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What does it really mean to be camp manager?

This blog was written by Dominique Minnaar, Bushwise Professional Field Guide student. Each week, Bushwise students take turns as camp manager to experience what it’s like to run a lodge or a team. Writing a blog is part of that process.

4 min read

For those of you who are curious about what it’s like to have the duty of being the person who keeps things orderly, then this is the blog for you. On campus, each student is given the opportunity to feel a sense of leadership by owning the title of camp manager for one whole week. However, every leader is responsible for not only their own actions, but the actions of others around them too. 

Personally, I felt that being camp manager is quite a busy role. There is so much to consider and you have to pay attention to smaller details that no one else usually would. Fortunately, I shared my duty as camp manager with another student. When managing campus, you yourself must take initiative and plan how to solve problems that come up. Of course, I am still a student, therefore if there’s anything I don’t have the ability or authority to control, then it’s my duty to report those issues to my trainers. 

My duties as Camp Manager 

Bushwise students hard at work on an exam, studying for their FGASA qualification.
  1. Communicating with my trainers and sharing their instructions with my fellow camp mates. I had to ensure that everyone on campus was aware of what the schedule for the day entailed. 

  2. Monitoring cleanliness and duties. I had to keep an eye out on my campmates to make sure that they were all doing their part in helping out around campus. I too had to do my part in keeping camp spotless. Together, everyone would work in teams sweeping the class, emptying bins or washing dishes. 

  3. Checking that all the lights were switched off every night – I did this very quickly because I didn’t want to accidentally encounter our hyena friends in the black abyss of the night!)

  4. Checking that soaps in bathrooms were restocked. 

  5. Reporting broken or malfunctioning things to Phillip, our trusty handy-man.

  6. Supporting my campmates. My way of showing support was by asking them how they felt each day, getting back to them on any sort of injuries they had and by offering my help with what they needed.

  7. Handling the radio! It was super cool to carry it around. I felt like I was in a spy or military movie every time I said ‘’copy that’’. Sometimes I got a bit playful and flipped through the channels to do a count down and imitate the noise of an explosion! However, I knew that it was strictly used on game drives, or otherwise in emergencies. (It’s good to have fun but as guides, we must remember to balance it with professionalism and recognise the appropriateness.) 

A busy week at Bushwise

Bushwise student Dominique Minnaar prepares for an exam by studying hard!

This week was jam-packed! We went on multiple drives and covered amphibians, arthropods and fish. I can definitely say that my time management skills were put to the test. Being camp manager taught me a bunch of stuff. It showed me how to be assertive and improved my communication skills. 

I learnt that one should not be afraid when making decisions, but should rather be prepared for the outcomes of those decisions. You need to plan and be attentive to every detail, as those are the things that actually have the biggest impact. Leadership skills and teamwork played a massive part in camp management, which helped me out of my shell and be more open-minded to other people’s ideas. 

Because I had to pay more attention to my surroundings, the simple and fun interactions of people around me became much clearer. One memory from this week that sticks out is when my trainer and two of my friends had a race. I heard shouting and laughing as their loud stomps came hurrying down the road all the way to class…I loved that. 

This experience gave me new confidence

Bushwise students take time to relax and have a bit of fun by the river, while on a game drive in Makalali Game Reserve.

I’m naturally a reserved person, so this course has shown me that it is good to share yourself and thoughts with others. I saw this especially during my role as camp manager. 

All that I have been exposed to has given me the confidence that I will need to become highly knowledgeable and skilled. The reason why I came to Bushwise is because it holds a wide variety of interests of mine that I have had since childhood. I am thrilled to know that I am learning tons of new and wonderful things about what I love – and as an added bonus I am learning about who I am as an individual. I can’t wait to use what I have learnt for whatever adventures lie ahead!

Enjoy reading about Bushwise student experiences? Find more on our blog page.




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