Strategies for Staff Recruitment and Retention

Staff Recruitment Strategies for Camps

  • Advertise available positions in ACA’s Summer Jobs @ Camp  or Year-Round Jobs @ Camp.
  • Compare the salaries, wages, and benefits you are providing to your full-time and seasonal staff using ACA’s camp salary and compensation research reports.  Make sure YOUR camp is competitive.
  • Pay current staff to refer their friends.  Ask alumni to help recruit potential staff.
  • Provide unique/valuable benefits, like Internet access, satellite dish, transportation, ACA membership, travel to camp conferences, online training, health benefits, and higher wages.  Provide new staff with a certificate of added qualification.
  • Consider hiring international staff.
  • Contact your local ACA office to find out how staff positions can be promoted.  Attend a local ACA conference to network and find great staff.
  • Use ACA’s College and University Directory to identify colleges and universities that offer camp and youth development programs—prime locations for staff recruitment.  Advertise in college/university newspapers.  Visit or contact college/university placement offices.  Ask to briefly speak to students in appropriate courses or various groups/clubs. Encourage colleges/universities to provide college credit for working at camp.
  • Create a video for potential staff to "virtually see" your camp.  Create a brochure specifically for staff.
  • Develop a dynamic CIT (counselor-in-training) program to "grow your own.”  These books can help: Developing a Counselor-in-Training Program for Camps, Counselor-in-Training: Encouraging Youth Development Outcomes at Camp
  • Give staff from the previous season a copy of your staff video for them to give to friends.  If you have YouTube clips for your camp, share them through emails and social media.  If you don’t, then create Web streaming video for staff to see why they should work at your camp. 
  • Attend a camp job fair.
  • Allow children of staff to participate in camp for free or at a discount.
  • Read Camping Magazine articles about staff recruitment.
  • Make sure that all employment and volunteer forms are electronic and easy to find on your website.
  • Partner with parents.  Ask parents of campers to help you find quality staff they may know.

Staff Retention Strategies for Camps

  • Compare the salaries, wages, and benefits you’re providing to your year-round and seasonal staff using ACA’s camp salary and compensation research reports.  Make sure YOUR camp is competitive.
  • Provide a one-year free ACA membership to all of your staff.  Membership comes with a ton of benefits.
  • Add face-to-face and online training opportunities to the list of valuable benefits you’ll provide when they return. 
  • Give a bonus to high-performing returning staff.  Provide upgraded housing.
  • Maintain year-round contact with counselors through mail, email, and/or social media.  Send a note on birthdays.  Send a gift during the holidays.  Send a picture from the last camp season.
  • Offer a reunion weekend to keep staff engaged.  Provide salary/wage increases each year a staff member returns to encourage retention.
  • Cultivate alumni.  Have a special area on your camp's Web site and/or through social media outlets for staff and alumni with news, photos, and opportunities for alumni to connect and communicate.
  • Build loyalty by committing to helping former staff with career advancement.  Help staff update their resumes based on skills learned at camp.
  • In post-camp interviews ask high-performing staff, “Why did you choose to work at camp this year,” “What was the greatest benefit of working here?”, and “What would it take for you to come back next year?”  Use staff responses to inform your staff recruitment and retention efforts.
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