What are Staffers Saying?
"I would like to thank you and the rest of the Blue Lake staff for a truly wonderful 2005 summer. Working at Blue Lake was as much or more than I expected in almost every way. I played in the staff concert and jazz bands, took a few lessons, met some great people and had a really good time working with the students.
It was so educationally rich...I almost don't know where to start. Playing in ensembles with peers from all over the country helped my understanding of where my education lies in a much larger picture. And reaffirmed the fact that as in most cases, you'll get out of it what you put into it.
I took a few lessons with Tim, the staff jazz band director, and they were very helpful. He communicated very well considering we play different instruments, putting the emphasis on being musical and not simply playing the horn.
I met some great counseling peers, as well. I've kept in touch with many of them so far and find them to be a wonderful resource to keep in touch with what is going on outside of my own school.
The kids were a learning experience to say the least. I've given private lessons for a few years now so I had a pretty good eye for things one-on-one but in groups... it was a different story. A success story though, I would say.
Most of all I was impressed by how frequently and easily I was able to see and speak with all levels of the Blue Lake staff from Heidi to my UD and was pleased and comforted by the efficacy of communication. Hats off to you."
"I taught and counseled at blue Lake last summer in the junior camp—Camp Bernstein. It was a life-changing experience. I made some of the closest friends I will ever have over the nine weeks, played in the faculty symphony and a coached quartet, premiered an opera by Niblock, spent nights watching the sunset at the beach, and still had some time to practice.
The kids really admire the college students who work there. Faculty/Staff practice facilities (brand new building) are air-conditioned, as well as the dining areas. The pay was pretty good for a camp position, and it kept me playing, which working at Target would not have. Chicago and Traverse City are within a day's drive for session breaks, but camp is so beautiful many people just stay and hang out at the beach.
My proudest moments are when my students wrote or emailed me this school year to say, 'I got first chair!' They come enthused and excited and I can't wait to back again this summer.
If you are even considering a summer job, I would highly recommend applying to Blue Lake. Have a fun summer while still playing and making a huge difference in the lives of children."
"This morning I have been putting together a portfolio of all my experiences, creating a resume, and writing essays about my experiences. Next year I will be looking for a job, and most of what I have learned as a teacher has come from Blue Lake. Teaching, organizational skills, delegation, preventative discipline, and time management are just a few. The list really can go on and on.
In college, we have many theory courses about teaching, but experience is really the only way to learn. In fact, post-Blue Lake, I have become frustrated in some classes as I have already attained so much of the knowledge at BLFAC. I want to know more, not rehash the old. My girlfriend has listed Blue Lake on her resume and many interview questions are directed towards her experiences there. She is looking at working at an all-girls private school, Blue Lake really helped her get her feet into interviews all over the country. She is looking to find a position in math education, but her work with students at an arts camp has proven to be very helpful.
All of my evaluations from faculty have also been a great addition to my portfolio. Teaching the Camp Bernstein sectionals is where I was able to test my ideas, and create a style of my own."
"I was a counselor and trombone player in Broadway Unit, and I went overseas with the Blue Lake International Jazz Band a couple of summers ago with Doc West. I played in the Monster Big Band, and I tried to get involved in almost every activity and ensemble I could while I was at Blue Lake.
The reason that I am writing you this letter is to thank you for all of the wonderful experiences that I had while I was at Blue Lake for the two summers that I worked there. I had no idea how much the experience would affect my life, and I never really took the opportunity to thank you. To tell you the truth, I am finding out almost every day how valuable the experiences that I had a Blue Lake really were!
I had a chance to work with a variety of people on the counseling staff and a very talented group of leaders, I got to work with a variety of age groups of students, I got experience working with parents, I got to listen to a variety of musical styles and groups during the concerts (where else can one go to hear a different concert every night?), I learned a lot about how students think and react to situations, I got practice being in charge of people and responsible for their well-being, I made a great deal of connections musically, I got a chance to play in some incredible musical ensembles, I learned how to work in teams, I learned how to work with people that I don't always agree with, I learned a lot of fun games and activities to do with kids, and most of all, I learned so much about myself!
Working at Blue Lake, though it had many ups and downs, was honestly one of the best experiences of my life, and that is why I feel compelled to write you and say a heartfelt thank you. Thank you for giving me so many experiences, and for making student teaching a little less hectic for me."
"I need to thank you for the opportunity to work at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp this summer. I was very happy to be on staff this year and look forward to using the knowledge I gained to continue progressing in my musical career and life developments.
It feels as though I am receiving a letter or an e-mail every day from a camper thanking me for this summer. I cannot tell you the feeling of hearing that I was a positive influence on someone and what a great role model I was to children of all ages. I particularly liked seeing the progress of children in the younger camp on their instruments, thanks to my teaching. I smile thinking about girls telling me that I inspired them to pursue music as more than an elective credit or because they were forced to by their parent or guardian but because there is innate talent and determination in each one of us. It also helps to think that you are still cool in the eyes of middle schoolers!
I will not lie, but I had my doubts about what Blue Lake was going to mean to me. I used to struggle with drawing a line between what makes a musician. I used to think it was the hours dedicated to practice and giving performances as well as building a resume that would make me an essential member of any ensemble. Boy, was I wrong. I forgot that the most important part of being a musician is sharing. I forgot that there has to be a generation ready to replace me so that the arts continue to grow.
Coming from the city, I was not used to living around the weather. I was no used to being placed in an environment where you need to have friends. Sometimes you forget when you are in a practice room 35 to 40 hours a week. Therefore, I was a little unsure of what to expect of the environment and the different people I would encounter throughout the summer. But what a beautiful atmosphere to develop my passion for the arts. I am thankful for all the friends I made on staff and the future contacts I made through the faculty. I am also happy to report the personal growth I have undergone since my return. Finally I am reminded of why I fight to preserve the environment and the arts.
So thank you for letting me have the experiences I had this summer. I believe it made me a better and stronger person as well as a musician."