First Impressions Last - CampHacker #102

If your first impression was your only impression, how would you fare?

Podcast: Subscribe in  iTunes    |  Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

For most of us, it's off-season proper. We're almost at the point where summer is no longer leaving, it's approaching.

Your autumn may have been full of Outdoor Education groups, clean-up from the summer (seriously, who left the tie dye out!?), or closing up a seasonal site. Now that registration is up, or will be shortly, and your marketing plan is starting to take shape, grab a coffee, a comfy chair, and get critical.

This is the time to start thinking broader about the polish that can be added to your initial customer experience.

How do your staff answer the phone? What story does the home-page of your website tell? Who meets families on opening day? How do you train your super-awesome, yet awkward teenagers to talk to parents? What is your camp's "wow factor" that people experience as they are driving down the camp road?

Take a second and answer those questions super honestly. How are you doing? If there are any aspects of your first impression that made you mentally (or physically) hang your head, no worries, the CampHackers are here to help.

Travis, Gab, Joe, Dan are joined by returning guest-host Jalisa Danhof from Camp Newaygo to absolutely blow your mind with their experience and ideas on how to make your camp's first impression memorable for all the right reasons. Again, have a pen and paper handy for this one.

What special touches do you put into starting off on the right foot with camper families? Let us know in the comments, we'd love to know!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Dan: The Awakened Family: How to Raise Empowered, Resilient, and Conscious Children 
by Shefali Tsbary, Ph.d.
Gabz: LED Twinkle Lights
Joe: Mixed Media Book as an example - Canson Art Pad
Jalisa: The Beacon 8000

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Building Community With Your Local Community - CampHacker #98

It's not just about being a good neighbour!

(you should still be a good neighbour)

Podcast: Subscribe in  iTunes    |  Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

First things first, if you don't draw campers from a community in close proximity to your site, DON'T TUNE OUT! If you were about to tune out but didn't due to the capital letters (you're welcome), this show may actually be perfect for you!

No matter how far your "draw" is for campers, it's absolutely critical that camps have a good relationship with their neighbours and local communities. 

If you have close residences (especially on a lake), it's important to recognize the fact that you're a noisy, bell-ringing, song-sining (screaming) place. If your camp is a little more secluded, you may be facing the challenge that, despite your strong camper numbers, people don't even know you exist!

It's safe to say, you aren't the conventional neighbour, but that can be your biggest advantage. From dropping mailers on the docks of lake neighbours, to sponsoring local sports teams, to offering free meals for families in need, there is so much good that your camp can do, while doing some good for your organization.

CampHackers Travis, Joe and Dan are joined by Marc Cooper from Camp Tamarack and AWARD WINNING Jalisa Danhof from Camp Newaygo to bring to you an absolute TON of ways to be the best neighbour you can be for your community.

What are you going to do THIS year to connect with your local community? Let us know in the comments below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: - An innovative way for your camp's strategic visioning

Joe: Maui Jim - Sunglasses that stand up to camp

Dan: Quiet Power - Susan Cain -

Jalisa: The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt -

Marc: The Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday -

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What's on your mind? - CampHacker #97

Uncertainty is a Killer of Good Work...and Other Debatable Statements

What's on your mind right now?

It's fair to say that it's getting into "crunch time", but it's also probably fair to say that there's still some time to think.

And when there's time to think, there's sometimes a space created in a section of our brains that is reserved for vulnerability. Whatever that is to you - uncertainty, concern, doubt, worry - thoughts like these have a way of floating in and settling in the spaces in-between your day to day. These thoughts don't exactly impede our progress, but if left un-dusted, the can certainly prevent us from moving forward on potentially critical aspects of our upcoming season.

This episode is for some of those thoughts. It's also for the thoughts that are on the minds of our CampHackers and Camp Pros in the community. Travis and Joe are joined by good friend of the show, Paul Sheridan from Four Winds, Westward Ho to share not only what's on their minds in February of 2017, but to comment on some other Camp Pro's thoughts from around the camping community. 

Tune in to hear thoughts on:

  • Uncertainty
  • Embracing change (both for yourself and for your staff/organization)
  • Best advice for a new Director or management in your organization
  • How to deal with the feeling of loneliness after a season of camp is over

What's on your mind?

We would love to hear it and if you have any big burning thoughts, please do throw them down in the comments below. We would be happy to hear them and maybe feature it as a topic of discussion for future episodes!


Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: Book - How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck - Steve Stockman

Joe: Tervis - Mug/Cups that keeps things the temperature that you intend them to be

Paul: Delorme InReach - Global satellite technology useful for tripping programs

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The Hard Truth About Staff Evaluations - CampHacker #83

Help your staff grow with meaningful evaluations

Your leaders at camp need feedback. In the busyness of the summer, it’s tempting to add evaluations to the bottom of your to-do list and never get to it. Before you do that though, take a second to think back to your first few years on staff. How much of your growth would you attribute to the formal or informal evaluations that you got from your staff and peers?

On this episode of the CampHacker podcast, CampHackers Travis, Joe, Gab and Dan break down the ins and outs of all things staff evaluations. You will find excellent discussions on why evaluations are important, how to teach your staff to evaluate each other and some awesome best evaluation practices from four different veteran director perspectives. If you aren’t evaluating, or want to get better at it, then this episode was made especially for you.

How do evaluations work at your camp? We would love to hear your best practices in the comment section below.

Bonus Content!

15five Questions - #HR weekly questions that take 15 min to answer, 5 minutes to read

  • What's going well? Any wins (big or little) this week?

  • What challenges are you facing? Where are you stuck?

  • How are you feeling?  What's the morale you see around you?

  • One suggestion to improve your role, team or organization?

  • What are your top three priorities for the coming week?

The Office - Teaching Staff Evaluation Ice-Breaker Videos

Joe’s 10 point scale:

  1. Initiative - does the individual show the ability to start task on their own, lead things on their own etc.

  2. Independence - can they work by themselves and be successful?    

  3. Problem Solving - are they able to solve problems when they arise?    

  4. Communication - do they communicate well with campers, other staff members and supervisors?    

  5. Ability to work in a team - when needed can they work in a team and be a positive contribution to camps success    

  6. Adaptability - can they go with the flow as things change and different needs arise?    

  7. Compassion - do they show the ability to feel others emotions and help with any issues?    

  8. Leadership - can they lead? Do they lead? Are they a good leader?    

  9. Passion for what camp is - Do they have passion and show that passion in their actions and words    

  10. Willingness to do that needs to be done

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

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