I am a CampHacker

Hello, My name is Travis Allison and I am a CampHacker.


I tried to leave summer camp just like it was in the 70's

I sang nothing but Kum ba Yah and ate nothing but pork & beans but I was just never satisfied

In my heart I just didn't think it was a good idea to leave a cabin full of boys alone while I went down to the dock with my girlfriend

I tried. but I just couldn't leave things the way they were

It's not my fault that regulations change every year and I believe camps have to change with them

I AM a camphacker, I think camp SHOULD change and use new technology and take better care of kids

Even as a child, while other kids were building sand castles and playing capture the flag, I was writing creative announcements with costumes and lighting cues and building better cabin designs out of lego

As a teenager I began to _experiment_ with experiential education and new adventure programming games

I would sneak out of the cabin at night to the archery range to test the arrows to find the best brands for hitting bull's eyes

Throughout high school I would do essays on the best way to make s'mores - always put the marshmallow on, THEN the chocolate chips

In math class I would run equations to test my theory about Hand Washing and Health Practices for a "small community situated on a lake"

In University, I found that all of that was really just a gateway to the harder things:

Teaching others to be camphackers, in the dark and the damp with nothing but fire to light our nights

I don't what it is... I always just wanted camp to get better and more kids to know that experience

I often worked until the wee hours of the night and got up at sunrise... just to make things better at camp

I just get such a thrill when I see campers laughing until they cry

That high I get when I know that because of what I taught one more camp is going to be full this summer:

It's magical

I just can't help but search for my next fix, the next hit,

a new camp who wants to get new campers in an inexpensive way

seeing a client who's happy and has loyal campers coming back year after year after year

I'm constantly searching

for that new camp director client and the satisfaction in their face when their whole staff works together as a team and loves to be with each other

It's all I think about

I'm here now to try to change, to try to get clean

I've been clean now for weeks, I haven't jumped in a mud puddle or played a camp game until I got sweaty for...

Who am I kidding?! my pant legs are soaked - that puddle was AWESOME.

The truth is I think night and day about camp. I can't help it.

I appreciate your support

I'm Travis Allison and I am a CampHacker.

Using Video to Recruit Great Summer Camp Staff

Using Video to Recruit Great Summer Camp Staff

Getting great people to work at your camp is an incredibly important part of a camp director’s job (keeping great staff is a bigger issue that I’ll write more about this winter).

I found this video on the recruiting page of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (a non-profit doing amazing things for hunger issues in the developing world).   Let’s look at what it does for CFB:

  • It gives the organization some personality - “Hey, we’re real people, with cool ideas, who can sort of draw.”
  • It shows off the true spirit of the place - you understand from the video that this is a faith-based organization that is focused on bringing food to those who don’t have enough. We now know their values
  • It allows the people of CFB to express themselves- by not “enforcing” a company line but allowing the people to write their own answers this video shows off the uniqueness of all of the people who work there
  • It shows (not tells) us that this is a national organization - this also adds value to a potential recruit by demonstrating that there are people from across the country involved.
  • It’s FUN - good music, personal pictures, people laughing and smiling.

I’d love to work there.

Your Recruiting Task:

  1. Ask your staff to send you a photo from their webcams at school, their phones when visiting cool places or their cameras at home answering this question: How does Camp _______  make the world a better place?
  2. Take a half an hour and put it together in iMovie.
  3. Place it on your website under staff recruiting.

I bet you’ll be surprised at how creative they can be!

How is your summer camp using all of the tools available to recruit the best possible staff?