Monthly Archives: October 2014

5 Quick Tips – Running a Meeting (with camp counsellors)

Meetings are a part of the job, not everybody likes them but they’re a great way to pass information, check in with people and highlight some of the positives or give feedback about what you’d like to see happen. Here are some lessons I learned along the way to prevent grumbles from your staff when they hear there’s a meeting.

1. Be Positive.
Nobody likes a Negative Nelly (sorry Nelly, you know it’s true). Try to find ways to focus on the positives, and smile. Chances are your staff are tired and either want to get on with their day, or go to bed (depending on meeting time) so send them off on a positive note. Give high fives.

Great Meeting!! High Five!!
                                                              big-ashb / Foter / CC BY

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New Director Pro Tip #2 – The Elevator Pitch

Figure out your ‘elevator pitch’ for potential camp families, donors, staff, and the general community.

An elevator pitch is a short persuasive sales pitch designed to get across your key points in about 30 seconds or less. About the time it would take you to get from point A to point B in an elevator. You can take up to 60 seconds… but that’s pushing it. If it’s longer than 60 seconds… well, I hope you’re not claustrophobic cause your elevator just got stuck.

Brendan Adkins / Foter / CC BY

Chances are you’re going to be attending camp fairs where people are just going to be stopping by dozens (or hundreds!) of booths to grab a pamphlet and a free pen. You want to be able to make an impression on them before they start slowly backing away from you (Bonus tip: that’s never a good sign).



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5 Quick Tips – Staying Healthy At Camp

We’ve all been there, one person gets sick at camp. And before you know it, the whole cabin/ section/ camp has come down with the sniffles… Dun dun Dunnnn! The key is to prevent people from getting sick in the first place. And it’s OUR job as leaders to set an example – our staff and their campers are going to follow our lead, make sure it’s worth following.

Here are 5 easy ways to keep yourself healthy while you’re at summer camp.

1. Wash your hands, man.

Let’s be real, campers are awesome, hilarious, wonderful and fun. They ARE camp. But those tiny dudes are also full on germ factories.
You’d think that washing your hands would be a given, but it’s not. You should be washing your hands so much that you’re complaining about them getting dry

Bonus tip: I also recommend using moisturizer, and/ or moisturizing hand soap

Cayusa / Foter / CC BY-NC

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New Director Pro Tip # 1 – The Wishlist

Always have a wish list ready.

At some point someone is going to ask you “what would you like to do/ change/ buy at camp?”
Have some ideas ready to tell them, ideally in various price ranges so that if they decide to donate to your program they have some flexibility in how much they spend in order to get you something you want or need.

When I first started in my current position the Director of Development met with me to talk about my vision for the camp. During the meeting she asked me to come up with a wish list for the camp, I immediately handed her a 6 page list and told her that I started small because I didn’t want to overwhelm her. It is still a running joke in the office (full disclosure, I was able to get away with it because of our personalities and the great relationship we had quickly developed – I wouldn’t be that cheeky with just anyone… ok maybe I would… but still, I don’t recommend that approach for everyone). Continue reading

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Supporting your staff – Part 1- Take a break

Being a camp counsellor is an awesome job. It can be a hard, exhausting, emotionally and physically draining job – but man, it’s awesome! Camp counsellors are on duty 24 hours a day everyday while their campers are on site. They are expected to be patient, kind, understanding, fun, silly, full of energy, responsible, leaders, teachers, authority figures, role models, friends, confidants, and so much more – all at the same time. It’s a big job, and there are thousands of counsellors every summer who accomplish this and go above and beyond to give their campers an amazing summer. They are rock stars.

It’s up to the camp director and the leadership staff to make sure that camp counsellors are able to be rock stars for their campers. Continue reading

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If I could do it over… the mohawk incident

When I was a first year director I had a “problem counsellor” (looking back, I now realize that I was part of the problem but I couldn’t see it then), he wasn’t a bad guy or anything, just a little bit clueless… kind of a bud (see my Who Are Your Counsellors post, and check out the flower description).

We had already had a couple of run in’s and ‘serious conversations’ by the time the mohawk incident happened, so I have to admit I was already a little annoyed and impatient with him.
Here’s what happened:

I had just gotten back from a town trip and realized that something from one of my bags has spilled all over the back of the camp van, so I was furiously trying to clean it up, and I was pretty grumpy about it because it was a sweltering hot day and the last thing I wanted to do was scrub the carpeted trunk of a too hot van. Continue reading

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Small Victories, Big Results

It’s October! The leaves are turning colours, people are cozying up in their big sweaters while eating all things pumpkin, and camp directors all throughout the land are reflecting on their previous summer.
This is a hugely important part of the evaluation and planning process and all too often we look at the previous summer through a lens of finding ways to improve next year.

But wait…  we often forget to celebrate our successes, big and small. There’s a quick nod of appreciation or an email sent around congratulating us on increasing the camper numbers or coming in under budget, but do we really celebrate those things?  Continue reading

Categories: Administration, Staff Encouragement & Motivation | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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