I talk a lot about fun & cute ways to support your staff, shout out walls, warm fuzzies, etc. but the most important way to support your staff is to actually, physically, be there for them. Let them know that you’re available to talk – or listen
if when they need it. Then, actually BE available!
I know that as a camp director you have tons of work to do, ESPECIALLY as a new camp director… sometimes you feel like you have too many balls in the air, I totally get it.
I start during training session, I tell that staff that my ACD and I can be their “people” and that if they’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, confused, or any other emotion that makes them feel icky, they can come find us and we’ll talk, hug, scream, eat our feelings… whatever it is that they need.
Some camp directors are great at scheduling office hours to keep themselves on track and so staff know when they’re available to chat. That’s not one of my strengths. My guess is that that type of system would work better for bigger camps with hundreds of staff and large leadership teams.
I run a small camp, I wear a lot of hats (figuratively AND literally – I really like hats!) so one minute I can be submitting payroll, the next I can be helping wash dishes, and the next I can be hanging out with a counsellor and their camper who just needed a little down time. So I have to make sure I carve out time to check in with staff, and to let them know that even though I may LOOK busy – I’m never too busy for them.