Orienting Your Camp Nurse: Tips for Success

Nurses newly hired for your camp’s health center need orientation. What they need to know differs from the orientation needed by general staff. Providing it is critical to a smoothly functioning health center. But what should a camp professional explain to a newly hired camp nurse? In essence, everything. Even nurses who have worked at a different camp need orientation to your camp’s policies and practices. Come to think of it, returning nurses may need orientation too.

Project Real Job — Moving Forward Together

In the early ’80s, I graduated from high school and made a simple but life-changing decision. It was May and I hadn’t yet made plans for the summer. My mom encouraged me to call my former camp directors, Herman and Rodger, and inquire about a summer working at camp. I so enjoyed camp as a kid but had missed out on being a counselor-trainee because of other commitments. A summer working outside with kids as a junior counselor sounded great.

Learning to Rise through Research and Evaluation

The year was 1995. It was early September, and I was just barely back as camp director at Sherwood Forest. Our summer programs then were 12-day sessions — two for boys and two for girls referred by schools and organizations in St. Louis. Most of the kids were from underserved communities and low-income families. Despite the long relationships between Sherwood Forest and our referral partners, it was always a scramble in the spring to fill these four sessions.

2017 Camper Enrollment Survey: Changing Issues Include Increases in Campers with MESH Needs

The results of the 2017 Fall Camper Enrollment and Staff Recruitment Survey show that, in general, the camp industry had a great year. Growth in enrollment in camp programs remained steady in comparison to 2016, with a total of 77 percent of camp directors describing enrollment for summer 2017 as about the same or higher than last year (results from 2016 showed 78 percent of respondents with this response).

Type of Program - Percent of Camps

Communication Strategies to Create a Positive and Safe Camp Environment

Researchers have postulated that counselors express lowest perceived competency in their ability to develop camper relationships, handle conflict between campers, and feel limited in their ability to provide a safe camp environment (Wahl-Alexander, Howell & Donahue, 2016). These perceived limitations could directly impact not only camper attitudes, but the entire camp community. Fortunately, there are some simple communication strategies to assist counselors in their ability to create a positive experience for campers and promote a safe camp environment.

Play Ball: An Innovative Staff Training Helps Campers Acclimate

“They threw you a curveball,” suggests a brave staff member, after thinking it over for a moment.

“Be sure you cover all your bases,” offers another.

Thanking them for getting the ball rolling, I record their responses on poster board. They have just replied to my initial question asking the group to come up with commonly used phrases that are derived from baseball.

“What else?” I ask, prompting the group to continue brainstorming.

Soon the conversation really starts to flow, with contributions from other participants now coming more quickly:

15 Questions about Search Engine Marketing for Camps on the Web

In November 2012, my article, “Search Marketing on the Web — Drive New Camper Enrollment and Alternative Businesses,” appeared in Camping Magazine. Now, five-and-a-half years later, we revisit this topic for the first time. The 2012 article was a primer with basic strategies and some examples for camps. Based on my involvement with many camps from coast to coast over the past several years, following is a selection of updates that need addressing.

Reaching Out: Building Relationships and Engaging Underserved Populations in the Camp Experience

Cathy’s story: “He looks like me but he sure don’t talk like me” was the comment I heard from an 11-year-old camper as he described his counselor who was black but from South Africa. In my early and admittedly failed attempts to mirror my staff to reflect my camper population, I did not understand what was most important to my campers and their parents — their identity — whether they were African American, Hmong, or Latino.

Yes Only Means Yes Until Something Better Comes Along: Making Camp the Best Offer for Gen Z Staff

Staff sign a contract, then inform you the week before camp begins that they won’t be coming after all. Or staff commit to working the entire season only to tell (not ask!) you they are leaving for six days to attend a family reunion. Does this sound painfully familiar? Unfortunately, in today’s world, signing on the dotted line for this generation of camp staff often means only a temporary commitment until something better comes along.

Indigenous Instructional Programming for Camp Professionals

Camp professionals are taking a greater interest in the concept of allyship, a process of unlearning and re-evaluating whereby those in positions of privilege attempt to adopt a stance of solidarity with marginalized groups of people (The Anti-Oppression Network, 2017). 

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