Raise your hand if you’ve worked at camp. As you read this, keep your hand up if you ever had an opportunity to talk with the camp directors, openly and honestly, about “how things are going?”. Once again, keep your hand up if there was snack served at this meeting. And finally, keep your hand up if the snack was cheese and crackers.
The cheese meetings in my camp days were legendary. Cheese meetings were a chance for us, the hardworking, tired, passionate, trustworthy, and reliable staff to have a good chat with our bosses about how everything was going.
There would actually be two cheese meetings on consecutive nights. They would be separated by role. Counsellors had their own meeting, as did area/senior staff.
While it is absolutely critical to have opportunities to talk with your directors openly about how things are going, this post is not about doing that - I’ll save that for another day.
This post is about the cheese. The mozzarella, the cheddar, the brie (just kidding - there was no brie), the Suisse?
The camp directors told the kitchen to forget about providing us snack for these meetings. The cheese and crackers were a special snack, only served twice per summer.
I remember how excited we all were for the cheese. The directors would go to town and buy us this savory treat and we would have a beautiful spread of cheese as well as crackers laid out for us on arrival. Wheat Thins, Vegetable Thins, Ritz, Triscuits, and more.
The cheese, as simple as it is, was a symbol of appreciation, sent by the directors, for our hard work. You may have seen the commercials on television that say “If you want your kids to move out, stop cooking with cheese!”
Well my friends, at camp, we didn’t get real cheese in our regular menu. A brick of good old cheddar would likely turn into a currency at camp if it could. The Black Diamond tasted better than ever those two nights per summer.
My point is really to say - don’t forget about cheese meetings. Recognizing your staff for their amazing contribution to your camp and the lives of the children they lead is not always about giving them a pat on the back, or recognizing them publicly. Just make sure that when you do give out the cheese, you remind your staff that by giving them this special treat, you are saying “thank you for all your great work.”
You can lower your hand now.
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