Chances are you have spoken to or emailed Brett in the camp office. We asked him 20 questions so you could get to know him a little better. Can you tell he loves skiing?
What is your full name? Brett Paul Botens
Where were you born? Rochester, NY
Where did you grow up? Cuba, NY
Favorite pastime as kid? Skiing
What do you do for camp? So much, but I handle lots of parent questions, plan activities, and train and hire staff
Where did you go to college? Selkirk College and West Virginia University
What was your major? Ski resort management and operations, and parks, recreation, and tourism management
How did you end up at Mountain Camp? A good friend convinced me to apply as a counselor many years ago
Giants or A’s? A’s
Where will you go on your next vacation? Niseko, Japan
Do you have a hidden talent? I can juggle
Most people don’t know this about you? I’m gluten free
What can’t you go a day without? Thinking about skiing
In 20 years you’ll be? Living on the moon
What is your favorite movie? The Goonies
Iphone or Android? Iphone
If you could solve any global problem, what would it be? I would end war
What is your favorite thing about California? Snow and waves
Why you like camp? There is no place on earth like Mountain Camp, plus the food is awesome
What advice do you have for first time campers? Try everything you can, get up on stage, be loud at meals, and have fun
The only thing we DON’T pack up for the winter? The bell.
Sierra Mountain winters are hard on camp, so we pack and secure everything at the end of each season. We call it ‘pack-up’ and it can be completed in as little as three days in September, putting everything back together is a bit of a different process. Set-up begins in mid May each year. Here is how we make it happen.
The set up crew begins by un-boarding the windows of all camp structures. Once inside they can unpack pretty much every item used in the summer. Here are some things that have to be removed from inside buildings…
– Nearly 300 mattresses
– 4 Laser sailboats
– 9 Frisbee golf stands
– Over 30 folding picnic tables
– 25 kayaks and 20 stand up paddle boards
The waterfront requires some serious assembly. Everything has to be inflated and connected. The swim area is anchored to the bottom of the lake with cement moorings, which also need to be carefully placed by brave waterfront staff members willing to test the frigid water. Sailboats are rigged and positioned on the shoreline, and powerboats are serviced and placed just offshore. The whole process takes about 30 truck trips between camp and the waterfront area.
Some might consider our focus on safety an obsession. Before camp begins…
– Ropes professionals inspect and improve the ropes course for 3 full days
– Sailboat rigging is inspected and repaired as needed
– All mattresses and cabins are sanitized
– The camp infirmary is cleaned, stocked, and prepped
– Forestry crews inspect and remove any unsafe trees or debris
– Fire prevention systems are tested and inspected (yes, we have hoses!)
– Our satellite communications system is reconnected and tested
Perhaps our most important asset is our counseling staff. New and returning staff members complete an 8 day training program that covers everything from homesickness to fire safety. Staff members also learn about instructing summer skits and activities.
See you in June, we’ll be ready.
It doesn’t need to be your first summer to benefit from these valuable tips on having the best experience at camp. Now is the time to start planning for the summer, there is so much to do at Mountain Camp, so read on to get ready before you reach the mountain.
1. Make New Friends
Even if you have lots of friends at home and school, this is your chance to step outside your social circle and meet someone new. You never know, your new best friend might be just a cabin away.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Water, water, drink more water…did we mention the water? Camp is nearly a mile above sea level. The air is dry and the dust is dusty, hydrate and shower frequently so you can stay active trying new things. Don’t forget that chapstick!
3. Sail Something
It’s a blast tubing and water-skiing, but our staff can also provide excellent instruction on windsurfers and sailboats. Sailors that demonstrate proficiency can have opportunities to safely take boats out on their own.
4. Sleep Out Under the Stars
The stars up here are the real deal. You’re almost guaranteed to see shooting stars or the milky way. Many cabins have decks so campers can sleep outside every night. There aren’t many bugs at night so you won’t need a tent.
5. Try Fencing
That’s right, FENCING! This is one of those activities that you might never have a chance to experience in everyday life. Yes, that is a partially dressed pirate in the background, and he might want to battle.
6. Be in the Moment
Life outside of camp can be pretty hectic. Soak up the opportunity to unplug your devices and live in one of the most beautiful settings on earth, sing songs, eat s’mores, and stare at the campfire.
7. Get Launched
Summer wouldn’t be complete without some serious air time above the swim area on our Aqua Launch. Extra points for style.
It’s your summer, make the most of it!