Collaboration with the Camp Staff Dream Team pt 3.

Hello from the Head Counsellor! #4



Hello everyone! Happy December! I hope that wherever you are, the weather is reflecting the season much better than it is here in Waterloo. It’s cruel to be honest. We have the bone chilling temperatures that makes you wonder if it’s worth staying home rather than de-icing your car and wind that manages to find it’s way into every nook in your wardrobe without and snow to show for it! Bah. 

Fortunately. The cold and snowlessness outside has urged me to stay inside and do some reflecting on my experience with collaboration this summer. So with your hot chocolate in hand, let’s do a little thinking. Shall we?

If you would like some context on where my thoughts are coming from, check out the past two articles.

Part 1 - Here
Part 2 - Here

Now that you are caught up, you will see that I had quite the experience with collaboration this summer. On the surface level, one might think that in terms of success and failure, I had succeeded in getting the counsellors to collaborate together and further their knowledge through each other. However, in terms of using collaboration as a means to manage a community, I’m not sure what to call that. 

I think my problem with coming up with an answer, was that I didn’t have a final goal in mind and this experience was just that; an experience. I think that the whole point of this was that not having a goal would take my influence out of the process and let it grow freely. The only goal, which was created collaboratively, was to try and achieve the DREAM team acronym each week. 

So since the counsellors and I never actually achieved the “Dream Team” goal, what does that mean about the whole process? Did I as the supervisor need to be more or less involved? Was the “buy-in” factor just not there? Did we as a group feel good about how we ended up and did we learn from the process? Or does any of the even matter? Were we a good group of counsellors? Yes. Did we create lasting memories for the campers? Yes. Did the collaborative management help as a part of those successes? I certainly hope so.

I think what it comes down to, is that collaborative experience effected everyone in different ways. It doesn’t really come down to success or failure, but if this process spoke to people and helped them and the staff as a whole, even better. 

I have to say, it was a truly enlightening experience and even though it left me with more questions than answers, I feel like it’s the questions that are going to stick with me (and hopefully you!) until the next time I look into collaborating with a group.

Before I go, I’ll leave you with some of the questions that are sticking with me at the moment. If you have any thoughts about any of them, feel free to comment below, or tweet me @iscus

Collaboration questions:

  • Does camp atmosphere fuel collaboration?
  • Is it the role of the facilitator of the group to use their bias to weed out expectations that are set too unrealistically? Or does that completely nullify the point of collaboration?
  • Are there degrees of collaboration or is it just black and white?
  • Did I have to wait until everyone was ready to say that they believed that they had accomplished the DREAM team requirements or could I have just taken the majority?

Thanks for reading these past articles! It’s been an absolute blast to write them for you! 

Cheers for now!
Matt “Iscus” Honsberger
The Head Counsellor