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Advice for New Camp Leaders
Whether you already have a new camp leadership role, or you’ll be going for one next summer, there are a few things to keep in mind as you become a camp leader.
Your role is different than it was as frontline staff member, and your responsibilities are more complex. Keep in mind these tips from Harvard Business Review (HBR) and Careerealism as you make the transition:
- Find the middle ground between listening and ordering. Michael Watkins from HBR calls this a “consult-and-decide” style. Show you value others’ input, but that you will make the decision that is ultimately best for your camp.
- Own your title as a leader. As Yun Siang Long points out on Careerealism, there are opportunities to lead everywhere. Make it your responsibility to find win-win situations and make sure everything that you are in charge of is running smoothly. If it’s not, what can you do to make it better?
- Keep open lines of communication with your supervisors and those that report to you. Be open to criticism and use it in a constructive way for the betterment of camp. Be open to hearing the good and not-so-good news of those who work below you, and encourage them to bring ideas for solutions to the table, even if they don’t have specific answers for a problem.
Have you made the transition to camp leadership? Share your advice in the comments below!
More resources for becoming a camp leader:
- Camp Certificates of Added Qualification
- For entry-level staff, experienced staff, middle managers, and camp directors
- Becoming a Camp Leader, by John D. Litten
- "Succession Planning: Rasing Up the Next Generation of Leaders," by Kurt R. Podeszwa, Camping Magazine
- Effective Supervision Skills for Senior Staff, by Bob Ditter, online course
Photo courtesy of Camp Howe, Goshen, Massachusetts