Yearbook Camp

My first Dorm Room.

As I am writ­ing this post, I am sit­ting in my very first dorm room, at Gus­tavus Adol­phus Col­lege in St. Peter, MN. I am spend­ing three days & two nights at Year­book Camp, host­ed by Jostens.

I’ve nev­er attend­ed a 4-year col­lege, and what college’s I have been apart of were St. Paul Tech­ni­cal Col­lege (now just St. Paul Col­lege) and The Art Insti­tute of Pitts­burgh: Online Divi­sion. So I nev­er got to expe­ri­ence cam­pus life like this.

It’s dif­fer­ent and kin­da cool. Walk­ing from my dorm to the din­ing hall and var­i­ous lec­ture halls across the cam­pus (while car­ry­ing var­i­ous books, lap­top, etc.–and mak­ing so many stops back in my room because I don’t want to car­ry every­thing with me all day) has been inter­est­ing.

So why am I here at a col­lege cam­pus? For Year­book Camp! I am here with a fel­low advi­sor (and a fan­tas­tic friend) and 5 mid­dle school girls so that they and us can learn more about our year­book pro­gram, cre­ate a theme for next years book, and find ways to build the excite­ment about year­book in our school to encour­age more resources (pho­tos, peo­ple and sto­ries) and sales.

Day 1:

The first day we left at 7–7:30am all packed into my van and drove down to the cam­pus. We checked in (girls in one dorm, and me–the only boy in our group–in anoth­er). We got our room keys, our mate­ri­als, etc.

Gen­er­al Ses­sion

We then imme­di­ate­ly head­ed to our first lec­ture: Wel­come and Gen­er­al Ses­sion. The keynote speak­er, Brett Web­ber, was from Cal­i­for­nia (but orig­i­nal­ly from South Africa) and very inter­est­ing to lis­ten to. He had a great accent and inter­est­ing sto­ries.

We then had a small group meet­ing with our rep and oth­er schools that also use our rep. As well as staff work time, lunch and then more gen­er­al ses­sions. The advi­sors then got to meet with each oth­er and share tips, whielle the girls were on a sca­v­anger hunt.

It was then time for din­ner and then spe­cial­ty ses­sions. The oth­er advi­sor and I went to “Devel­op­ing a Theme” (were we actu­al­ly just worked cre­at­ing visu­als of the theme our stu­dents came up with) while the lec­tur­er talked (shhh, don’t tell any­one) and our girls went to either “Design Trends” or “Year­book Cov­er Trends”, where they picked up lit­tle ideas to add to our over­all theme design. Mikay­la kept tex­ting me ideas she was get­ting dur­ing her lec­ture.

The girls then had a dance in the stu­dent union, while us advi­sors got some qui­et time in our rooms before lights out at 11:30.

Day 2:

Break­fast start­ed at 7:30 and then it was anoth­er gen­er­al ses­sion (on graph­ic design) and then lots of staff work time, more spe­cial­ty ses­sions (where we sent the girls to learn about how to use Josten’s online soft­ware) and the oth­er advi­sor and I went to our rooms to just chill out and relax. I worked on tak­ing our cov­er design and set­ting it to the Jostens tem­plate I had just received via email that morn­ing. Our cov­er was pret­ty much done and set!

We then met the girls for lunch and then after that, the Girls went to either “Quick Reads and Info­graph­ics” or more online train­ing, and the advi­sor and I took “The Sell Menu” where we learned more about the actu­al sell­ing fea­tures of the online pro­gram. (Which, we were very tired and that made the whole thing a bit bor­ing. But at this point, we got to hide out from the girls, so we didn’t mind too much…and it was air con­di­tioned.)

We then had a lot of time to work with our staff. But we were so on the ball, that we had just about every­thing most­ly done for our pre­sen­ta­tion on Thurs­day. So we let the girls just explore the cam­pus, or chill in their rooms, while the advi­sor and I took a much need­ed nap. (At this point it was very hot out­side, and my left foot was killing me to walk on. It also didn’t help that I was up at 3:30 am, since I just couldn’t get back to sleep.)

So I napped, and slept right through my alarms for din­ner. Which was okay (oth­er than freak­ing out the girls that I was miss­ing din­ner) because, with my foot, I real­ly didn’t want to walk all that way.

After Din­ner, the girls want­ed to go swim­ming, but the advi­sor and I real­ly need­ed to get togeth­er and sit down and pre­pare for the pre­sen­ta­tion on Fri­day. So we hid out in the rec room of the boys dorm (since the girls wouldn’t be able to bug us there) and got work done!

It was then time for our advi­sor recep­tion, were the advi­sors were able to kick back, have a few “bev­er­ages” and just get to know each oth­er and make some new friends and get some ideas and play some games and load up on sam­ple books to take home. Oh and eat fan­cy snacks!)

Dur­ing the recep­tion, Mikay­la texted me that she had a small acci­dent with a door and her toe­nail. Anoth­er advi­sor that was still in the dorm, helped her ban­dage up and get every­thing tak­en care of. She gave me a play-by-play every minute. She was a real troop­er and her nat­ur­al Girl Scout abil­i­ties kicked in and she remained pret­ty calm. I was so proud of her.

Then it was back to our rooms for rest and lights out.

Day 3:

Mikay­la and her bestie at gen­er­al ses­sion.

Break­fast start­ed at 7 am! Even ear­li­er than the day before! After break­fast we had anoth­er gen­er­al ses­sion on Pho­tog­ra­phy, then our pre­sen­ta­tions with our small rep-groups where the girls had to present our theme to the small group. (Our rep group had 5 schools: Blaine, Coon Rapids, Mounds Park Acad­e­my, Cen­ten­ni­al HS and us, the Mid­dle school) and each school got two votes for the best theme con­cept and exe­cu­tion. The girls did real­ly well and the four oth­er schools had amaz­ing pre­sen­ta­tions! Then a clos­ing ses­sion on “Mak­ing it Per­son­al”.

After all that, they had some clos­ing announce­ments and announced the grand prize win­ners from each Rep. group. Each rep group  Our girls won from our region! Not only was it the first time that Jostens had mid­dle school stu­dents (not count­ing advi­sors) but the girls had won as vot­ed on by their peers. They (and us) were so excit­ed and sur­prised. They won $500 to use towards extra fea­tures in the year­book for next year. We decid­ed end sheets would real­ly com­plete our cov­er and theme.

We then got our boxed lunch­es and then back to our rooms to pack and turn in our keys. Then we were on the road to go home!

It was a fab­u­lous expe­ri­ence and I learned so much (like mak­ing sure that my “com­fort­able shoes” real­ly are com­fort­able) and that, all in all, the girls behaved them­selves pret­ty well.

It was nice to know that real­ly, Jostens han­dles every­thing. Lit­er­al­ly. As advi­sors, we aren’t real­ly in charge of our girls (except for emer­gen­cies), Jostens keeps them occu­pied and watched over, that we can sit back and focus on the ideas they are pre­sent­ing, and do some of our own learn­ing.

It was also great being able to hang out with my fel­low advi­sor. Car­rie is a fan­tas­tic friend and we have so much in com­mon. The whole time we kept com­ment­ing on how much we were alike (we were prac­ti­cal­ly even hav­ing the same thoughts).

I am lucky to be work­ing with a phe­nom­e­nal indi­vid­ual like her!

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