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Staff FAQs

Summer Camp Staff

Where is Camp Takodah?

Camp Takodah is located in beautiful Southwest New Hampshire, situated along spring-fed Cass Pond, in the shadows of Mount Monadnock. Just 90 minutes from Boston and 20 minutes from Keene, NH, you’ll find camp at: 55 Fitzwilliam Road, Richmond, NH 03470.

What if I don't have any camp experience or skills? Is that okay?

Absolutely! We seek staff with warm personalities, positive attitudes, strong work ethics, good character and a sincere desire to live and work with children. If you have those qualities, and you’re willing to live by our values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility, then you’ll be a perfect fit for Takodah. We’ll train you in everything else you need to know during Staff Orientation.

How many staff and campers return each year?

People tend to fall in love with Takodah and return year after year. It’s not uncommon for Takodians to spend 10+ years at camp. Our staff return rate is about 75%, and our camper return rate has grown to 78%. That said, Takodians take great pride in welcoming newcomers to our camp family. “Friendly to All” is our motto, and it really shows at camp.

Where do most of the staff come from?

Like most of our campers, many of our staff come from New England, particularly Southwest New Hampshire and the Greater Boston Area. However, we attract staff from across the country, and we recruit about 20% of our staff from other countries. After a summer at Takodah, you’ll have friends almost anywhere you go.

If there are both boys and girls in camp, how is it single gender?

We have two separate camps within Takodah — South Camp and North Camp — which enables us to host both boys and girls in single-gender programs simultaneously. Relieved of the pressures of co-ed environments, you’ll often hear campers say, “I feel like I can just be myself.” While our campers have a single-gender experience, you’ll have plenty of chances to spend time with everyone on the staff team.

How's the food?

Pretty good. Our campers just rated it a 9/10. We do our best to serve healthy, kid-friendly, delicious meals. Every meal includes an extensive breakfast or salad bar, and hearty vegetarian and gluten-free options are always available. We maintain a “nut free” environment.

How are the cabins?

Our cabins are cozy, rustic and well maintained. All cabins have electricity and screened windows for fresh breezes. Staff sleep in twin-sized beds with comfortable mattresses. You’ll bring your own bed linens and pillow with you. All cabins are within eyesight of the central bathroom and shower facilities, all of which have been recently renovated.

What is the weather like at camp?

Summers in New England are beautiful. With daily temperatures averaging between the mid-60s and -80s, you’ll usually start the day with a light flannel, change into a tank top by lunch, and switch back to a hoodie at night.

Is there internet and cell phone service at camp?

Yes, we have WIFI available to staff on their time off, and many staff bring laptops to stay connected with the non-camp world. Cell service is a little patchy at camp. You’ll definitely want your cell phone for trips into town, and we have landline phones available to you if you really need them.

What about time-off and free time?

It’s probably easiest to think about time off in terms of a two-week session. You’ll start the session on a Sunday morning. You’ll have one class period off (one hour) each day. You’ll also be able to relax during siesta (although you’ll still need to supervise your campers during that time). Every night, you’ll rotate between cabin duty and R&R with your co-leader, meaning that you’ll have two hours off every other night. Sometime during the middle of the session, you’ll have a 36-hour break (e.g. starting Saturday at 8:30 pm and ending Monday at 8:30 am). At the end of the session, you’ll have another 36-hour break from Friday at 8:30 pm to Sunday at 8:30 am. Because of the nature of camp, we generally cannot accommodate vacation requests.

What about dress and personal appearance?

During the first and last days of each session, you’ll wear a staff uniform, consisting of a staff shirt (provided for you), khaki shorts and a nametag. You’ll also need to make sure your appearance reflects your position as a role model to parents. Every other day, you can wear whatever feels comfortable, as long as it’s “camp appropriate” (i.e. you’d wear it in front of a camper’s mom). Most staff wear athletic shorts and t-shirts or tank tops.

Can I bring a car to camp? What if I don't have a car?

Many staff bring cars to camp. If you don’t have a car, you can usually hitch a ride into town with other staff who share the same times off.

What are the policies on tobacco, alcohol and drugs at camp?

Your two most important jobs at camp are keeping campers safe and serving as a positive role model. As such, tobacco, alcohol and drugs are absolutely forbidden at camp. Any staff member possessing or using any of these substances at camp will be fired immediately. If you’re in the habit of using any of these substances on a daily/regular basis, summer camp is not a good fit for you.

How will I be assigned to cabins and program areas?

In May, you’ll submit a Staff Preference Survey, where you’ll indicate preferences for working with certain age groups and program areas. The leadership team will give you assignments when you arrive for staff orientation. We do our best to accommodate all your requests. If you don’t end up with a first choice, we’ll train you in everything you need to know, and then we’ll be there to support you every step of the way.

What type of kids will I be working with?

The majority of our campers have spent several summers at Takodah, and it’s their favorite place in the world. Most of them come from pretty ordinary backgrounds and exhibit behaviors typical of their ages. They’re looking to have a great time at camp, and they’ll idolize you because of your age and position on staff. We’re as inclusive as our program and facilities allow, so we occasionally have campers with special needs who meet the criteria for a successful camp experience. When you’re working with these campers, we’ll train you on strategies to help them thrive at camp.

How many campers and leaders are in a cabin?

You’ll be in a cabin with one co-leader and 10 campers. You’ll also likely have an LIT (Leader-in-Training) during parts of the summer. LITs are 17 year-old veteran campers in our Leadership Development Program. While they’re not allowed to supervise campers alone, they’ll build their skills by working with you as an “assistant leader.” Our overall ratio in camp is about 1 staff member to every 3 campers, which ranks among the very best camps in the country.

Is there any religious affiliation of the camp?

No, our focus at camp is teaching good character, which is based on our values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. We also encourage campers to grow in body, mind and spirit – whatever that means to them. While we don’t teach any particular system of faith or worship, camp tradition guides us to sing non-denominational graces before each meal and hold chapel on Sundays. The feel of chapel is peaceful, reflective and inspirational, with staff and campers sharing everyday songs and readings that hold meaning for them. Like most staff, you’ll probably really enjoy the graces and chapels; however, if you ever feel uncomfortable participating, we simply ask that you observe quietly and respectfully.

Can I use camp as an internship?

Yes, staff have used their work at camp as part of internships in the past, and we’re happy to help you in any way we can. If you have questions about making an internship work at camp, please contact us at carlie@takodahymca.org or 603-352-0447.

What is Staff Orientation all about?

Before the arrival of campers, we host a mandatory staff orientation for both new and returning staff, which is designed to teach you everything you need to know to be successful in your role. The most important part of orientation is creating a sense of community and teamwork within the staff team, and our goal is for you to emerge with 125 new friends who you know you can count on. You’ll also learn youth development strategies, facilitation skills, and leadership techniques. Plus, you’ll learn all the hands-on skills needed to lead a cabin and facilitate camp activities, along with all the policies and procedures we use to keep everyone safe. Even when orientation is over and your campers arrive, you’ll have veteran staff by your side to help with anything that comes up.