Other Duties as Assigned
by Joy McCauley
Every job description has that one last responsibility that is tacked on at the end for good measure, “other duties as assigned.” As an employee it can feel like a little bit of a trap for anything else that my employer can think of that they don’t want to do or don’t want me to know about until I accept the position. For me though, that is one of my favorite things about my job! No two days look the same and more often than not, I leave my office at the end of the day feeling fulfilled with what was accomplished, but didn’t actually check many things off my list.
As the Groups & Conferences Director, I get to help facilitate the experiences of over 17,500 guests that come out to camp throughout the year. When I share about what my job entails, many people are amazed to hear that not only does Camp Tecumseh operate 12 months of the year, but we also serve a wide variety of groups. The amazing thing about our department is that we get to work with so many different organizations.
In one week we can serve a group of ladies coming together to fellowship over their sewing machines at a Quilt Camp, to leading team building activities for local leadership initiatives that promote leadership and professionally develop members in their own communities, to running program areas on the weekend for over 500 guests made up of Girl Scout Troops, church youth groups, and other parent-child programs.
My department exists to help groups meet their organization’s mission while experiencing the beauty and amenities that camp has to offer. And in order to do that, there are a lot of things that come up under the “other duties as assigned” category.
Of course many times my “other duties” tasks include plunging a toilet, replacing toilet paper, mopping up spills, re-lighting hot water heaters, resetting porch light timers, splitting firewood, setting up tables and chairs and endless other things that pop up.
But the list also includes many other things that I wouldn’t have thought about prior to working here. I have gotten to fill up the back of a pickup truck with jack o’lanterns when cleaning up from Halloween weekend. I have taken a minibus and trailer to collect beautiful pieces of donated taxidermy. I have gotten to send staff down the zipline with huge sparklers to kick off a Fourth of July fireworks show. I’ve made numerous town runs to pick up snacks, ammunition, and wooden crates. And of course anytime an IKEA trip is called for I am the first to volunteer! I have left a Summer Camp banquet in my high heels and dress to light campfires for other groups out at camp. And there are many other things I could list and things that I don’t even know that will be required in the future.
Camp and this job have taught me so much about what it looks like to serve others in a non-traditional way. Everyone has heard the quote, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” But the full quote is, “A jack of all trades is master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.”
That’s me, I am a jack of all trades! I love that I have learned so many different ways to be of use. It has helped me to quickly discover my strengths and my weaknesses. I have learned where I can best lead and where I need to set boundaries. It allows me to be flexible and fit in where needed best. It helps me to have empathy and a better understanding of what other departments here at camp do so that we can work together in better harmony. I have become so much better at time management and learning what tasks are essential for getting things done.
The ins and outs of my day look just as different as the groups that we serve. The best thing about the Camp Tecumseh experience is that we don’t have to give a one-size-fits all approach to our groups because that doesn’t describe the groups we serve. Many groups might use the archery range, but the way the experience serves the group is different. While a Girl Scout Troop is using the range to complete requirements to earn their next badge, a father is getting to create memories with their child who is trying something new for the first time and members of a college organization get to take a break from their busy schedules. We strive to create an environment with opportunities for each organization to fulfill their mission.
I hear all the time that Camp Tecumseh is such an amazing place because guests feel like they can be the best version of themselves. The incredible thing about that for me is that it is also true for our staff. I literally get paid to sing songs, build fires, and go canoeing. But I do those things because of the relationships and memories that they create for our guests. I have trouble believing that it can get any better than that. But I have to run now…I need to see if the parking lot is big enough to double as a landing zone for a helicopter that will come to visit for one of our specialty camps!