Deer Valley Resort blog contributor Bari Nan Cohen caught up with Kurt just prior to the start of Summer Adventure Camp 2013, and got the inside scoop on Hammel’s own camp experiences and the adventures he and the other camp staffers have in store for lucky campers this summer.
Bari Nan: Where are you from?
Kurt Hammel: My hometown is Brockport, NY, which is just outside Rochester. I went to college in upstate New York, as well, and I worked at a variety of jobs–including a small ski resort–before getting the chance to teach at Deer Valley in March 2003. I never looked back!
BN: Growing up, what kind of summer camps did you attend?
KH: Mostly the weekly, sport-specific type, for basketball and baseball. The things I remember and cherish the most from those were the friendships that were made and the sense of camaraderie that was formed. Even if we were all only attending for a week we still bonded as teammates. I am still friends with some of those kids today 20+ years later.
KH: I always look forward to keeping the kids connected to the classic summer activities. I can’t believe some kids have never played kickball, don’t get to ride a bike or jump rope often enough. Our goal at Deer Valley is to keep kids connected to the community and also to just have fun being outside. We make a lot of arts and crafts, have dress up days and go on field trips too. I am most excited for our water days, when we use hundreds of water balloons, pull out a giant slip and slide, fill up the squirt guns and have a blast!
BN: What features of Deer Valley Resort create unique opportunities for campers?
KH: Having a camp at Deer Valley is great. We have almost the entire resort at our disposal! All of the age groups can take advantage of ponds on Deer Valley Drive, whether it’s the younger kids walking down to feed the ducks or the older kids riding their bikes around the paved paths. The older kids go exploring on chairlift rides and use the hiking trails. The resort does a great job of maintaining the grassy outdoor areas and inside the lodges so we have the right venue for every activity. Because Snow Park Lodge is also on the Park City bus route, it is easy for all campers to take advantage of the great activities and parks in town.
KH: We are always working to keep camp fresh and exciting. This season we have changed some of the field trips for the kids ages 5 and up. For one, we will hike to and explore Timpanogas Cave! We are always working on new art projects for the kids and make sure they leave with a personal piece.
BN: What are your favorite ways to enjoy the summer when you’re not at camp?
KH: My wife is a local school teacher and we have one dog, Cannoli. We try to take advantage of the great Park City summer climate, with its warm sun and low humidity. It is a welcome change from the hot, muggy eastern summers. I am an avid golfer and try to be outside as much as possible. My wife and I enjoy hiking and camping with the dog and enjoy of all the natural beauty this area has to offer.