ACA MidStates Conference: Travis Allison's Presentations

Marketing a Summer Camp, Smartly

I am so grateful to the volunteers and committee members of the ACA Midstates Camp Conference.   I was treated like a king and I'm so grateful to Michael Brandwein for the invite to come and speak to everyone.  

The Director's Solutions Symposium was a great idea: create a stream of conference sessions focussed on the needs of professional camp directors.   I really enjoyed the session that Suzy Loughlin (Firestorm Solutions) led on Social Media Crisis management and I heard great things about the panel discussions that took place on Friday

Travis Allison's Conference Sessions

I want to thank everyone who came to my sessions at the conference.  As promised, here are the slides from each session.

Getting Things Done as a Camp Director

Stop Marketing To Yourself - Your Clients are Not Camp People

10 Things Every Summer Camp Should Do On YouTube

Hmmn... I can't seem to embed this presentation.  Please check it out at:

Don't Forget Yourself...

A Self-Evaluation for Camp Directors

Summer Camp Director: Self Evaluation

Summer Camp Director: Self Evaluation

As Camp Directors, we are quite intentional about evaluations. We evaluate everything from people to program, food to finance, and policies to procedures. Like many things at camp, however, we often forget to put ourselves on 'the list'. 

At this time of year, when, for many, the last of the rental groups has finished and the docks are coming out, it's important to take the time to self-evaluate.  If you have a Co-Director or a Leadership Team who works full-time with you, it can be beneficial to share some of your answers as part of the process. 

CampHacker's Director Eval:  

Everybody's Got Skills 

Why do you think you were chosen you to fill this role at this time in your camp's history?

What skills do you bring to the role of ____________ which make it a successful partnership with your organization?

On which skills would you like to see yourself improve?

On The Job 

What 3 things are your favourite parts of this job?

What 3 responsibilities give you the most stress about your job?  Please be specific.

Whatdaya Need?

What do you need from your (Board, Governing Body, Camp Community)  in order the do the best job possible?  (we are assuming here that you are not already receiving these things)

What outside resources do you need to access to be better at your job?

Looking Back...

What 5 words would you use to describe this year's season at camp?

List 3 things you did very well this camping season and of which you are most proud.

What was your biggest mistake -- one you will never make again?

What advice would the “You” of today give the “You of last spring/summer?

Working Well with Others

How would you describe your working relationship with your Leadership Team this camping season?

If anything, what would you like to improve in your relationship?

What 3 things would you like to have told your Team at the end of the summer?

How can you be a better support to your Leadership Team next spring/summer?

Looking Ahead...

What do you fear most for next summer? 

What are you looking forward to most next summer?

What projects should you be doing this Fall so they are out of the way come next Spring?  (list with realistic dates by which to be finished each project)

How will Leadership Training next summer be different from this year’s?

What is your most exciting idea for next season?

We would love to hear the questions you ask yourself at the end of every year.  Reviewing and evaluating ourselves on a regular basis helps us to be more intentional in our roles as Camping Professionals.

Hello from the Head Counsellor - Head Counsellor - #0

Ideas for your summer camp Head Counsellor!

CampHacker Matt Honsberger

CampHacker Matt Honsberger

Hello everyone! My name is Matt Honsberger, at camp they call me Iscus. I play a bit of a behind the scenes role here at CampHacker, but Travis was kind enough to have me write a little bit for the site about my thoughts on something that I am very passionate about, summer camp.

Summer camp started for me at the age of 8 at small residential camp in Paris Ontario called Ganadoweh. My parents registered me for the “Wilderness Experience” trip. So I went, and for the first time, paddled a canoe, pitched a tent, sang campfire songs and experienced what missing home was really all about!

From there, I guess you could say that I really became a “child of the North”. My best friend connected me to Cairn (at the time, Glen Mhor Camp) and for 6 years, I would spend the best week of my year up there. Then, I took the fairly typical camp leadership journey from the month long LIT program in 2006, to counselling in ’07 and ’08, to being the Assistant Maintenance Director (I like to add the -Director for resumes) in 2009, then co-directed the LIT program for two years and this past summer, had the honour of being Cairn’s Head Counsellor.

I can honestly say that my 13 summers at camp have left the biggest impressions on my life and have shaped me into the leader that I am today. By no means do they make me an expert or a camp visionary, but I have definitely had some life-altering experiences and learned some lessons that I think can only really be learned at camp. In that time, this past year at camp was particularly impactful for me. I can’t think of another time in my life where I was so stressed out, so frustrated and so challenged yet so content and driven. 

That confusing inequality of emotions is exactly the type of thing that I am excited to share on this blog. Below, you’ll find out some of my insights on being a head counsellor based around the kind of experiences and encounters that I had. Once again, I don’t claim to be a visionary but I hope that my thoughts will spark some of your own and that together, we can come out with something visionary-ish. 


[Travis' edit: You can connect with Matt on Twitter @Iscus

Next article - The Job Description(ish.)