News relating to Camp Mather throughout the year.
Ed. note: In this guest post, former Camp Mather family camper and Camp Assistant Nacy Woods shares her memories of her experience up at Camp. Nacy’s personal essay is a treat—enjoy! (And be sure to check out the amazing photo slideshow she shared below as well.)
Why not have the best summer of your life?
Just four hours from San Francisco, tucked into the breathtaking forest of the Sierras is Camp Mather, a summer camp that has created treasured memories for San Francisco families for nearly a century. I spent eleven consecutive summers at Camp Mather from 2005 until 2016 before joining the staff as a camp assistant in 2019.
2019 was the best summer of my entire life.
To rewind a bit, my childhood revolved around Camp Mather. My family went various weeks but eventually settled consistently on the week of fourth of July, along with about five other families who loved Mather as much as we did. To this day, three years after my summer on staff, I can confidently say I think about camp every single day.
Mather was our place to just be. Some days we spent hours playing sports, horseback riding, or exploring Yosemite, and others were spent simply laying at Birch Lake from breakfast until dinner, stopping only for lunch and a daily General Store ice cream. Evenings at Mather were nothing short of magical, from campfires, to stargazing, to talent shows, and of course, the highly anticipated teen versus staff capture the flag.
Being a camper at Mather is a week of rest for the soul, with no texts, no calls, no emails, and minimal commitment to just about anything. I could write an entire novel about my camp takeaways, but I will leave you with the two most important:
First, I developed a deep passion for the outdoors that shaped my personality and perception of the world and people around me. Second, I knew I would be a counselor one day, filling the shoes of the hilarious, kind young adults who make Mather so special.
Flash forward to 2019. I started work Memorial Day Weekend in a complete snowstorm and within the first twelve hours, I felt surrounded by people I had known forever. With about seventy staff members aged between 18 and 30, the counselors quickly become a close-knit family. My coworkers came from every single walk of life and background, and the only clear denominator between any of us was a love for adventure (and a great sense of humor).
All counselors are housed together in the Shangs, dorm-style buildings with two or three roommates per room. Some of the best memories I have of my summer are the nights we crowded into one room, stayed up for hours laughing, dancing, crying, and learning about each other.
I quickly learned the day-to-day responsibilities of camp assistants, which mainly involve kitchen work and cabin cleaning. I won’t sugar coat anything: the work is hard, the days are long, and the mountain sun gets hot, especially when you’re unloading truckloads of food or serving the approximately 400 guests each week. However, camp assistants’ days are broken up into breakfast, lunch, and dinner shifts, allowing for much needed dips in the lake or time to participate in any of the activities. And as an added bonus, I left camp that summer in the best shape of my life. (Thank you, manual labor!)
All counselors participate in the staff talent show, a highlight for the kids and adults alike. Camp assistants are off mid-day on Saturday and one other full day of the week, giving plenty of time for Yosemite day trips, overnight camping, trips to the nearby town of Groveland, or time to just catch up on sleep, preferably on the lake lawn.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably realized I am trying to convince you or someone you know to take the leap of faith and apply for the job. I am a better, stronger, and more confident person because of my experience at Mather. I discovered the person I wanted to be at camp and have held onto her ever since.
Take the job, the real world can wait. Allow yourself the opportunity to be completely and utterly alive for twelve weeks. I guarantee you will leave camp in tears but as the best version of yourself yet.
Oh and by the way, you make great money.
Why not have the best summer of your life?
P.S. from the editor: Thank you, Nacy, for sharing your wonderful memories and photos with us!
If Nacy’s story inspires you to experience a summer working at Camp Mather, please consider applying for a job up at Camp! See the links below.