avid Swift- master of capture the flag, expert at DJ-ing, champion LARP-er, maestro of musical lunches, crafter of intricate story lines and characters- explains his job as Master of Fun & Games at Camp Chief Ouray.
Describe your job.
My job really consists of its title: Master of Fun & Games. I get to spearhead the all-camp games that happen every Monday andWednesday after dinner. Each week I weave a twisted plot, incorporating games into the plot line. My only prompt for my stories is the theme week title, so I make up a crazy story. It’s very fun. It’s kind of my favorite job ever.
Why did you apply for this job?
Some seek their fortune; others are hand selected to walk in the footsteps of ingenious leaders that have gone before them. My two very good friends, who had this job in 2012 and 2013 benevolently badgered me to the point of acquiescence. It was my calling…or they’re calling me…over and over. According to them, it’s the best job they ever had and I’d have to agree with them. I just graduated college andthis position seemed like a good outlet for creativity.
Why have you continued to come to Camp Chief Ouray?
Well I started working here in 2010 and it was certainly one of the best summers of my life. I made life-long friends that summer and still talk to many of those friends to this day. After that, I applied to be an LIT Counselor and led backpacking trips for a summer. Nothing can compare to a few months spent roaming Rocky Mountain National Park. Unless, of course, it’s masterminding games for campers at CCO.
After the defeat of Voldemort, the wizarding world was quick to banish him from their memories. However, across the pond, the community of Camp Chief Ouray was reluctant to forget. Before Voldemort was the embodiment of evil, he was Tom Riddle, a lonely orphan in need of love and affection. Through the generous scholarship fund at CCO Tom was sponsored to attend camp every summer.
While in his 5th year in Teton cabin, he became obsessed with Camp Magic and the Spirit Sticks. When Tom contacted Marty, camp’s fearless director, pleading to visit camp one last time, Marty acquiesced with much hesitation.
Tom’s visit purposefully coincided with Harry’s reunion at Snow Mountain Ranch. Harry, Hermione, Ron and Hagrid wanted to help CCO with their Rowdie campfire on that fateful Sunday night, not knowing Tom Riddle would descend upon the scene.
After an encouraging round of “Pink Pajamas” and “The Penguin Song” the mood darkened and Tom took over. Changing into Voldemort before the camper’s eyes, he ruthlessly stole the first Spirit Stick turned put part of his soul into it, making it a Horcux. It was up to Harry and friends to defeat him once again, with the help of CCO campers.
With Voldermort’s mayhem raging, many cabins chose sides in the great struggle. The Death Eater cabins fought with the Harry Potter Fan Club, while the Muggles tried sell Hondas with a “used but runs like new” car parade through camp. The House Elves earned their freedom by cleaning other cabins’ tables after meals, while the Challengers became Hogwarts entirely- with their own Houses, games, tournaments and a mobile wand shop.
After an epic all-camp Quidditch game, the campers realized Voldemort and his Death Eaters had hidden more horcruxes around camp. The only way to defeat Voldemort and his minions was to find and destroy all of the horcruxes. With the help of Ron and Hermione, they were able to evade the Death Eaters and destroy Voldemort once and for all!
Evan Clingan hails from Texas and Tennessee, but would rather spend those hot, humid summers in Colorado at Camp Chief Ouray instead. Evan has been on staff for three years now and this year she has taken on the role of Daily Program Director. She is crucial to providing structure to the usually chaotic days of summer camp.
What do you do at CCO?
I am the Daily Program Director and that means I schedule staff every week so when they have off time, when they have to teach various activities- like swimming, canoeing, archery, riflery, or high ropes. During the week, I also schedule kid’s activities and make sure rosters are set up for the activities. So the freedom of choice activities is the daily program director’s domain. I help kids sign up for that and then while the activities are actually going on, my job is to make sure is make kids know where they’re going and end up where they’re going so we don’t lose anyone.
What made you want this job?
So I’ve been on staff for three years. I really like organizational things and the Daily Program Director is so important for organization of camp. I like the organization of it and I like that is something that has benefitted camp so much. FOCA did a lot for camp’s enrollment. I also really love spreadsheets.
What has kept you coming back to CCO?
So my freshmen year of college, I was sitting there thinking “Gosh, I really need to get a job this summer and I don’t know what I want to do.” Growing up-I’ve been coming out here to Colorado for 18 years- my family came up here for family vacation. So I knew I liked Colorado and I knew did not want to be in Texas or Tennessee for the summer because it’s so hot! So I decided to apply to Chief Ouray. I remember having a conversation with my parents before my first interview with Marty [the camp director] and they were dumbfounded that I had applied to this camp. They were like, “You don’t like the outdoors, you hated summer camp as a child, what do you think you’re doing?” I remember telling them there’s a possibility I’m just going to fall in love with camp. And after my first interview, I thought “If I don’t get this job, everything in my world is going to fall apart.” So I liked who I was when I came to camp, but at the end of that summer I could hardly recognize who I was- but in a good way. I had just become better.
I love making kids happy, and I just love camp. I love what it does for people and how it benefits people.
In The Parent Trap, Camp Walden was a quintessential New England summer camp that included activities like fencing, canoeing on a lake and getting woken up by a morning bugle. It also had the Isolation Cabin–which seemed terrifying for a parent but a ticket to unsupervised freedom for Hayley Mills’ character.
Of course, Camp Walden is a fictitious summer camp made for a movie. The lack of adult supervision lent to the pranks and activities that today would be considered hazing. For camp administrators, the idea of letting children bully each other into diving into a lake at night is unsettling but proved to be a pinnacle moment in the movie.
Despite not being a real camp, the Parent Trap perpetuates some of summer camps’ worst stereotypes. From Happy Campers, Wet Hot American Summer, to Meatballs, all these movies portray summer camp as a lawless place of pranks and debauchery, with counselors that are either absent or unprepared to be with children. In addition, to those stereotypes there are the cliches of the permanently happy summer camp where there are no problems and the rigid camp of inflexible rules and little fun.
If movies are the only exposure one has to summer camps, it might give off a skewed impression of camp. While each summer camp is different, none can shake completely these stereotypes. Ideally, movies would portray camps in a positive and realistic light.
Summer camp movies are fun and do give a taste of what camp is like, but remember that most of these movies are based off generalizations. There are still plenty of activities for kids to let loose and have fun but under supervision of their counselors and always in a safe environment. Be sure to ask YOUR camper about the true summer camp experience!
The year was 2013. Camp Chief Ouray was a tranquil place that did not necessarily have to deal with the realities of the real world. Peace of mind reigned supreme over the Fraser Valley. The horses grazed in the rolling green fields while cowboy boots clicked on the rocky trails and denim was worn every day. CCO was the kind of happy only possible where tumbleweeds in fact tumble and the echo of children’s laughter can be heard as the sun goes down and the crickets come out.
Things couldn’t stay the same forever though. Change was on the horizon as the space cowboys from Nimbus Galaxy invaded camp’s bubble of idyllic peace! The leader of the Space Cowboys, David Bowie, attempted to break the courtship of of the local Tater Tots Hansen with his only daughter, Juliet. It was a classic tale of star and cactus crossed lovers whose fate was in the control of someone else’s hands. The campers of CCO helped unite the pair over the course of the week through exhausting trials, tribulations, and water fights. Just when we thought Session 5 couldn’t get any more action packed, the High Riders helped rescue Camp Chief Ouray with a rodeo. Thanks horseback riders!
‘Twas the night before Session 4 and all through the camp,
Something was stirring, too dark for a lamp,
The spirits of forgotten holidays cheer descended on CCO,
Ready to inflict all campers with woe.
The campers were nestled, all snug in their bunks,
Dreaming of No-Shave-November until they heard a clunk,
The forgotten Easter Egg is back and looking for revenge,
But luckily, MLK Jr. is here with a quick mend.
Martin Luther rallied the campers and showed the holiday ghosts,
That CCO had plenty of cheer by playing host,
To the all-camp game, a festival of cheer,
Which warmed the hearts of all spirits far and near.
However, that wasn’t the end of our plight.
In light of events, Uncle Sam demanded a fair fight.
“Capture the flag it is”, said he. “To end this once and for all.”
The campers won and proved without brawl-
Peaceful games are full of cheer and a ball!
The campers rejoiced and the ghost spirits were sad,
But still CCO danced and Shaniqua was clad,
Campers said farewell to MLK, and as he walked out of sight,
He shouted, “Happy Holiday Week, and to all a good night!”