Getting To Know Lori Bright
POSITION: COOKING INSTRUCTOR
Lori is returning for her 6th summer as the Cooking Instructor at Iroquois Springs with her daughters Emily (Lower Senior Girls) and Sara (Inter Girls). They are all very excited to receive their 5-year honor this summer!
One of the things that Lori loves about coming to camp is that she gets the chance to cook all day long (one of her passions) while also getting to teach kids at the same time (another passion). According to Lori, this creates her “perfect world!”
Lori’s Iroquois Springs career began the same year that the Kitchen Stadium was launched. Under her direction, cooking has grown into one of the most popular activities at camp, which means that she has almost no downtime. Teaching six classes each day can be exhausting, but Lori looks forward to it every summer because she finds it very rewarding to see how the kids embrace what they are learning.
Each summer, Lori brings new recipes “into the mix,” but keeps the ones that have become camper favorites. By the end of the six weeks, Lori estimates that she goes through approximately 35 recipes. The diversity of recipes (and the great food) keeps the kids engaged and coming back for more every summer.
In addition to her cooking classes, Lori also helps to create special events for Tribals and Color Week.
How many summers have you spent at Iroquois Springs, and what brought you here in the first place?
This summer will be my 6th year at Iroquois Springs. I was referred to the camp by Steve Davis, the former Athletic Director.
What was your childhood camp experience like?
I went to sleepaway camp for 3 summers, from ages 8-11. I enjoyed camp very much, and it was a important experience in my life. I stopped when I was 12 due to family “stuff,” so I feel like I missed out on a lot. I would have been thrilled to have gone for more years. I loved living in the bunk and having the opportunity to do things that I had never done before. I’m glad that I can give my daughters an experience that they will remember forever.
What do you believe makes Iroquois Springs special for campers and staff?
I believe that Iroquois Springs is so special because of the commitment and dedication of the staff, and the feeling that we are all part of one big family. A lot of time is spent preparing the counselors for the day-to-day routine, and the teamwork demonstrated from the top down really makes it a rewarding and positive experience for both the counselors and the campers.
I really like the balance that has been created between unstructured and structured time at Iroquois Springs. While the kids are kept very busy, they often have time to just “chill out” and be with their friends as they build lifelong bonds.
Being an instructor and a parent of campers allows me to see things from a fairly unique perspective. Last year, my daughter, Emily, lit the fire under the kettle at the Apache Relay. It was definitely a highlight of her summer. This year, she is old enough to be a runner at Rope Burn during Tribals, which is something that she would be very honored to do. My younger daughter, Sara, reminded me that she will now be eating during the late shift at meals.
While these milestones remind me how quickly time goes by, my daughters look forward to the new opportunities that await them as they move up each summer. Sara is actually glad that we’ll be eating at different times now because it will give her the chance to feel like the rest of the kids whose parents don’t work at the camp.
Please discuss briefly anything that you feel helps to create a smooth mid-summer transition as partial summer campers leave and arrive.
I think that the camp does a great job at transitioning partial summer campers. The second session kids just jump right in to the routine, and the kids and counselors are all very welcoming. It doesn’t take long for the new campers to feel like they have been there all summer.
How do you spend the 10 months waiting for camp to start?
During the 10 months at home, we wait for camp to come again. We enjoy looking at the website, look forward to the newsletters, and sing a lot of Girls side songs.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are cooking (what else?), exercising, playing piano and hanging out with friends and family.
What are your favorite Iroquois Springs activities, events, traditions?
I have so many favorites: Sing, judging the totem poles, etc at Tribals, Staff Talent Show, Iroquois Springs Playhouse shows, July 4th fireworks, BBQ’s at the lake, Girls side Sing, Brad Henderson, Rope Burn.
Please share a fond memory or two about your time at Iroquois Springs:
Halloween (Summer of 2013) – Tara Hartman (Fitness Instructor) and I dressed as fortune tellers, and we really got into our characters. We had a huge line of kids (and some counselors) waiting to have their fortunes told. It was a lot of fun, and I loved stepping out of my normal role to let the kids see me in a different light.
One day a group of kids were coming to Kitchen Stadium from the soccer fields. One camper ran ahead to see what was on the board for cooking that day. He saw what it was (maybe Macaroni and Cheese?), and ran back to tell the others. Shortly afterwards, I heard cheering and screaming as they all came running down the hill, excited to come in for cooking class. It was a great memory that shows how much the kids enjoy coming to my class. At other times, I have heard kids say things like “this is the best day of my life”, or “I have the best morning,” because we are making something that they love. I am so happy that I can help create that memory and feeling for them.
I absolutely love seeing the kids get off the bus, and watching them as they greet each other and the camp. It is wonderful to see their excitement and enthusiasm as they embark on a new summer. I am always amazed at how much they have grown, and look forward to the first week in Kitchen Stadium when I get a chance to reconnect with them.