Camp Directors, in their daily work, call upon many of the skills routinely demanded of a well-rounded communicator: promotions, advertising, media relations, staff communications and business development. And they deal with some really disturbed people along the way.
Crooked small-town supplier: pulls up in a V10 supercab pickup, but can only provide Israeli canned tomatoes and Russian chipped beef. Preferred form of communication: No small talk, just cash.
Idiot Savant Camper: can wire pirated cable to the cabin, but never uses soap or a comb. Preferred form of communication: just IM his Treo.
Competitive parent : their kids arrive at sports camp with a copy of the seven habits of highly effective people and autographed photos of Pat Riley and John Gruden. Preferred form of communication: daily email, weekly newsletter, constant phone calls to the director, and regular visits to watch every sporting event.
Crazed groundskeeper: whether Carl Spackler at golf camp, or Groundskeeper Willy ... there's always a hint of mischief in their eyes - and the whiff of home-grown. Preferred form of communication: Quick verbal commands. Don't get pushy, and don't expect quick action.
Unwilling camper: can be spotted by eternal frown at the back of the pack. Prefers retro tshirts with suggestive logos. Preferred form of communication: Loud verbal commands and understated hand signals.
70s throwback music teacher: her license plate reads JHN DVR and she insists Macarthur Park and Kumbaya be sung at every campfire. Preferred form of communication: Passive and non-confrontational conversations.
Head Counselor: an unusual combination of natural leadership and subversive impulse. Can take forty kids on a three day canoe trip, and find a forty-pounder of vodka for the end-of-summer party. Preferred form of communication: A loud shout-out across the campgounds.
Lonesome Camper: easily spotted by the 180 page diary clutched to their chest. Preferred form of communication: Mix tapes with Liz Phair, the Indigo Girls, Elvis Costello and Alanis.
Camp Casanova: upturned collar on the Lacoste tennis shirt. Sebago deck shoes. Brings cologne on the canoe trip. Preferred form of communication: Plenty of empathic body language. Rhythmic verbal cadences. Handwritten notes on linen.
45 year-old Fantasy Camper: wants to know where he can hang his suitbag, and whether he can switch to a room with a mini-bar and broadband. Preferred form of communication: that young lady at reception.