First Summer as Camp Directors

First Summer as Camp Directors

Season 2, Episode 5






Year one: ✔️

This week Allison is joined by Tony Wong, Chris Gibbons and Jesus Castaño, all first-year camp directors! The group shares candid insights on their unique paths to becoming camp directors as they recount their first summer as the shot callers.

The conversation takes off as they share the big takeaways from the last few months, what they didn't see coming, and who they had on their teams that lightened the load. The discussion extends further to their proudest moments, including high-performing health centers, customer service, and successful diversity initiatives.

If you're  looking to learn more about the experiences of new leaders (and maybe have a few moments of nostalgia), this is the pod for you.

Producer EmJ’s takeaways:

  1. You are the only person in this position when you’re in it, even if your boss was once in your shoes. You're wearing the shoes now. 

  2. It is lonely at the top. Make sure you have your support team built and ready!

  3. Give yourself grace, you are holding so much on your shoulders.

Want more community and camaraderie?

Become a member of The Summer Camp Society. TBH at $50/month one good idea a year makes your money back. I bet you get more than two great ideas.

Tony WongTony Wong

As a proud native Floridian with island roots Tony is passionate about youth development, motivation, and the life lessons that can be learned through camaraderie and the outdoors. As an educator for 10 years Tony is excited and about the youth of today and the world that’s in front of them. He has dedicated his life to provide the space for our kids to feel joy and success, all while being challenged to step outside of their comfort zone.

Prior to joining Change Summer Tony spent the last five years teaching 7th/8th grade math, as well a holding several leadership and community liaison roles. Before that he spent five years in South Korea teaching English to learners of all ages. With a rich international experience in combination with community service, he fostered his love and passion for social and emotional wellness. With family values centered around education, Tony holds two Master’s degrees (Md.E and MAT), and a Bachelor’s in Business Management from the illustrious HBCU, Florida A&M University. All of his experience and accomplishments are owed to his elders and education.

A proud father and husband you can find Tony spending his free time with his family cooking, creating, or exploring a new apple orchard. Tony believes that growth lies outside of your comfort and the more we venture the more we discover. He is elated to be doing this work to not only change summer but change lives.


Chris GibbonsChris Gibbons

Chris Gibbons is the Camp Director at Camp Sweyolakan in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Chris grew up here as a camper/CIT and has spent the last 10 years as part of Camp Sweyolakan’s summer staff, just finishing his 20th season there! He spent 5 years working in public education before transitioning to working for Camp Fire full-time this fall. Chris is currently working on his Master’s of Youth Development Leadership at Clemson University in hopes of furthering his knowledge and passion for youth development and summer camps.


Jesus CastañoJesus Castaño

Jesus Castaño is a Summer Camp Director at YMCA Camp Kern in Ohio. Native to Colombia, Jesus started his camp journey in 2013 as a J-1 international counselor. As a native speaker of Spanish, Jesus loves incorporating latino culture into the programs he oversees. Jesus has spent the past 10 years growing as a professional and advocating for youth development and diversity in camping.



Episode Info

This episode is hosted by Allison Krabill.

The Summer Camp Society Podcast is edited and produced by EmJ Juszczyk.

Leave a Comment