People are left with a certain impression when they visit your site. As an accreditation visitor for my provincial camping association I’ve had the pleasure of visiting numerous camps throughout my province. I’ve found that each camp has its own vibe. I’ve also found that first impressions are really, really important. I’ve noticed over the years that regardless of how new, old, fancy, or rustic a camp’s facilities are the thing that impacts my first impression most is how tidy/ clean the place is (note: although they go hand in hand, tidy and clean are not the same thing!)
If a facility is well looked after it leads people to make assumptions about the quality of care that the staff puts into every other aspect of their job, specifically camper care. It may not be a fair assumption, but it’s a common one.
I remember visiting a camp’s website, thinking how cool the camp was, until I saw a series of photos that had a mess in the background. My thought was, if these are the photos they’re using to promote their camp, then what does the place look like on a bad day?? The camp was for people with disabilities and special needs, and I couldn’t help but think that I wouldn’t trust them with a camper who needed special medical attention because I wouldn’t feel like I could trust them to be thorough, careful, and attentive to details.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that camps need to be military style clean, but the beds should be made, and there shouldn’t be stuff lying everywhere all the time!
So here are 5 quick tips to keeping your camp clean and making a great first impression. Continue reading
Want to know the fastest and easiest way to alienate your staff and make them feel unappreciated and disgruntled? Act like you’re better than them.
So here’s New Camp Director Pro Tip #4. Don’t do that. Or in other words, stay out of the ivory tower.
You’re in a position of authority, others look to you for advice and guidance now – awesome! That’s a pretty important role you have there but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands dirty sometimes too. Staff need to know that you respect them and one way to show them that is to work with them and not just shout orders from your throne (or desk, or lawn chair, or wherever else you might plunk yourself). Continue reading
The best leaders don’t hoard information and knowledge out of fear of being replaced. They have the confidence to plan for the future, and share information and resources to help others grow. We like to call it our “if I get hit by a bus plan”. A little morbid, I know, but it really gets to the point.
As a camp director or program leader it’s our job to shape the culture of the camp, to create an environment where people understand what’s expected of them on an organizational level, and want to excel because that’s the cultural norm of the camp. It’s fantastic if your staff like, respect, and admire you, in fact that’s also a huge part of being a successful leader, and it makes it a lot easier when getting them to buy in to the camp values. But if they’re following the rules, or doing certain aspects of their job only because you’re their pal and they don’t want to let you down… then you need to re-evaluate your camp culture. They should be doing these things because it’s the right thing to do and if your relationship with them is an added incentive, then great, even better. Continue reading