Spotlight on Camp Staff

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Counselor Colleen Flynn

Colleen Flynn loved summer camp when she was growing up on the North Shore, and now she loves sharing her enthusiasm with campers at Camp Christopher. “Summer camp was memorable for me. I learned so much, and that’s why I try to make it a great experience for my campers,” says Colleen, who has been a counselor at Camp Christopher for six years. 

The way Colleen sees it, summer camp is the perfect time to make new friends, try something new, and learn how to be part of a team—all in the spirit of fun. “It’s a great way to learn new games and sports without worrying about who wins or loses! It’s also a great time for girls and boys to learn to work together.”  

Colleen’s favorite part of the day happens first thing every morning, when campers arrive. “I love seeing everyone get excited when they come running into the gym in the morning to find out what we’re going to be doing that day. That’s just the best,” she says. 

As a counselor, she believes in getting right into the action with her campers, whether it’s for soccer, dodgeball, bocce or crafts. “I make sure to participate in whatever we do. The kids really like it when counselors play, and when they get excited, I do, too!"

When camp winds down at the end of the summer, Colleen studies business administration and marketing at Merrimack College, where she will be a senior in September. She plays intramural soccer and softball at Merrimack, and she likes to head to the mountains for a day of skiing whenever she can.

Lifeguard Dan Dewing

When campers arrive each day to the Camp Christopher swimming pool they are greeted by a gregarious, gentle giant lifeguard, Dan Dewing. This year will be Dan’s third season manning the waters at the Prep and he can’t wait for the pool to open.
 
“I love St. John’s and being at the Prep in the summer is the best. I find it very rewarding to help the campers become stronger swimmers,” Dan said.  “It is a safe, fun environment, and the lifeguards make it awesome!”
 
Whether it is working to make a new camper feel at ease, or watching proudly as returning campers improve their skills, Dan makes sure that campers look forward to the pool each day.
 
“We even make lessons fun, and of course everyone loves the afternoon free swim. Friday is Fun Day with water games like water polo and using the diving board. Kids really enjoy themselves and so do I. It’s a great job to have. The kids are awesome,” Dan said.
 
When asked how his campers would describe him, Dan smiles, “Big, funny, enthusiastic and a singer. I sing a lot!”
 
Dan, who is a member of the Class of 2015 at St. John's and was voted to be the class speaker at Commencement, will attend Tufts University in the fall. He looks forward to studying business and playing football there. “I’m excited to see where I go,” Dan said. “But I’m excited for Camp Christopher first!”

Camp Director Jim O'Leary

Jim O’Leary switches gears in a big way every year in June, when he steps back from his responsibilities as athletic director at St. John’s Prep to oversee Camp Christopher.

During his more than 20 years at the helm, Jim has introduced many new additions and enhancements to the camp program, including popular activities like a climbing wall, kayaking, and one-week speciality camps. What makes it all come together, he says, is a terrific counseling staff.

"You need energetic, upbeat, creative counselors who love working with kids. We’ve always had great success in attracting an outstanding staff. And the best part is that so many of them stay with us until they graduate from college,” he says.

Outdoor activities have always been an important part of Jim’s life, and he is especially proud of the swimming program at camp. “We have excellent swim instructors. Our program really sets us apart,” he says.

Jim enjoys every day at camp, but his favorite day has to be Monday, when campers first arrive. “It’s great to see parents coming in with their children. Some of the kiddos are a little shy at first, but after about five minutes, they’re headed off with their counselors for an activity. It’s rewarding to see that happen."
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