A Q&A with Heather Wilcox, Food Service & Housekeeping Director
Heather Wilcox doesn’t have a favorite thing about working at YMCA Camp Eberhart.
“I like everything! I can’t pick just one thing,” she said on a recent day in Klinger Hall.
Heather is the food service and housekeeping director at camp - charged with serving thousands of meals each year, and keeping camp’s facilities in tip-top shape.
The Y’s marketing team recently sat down with Heather to talk about her passion for feeding others and what it’s like working at Camp Eberhart.
First, just tell us a little bit about you.
I’ve lived here in Three Rivers all my life.
My husband, Wayne, and I have three children, Kyle, Tabitha, and Austin, and we have five grandchildren, Kylie, Braxton, James, Amelia, and Chase.
I’ve been in the food service business for many years, don’t know how many. I have been here 12 years, and I love it.
What’s a typical day like for you in the summer, and in the off-season?
In the winter, I do the spring cleaning before camp starts. Opening cabins and sweeping them out.
In the summertime, we’re in the kitchen at 7 a.m. First, breakfast is at 8. We serve seven meals a day. We roll out two breakfasts into three lunches, and then into two dinners. Then it’s home and we start all over again the next day.
Is there a lot of planning involved for the meals?
Yes, the menus are already done for the summer. I do that in the off-season as well. During the yucky days when you can’t get out, I plan and do other things.
Do you have a favorite camp food?
No, because we cook so much of it so often that by the end of the summer, I don’t like tacos.
But it brings joy to me knowing I’m making them what they like even though it’s eaten several times. Chicken nuggets and mac & cheese are favorites of the campers. And pizza.
How many people help you out in the kitchen?
We have four international students coming in, then I’ll have about five or six local people. It’s a lot of work back there.
Outside of the kitchen, do you have a favorite camp activity?
I don’t have a favorite activity. I’ve done a few. The high ropes course was an adventure. Canoeing and kayaking are fun. Sometimes during the summer, if I get a moment, I like to walk around camp and see the kids having fun.
Do you have a favorite memory from your time working at camp so far?
Most everything is a good memory. It’s hard to pick.
Did you go to camp as a kid?
No. I didn’t. Maybe that’s why I like it so much!
What's something that might surprise us about you?
I do not like to bake.
What's your idea of a perfect day?
When I have all of my grandchildren at the same time and our house is chaos.
Is this your forever job?
Yes, this is it. Denise asked the staff last year to write down on a piece of paper when our last day was. I wrote mine down as like 12 years from now, or so.
Is there anything about this summer, in particular, you’re looking forward to?
I’m excited because everyone else is excited. Denise is excited. Emma is excited – it's her first one. I’m excited about all the new training we’re going to be doing. And I’m excited to see the staff again when summer returns.