Fast ways to fill your last camp jobs

photo credit: Camp Tanadoona

Opening day of camp is just around the corner and you still have a few positions to fill. No need to panic, you have a few no cost or low cost options easily available and one huge annual event working in your favor.

Colleges are wrapping up the school year and thousands of students are suddenly struck with the reality of returning home for the summer and living at home or finding a cool job that also pays the rent and groceries.  A summer working away from home might be sounding better and better. Summer camp jobs fit the bill!

Reach out to your camp community. We realize you’ve probably done this all year but yes, do it again. One, there is a lot of e-clutter out there and some (many?) of your emails will have been missed. But two, plans change and potential staff may now be available – especially those who returned home and are now being pressed by parents to get a summer job.

Send your detailed job description to EVERYONE in your camp database. Former camper and staff as well as your current families and staff. Include your board members, donors, vendors, anyone who knows camp and might be willing to share the job post.

If your camp communications are organized, it will only take a few minutes to reach potentially thousands of eyes.

Review and reach out to applicants from earlier in the hiring year. Again, plans change so someone who turned you down earlier in the year may now be available. Review some of the borderline applicants that you rejected this year. Maybe you were holding out for a better credentialed person and now those credentials are less important. Also, YOUR plans may have changed, in January you only needed 3 lifeguards, now with more campers you need 4. 

Again if your contact software and systems are good, it should only take a few minutes to send a quick inquiry email.

Use a summer camp specific job mailing list.  The goal is to be fast and summer camp specific job mailing list only hit people already interested in summer camp jobs. No need to spend time recruiting the person away from other types jobs they might find on a big multi-industry job site. CampStaffExpress has a 4,000+ summer camp job seeker mailing list. One ad can be blasted out to people already thinking about a job. Paid, highly targeted social media boosts for your summer camp job listing can reach double or triple that number.

Newsletter blasts out every Wednesdays, with social boosted daily.

CampStaff  members can send DIRECT EMAILS. Members only feature allows camps to target the entire CampStaff job seeker database or any subset or combination of criteria with a single email. For examples, 21 year old or older boat drivers, 18 and older male cabin staff, etc. Or on CampStaffNurses, RN’s available for July, etc)

CampStaff member camps can follow the direct email link for details. 

Free Ways to Incentivize Your Returning Staff to “Bring a Friend”

Photo Credit Camp Highland, GA

In a brainstorming conversation with a friend who is staffing for a camp with a smaller recruiting budget, we came up with some great ideas that camps can implement for free. Yes, Free! A great way to recruit has always been to ask your existing staff to bring a friend to camp with them. Many camps offer financial rewards to bring a friend to camp. However, if your budget does not allow for a financial payoff, consider the culture of your camp. There must be some popular, camp-specific rewards that you can use to entice your returning staff to bring a friend.

Here are some of the ideas that we came up with for you to use or to inspire you to come up with your own for your specific camp.

For every returning staff member that successfully brings a friend to camp, consider the following rewards:

  • special meal at the director’s cabin during the summer (very little cost to the camp. You can even serve what the dining hall is serving; the idea of eating at the director’s house without campers may be a huge incentive)
  • movie night with snacks at the staffing director’s cabin (again, very little cost involved but enough to make this group of referring returners know they did a great job by bringing a friend to camp)
  • Local ice cream or favorite bakery to send treats to these staff at camp

Consider this as another idea: drop all the names of the staff members who brought a friend to camp into a hat for a big drawing. Possible Prizes:

  • Be the director for the day (and yes, the director would be the counselor for the day…..can you think of a better way for the director to really see what happens on an average day?)
  • Best parking spot (some camps have staff parking lots that are a bit of a hike from main camp….the prize would allow one staff member to park in the best and closest spot to main camp all summer)
  • Use of camp technology for staff prom invite (if your camp has a staff dance in which staff ask one another out publicly, offer the use of camp microphone, Instagram account, newsletter, etc. for the winner to use in his/her date asking)
  • Night off with access to director’s house and refrigerator (be sure to stock your fridge first!)
  • Sunset Cruise (you’ll have to employ your waterfront staff to help on this one)

You get the idea. Think of your own camp culture and reward staff based on what is seen as desirable at your specific camp.

Make the reward system public. In front of your whole camp or at least your whole staff, recognize this awesome group of returners who are sharing the greatness of your camp with their own friends by bringing their friends to camp. If your new staff see that it’s a “thing” to bring friends to camp, more people will bring friends to camp next summer, and then following summer, and so forth.

Good luck staffing!