Creating Community and Building Pipelines through Applicant References

The clock is ticking. Camp is approaching. I’m sitting here without anyone to call this afternoon and hardly anything scheduled for the rest of the week. I’m ready to put in the hours and the effort, but where are all the excellent applicants for me to share the magnificence of Cobbossee with? In a time of increased demand, the supply of appropriate, domestic, staff applicant numbers are low, and the weeks are quickly counting down.

Anxious Staff: How to Ease the Transition to Camp for New and Returning Staff

Less than two months from today, my sixteenth summer at North Star Camp will begin. I’m excited to pack up my bags, leave my apartment in Chicago, and spend the summer in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at my home away from home. You may be in a similar boat: this may be your third, seventh, fifteenth, twenty-seventh, or maybe even forty-first summer at your camp. You spend the other ten months of the year counting down to the two months at camp that is the highlight of your year. However, this post isn’t about you or me. We know what to expect at camp because it’s not our first rodeo.

Gen Z Staff: What Exactly Are They Looking For?

Most camps are in full recruitment mode at this point. The black box of staff recruitment continues to be with us as we attempt to identify exactly the right message, compelling argument, or job arrangement that will convince an individual to apply and show up for a summer camp job. Previous blogs have highlighted the significant personal and professional learning experiences that come from a summer camp job. This blog focuses on the persisting questions . . . what do they actually want, and what are we willing to give?

How to Communicate with Your Staff before, during, and after the Summer

As technology and social media grow, there is a seemingly endless array of platforms available to us to stay in touch with people. Because of this, you think that it would be easier than ever to connect with our camp communities, whether that is parents, campers, or staff. However, the reality can feel very different, and choosing the most effective method of communication has become an increasingly more challenging task. Let’s face it — no one likes being ghosted, especially when you need an answer quickly! 

Commitment: How Do We Earn It — and How Do We Keep It?

An answer to this question of the century may seem counterintuitive, yet it is at the core of most camp communities: Relationships. More than ever, staff are looking for connection and belonging. So how do we focus on those needs without defaulting to the program needs we consider necessary to run camp? We will look at relationship development by flipping the order of our current recruiting, hiring, and staffing ideas. This can lead to various opportunities to earn and keep staff commitment.

Support Versus Coddling: When to Push and When to Pull Back When Trying to Grow Our Staff

Mental and emotional health has been on the forefront of all of our minds. During COVID, it is even more so. While camp is for the camper, our staff are the ones interacting and supporting them daily. What do we do when our staff cannot hold it together? What tools do we give them to be mentally and emotionally stable so they can support our campers’ well-being? How do we balance providing services for our staff while also needing them to do their job? 

Internship Success

"Not the kind of job our students want to pursue."

Have you received a similar response from a university career center rejecting your post on their job board?

While this message was disappointing and frustrating, the good news is most universities promote our jobs and an increasing number are encouraging their students to complete internships while working at camps.

Where Are Your Senior Staff Staying at Camp This Year?

There are some considerations offered here regarding staff living space that could help with recruitment and retention.

Me, Work at Camp? No Way!

During the 2021 ACA National Staffing Summit, five students were selected by their professors to serve on a panel to discuss why they did not want to work at camp. They were chosen because they would be great camp counselors but had said they were not interested. These are their stories . . . 

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