Oh boy, aren’t we the luckiest!?! Camp Ozark has a Camp Mom program! I didn’t really understand what that meant when we enrolled our boys in camp, but just knowing that there would be a team of moms working on-site gave me extra peace of mind. Over the years, I’ve gained first-hand knowledge about their role in the camp program–and I am extremely appreciative. They love our campers so well!
After speaking to Camp Moms on Opening Day, over the phone, and often by email over the years, I think I’ve got an answer to the question, “Who are the Camp Moms”? Well, they are a team of Camp Staff who were once Counselors, Top Staff, and/or Permanent Staff. These awesome women have camper-aged kiddos just like us, so while their kids are attending camp, they are there to work! They’ve got great experience and they totally get it. They’ve been in our shoes and know what it’s like sending a camper to Camp Ozark for the first time. And, because they see the kids at camper and have that special “mom perspective”, they also know how to help others prepare. These women know the camp program inside and out, which makes it very easy for them to jump right into the session they will work from summer to summer and hit the ground running. Literally. They’re everywhere!
My first year as a camp parent, I remember thinking, “What do the Camp Moms really do at camp”? Are they sitting around drinking coffee, playing Wordle, and reminding the campers to clean their cabins? Quite the opposite!
Each session, the Camp Mom team is typically made up of five women. They schedule one Camp Mom to work in the office when campers are awake (approximately 7:30 am-10:00 pm), which is really great if you need to contact them throughout the day. The remaining team circulates through all the areas of the camp looking for ways to help. They cover a lot of ground! Their primary role is to simply be a mom away from home for the campers. They help in all sorts of ways: from supporting campers through a bit of homesickness to offering campers directions to their next morning activity. Now, they don’t make beds or remind campers to brush their teeth! That’s the counselor’s job, but they do stay in constant motion, most likely with a bottle of sunscreen in each hand.
Another role of a Camp Mom is to be a liaison between Camp Ozark and camper families. When I called to let Camp Ozark know that we had a change in travel that will affect my camper’s Closing Day plans, a Camp Mom relayed the message to my son. If a camper forgets to pack a pillow or specific toiletries, a Camp Mom reaches out to the family to make a plan to acquire these items for the camper. This was extremely helpful when my younger son spilled his entire bottle of shampoo with 8 days of camp to go. Thank you, Camp Moms, your help was a huge win for everyone–especially his cabinmates!
What’s really cool is the Camp Moms call every family with a First Time Camper at Camp Ozark in the latter part of their session to let the family know what their camper is enjoying at Camp Ozark and answer any questions. This is the best phone call ever! Be ready! Don’t panic when you see Camp Ozark on your caller ID, and make sure your voicemail is empty in case they have to leave a message.
Sidenote–only those listed on a camper’s approved communication list may call to inquire about that camper and cannot ask for any information about another camper if not on their approved list. I found this out when I asked how our neighbor’s kiddo was doing! Makes sense, though.
Now, you may be wondering, “Who is my camper’s assigned Camp Mom”? I know I did! I asked to meet her on Opening Day and learned that is not quite how it works. Although the Camp Moms do visit the younger girls’ and boys’ cabins regularly, there is not an assigned camper-Camp Mom pairing. Throughout the day, the Camp Moms provide a dedicated set of “mom-eyes” ready to assist all campers with anything they need. Even the older campers need a little mom-help from time to time!
The job of a Camp Mom is ever-changing, based on the situation at hand, and there are some roles many assume the Camp Moms are doing, that they are no. Based on some common questions I’ve been asked by my friends prepping for Camp Ozark, I can share with you the following little facts about what Camp Moms DO NOT do:
- Camp Moms do not stay in cabins with campers, rather live together elsewhere.
- They do not dine at cabin tables with the kids, teach morning activities, or tuck campers in at night.
- If a parent has questions regarding camp photos, then Camp Moms take a message for the Photography Team, but they are not the photographers.
- They also cannot answer any medical questions about campers but will happily connect you to the Health Center.
- Camp Moms do not coordinate travel arrangements, but do have a direct line of communication with the team that does and will partner with them to assist you.
- And, lastly, when my son blew through his entire Store account in 3 days, the Camp Moms did not have a list of what he purchased (which was basically everything) but can connect you to the Store to help you take a look.
Hopefully my experiences have offered you some clarity on this team’s purpose.
So, basically, they are everywhere all the time! No two days are the same through the session for these women. They are eager, excited, and ready to welcome campers every week of the summer! LOVE the CAMP MOMS!