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 . . . 

From First Contact to End of Contract

We know that staff can be a challenge to find, attract, hire, engage, and retain. What makes the staff journey result in forward progress from start to completion of their camp experience? Current research and promising practices provide information that can help camps succeed throughout this cycle. Join us as we take a look at some of those contributing factors.

Developing a Certification Program as a Staff Recruitment/Retention Tool

I’ll start by being blatantly transparent: we created our certification program with a specific goal: To recruit and retain more qualified and dedicated staff. OK, honestly, just more staff in general. There. I’ve said it. It was selfish in its creation, perhaps, but it has great benefits for our staff as well as for us as a camp. Let me tell you more.

Tips for Hiring Quality Staff without Spending a Dime

A common challenge for summer camp administrators in 2021 was staff recruitment and hiring. This is not surprising, since there is a labor shortage across the country. According to the Washington Post in September, “There are currently 10 million job openings, yet more than 8.4 million unemployed are still actively looking for work.” There have been several hypotheses for what is causing this shortage, from excessive government benefits to low minimum wage and even a general change in how Americans view work. 

Preventing Burnout: Caring for Your Staff’s Mental Health while Camp Is in Session

A camp job is hard work. Camp is so worth it, as evidenced by all the positive outcomes research has shown campers achieve. But that does not make the job any easier — especially for the teenagers and young adults camps employ, who may be vulnerable to the ever-increasing mental health crisis in the United States. So it is important to check in with staff all season long to make sure each and every one of your employees is in a healthy state of mind.

Staff Culture: Reclaim Your Purpose, Part 1

I was recently reminded of those times in the past when I was (sort of) patiently waiting by the baggage claim to retrieve my luggage after a flight.

Camp as a Springboard: Three Camp Characteristics Applicable to Any Career

I worked for years at camp, in a variety of positions, not because I was focused on my career, but because of the feeling I got doing the work. I enjoyed it. I was happy. But at the time, I could not articulate how camp was preparing me for “the real world”, or giving me the skills that I would need to call upon later in life. Now, after starting my own nonprofit organization, I realize that camp gave me invaluable skills that have led me to a meaningful and fulfilling career. I’m sharing them here, so that maybe they can inspire future camp staff:

CampWire Episode 37: Camp Staff Recruiting - Finding Diverse Organizations on Campus

This podcast talks about how to find organizations for BIPOC students, why it is important to hire diverse staff members for summer camp, and how diversity can impact the culture of your camp.