Thursday • 2014.07.03
Klick Camp and Awesome Work Culture
I’ve been a Web Developer at Klick Health for nine moths now, and right from the start, I’ve always felt “at home” here. I know a lot of my co-workers feel the same way. On the weekend of June 13th, however, Klick changed that feeling up a bit—and we all got to feel “at camp” instead.
Klick seems to really love its employees, and gives us all sorts of cool free stuff and awesome events, including the annual Klick Camp at Camp Muskoka.
Last year, 2013, was the first time Klick did Camp Muskoka. Since I joined up after that, I’ve been hearing for months (at the weekly Klick Tavern) about tales of campfire songs, paintball drama, tree climbing adventures… and it’s possible that drinking games, parties and dancing were mentioned in passing. It all sounded so great, but since everyone I’d conversed with seemed to think it was a one-off event, I was jealous I’d missed out.
Fortunately the news came to us early this year, as winter cruelly stretched on into spring and we all still had to wear long coats into work off-season, that Klick Camp would return this summer and was officially confirmed as an annual event. And so it was that Klick Camp 2014 became my first (but definitely not my last) Klick Camp experience.
In a single word, albeit one that’s a little 90’s dated, Klick Camp 2014 was wicked. Let me be honest here, I’m a total dork and not at all athletically inclined. Like most Klicksters, I’m also fairly into technology and staying connected. So I was a little sceptical I would be able to enjoy Klick Camp, which is held at Camp Muskoka with (gasp!) no WiFi, and only spotty mobile coverage. What am I getting myself into? I thought. But I courageously boarded the bus with my colleagues, knowing they would be in the same off-the-grid boat with me (literally–there are boats at Camp Muskoka).
My courage paid off: I barely spared my smartphone another thought for the next 24 hours, except to take pictures and video. Once the bus got going, the movie started, and somebody handed me a drink, I simply relaxed and let the Awesome come to me: It’s nice to work with people you can go into weekend mode with, and feel you’re surrounded by friends.
No sooner had I arrived and set up my bunk in the lodge, than I encountered my first adventure… the challenge of the balancing cord, strung low between two trees. I fell and was nearly bisected, but everything turned out better than expected.
Camp had something for everyone, starting with delicious tacos (I like mine with chicken and lots of shredded cheese, but vegans, vegetarians, and non-gluten folk were accommodated too). Then we mingled and shared drinks, as we enjoyed a stunning view of the lake, and openly mocked mosquitos who were unable to eat us due to bug spray. Well… Mostly unable to eat us.
After a brief stop at the massive Klick Campfire for popcorn, roasted marshmallows and hotdogs, it was on to the hall for (DJ) Adrian Morris’s dance party. I can’t dance worth beans, but I was wearing a purple onesie with glowsticks so it was game on. Also beer pong was there (full disclosure: there was also Jaeger pong). I gladly cheered on my co-workers with stronger constitutions, but I chickened myself out of the competition… While I may not be a belligerent drunk, my stomach certainly is. Fortunately, Klick provides non-alcoholic beverages, including beer, so nobody ever has to miss out on the fun just because they may not wish to drink.
What’s the perfect thing to do out at camp, outdoors in the wilderness, in the middle of the night, on Friday the 13th? Watch Friday the 13th on a giant inflatable screen, of course. With nothing but obsidian darkness visible beyond the treeline, and with the sound of the lake nearby, it was a disturbingly immersive experience. Particularly with Friday the 13th’s most dedicated historian, Glen Zujew, on-hand to narrate the movie with every obscure fact. If any piece of knowledge has even a barely tangible connection to that film, Glen Zujew knows about it. And now I do too. Thanks Glen.
The next day’s morning session afforded a choice between Aerial Park, Paintball, or lake stuff such as kayaking and other lake things. I opted for the fourth option, and enjoyed a well-earned snooze in the cabin (because reasons). I heard that VP Simon Withers combined options, and took his nap in a boat in the middle of the lake (where apparently mosquitos fear to buzz). Just one example of the sort of innovative solutions we generate here at Klick.
In the afternoon, I must confess, I kind of skipped paintball on purpose, despite the rather large and impressive looking arena they have at Camp Muskoka. I was a little concerned when some of my co-workers showed up dressed like Stargate SG-1: I couldn’t help but form the impression they had done this sort of thing before... I resolved to do some practice later this year, so that next time at Camp Muskoka, I might stand a chance of inflicting roughly the same amount of splattery fun violence on my opponents as they would doubtless unleash on me.
Instead, I went to prove that I too can climb trees, at Camp Muskoka’s Aerial Park. Afterwards, my buddy Matt Newelski pulled out his phone and filmed me performing the role of banshee on the Camp Muskoka zip-line.
Not bad for a one-day stay.
The Miracle of Klick
As a queer person, bullying has always been a soul-crushing problem for me at the places I’ve worked in my life. Ditto schools… and, you know, summer camps. So, a lot of times, events that were totally super fun for most people were not so much fun for me. That definitely factored into my initial anxiety about going to Klick Camp. However, Klick Health sets an example I wish all employers would follow, and somehow (miraculously?) fosters a work (and play) environment that is totally bullying-free, which is one of the primary reasons I’m so happy to be here. Fun is the other main reason.
Klick does a lot of things other companies don’t do. They’re very careful about who they hire… It’s important that people be Awesome. There’s an internal Culture and Engagement team, who are the people that organize the awesome events like Klick Camp. There’s Genome, which keeps us all talking, working, and interacting far more readily than anywhere I’ve worked before. I don’t know if it’s some combination of those factors, or something else entirely, but there’s something different and special about Klick. Something that makes company trips and summer camp safe and fun instead of awkward and scary.
Klick Camp was wicked.