New Director Pro Tip #3 – Know your history

Congratulations! You’re a shiny new camp director! As you sit at your new desk in your new office with your pen, a stapler, some paperclips, a box of half used paint bottles that should be in the A & C hall, a crown that should be in the costume closet, a hoodie that should be in lost and found and a mountain of paperwork. You think, “This is SO exciting!!!” Then you might wonder, “what should I do first?” Well, right after you put those things back where they live (why is it that the directors office accumulates so many random, weird objects?) you need to learn some history. … wait… what? Yup, you heard (read?) right. It’s learnin’ time.

Pro tip # 3 – Know your history.

You need to know the history of your camp because people will ask!

People will ask all the time, which is great because that means that they’re interested. But it also means that you need to know what you’re talking about otherwise it makes you look … well… like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

And then the people will start to question if you *actually* know what you’re talking about in other areas, and that’s not good.

What do I need to know?

Learn the year the camp was built, find out if it operated under different names or was run by different organizations. How many campers did you guys originally accept? Are you still serving the same population? Learn about the camp facilities, was the main building originally a one room school-house? That’s neat! Have there been any major renovations done or large pieces of land acquired? What’s your newest building, when was it built?

Did your camp start like this?
archer10 (Dennis) / Foter / CC BY-SA

Why do I need to know this stuff?

It’s important to know all of this information because when you give tours people might ask (and those people could be potential donors or camp families, people you want to impress).

You don’t necessarily need to include all of this information in every tour, just the really cool stuff – but it’s important to have the answers if someone asks.

And they will.

The strangest question I’ve ever been asked is “how old is your septic bed?” …. ummm… that’s a great question, let me get back to you about that…

It’s also a chance to impress the alumni.
You want to have a healthy, robust alumni group and one way to do that is to encourage them to drop by for visits. While they’re there you can impress them with your camp knowledge “Oh, you were a camper from 71 – 78 and a counsellor from 79 – 88 then you must have been here when they built the new lodge. We did some more renovations in 2006, wait until you see the addition…” <— See how impressive that sounds?

Nailed it!

Lastly, it’s important to learn the history of your camp because it shows that you respect all of the work of those who came before you, and when you know where you came from it’s a lot easier to plan where you’re going. So, go through some old albums, read the camps history (or if your camp doesn’t have a written document – make one!) and have fun!
Learning is fun! Right?!
Do you think it’s important to know the story of your camp? Tell me about it in the comment section below. And don’t forget to follow the camp nerd on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google +, you can use the buttons below.

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