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The Essence of a Positive Camp Culture
The culture of a camp is essential to evaluate on a regular basis. Is it noticeably and measurably acceptable or does it need help and/or remediation?
Ask yourself the following ten questions:
- Have I clearly stated exactly what my beliefs, values, goals, expectations, and boundaries are for campers and staff?
- Do returning staff instruct new staff on inappropriate behaviors when and if they observe them?
- Do returning staff bring to my attention any and all behaviors of any staff that are inappropriate both at camp and during time and days off?
- Can all staff verbalize, if asked, what makes my camp special?
- Do I utilize returning staff during orientation and training to teach new staff what is expected of them and to explain consequences for non-compliance?
- Am I satisfied that staff members are loyal to campers and to me and not to each other?
- Do I spend focused time with staff reviewing culture components and making assessments of our collective progress?
- Do staff act appropriately on time away from camp and understand their responsibilities as my representative at all times?
- Am I aware of existing negative traditions and am I actively eliminating staff responsible for perpetuating inappropriate actions and behaviors?
- Do staff members verbalize positive feelings about the culture of my camp and take pride in what they do to keep it as I want it to be?
Contributed by Norman E. Friedman, M. Ed., dean — Gene Ezersky Camp Safety College and director of AMSkier Partners, Hawley, Pennsylvania. Contact the author at normanf@ amskier.com, 800-245-2666.