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Eagle River, Wisconsin

Staff Training – What Happens Before Campers Arrive?

by Yogi Sullivan, Media Assistant

We are proud to introduce our 2019 Staff that represent over 100 years of Camp Nicolet camping experience!

Getting ready for the BIG DAY! On May 28th, the first of the 2019 Nicolet staff started arriving to set up the stables, docks, and kitchen. On June 1st the area directors started making their way to camp to begin the process of preparing the activity areas and getting ready for all the new and returning campers!  Staff training is a full two weeks before the campers arrive at camp so everyone has time to be ready for the kids!

Starting on Wednesday June 5th, the lifeguards began their training with Keith Freeman, a year-round American Red Cross lifeguard and lifeguard Trainer. During the training the lifeguards spent four hours in a nearby pool for three days and covered CPR, AED training, and all levels of first aid. They practiced multiple deep water saves in the pool and in our swimming area that is located in the middle of the waterfront. They learned the proper way to perform a beach drag along with a deep water and shallow water search. Their rigorous course culminated in practical water and written tests. Congrats to our certified guards for 100% success!

Waterfront staff practice a mock water rescue using a ski boat and the backboard.

Once the lifeguard section of staff training was finished the ski staff went right into USA Water Ski Instructor school. During ski school the ski staff learned how to properly teach water skiing. Even the small details like learning to throw and to coil the ski ropes so they won’t get tangled. Once all the basics were mastered, the staff learned the safety procedures in the ski area and what to do if anything were to happen in the middle of the lake. Each staff member was taught how to drive the boats for water skiers, although only the 21+ instructors drive for campers.

Alumna and former Riding Director, Patti Nolan-Olson, also joined us for a three-day clinic with our 2019 riding staff. Personal and instructional skills were reviewed, as well as the riding program as it applies to Nicolet. Safety procedures at the stables were practiced in order to be proactive.

Patti Nolan-Olson works with our Nicolet riding staff and horses during their special clinic days.

The rest of the training was filled with informative clinics in each area to better prepare each staff member for every activity even if it was not something they would be teaching. On Tuesday June 11th the Northpoint staff went on their first trip to get ready to start leading trips. The rest of the staff went on cookouts to do a trial run before taking the kids out!

To prepare for Northpoint trips, the NPA staff went on a trip to the Sylvania Wilderness Area in Michigan’s Upper Penninsula. On this one night canoe trip, the staff learned how to lead a successful backpacking and canoeing experience. During this excursion the NPA staff learned about canoe techniques, portaging, cooking, wilderness first aid, and our SPOT device for emergencies. Along with a lot of learning, the group had so much fun! After successfully handling a thunderstorm, the group cooked a delicious meal. Not only that, but they had a humorous time trying to put up a bear hang. The staff members demonstrated great confidence in leading trips and are thrilled to start the trip season!

The camp therapist, Marti, came to talk to the staff about topics such as homesickness and wellness. Each member of the staff is well prepared and knows how to deal with a camper becoming homesick. Marti went through different scenarios and the staff would work through each one properly. At the end of each day, the staff gathered in the Dining Hall to do a series of Learning to Live Together sessions (Nicolet’s motto). In these talks an article would be read about the topic of the night and each table of about seven staff would talk about the main point of the article and work through different issues that might occur. Once each group was finished with their own discussion, the staff would then come back together and share what their table had talked about. By doing this, each staff member was able to hear everyone’s answers and ideas.

A final session of training is traditionally a reflection of the past weeks and the summer ahead led by alumna, Barbara “Bog” Hollmann.

After all the training and talking, the staff is beyond happy to finally have the campers here! We are all so excited to have everyone at camp and to get everything moving!



” Our daughter would not be the strong, confident person she is today without the experiences she had at Camp Nicolet. Thank you a thousand times over!”

– Camp Parent

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