A little insight as to how we handle inclement weather

Hello, we hope you are all doing wonderfully on this soggy Monday. Now seems like a great time to let you all know what goes into our programming decisions when we have weather concerns. First of all, our decisions are made in the best interests of our campers and counselors. The key to handling weather successfully is to be cautious but not overly cautious to the point where we are not running a quality program. As parents we want to know that the people looking after our children will safeguard them as if they are our own, which we do. We also want to deliver a quality program because we want the campers to have a fulfilling, satisfying experience.

As of this moment Boone is in a Tornado Watch. We are still running a full program because outside of a few raindrops the weather, while gray, is calm. Knowing the difference between a watch and a warning whether it is flood, thunderstorm, or tornado is a key component to driving our decisions. A watch can be issued and you can have a wonderfully idyllic day. Technology has helped us a great deal when it comes to how to deal with the weather. We can see the radar to tell when a storm is approaching and if it will dissipate or strengthen. We also have the ability to use lightning detectors and trackers to see just how close the lightning is.

In times like today when there is poor weather all around us but not at camp we use these things to monitor our surroundings including battery powered radios. We keep in constant communication with our day camp coordinator, resident camp coordinator, bard director, and pool director to make sure that they have the same current information that we have. We do have a plan as to how to deal with severe weather if it hits and we have trained our staff on how to act if action is needed quickly. When there is lightning within 10 miles everyone has to be inside, preferably Clayton Lodge, but if campers are already inside of a building we will keep them there until the lightning has gone. Campers are not allowed on horses or in the pool until the lightning has passed by at least 10 miles. Again we have the technology to see where the strikes are, if that technology fails they have to wait 30 minutes after the last strike before entering the pool or getting on a horse. In case of Tornadoes we have two shelters at our main camp, our preferred shelter is once again Clayton Lodge where we have a concrete basement where everyone can go. If the storms happen too quickly we have a basement under Miles Crafts Building for campers and counselors on Happy Hill and Miss Suz has graciously allowed our equestrian riders to use the basement of her house if we have people at the barn.


We hope this lengthy explanation has helped all of you understand the hows and whys of how we handle storms here, unfortunately we have had a lot of practice the last couple of weeks. As always if you have any additional questions please give us a call, 515-432-1417, or you can email us at hantesa@campfireiowa.org or me personally at michael@campfireiowa.org. That’s all for now, I have weather updates to give 🙂



Michael (Mr. Purple)

First day of camp



Hello everyone, before I get into my first blog post I just want to take a second to give very loud HOW-HOWS to Jenna, Miss Ray, for putting in the work to learn how to use wordpress and did the work to get this blog back up, Thank you so much for all that you do to make camp a special place.

So just a few thoughts while unwinding after our first day of camp this summer. It was a beautiful day, everyone seemed in great spirits. This is my 15th opening day as a camp administrator and everyone of them is just as special as the first. So many people have put in so much work in the 274 days since we closed last August. Today wouldn’t be possible without the counselors who give up their summers for the chance to help campers have moments they will never forget and themselves have moments they will take with them forever. The work that our volunteers do who give up their time to make camp so beautiful can’t be understated. People frequently ask what a camp director does when there’s snow on the ground at camp. Without boring all of you by giving a full job description you will just have to believe me when I tell you the work put in during those cold winter months makes today so amazingly worth it.

Of course we don’t have camp without our wonderful campers and parents and everyone else who cares for our campers and sees to it that they are able to join us week after week, year after year. It was great going to the Boone drop site today and seeing kids and parents that we get so close to each summer and of course meeting new campers and their parents. This opening day was extra special for me because it was my first summer camp day as a camp parent myself. Fifteen summers as a camp administrator absolutely did not prepare me for this, even after one day I am starting to experience another way of looking at camp that I simply could not have had before. We definitely need to add plastic bag inside of the backpack to the packing list, those wet pool clothes are a bear to deal with when the campers get home!

The best part of opening day, we get to do it again tomorrow with the campers from the Des Moines Public Schools and then again next week with the campers from the Ames area schools. Whether your camper started camp today, will start next week or will start next month we will treat everyone’s first day as special as our first day was for us and that is what makes this job amazing. Thank you for entrusting your precious cargo with us.


Until next time,