Listables

30 Themed Meeting Ideas

Ok, so a while ago I mentioned having theme meetings at camp in this post and another camp pro Dan Laubach pointed out to me that I’m a big weiner who never followed up with the list of themes I promised (ahem, ok maybe I’m paraphrasing *a little*, Dan was actually much more polite and kind in his request for a list of themes.)

Thanks Dan, for putting this back on my radar, it’s something I wanted to share.

Most of these are pretty ridiculous and came about out of weird things my staff were doing that summer or just sort of happened organically.

Before we get into the list, here are some tips.

1. If you’re going to do a silly or stupid theme meeting, make sure you don’t have to discuss anything too serious.

2. Be aware that if you do a theme, it might take a little longer to get through the meeting, because people are likely to burst into giggles every so often.

3. Most of my meetings used to be in the evening, so a lot of these themes make a lot more sense to do at night.

30-themes

Masks

This one came about because a staff member really wanted to see someone wearing a funny mask, so we demanded that everyone put on a mask as they came in for meeting. No one asked any questions, they just went with it, it was silly and hilarious.

Things TKD would like

Sometimes we like to make it all about us… (TKD is the nickname for the assistant camp director and I) We left it open-ended, staff showed up dressed in a lot of plaid, toques, tie dye, and drinking coffee. All of these things were accurate.

Let’s be honest, there’s nothing funnier than impersonating your boss so the staff got a kick out of it. (Ok, if I’m being reaaaally honest, we were hoping they’d bring us food we liked… maybe next time we need to be more specific hahaha)

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When will you get a “real” job?

Hey guys, before you read any further, did you know you can follow my blog with Bloglovin? Neat!

Ok, back to the topic at hand…

I recently attended a family event, which was great, it’s always nice to see extended family and catch up with them.

We ate, we laughed, we reminisced about embarrassing stories from my childhood… good times were had by all.

But then come the questions… you know, the ones about camp – the “when will you get a “real” job” questions and their variations, I’ve gotten really good at fielding these over the years but these ones were extra funny some how.

Here’s how these hilarious conversations went down…

What do you do the rest of the year?

“Well, it’s a full-time, year round job… so I do camp stuff!
Just like any small business, I create the budget, write reports, hire staff, recruit campers, etc.”

 

Can’t you get a promotion so that you don’t have to work at camp in the summer anymore? Does’t so-and-so work at your company? Can’t you get a job like his? He doesn’t have to work at camp.
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Back to the Future (camp edition!)

Wednesday October 21st is “Back to the Future Day“.

If you haven’t seen the Back to the Future movies… I’m sorry. You should probably just go and watch them now. It’s ok, I’ll wait. Priorities people!!

Anyway, for anyone who’s been living under a rock or, *ahem* in the woods, for the last 30(ish) years – here’s why Back to the Future Day is important for camp folk.

In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly travels to the future from 1985 to do some stuff and some things in 2015 (and he arrives on, you guessed it, October 21st).

Now aside from the obvious AWESOME theme day potential (if anyone makes a Delorean for their theme, I’d like to see pictures please! And if you don’t know what I’m referring to, well… I told you to go watch the movie. I even waited!)

Anyway, the other really interesting thing about Back to the Future II are the “predictions” the creators made about what life would be like in 2015. (Interestingly enough, according to the movie’s Wikipedia page, Director Robert Zemeckis claims that they weren’t trying to make accurate predictions about the future, but just trying to make it funny.) Some of their predictions came true, like video chat, flat screen wall mounted tv’s, Florida now has a Major League Team (which wasn’t a thing in 1989 when the movie was released) and the Chicago Cubs are evidently doing well and could be headed to the World Series. (?) Go sports.
(There were lots of things that they unfortunately got wrong too… I’m yet to be able to purchase a hoverboard or flying car. COM’ON SCIENCE! Where are your priorities??)

So how is this relevant to camp you may ask?
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Listables – Top 10 things I learned from working at summer camp

I’m celebrating 15 years in camping this summer, I’ve worked in very “rustic” camps, music camps, science camps, day camps and camps for people with disabilities. I’ve learned a lot over the years, here are 10 of my top lessons

1. How to cook some gourmet meals over a campfire

Anne Worner / Foter / CC BY-SA

I’m not much of a cook to begin with to be honest, but I’m actually better at cooking over a campfire than I am over a stove.

2.  It’s ok to be foolish, in fact it’s encouraged camp is about having fun and being silly, nobody takes themselves too seriously and it makes for a really welcoming, comfortable environment. Continue reading

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A Roundup – 10 of the Best Camp Resources

Yesterday I was chatting with a camping colleague over at Summer Camp Secrets and I realized that I should share some of the amazing resources I’ve curated over time (ohhh…. makes me sound so fancy doesn’t it? Fancy Pants Camp Nerd. That’s what they call me. And by they, I mean me… just now.)

Annnyway, here are 10 truly awesome summer camp resources you need to check out now. (and by check out, I mean read every single word and watch every single video, if you’re anything like me. They’re that good.)

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Listables – It’s a roundup – of books!

I figured it was time to share some of the resources I’ve used over the past few years that (I think) have helped me become a better camp director.
I’m talkin’ bout BOOKS people! Yes, actual, physical, hold em in your hands, smell the pages, circle, underline, highlight, write in the margins, dog- eared, books! ahhhhhh!

I’ve always been a book lover; don’t get me wrong, I also use a ton of online resources for inspiration and education purposes, but that’s a post for another day (actually, it’ll probably be my next listables post) but my first love is a good book.

Here’s a few books I find useful. In no particular order.

IMG_08331. I love Malcolm Gladwell books. Unfortunately I couldn’t find David & Goliath, or The Tipping Point, which is my favourite of his (honestly, it’s one of my favourite books in general) so I couldn’t add them to this photo. But I love his books because they give me a different perspective, and I have all of these great moments where Gladwell can be talking about graffiti in New York’s subway stations or different types of mustard and I’ll have an epiphany about camper care or staff dynamics. Seriously!
He’s a phenomenal storyteller and the way he weaves seemingly unrelated topics together to support his argument inspires me to be more creative in my thinking and problem solving.

I highly recommend all of Malcolm Gladwell’s books (ok David & Goliath wasn’t my favourite, but still, great author)
The Tipping Point
Blink
Outliers
What the Dog Saw
David & Goliath

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Toolkit for New Directors – Listables

Everybody loves a good list! I know I do!! Here’s a list of things that every new camp director should have, and I wish that someone had given me a box of these things when I started – along with the coinciding advice.

Note: If you know a new camp director, give them a box of these items, or a basket, preferably a picnic basket, if they’re a camp director chances are they buy into the idea of eating outside, on the ground… anyway…. this would be a nice gift for someone.

1. Duct tape

Advice – Duct take is like gold at camp, it will be used for everything. You will be forever searching for it because your counsellors will have swiped it, I strongly recommend writing your name or “office” on the inside of it and keeping it in a safe place.

2. A pencil-case containing pens/ highlighters/ sharpies/ post-it notes

Advice – Ok I realize that this is sort of cheating because I’m telling you to get a pencil-case then put a ton of office supplies in it, but all of them are important – and it’s super handy to have them all in one spot!! Again, beware of counsellors “borrowing” your supplies, cause they will, especially pens and sharpies.

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