When you tell people you work in higher education, they assume that you, basically, have summers off.
No sooner does the Facilities Department staff say good-bye to students, when they’re welcoming campers. . . thousands of campers of all ages and interests.
“Last summer, we had more than 5,000 campers from June 1 through July 31,” said Bev Roth, director of facilities, scheduling and events. “Many of these campers needed rooms, meals and transportation. Sometimes, a camp would check out in the morning, and a brand new group of campers would check in that afternoon.”
The logistics behind the summer camps are a collaboration of many departments on campus – facilities for scheduling, student affairs for RA’s and “dorm control,” physical plant for setups, and housekeeping.
While University coaching staff and students facilitate most of the camps, there are five or six outside groups that use UF facilities for their own camps.
Although sports camps dominate, UF also offers a Pharmacy Camp (which fills almost immediately), the Mazza Summer Institute, and an art camp for elementary school students. Technically not a camp, the Clubhouse, operated by the College of Education, draws nearly 100 students for tutoring in reading each summer.
New Kid on the Block
Summer 2014 saw another camp added to the mix; one that aligned with a new equestrian focus. . . eventing.
According to Sue King, instructor, eventing consists of cross country, showing jumping and dressage. It’s sort of the triathlon of the horse world and appeals to the serious equestrian athlete.
“Eventers like to ride outside; they like to gallop,” laughed King.
Ten young women tried the new camp last summer. Since most brought their own mounts, they learned to develop more of a trusting relationship with their horses; something that’s important in the very athletic world of eventing.
“I’ve been progressing a lot with Prince and I owe you a big thank you for that. I have taken a lot away from the week at the eventing camp,” wrote camper Sophia at the end of her session last summer.
Spending most of their days at the James L. Child, Jr. Equestrian Center, campers slept and ate their meals in Henderson. They had two lessons daily and were responsible for the total care of their horses. Since the eventing camp was held at the same time as western horsemanship camp, the two groups interacted for some evening activities.
Last year, campers ranged in age from 10-19 and all had previous riding experience. King hopes for the same type of camper this summer.
Note: Eventing Camp sessions are filled for Summer 2015. For information on the UF Eventing Program, contact King at firstname.lastname@example.org