How long were you part of Camp Crew?
I worked on the Camp Crew for 1 season, in Glacier National Park.
What was your experience like as Camp Crew?
It is still the most memorable season of my Backroads career. Maybe it was because it was my first year with Backroads or that I worked in the BEST region that year. In the end, of course I'm glad I took the job. I was hesitant at first but I wanted to have my foot in the Backroads "door" without even knowing what was on the other side of this "door". The other side is something I'm still so amazed by and so happy to be a part of.
What were the highlights?
As a huge college football fan and proud alumni of the University of Tennessee, Go Vols! I once made a UT cake on trip for an Alabama (our biggest rival) fan on his birthday and then played our fight song when I presented the cake to him instead of singing Happy Birthday. One of my proudest moments to date. He laughed it off and his team still beat us that year. Another highlight was falling asleep under the stars almost every single night of summer in a US National Park. Now that is an experience that is worthy of telling your grandkids about.
What are the hardest parts of the job?
I do remember some tough days very vividly although there were only a few of them, and they were probably towards the end of the summer. It can be challenging to watch the leaders leave every morning to go off on a bike ride or an amazing hike with the guests, while you're left with a pile of dirty dishes, 12 tents, 20 sleeping bags and pads, and everyone's luggage to move to the next camp site, all while trying to get some focaccia bread to rise in a dutch oven. Do the job with pride and know that all will be alright at the end of the night when you're crammed in the camp trailer, laughing and telling stories, eating dried mangos, and having a drink of your choice with your 5 person family for the week.
What skills did you gain during your time on Camp Crew?
My CC partner and I can put up a tent in less than 2 minutes. From dirty, farmers market vegetables to fruit with inedible skin, I can put together a Michelin star veggie and fruit platter together in lickity split. In all seriousness, the job taught me organizational skills that are through the roof, sous chef skills that will be useful for the rest of my life, and confidence that I can cook a semi gourmet meal for a 30 person party one day when I actually have my own place again.
How did working on Camp Crew make you a better Trip Leader?
Leader training becomes a stress free environment for you since you know so much already. As CC, you have already developed an above and beyond leader pace and you've had the chance to listen to a seasons worth of leaders talking about how they dealt with guests and managed each of their trips.
What roles do you hold at Backroads now?
A worldwide, gallivanting Leader and Trip Expert of Aloha Biking (or Hawaii Biking Trip as they call it).
Any advice for future Camp Crew?
Get a pedicure at the end of the season (and pay the extra money for the deluxe version), try to sleep outside the tent and under the stars as much as you can. Trick the kids on the trip into helping you do the easy things and you both benefit, they have a great time and feel important and you can focus on not letting the beans burn. Have fun and document the development of the Chaco tan lines each day!