Do This Now To Set Your Summer Camp Staff Up For Success - CampHacker #108

You may be in the thick of things, but your staff are ready, and they need you.

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Hello Camp Pros!

Well, it's late April/early May, and you know what that means.

EVERYBODY PANIC!

No no, only kidding! But likely, it can start to feel like it at this time of year.

As we finish stretching to prepare for the sprint that is camp, we can't forget that the race we are about to run is not a solo event, it's a relay!

For many of us, our staff are either starting to think about coming, or are starting to trickle up to camp. While it's sometimes stressful when people are adding to the mix of your daily workflow, it's important that we step back and remember that these are the people that will carry out all the marketing and selling you've done since September. Their energy that you had when you were 17 is just waiting to be unleashed and it's important that you take the time to begin to harness that energy and point it in the right direction.

Last episode, we covered some broad ways that you can support staff by creating and sustaining a culture that focuses on mental wellness (which was an eye-opening episode and if you haven't listened already, please do!). This time around, we've brought the team and some friends in to talk about some of the practical steps that you should take NOW to help your staff get ready to unleash their awesome this summer.

Joining Travis, Dan and Joe to share their best practices and ideas are Ange Atkinson, Camp Director at Camp Lantern Creek and Patti Sampson, Camp Director at Coastal Roots Camp, and host of the Podcast: Rec Heads and Camp Nerds

Enjoy!

What kinds of things are you doing right now to set your team up for success? Let us know in the comments!

Bonus Resources - Because people who read the show notes are the best people.

Travis' Bonjoro Link:

Dan’s Dan Pink Episode

If Slack isn't for you, give Flock a peek!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: Oxford At-Hand Note Carrier 

Dan: The Emergent Task Planner

Joe: Tempered Glass screen covers for phones

Ange: Use Facebook Live to add some zest to your marketing smorgasbord! 

Patti: Gratitude Journaling

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Supporting Staff Mental Wellness - CampHacker #107

Your camp staff's mental wellness is a priority. Period.

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How many of our camp brochures or websites preach that our camp teaches kids about grit and resilience?

Okay everyone, put your hands down. 

Now, home many of us can say that we put that same effort into fostering grit and resilience with our staff? Sure, we may have staff check-ins and encourage staff to write motivational notes to each other, but although those are great, the times when just that was enough are likely coming to a end.

Before we continue, let's check ourselves remember that the world that we grew up in, in the 70's, 80's and 90's is very different than the one where our staff are growing up in now. The pressures of the world combined with the increased expectations of parents and peers, all lumped in with a toxic social media culture, makes for one of the most tumultuous times to be a youth.

We've grown and changed as an industry in so many ways. Now, when it comes to addressing the mental health of our staff, it's time to grow again. We would never leave our campers who are missing home and mentally struggling, so why would do it to our staff who are missing home, camp and mentally struggling in other ways?

This is a challenging episode, and honestly, it might be one of our heaviest yet, but we hope you'll stick with it and let this sink in.

Joining Travis, Dan and Gab in walking down this road is the fantastic Amanda Grassick from Camp Woodeden. Amanda has been working hard to make their staff's mental health a priority at Woodeden, and after a tough start in their first year, Amanda is starting to see some results thanks to what they've put in place.

This is more than a "get a pen and paper" type of episode. It's a "get a pen and paper, and ready to grow" type of episode. We know you'll enjoy it.

What are you doing to look after your staff team's mental health? Let us know in the comments below!

Bonus Resources

Mental wellness isn't something we can just "figure out" on our own (like you "figured out" how to jerry-rig that leaky toilet, you genius you!). Get professional training and approach this issue like a professional. These links will get you started.

https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org

http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.ca/en

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: The Power of Moments: Chip & Dan Heath

Dan: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Gab: Find someone to talk to that’s not family or friends also this book  Loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Amanda: Smartsheet

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The Conversations You Have With Yourself - CampHacker #93

When You're the Only One by the Campfire

CampHacker podcast producer Matt here.

Podcast: Subscribe in  iTunes    |  Stitcher

Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

One of my favourite parts about working in the camp office during the summer is being able to bounce my ideas off of my co-director or whoever happens to be in the office. If there isn't anyone in the office, I'll often pull in a counsellor or staff member on their break to bounce a new programming idea off of. Needless to say, I'm a big bouncer-idea-off'er. Now that it's October, the office walls and empty desk chairs aren't as receptive to my ideas, no matter how excited I am about them. I'm forced to resort to talking to myself a little more.

Even when it's not the off season, a Camp Director's inner monologue can be their best friend, or their arch nemesis. Hashing things out with your brain can spark new ideas but can also slow you down with your own insecurities or doubts. We preach that mental health is something that we need to nurture in our staff and campers, but how kind are we being when we speak to ourselves?

On this episode of the podcast, the fantastic (camping) four are re-united to share not only what goes on in their director heads, but what they do to keep that voice regulated and pushing them forward. This episode was just what I needed to hear at this time of year so I hope that it's the same for you. If you get anything from this episode, hear Travis, Joe, Dan and Gab say, you're not alone in this!

What do you do to keep your inner monologue in check? Let us know in the comments below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis -  Richard P. Feynman,  Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feynman

Joe - Kijiji.ca

Gabz - Tyme iOS app 

Dan - Wooden book

 

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