Asking for 100%

Hey all! James Davis here! Hope summer is going terrifically for you. We're in the throes of summer camp ourselves, but there's been something exciting going on here that I just had to share! 

It's an approach we've adopted from the magical Camp Augusta - so hopefully someone there will chime in if we are using it in a way that's drastically different from them :)

As a staff living in close community, figuring out what everyone needs can be hard. Really hard. And frequently, in our effort to be considerate of others, many of us have the tendency to not ask for the things we really want from others. 

"I really wish Sasha would help clean the lodge, but I know she's busy. I guess I'll just do it again this time."

We all know how the story ends: a staff member in our office 3 weeks later who is unhappy with how the situation is resolving itself. Perhaps Sasha finds out and is self conscious that people have been talking about how she won't clean for 3 weeks. Or maybe the counselor who was annoyed finally bubbles over and storms in saying how Sasha hasn't done any cleaning all summer. What a mess.

The idea is simple. When we are living in close community, we absolutely need to communicate to others what our needs are. ALL of our needs. But everyone sort of knows this, so how do we get staff to buy in?

It's actually an easier sell than you might think. 

We have agreed as a community that we will always ask for 100% of what we want from others, and have agreed that while living in a community that asks for 100%, we'll be totally honest with others when we can't meet 100% of what they are asking for. When we ask for 100%, we'll prepare to hear "no," and be ready to find a way to do our best to meet everyone's needs as best we can.

This arrangement makes it so no one has to guess what anyone else is thinking, or has to wonder if Sasha is ever going to pick up a darn vacuum. If someone decides to clean the lodge instead of bother Sasha, she does so because she really wants Sasha to focus on her other work, not because she secretly hopes Sasha will read her mind and change her behavior as a result.

It's been really interesting to watch summer staff start using this kind of language with each other ("I'm going to ask you for 100% here - I could really use a break during the 3rd activity period, do you think you could cover Sports for me?"), and watching the resulting honesty and clean communication. We've been working for a long time at untying this specific knot, and the language around asking for 100% appears to have been a significant break through for us.

What's something new that's working for you this summer? We'd love it if you'd take a moment to share!