The MIPA camp is one of the most fun, unique, and educational camps I’ve ever been to. Everything is planned out and organized so well, you can’t help but think, “wow how do they do all this?” There’s actually so much preparation and thought that goes into making this camp run smoothly and efficiently. It’s honestly amazing how put together and organized this camp is. From classrooms to concerts, everything is up and running smooth.
The preparations for the camp take place long before the camp. The MIPA staff will actually sit down and debrief the day after this current camp ends! They discuss all the things that went wrong, what went well, and how to improve it for next year, all while the information is fresh in their minds. The staff then meets back up towards October and November to really start to plan. It’s in this time when they discuss who’s going to come in to speak, what the theme is going to be and all sorts of things for the next year. The staff parts ways until the spring time, and during the winter months it’s just Chad Sanders looking for people to hire. The spring rolls around and the staff meets back up and they discuss things like if there’s going to be music outside, and if there is, a noise permit has to be issued with the city, while Jeremy Steele, the director of Mipa, is the one coordinating all the classrooms and dorms. “And once summer hits, it really goes hard,” said Sanders. The summer is when all the little details are worked out. It’s when the t-shirts are designed, the wristbands are made, all the bands are all lined up, and the speakers are ready to come in.
“Once the week starts, it’s just putting out fires,” is how Sanders put it. The week is just worrying about the classrooms being opened, and making sure the cafeteria is running smoothly. The student director, Sarah Ashman gets to deal with students that are sick or that have gotten hurt. Part of her job is to take them to Ready Care if they need it. The other part of her job is to discipline students, and in some extreme cases even make the call home to parents to have them pick up their kids because they broke the rules. Ashman said, “I had to give a mild talking to to some students for skipping class, but I haven’t had to send anyone home.” Melissa Mueller, the activities director, had a real tough job this week. She’s the one who had to organize the volleyball games, and then reorganize the volleyball games due to the downpour that happened on Monday. She had to reschedule all the games on the fly to have them be played Tuesday. “It wasn’t so much pressure to reschedule the volleyball games, more frustration because here in Michigan you never know how the weather’s going to turn out.” she said. Mueller not only had to schedule the volleyball games, but also she’s the one who set up all the card games, and all the other MIPA cup activities. Needless to say they’ve been busy this week!
Something new at MIPA this year is all the geese, and with an abundance of geese came an abundance of geese feces! “One part of my job, that I haven’t had to do in the past is see how bad the geese poop is!” Sanders said. Jeremy Steele told him that the reason the geese are so bad this year is because someone came and took away all the brush from the side of the river so it’s easier to see. The person who did that had a good intention but clearly didn’t consider all the consequences. Thankfully someone came out with power washers and cleaned up all the poop from sidewalk, but unfortunately it’s still in the grass. The only problem with it being in the grass is there isn’t a good spot to stand, or sit, for the concert tonight.
The staff at MIPA has had three bands come in this year to preform. The first night the concert was pushed inside due to the downpour. The second was inside because Sanders thought The Erickson Kiva had a cool vibe to it, which it definitely did, the only downside was not as many people came. The debate for tonight was ‘should this concert be inside or outside?’ Sanders finally decided, “You go to the variety show, and you order insomnia cookies and you’re eating your cookie just hanging around the dorm and hear the music outside and remember ‘oh yeah, rock and roll!’” The first concert was really chill and so everyone figured the second night would also be similar, and if it ended up being outside, more people would have realized it wasn’t and went to it, and that was ultimately that’s what swayed Chad to have the concert outdoors.
Even today, the second to last day of camp, is still stressful on the staff. They won’t be getting much sleep tonight because they have to figure out the awards, but according to Chad, he’s jazzed if he gets five to six hours of sleep.
The MIPA staff works very hard to make sure the week is running smooth and the students have a fun experience. They incorporate fun themes, musical guests, interesting speakers, and well put together classes to really make students feel like they’re real journalists for the week.