Fill Their Arsenals...for a successful summer camp staff training, make sure you use every moment of every day. Here are a few examples:
#1 Time to Sing, Dance, and Play
- Plan to have a few moments between sessions to teach a new song or new game. The change in pace will help your staff to refocus for your next session and will also allow them opportunities to learn new songs and activities they will use throughout the summer
#2 A Programme Fair
- Allow each staff member to visit each programme area you offer and have the person in charge of that area explain their expectations for the summer and share their creative ideas to make it the best summer ever
- You may want to do this in a rotation so that smaller groups can travel together and have more opportunities to ask questions or try some of the activities offered
- One of our most successful programme visitations was an evening we held inside the dining hall - each programme staff member had advance notice to prepare a display for our "Camp Fair" presenting their area, the activities and 'selling' counsellors and other staff members on their merits of their programme:
The Programme Staff members did an outstanding job creating display boards, pamphlets, and fun activities to get the other staff members excited for the summer.
We also asked the kitchen staff, maintenance and other support staff to prepare displays to talk about what they would be offering that summer.
The evening gave the senior staff a real pride in their programmes and the excitement in the air that evening in our dining hall was palpable.
#3 Reading Rainbow:
- At the beginning of each morning (after breakfast and duties and before the first session), allow 15 minutes of quiet reading time
- Have Staff assemble in the place where the 1st session will be held, sit in a circle, and read their manuals (this should be review as they would have received them ahead of time)
- At the end of Reading Rainbow, we allow questions on what they read that morning
- The peace and quiet is also a nice way to centre yourselves for the day's learning
- Make good use of returning staff members (no matter their role) by holding panel discussions during evening snack each night
- Ask certain members to sit on the panel each evening and allow counsellors to ask questions
- Some evenings, you can ask the questions if there are things you want to be sure are covered
- Later in the week, once the majority of your sessions have been covered, hold an Open Space:
Ask counsellors for topics that they feel they still need covered, narrow down the list and ask senior staff members to facilitate each topic. Allow the range of topics to be limitless - from backpocket games to discipline to behavioural concerns, to song harmonies - whatever the needs of your counsellors! Counsellors may then spend the time going only to the discussions they feel they need to hear or may attend ones in which they feel they have something to contribute (we usually allow 90 minutes for this activity).
What other ways do you make sure that each camp moment is a Teachable one?