Camp Vega is a stunning environment. Green hills roll into one of the cleanest lakes in the country and clean, cut grass sits comfortably next to stone walkways and beautifully kept sports fields. But Camp Vega certainly doesn’t look this way after a Maine winter. It takes much work, dedication and warm cups of coffee to keep Vega healthy and beautiful through the winter months and into the spring.
Pre-Camp staff are the first summer staff members through the Vega gates for the new season. They join Vega’s winter team Scott Bilodeau, Tiger Hewitt, and Anthony Adams to begin ticking off the projects on the long list of to-do’s before opening day. “It’s nice to have a workforce for every aspect of pre-camp maintenance needs.” Says Vega’s on-site manager, Tiger Hewett. “Jobs that may seem petty are actually imperative to the smooth running of the camp i.e. Checking batteries in fire detectors, raking leaves, clearing pollen. These jobs would take days without our fantastic counselors.”
Though the summer setup of the Vega grounds consists of many jobs like, replacing boards, fixing fences, filling holes, etc., the waterfront is a massive scene for pre-camp operations. Swim, small crafts, waterski, ropes and outdoor adventure all have a waterfront element. This means docks must be secured to land for each waterfront activity. The waterski department is home to four Mastercraft ski boats, not to mention the only ski jump at a residential girls camp in the country. Swim boasts a massive custom built dock complete with a 10,000 square foot swimming area, 8 starting blocks and waveless swim lanes, two diving boards, a wooden-bottom floor swim cradle and a water trampoline. The floating of the swim docks is such a massive project it takes the entire day and a team of 25 pre-camp staff to finish.
Pre-camp staff also consists of waterski, Equestrian and Ropes counselors. These highly specific departments call for extra training and set up to make sure campers not only have fun in that department but are safe there as well.
It isn’t all about work for the counselors of Pre-camp, however. Many counselors will say that, though pre camp can be tiring with new training and maintenance work, it is extremely rewarding. Sean Murray, a four year Vega Department Head says that pre camp is one of the most enjoyable parts of his summer.
“Sure, it’s a little chilly in the early June mornings, and camp feels a little bit empty compared to when the campers are there…but there’s no quicker way to get to know someone than working on a big project with them, be it something simple like raking leaves, or something more complex, like replacing the basketball backboards.”
Many counselors say the people they’ve bonded with the most are the people they spend time moving tree limbs with.
Camp Vega is very much like a theatre. The maintenance crews and pre camp staff are the people building and painting the sets, hanging and focusing lights, setting up sound and all of this so the actors can do their job and have fun on stage. They are the unseen masterminds that keep the gears of Vega greased so it can run smoothly and look great!