Category: Behind the Scenes
We Can’t Run This Camp Without Her
What is your full name? Kamren Melissa Field Johnson
Where were you born? Oceanside, CA
What do you do for camp? Administrative Director
How did you end up at Mt Camp? I started as a counselor in 2000.
Where do you live? Santa Cruz, CA
Favorite pastime as kid? Climbing Trees
What about now? Playing backgammon
Giants or A’s? Padres
Where do you want to go on your next vacation? Fiji
What is something people don’t know about you? I don’t drink caffeine
What is your favorite book? The Count of Monte Cristo
What can’t you go a day without? Snuggles from my 1 year old Eli
What is your favorite movie? The Princess Bride
What is your favorite meal at camp? Tacos
What do you love about camp? Making people smile
What are you great at cooking? Enchiladas
What is your favorite thing about California? The Ocean
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mountain Camp
1. The entire camp is powered by a propane generator that operates daily. We also have a backup generator.
2. Ice House Reservoir typically recedes 30 – 50 feet during the summer season.
3. The kitchen prepares over 1500 servings of food daily, that’s a lot of cornbread.
4. There are 3 dogs that live at camp. Rusty, Charlie, and Bo.
5. Our water comes from an underground well off site.
6. There are 2 babies at camp this summer! Sam and Eli.
7. Mountain Camp, Plantation Farm Camp, and Mountain Camp Woodside are all under common ownership.
8. Each member of the leadership team averages 14 summers of experience at Mountain Camp.
9. We will host over 2000 campers this summer.
10. If you have a birthday at camp, the entire camp sings a custom birthday song to you at dinner.
Who is Dave Brown? Mountain Camp Program Director
Dave Brown has been a year round program director for Mountain Camp since 2009. If you have been to camp since then, you probably know Dave for his hilarious personality and constant enthusiasm. We asked Dave some questions to learn a little bit more about him.
What is your full name? David Nathan Brown
Where were you born? San Francisco, California
Where did you attend college? Wesleyan and UC Berkley
What was your major? Sociology and Social Welfare
How did you end up at Mt Camp? I was a camper for 5 years since age 10
Where are you from? Walnut Creek
What was your favorite sport as a kid? Volleyball
What do you love right now? Being a dad
Giant’s or A’s? A’s
Where do you want to go on vacation? Nepal
What was your favorite travel experience? Solo backpacking in New Zealand
Most people don’t know that…? I’m ordained to perform weddings
What is something you can’t go a day without? Sriracha hot sauce and Music
What is your favorite book? – East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Do you have a pet? Have you met Rusty Bear?
What is your favorite movie? The Last Waltz
What is your favorite meal at camp? Tacos
What is your cooking specialty? Carnitas
What do you like most about camp? The music and sunsets
That Guy You Spoke With On The Phone
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
How Do We Gear Up for Summer?
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.