Debi Maxfield doesn't need to work during the summer.
After all, many people would relish the break from her job within the Elmbrook School District.
But for her the alternative is so much better.
Maxfield, who is an occupational therapist at two Brookfield elementary schools during the school year, is the coordinator of the Brookfield Parks and Recreation Department summer camp programs. She's worked with the summer rec program for 29 years.
"I totally could (take the summer off)," she said. "Most people do. But it puts structure into my day. I still enjoy coming to work and working with kids and being outside. You tolerate the days that are going to be hot and the days that are cold.
"So (when) I get to that point where it's not fun anymore, then I'll have to retire," she said with a laugh.
As coordinator, she oversees four camps at three sites: Discovery Camp and Day Camp at Wirth Park, Adventure Camp at Mitchell Park and Recreation Enrichment at Dixon Elementary School.
"It's a lot of running around," the Wauwatosa resident said. "Once the camp starts it's just me managing, making sure everything is running smoothly and do all the coordinating."
Maxfield has always wanted to work with kids.
She earned her degree in art therapy and art education from Mount Mary College. Maxfield then returned to college and got a degree in occupational therapy.
She applies her degrees in her work with special needs students at Dixon and Tonawanda, helping them develop fine motor skills such as writing, drawing, keyboarding and tying their shoes.
While the summer camps don't begin until school is out, the main part of her job as coordinator overlaps with the final weeks of the school year.
"It's really, really busy at school trying to juggle end-of-the-year stuff and then trying to get ready for day camp. That's not my favorite time of the year," Maxfield said. "Before the camps starts is my busiest time, because that's when we're doing all the hiring, when all the supplies need to be ordered."
Maxfield said the program enrolls more than 2,000 kids between the four camps.
"It is kind of close to my heart," she said. "I love working with kids. It's a great summer job."
Just the Facts
NAME: Debi Maxfield
NOTED FOR: coordinator of Brookfield Parks and Rec summer camps, Elmbrook occupational therapist
DEBI'S POV: "I love working with kids."
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