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NBTSC winter admin world

Hello! I (Grace) have been stressing about the disconnect between 1) my intention to post frequently throughout our Year #25, and 2) the fact that January is almost over and there’s only one post. Although most of our 2020 blog will be written by other folks, it’s my job to get their posts all assigned, scheduled, etc., and  those balls are mostly in my court. But WAIT, I finally just said to myself over my second cup of coffee, there’s a reason those balls are rolling helter-skelter around my poor confused feet, and maybe I can squeeze that reason for a post. So:

We’re busy! November through February is an intense period of NBTSC admin work.  In November we take stock of the past season – combing through survey feedback, notes from staff meetings and camp logs, and our own post-session conversations: What went well? What needs to shift? What follow-up needs to happen?  What’s our vision for this next year and beyond? Which compared to actually being at camp in the summer with our PEOPLE is all boring and bureaucratic I suppose, but god is in the details and I do love the puzzles and big questions inherent in sorting through ideas, prioritizing, imagining and defining solutions.

campers walking through Oregon forest
John Jones’s inspiring eco-forestry workshop is an annual highlight of our Oregon session.


In December I do my best to articulate, consolidate, and integrate the results of that process into a dense 66-page document called, imaginatively, “NBTSC Admin & Policy Handbook 2020” – intended to serve as a reliable and thorough reference for the whole next year. (But, chronically, I never get it quite done by solstice and then I find myself given over to holiday things and it’s not till early January that I send out a draft to Maya, Margie, Matt, and Evan.)

cover of 2020 NBTSC admin handbook NBTSC 2020 admin handbook table of contents

In January we start adapting much of that “admin handbook” for the public eye. Maya, our Camper and Family Liaison, works closely with our support guy at CampDoc to get the registration portal ready. I update the website, camper handbook, worktrade application, and such. Matt (who currently directs both sessions) and Margie (our tri-hatted logistics goddess, staff liaison, and social media coordinator) respond thoughtfully and good-naturedly to an onslaught of questions and requests for feedback. Evan, though he’s not currently inhabiting an active, paid admin role, puts out little fires (most recently with our flickr account). Meanwhile junior staff applications trickle in, prospective senior staffers send resumes, and camp families ask questions of all stripes.

Next month, February, registration will open and Maya will be crazy-busy with a gorgeous flood of humans and their data. I’ll take a quick breath and then Margie and I will dive into the big, fun, messy, heartbreaking*, exciting project of hiring staff for both Oregon and Vermont.

(*”Heart-breaking” because we always have to say “sorry, no room for you this year” to wonderful people, many of whom are beloved friends.)

Vermont staff 2019
who we hired for Vermont in 2019


And all that, dear reader, is why even though I don’t have to write it myself, there hasn’t yet been another post here this month. But, I’m almost done with my “January” admin checklist, and then I get to set up a schedule of fun blog posts to be written by fun people who have more-fun things to say than I seem to.

I’ll leave you with a scintillating tidbit from the “worktrade” section of aforementioned admin handbook. And then I’ll be signing off with love and gratitude~

campers & staff working in NBTSC kitchen, Oregon 2019

Scheduling and time commitments

  • For some half and full worktrades, a somewhat smaller work obligation than in the past. (Based on Grace thinking through our session schedules day by day and considering what seems to be realistic for youth.)
  • Reinstating full worktrade option for 2-week Myrtlewood, w/slightly smaller work obligation than in the past.
  • Worktraders will not have “superhero” [chore] hours added on.
    • Hoping this will create more clarity and consistency. (We have very spottily implemented the add-superhero-hours policy in the past.)
    • Easy and light worktrades now have a slightly larger worktrade commitment (to partially compensate for no superhero hours).
  • See suggested schedules below. Supes can deviate from this if needed, but the intention here is to create a schedule wherein we have plenty of help and
    • All worktraders have at least one day off (at least 2 days off during Myrtlewood 2 week session).
      • For the most part, days off should be scheduled somewhat later in the session so that if a camper needs to take a break earlier in the session (due to sickness or just needing downtime), they can “borrow” or swap from their scheduled days off without resulting in more work for someone else.
    • Consistent rhythm (ideally predictable, easy to get used to)
    • No days of unrealistically long hours
    • And, importantly, worktrade hours make sense with the session schedule


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Categorized: Updates from Camp