This Saturday, April 7th, 2012, a new book called The Cabin Path will be available. The author is Jay Gilbert and I was fortunate enough to have read an advanced digital copy. Here’s my review.

The Cabin Path is written primarily for new resident camp counselors. It is a series of personal stories of Jay’s experiences as a CIT, camp counselor and activity leader at Camp Huronda. From these experiences Jay offers leadership tips on being a better camp counselor.

This book is great for the brand new camp counselor. I feel that most, if not all new counselors are nervous, especially if they don’t know what to expect. The Cabin Path is a book that will help put a new counselor at some ease. Even though all the stories come from Jay’s experiences at one camp, they are stories that span years of camp employment. And while not all the stories may resonate with everyone (I have worked at 8 camps and none of them had canoes) it is an easy and enjoyable read. When I got the book I had the intention of skimming through the book but found that I was constantly sucked into his stories. That’s saying something as a director who’s first camp job was nearly 20 years ago.

This isn’t a book based on theoretical nonsense or concepts that you have to read over and over again before it makes sense, it’s basic and relatable and I enjoyed it’s simplicity. If you run a resident camp I would suggest you recommend this book to new hires. I think it would be a great read for international staff on the plane trip over. I can’t say they’ll learn any lessons from the book that will stay with them (they’ll need their own experiences to be able to really appreciate the advice in the book) but they will receive some comfort and ease from reading Jay’s stories about how things work at a summer camp that seems to be universal in residential camping.

If you recommend the book to your staff make sure you read it first. Jay gives advice that is based on what he’s learned from his training and experiences, which is subjective and may not line up exactly with your ideals or staff training. Of course, that can be said for any book on camp leadership. Having said that, I was reminded by Jay’s writings about lessons that I had forgotten and should be teaching my staff. I plan on reading the book again just for the stories alone. It has also encouraged me to write down my own camp stories, before I forget them, as I think we all should.

Visit www.cabinpath.ca to order your paperback or eBook on the 7th!