Tony Koecher, Facility Manager for One Heartland, works hard all summer long to make sure camp is safe and maintained for our campers. But when the weather turns, Tony’s job isn’t over. This time of year he gets to work on preparing camp for the harsh Minnesota winter. First, the pools and splash pad are closed and all water lines are emptied to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting. Water lines in the shower houses are also cleared. The smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems throughout all buildings are inspected and tested. Rock climbing gear, fishing equipment, life jackets, archery equipment, and outdoor furniture are stored away. Last but not least, the snow plow truck gets tuned up and ready to go.
These preventative measures don’t mean camp closes its doors. “There’s a myth that we close down in the winter, but we never close” says Tony. From September to May, camp is available to rental groups, who come in at least once a month. Staff and volunteers continue to prepare for these guests, and clean after they depart. They also work on routine maintenance, repairs, and upgrades all around the 93 acres. For example, camp is currently switching over to all LED lighting and new high-efficiency laundry machines. As the weather gets colder, camp staff also takes time to debrief about the summer and make plans for the summer to come. So even with winds howling and snow blowing, the work of bringing life-changing camp to kids who need it most never ceases.