Each summer the call comes across the walkie talkie: has anyone checked the weather? The answer is always yes. Our amateur weather people, aka., our admin team tend to obsess over the weather each and every day of summer camp. There is a feeling of dread that a storm may pop up or that the predicted storm we know hit hard taking the power out.
The action to move safely indoors is always our top priority.
The second priority quickly becomes to adjust the schedule. The goal? To make sure campers do not miss any of the activities. While our Program Coordinator works that out, we keep everyone safe inside.
Depending on how long the storm is, we may stay inside from a few minutes up to a few hours. The camp cabins become cozy scenes from sleepovers, with friends playing cards on each other’s beds, hair braiding, reading, coloring, singing, and more. If the storm happens to be in the evening, we are almost guaranteed an indoor campfire which produces its own kind of fun and we often cannot wait to get back outside.
Sometimes the unthinkable happens and the power is taken out by the storm. Sometimes it comes back on in minutes. Sometimes it takes a few days. Power outages at camp are not uncommon (definitely, not welcome) and over the years we have learned to adapt.
New this year, we have a generator that can power many areas of the dining hall and camp kitchen. Our stellar maintenance crew rushes in to do the hook ups and suddenly we are back in business, at least in those spaces. We feel blessed to be able to keep the lights on and keep the food safe during those longer outages.
When the power is out, camp is still camp. When the weather is clear, we can head back outside. Most of our activities do not actually require electricity so those are an easy adjustment. The cabins are a bit dark after the sun goes down, but what kid doesn’t love to make their way in the dark with a super cool flashlight bought just for going to camp?
Running the camp office is the trickier part. Cell phones are relied on to communicate with parents. Keeping them charged becomes a task. I have sat in my car a time or two to bring mine back to life. Running into the town of Nashville for power has also been an option. Our phones allow us to of course, take calls, and send messages via email and to post on our social media to let everyone know we are safe.
Navigating the challenges of the weather and power outages is just something we do. We have learned over the years how to keep campers moving and entertained in spite of what the weather throws at us. I can think of two times in my 40 plus years at camp that we were delayed in getting going (checked in campers on Monday instead of Sunday) and one time we almost had to evacuate camp due to weather or a power outage at camp. Those were big decisions that weren’t taken lightly. For us, giving the kids the best camp experience that is also safe is our primary goal. We always aim for safety and fun to continue. We know camp is an amazing outdoor experience and the weather is a part of that experience. We remain ready to adjust when needed.
Camp is such an unique experience! Our staff take turns sharing their perspectives of the experience that is CYO Camp Rancho Framasa!
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