Staff Encouragement & Motivation

Supporting Your Staff – Part 5 -Shout Out Wall Update

The Shout Out Wall has been one of my post popular posts.

Kudos to you, camping community, I love that you’re all so concerned with spreading kindness and encouragement!

One of the questions that I get asked most often is, “What are some other themes I can use on my board?”

Well I thought I’d help ya’ll out with a list of themes my staff and I have come up with (and some photos too!)

If you’re new here and you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my Shout Out Wall post to get some tips on how to do one.

 

Shout Out 

You can really draw anything with this, we’ve drawn animals, megaphones, and a man’s face, you can be creative.

ABCD – Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

I went for Buzz Lightyear’s slightly less handsome cousin (because it made sense with our theme) but you could do a medal or something if that makes more sense to you.

You Rock (because…) 

I’ve done both the electric guitar type rock, as well as a poorly drawn picture of a rock, but you could be creative and do Mt. Rushmore or something! Or a KISS face. (The band, not the … duck face thing.)

You Rule (because…) Continue reading

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Celebrate Your Wins

I mentioned in this post a while back that I keep a notebook of the wins I’m excited about from each summer. Some are great big, pat on the back wins and some of them are teeny tiny personal wins.

I like to list the ones that are most important to me so that I can reflect on them later to help keep my work in perspective (especially if I need to balance something that’s challenging me). I also like to include some inspiring quotes, because that’s just the kind of person I am.

So I thought I’d share the last few years entries with you guys to hopefully inspire you to create a win book of your own. Continue reading

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WOW Book!

Last winter I was creeping around on Pinterest and came across a staff motivation Pin by Emily Hansen over at Hanselor the Counselor. She had the brilliant idea of creating a “Wow Book” for staff to praise and motivate each other, then pass along.

I recreated her idea, and tried it out this summer with my camp team. It was a hit!
Here’s how it went and what I found out along the way.

I bought an inexpensive spiral notebook and wrote “WOW!” on the front. 

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I wrote the instructions on the inside cover.

Then at a meeting I mentioned that the book might come around, told them where they could find the instructions and asked them to make sure they read them before using the book. Continue reading

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Supporting your staff – Part 4 – Secret Friend

santa catEvery season for the final week of camp we do a little activity called Secret Friend. It’s like Secret Santa – but in the summer!

It’s a great way to re-energize staff and celebrate the end of the summer while you’re at it. Here’s how it works (at my camp at least)

Timeline:

Choosing Names
On the last day of the second last session (week 7 for us) you ask the staff to pick names out of a hat (obviously if they get their own they choose another)

Shopping/ Prep
They then spend the break preparing for the week. That might include shopping, crafts, note writing, etc. (more on that later)

Leaving Goodies
The actual activity starts on the first day of the last session. (We start on day 1, the day campers arrive. Not day 0 – which is the day before campers arrive)

Continue reading

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Supporting your staff – Part 3 – Shout Out Wall

One of the easiest and most effective ways to motivate and support your staff is to publicly point out the good things they do. I know, some real high level ideas here…

But seriously, pointing out their awesomeness in front of others will give them all of the warm fuzzy feelings and let them know that you are seeing their hard work. Know what else will make em feel great? When OTHERS compliment them on a job well done too! Woah.

That’s where the shout out wall comes in handy.

IMG_2583 Continue reading

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Supporting your staff – Part 2 – Warm Fuzzies

Every camp has different ways of making their staff feel appreciated and of celebrating success. One of my favourite ways to do this is by giving Warm Fuzzies. Warm Fuzzies are encouraging little notes that you give each other as a pick me up or to say ‘job well done’.

Here are some ways to run a warm fuzzie program for your staff:

1. Write each staff person’s name on an envelope with the open end facing up. It can be any size envelope just as long as it has an open top.

I like: To use a manila envelope, make sure both ends are closed, then cut it down the middle – voila two warm fuzzie envelopes for the price of one!

2. Either decorate the envelopes for the staff as a ‘gift’ or have them decorate it themselves to personalize it.

I like: To decorate them for my staff, my ACD and I usually get together toward the end of training session and try to personalize the envelopes based on what we’ve learned about each person, music notes, polka dots, sports stuff, etc. (although I must admit, the photo below is all my ACD’s handiwork! I missed out this year)

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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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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

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Who are your counsellors?

There are a several counsellor archetypes that tend to emerge on each staff team. It’s important to be able to recognize them and learn how to meet their needs.
Here are 10 common personality types that you’re likely to encounter:

1. The “I ❤ camp because it’s camp” counsellor 

Common characteristics: this counsellor LOVES camp, they love the games, the singing, the tie dye wardrobe, and the tan lines. They’re strangely ok with early mornings, late nights, chores, and constantly being wet from being thrown in the lake. They are what we call a “lifer” they were probably a camper as a child and have worked their way up the ranks.

How to spot them: They’ll be decked out in tie dye, cargo shorts/ pants, TONS of friendship bracelets, tevas/ keds/ rain boots, and a great big smile.  Continue reading

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