items and the shipping. The question has become that there was a family or two that thought they were charged the shipping rate. They were not, but I understand why they thought they were. So that’s what we’re going to get cleared up. Amerasport requires credit card payments or credit card entry when they’re placing an order. Because most people order apparel and pay for the apparel. It’s only Ramaquois that orders the apparel and we pay for it. So the Amerasport system is only set up to accept an order with credit card payment at Amerasport manually, somebody checks every Ramaquois order and they will remove the shipping, if the only items purchased were the two complementary shirts and they will remove the credit card information again if it’s only the complementary shirt. So don’t be alarmed. Mistakes happen. Like I said, every order is looked at personally from a human being. Humans make errors. If you’re mistakenly charged for shipping, we’ll help you make it right. Ameaisport is more than happy to fix it. You can call them directly. 1800 7869 402. You can call Ramaquois. We’d be happy to help you. It’s actually easier if you call them directly because we won’t have your order number and we won’t have the confirmation that was emailed to you. But we’re more than happy to help you get it resolved, but regardless, it will be resolved. Don’t panic.
Thanks, Jackie. I actually think the most impressive part of that was you being able to recite the phone number so quickly. Nowadays, we all program our numbers and our phones. I don’t think anybody knows the phone number off the top of their head anymore, so thank you for that. Before we move on to our questions for this week, I just want to remind everybody that we are answering the questions that you send to us with the information that we have available to us right now. Camp is still three months away and New York State has not yet provided updates to the guidelines. We are anxiously awaiting those, so we will continue to be as transparent as we can be and give you the best information that we have available to us right now and do our best to answer all your questions thoroughly and comprehensively to make sure that we make you feel as comfortable as possible. So having said that, Susan, let’s get started.
We are receiving many calls from new families with new campers joining us for the very first time this year, and it’s so excited. I mean, the nice weather. We’re excited, but they have some questions about how their children are feeling. Parents have some questions as well. How are they going to be welcomed into our Ramaquois family, our Ramaquois community?
Yeah, great question. It’s a common one we get about new campers coming to Ramaquois for the first time. So this is for us kind of an easy question to answer because it’s something that we deal with every year. First, I think it’s really important to remember that many of our campers have not seen each other here at camp for quite a while. So it’s going to feel kind of new even for the returning campers. So I think that’s going to actually facilitate the process of new campers being integrated into the Ramaquois community. I think the second thing that I’d like to really highlight is that part of our camp culture is to welcome new people, and that especially includes our new campers. One of the things that’s really great for us to get to see every year is how our long-timers welcome in new campers. They’re excited to have new friends. They’re excited to have new members of their groups. They’re just really excited, I guess probably the best word now that I’ve used it multiple times. I think they’re just really happy to have some new friends and have some new people come here. Our staff goes really out of their way to make sure that our new campers learn the Ramaquois traditions, the customs, all those rituals. So the first time we’re doing a specific cheer or there’s some type of celebration of some kind. The new campers know the words, they know the tune, they know how to do the dance moves, whatever it may be so that they feel a part of it and don’t feel like they haven’t learned it or feel left out in any way. So all those things I think are really important to make our new campers feel very welcome. And I really do think that most important piece is just that children are so welcoming of other new children that it really is much easier for the kids to make that transition. Sometimes it’s harder for us as adults to go through those experiences and we get a little nervous for our kids. But the reality is that the children really make a very seamless transition into a new place because it’s so much fun and happy and just very celebratory here.
I’m actually going to chime in on the back of that, Jared, because I also think it’s really important to just reiterate the fact that Ramaquois the culture is just so welcoming here. And it’s something as simple as everybody wearing the same T shirt. The new campers are going to get on the bus and they’re wearing the same thing everyone’s wearing other new campers returning campers, they’re immediately a part of something. They’re going to get off the bus and they’re going to go to their group. They are immediately a part of something, and it’s really embedded in our culture to welcome everybody new and returning, and they already have common ground. They’re here, they’re part of Ramaquois. They’re part of the Ramaquois family, and we run through it every summer anyway. We have second, four week campers that start during the second session, they are new campers as well, and it’s something that for all of the new campers I completely recognize, and I have compassion for the feelings of uncertainty and nervousness. But for us, we’ve got this. We do it all the time. And I think it’s important for the families to realize that you’re part of our family, parents and kids included from the day that you enroll and the children will realize that as soon as they arrive on the grounds.
I think one other thing that I would add to that is we ask parents to fill out personality profiles and other forms where they give us information about the kids, and it allows us to make them feel very comfortable. So even something as simple as if your child’s name is William, but he goes by Billy, or her name is Rebecca, and she prefers Becky. We know that ahead of time. So when they step off the bus into camp for the very first time, we’re able to greet them with the name that they know in a familiar way because you, as a parent, have shared that with us in some regard. And so we feel like we kind of know them before they even get here. And that really helps kids feel very comfortable, too. That’s why I think that pre-camp communication piece, which we take a lot of pride in doing pretty well, is really an important part of welcoming not only everybody, but especially our newest campers. I think you can tell by the length of the answer and the amount of things we have to say about this. That welcoming new campers into our community is something that we feel very comfortable doing. But we also take really seriously. It’s a real passion for us. So hopefully that assuage is some fears that some people may have and makes them feel a little less nervous, a little less anxious.
And I know we can’t wait to meet all those new campers.
Jackie, we’ve been getting quite a few calls from our staff. We’re so super excited to see them this summer and they’ve been asking about staff orientation and they wanted to know, will our staff orientation be in person or virtual?
Great question our anticipation, and we are planning for both staff orientations to be in person outdoors at Ramaquois. As of now, that is the plan. The only thing that might put a wrinkle in that plan is weather. If it’s raining, it’s likely we will go virtual our first orientation with the expectation to still have our second orientation in person at camp. Luckily, Ramaquois has a nationally recognized, award winning orientation program, which we call the University of Ramaquois, and the structure of that orientation program is to break up our staff into small groups. So for cohorting on the grounds, it is very I want to say COVID friendly. I don’t know, a lack of a better term, but it is very conducive to the COVID guidelines because we will be breaking up the counselors into small groups like we always have. And if we have to go virtually, we can do it in breakout rooms very easily. So we are excited to see everybody on the grounds. We just need Mother Nature to cooperate.
That’s going to do it for this week’s video. I’d like to thank Susan and Jackie for joining me this week. It’s always a pleasure to work with both of you. Thank you. We’re going to take a one week break from recording a video because many of our families next week will be celebrating holidays and enjoying spring break. We will be here. So certainly, if you have any questions or comments and you want to reach out, please feel free to give us a call at the office if you or any families that you know have not yet enrolled for camp this summer and are interested, we would really strongly encourage you to reach out much sooner than later. We are in a very fortunate position to have some of our groups that have already closed and some that are very close to closing. We don’t like turning people away, and we would love to include as many campers as possible in our camp season. Coming up in June, starting in June. So we’re really excited to welcome as many people as possible. Please feel free to reach out to us much sooner than later. As always, If you have any questions for future videos or just questions in general, you can send emails to me. It’s Jared at ramaquois.com that’s J-A-R-E-D. At ramaquois.com. Don’t forget to continue following us on social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, where we will post reminders about upcoming videos and keep an eye out on your inbox. We will have some emails going out in the next couple of weeks that will be asking you to start filling out some forms. It will open our parent website and it will send you some information about our spring events that will be running throughout the month of May. We’re really excited to start having more frequent contact with our families and the opportunity to welcome so many of you here at camp. So since this is the end of the video will end this video the way we end all of our lineups at camp. And I am very happy and humbled to save you. Have fun, there’s a camp out there!
Matt has spent his summers at Camp Ramaquois since 1984 — as a camper, counselor, and in various administrative positions, including his current role of Associate Director. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University. At camp, Matt works in program development, staff training and camper engagement. He has served as the program chair of the Tri-State Camp Conference and authored a book about summer camp staff training entitled The Summer Camp MBA. Outside of camp, he enjoys hiking, reading, website development, and spending time with his wife, nieces, nephew and dog.
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