Make Sure Your CampStaff Profile is Directed Toward Staff

Happy Tuesday!  Here’s today’s tip as part of our 5 Day series helping you get the most out of your CampStaff membership to find the best summer camp staff possible.  Missed yesterday’s tip? Read it here.

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Here’s what we mean: In reading through both the brief description and the long description of many camps listed on CampStaff.com, we noticed the text is often directed toward campers and their families. While this text works great in attracting new campers, it may not be the most interesting read for potential camp staff members.

You may be wondering what is the difference in the brief description and the full description on your CampStaff/CampStaffNurses pages.

  • The brief description is what potential staff see when they browse through the entire list of camps listed on CampStaff.  This is a great place to put a two or three sentence description of your camp and what is unique about it. The best part about the brief description is that potential staff who don’t even have a profile on CampStaff/CampStaffNurses can access it. That means that after reading your brief description, potential staff may go directly to your website and apply for a job right from your own website! Get that brief description looking good so you can wow them!  Screen Shot 2019-02-26 at 11.06.32 AM
  • And the full description on your CampStaff/CampStaffNurses site? This is where you can write more of the details about what a typical summer day is like at your camp for staff. You can also write a brief description of the jobs you are hiring for. Potential staff will see the full description once they are drawn in by the awesomeness of your brief description so be sure to elaborate on what makes your camp unique for summer camp staff.
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A Tip A Day To Get The Most Out of Your CampStaff Accounts

This week, we’ll be sending you a tip each day to help you make the most out of your CampStaff and CampStaffNurses accounts.

Here at CampStaff, we spend a lot of time talking to the camps that use our services. We want to share with you what works best for camps so that you may make the most out of our sites.

**These tips work for both CampStaff and CampStaffNurses, but for the purposes of the tips this week, I’ll just write “CampStaff” (it gets to be too much reading when I write CampStaff/CampStaffNurses….see what I mean?)

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We constantly analyze our data and the numbers don’t lie; the camps that are on CampStaff actively seeking staff daily (or almost daily) are the camps finding great staff year after year.  One of our most successful camps logs in almost daily to tweak their descriptions and to actively search for their job needs.

Remember, CampStaff/CampStaffNurses are two-way searchable databases. So, while staff can seek camps, they may also register and wait for you to find them. So, camps need to be pro-actively seeking out staff, too!  We’ve seen a shift over the past 5 years; while the numbers of seekers registering with us has remained constant, the number of emails that seekers send to camps has gone down. We know that this is a job seeker’s market and we know that job seekers are waiting for you to find them and contact them. Ten years ago we saw seekers reaching out more often to camps but we now see that camps are the ones reaching out more often to seekers.

If you’re not sure what you are supposed to be doing once you log on daily (or almost daily), here are some links to watch brief tutorials on utilizing search methods.

CampStaff SearchTutorials

Search Method 1
Search Method 2
Search Method 3
How to Save a Search

CampStaffNurses
Search Tutorials

Search Method 1
Search Method 2
Search Method 3
How to Save a Search

 

Camp conference season is coming!

You probably already know that summer camp is a year-round process for your camp directors and full-time support staff. It takes ten full months to make those magical two months happen every summer. But what you may not know is that you can also get involved in the “off-season” starting with on-going training and networking at camp conferences across the country.

The American Camp Association (ACA), the gold standard of the summer camping industry, has a couple of really great offers for first time ACA members and full-time students – these memberships equal huge savings, offer amazing content to prepare you for camp and great opportunities at ACA Camp Conferences.

Free One-Year Membership ACA refers to this as a trial membership and is open to anyone who has never been an ACA member. 

Student membership (full-time students) with ACA is $35. If you’ve used up your free trail year, full-time students (with ID) can join for this highly reduced rate.

We are firm believers in ACA Camp Conferences! In our early years as camp professionals, the sessions, camp industry contacts and vendor relationships were key in our personal development. We had the opportunity to present/speak several times at 3 of the conferences below and chair a programming committee for one. After almost 25 years of conferences, we still learn valuable information each time and make invaluable contacts with others in the camping world.

If you are considering a career or at least a mid to long-term commitment to a camp job, conferences can be a great place to network and sample the different types of camp job opportunities. Don’t forget to include vendors in your networking. Vendors supplying camps also hire “camp people”!

Here’s a Complete list of upcoming ACA Conferences.

ACA 2019 National Conferences

February 19, 2019 to February 22, 2019

Nashville, TN

The National Conference rotates around the country each year to a new location city. Over 900 camps and well over 1,600 camp professionals will attend along with hundreds of vendors. This is the most regionally diverse of the ACA conferences. As the name suggests, camps from around the country attend.

ACA Student Members can attend this conference FREE

ACA, New York New Jersey Tri-State CAMP Conference 2019

March 12, 2019 to March 14, 2019

Atlantic City, NJ

The Tri-State conference is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world. Over 3,000 camp staff will attend over 160 educational sessions and 300 vendors will be on hand. Like ACA National, this conference draws from across the country however, the northeast and mid-Atlantic states attend in the greatest numbers.

CAMP DIRECTORS – 1st time attending camps rate offered.

ACA, New England Camp Conference 2019

March 28, 2019 to March 30, 2019

Manchester, NH

The New England Camp Conference is one of our favorite conferences.  With a little over 900 attendees, there are plenty of opportunities for networking while still feeling like an intimate gathering of camp folks.

ACA Student members can attend for a deeply discounted rate of $50. This rate is not published on the website because a student ID is required but contact Kerry Salvo at ACA 781-541-6080 or kerry@acanewengland.org, and she’ll get you started

CAMP DIRECTORS – Early Bird deadline is Feb 15!

ACA Illinois, 2019 Mid States Camp Conference

April 1, 2019 to April 3, 2019

St Charles, IL

Mid States conference will have camps from 22 US state sand Canadian provinces and over 250 camps represented. Included with registration is a free Day Camp pre-conference. A great opportunity for any staff considering a day camp career track.

This is one of the most affordable conferences.  A group of 5 can attend for less than $100 each.

ACA, Spring Leadership Conference 2019

April 9, 2019 to April 12, 2019

Palm Springs, CA

ACA Southern California/Hawaii Leadership Conference is a bit smaller than the other conferences but don’t let that fool you. You’ll find many of the same top presenters and speakers from the larger conferences out here in Palm Springs this year. This conference was once known as strictly regional with Cali and Hawaii (yeah, we know both places seem like horrible places for camp staff – lol) dominating. In recent years however, attending camps have come from as far as New England, as well as throughout the West.

This conference offers special discounted rates for students and retirees.

CAMP DIRECTORS – Early Bird deadline is March 11.

Turn Your Returning Staff into Your Top Recruiters

Photo Credit Camp Ocean Pines

When I first started hiring staff for camp back in the 90’s, the process was in some ways much simpler. The internet was relatively new. Our camp didn’t even have a website by first year and even CampStaff was still a few years away.

Recruiting staff meant running a 3 sentence classified ad in a school newspaper or in the old American Camping Association publications. I’d wait for the 800 number to ring or get a postcard in the mail asking for more information. We would mail a VHS tape specially made for staff recruiting along with an application and camp brochure. Then we would wait. By the time a completed application was back in our office, both sides were well invested in the hiring process. Rarely did someone receiving a job offer not accept or even more rare, break their commitment by not showing up. Ghosting meant something totally different in the 90’s!

Even so, when opening day of camp got near, any unfilled positions could quickly be staffed from the bullpen of waiting international counselors at CampAmerica or Bunac or the other international staffing agencies. No problem, camp would open fully staffed.

Fast forward to now and camp staffing has changed drastically. It is much easier for potential staff to apply to multiple camps and even to other industries, making the competition for top staff the stiffest its ever been. Throw in the past changes to J-1 rules that eliminated stand-by international staff (much less any future changes to the program) and the importance of getting new staff to commit early and follow through with those commitments is more vital to summer camp opening than ever. 

Break through the noise

The two of biggest challenges we hear from camp staffing directors today are that potential staff are harder to maintain contact with and seem less likely to honor their commitments once hired.

We recently posted about ideas camps could copy from big colleges on NCAA signing day to help firm up commitments.  Another thing we noticed, camps can easily imitate how head coaches utilized their staff to 

  1. Maintain contact with recruits throughout the process and 
  2. Use the relationships developed with those staff to improve the chances the recruit remained committed.

Camp staff recruits, just like athletic recruits, are bombarded by not only you and the camps you are competing with, but also everyday electronic life.  The background noise of college life is pretty loud. When as a staffing director, you are trying to juggle staff inquiries, incoming applications, targeted searches on CampStaff and maintaining personal contacts with new hires, it can be overwhelming and down right impossible.

You are the head coach here, to break through and make sure your message is heard, we suggest assigning your new staff recruits a returning staff point of contact.

Here’s the scenario, you’ve offered a contract or had one accepted on the spot. Now you need to make sure that person follows through with the hiring process and shows up at camp. A personal connection with your retaining staff is a tried and true recruiting method. We always assume that everyone is a potential staff member until they actual show top for staff training and become a staff member!

1. Match each situation individually. Camps have the unique opportunity with a diverse staff to make personal connections. Use that! Pick your recruiter regionally, by common interest, by specialty skills- anything that can make the connection personal. 

2. Provide a contact schedule. First, this holds your recruiters accountable. Second, it takes the pressure off (and avoids too much pressure) from over contact. Back in the days of Manila file folders for applicants, I kept track of every contact date on the front of the folder. This helped remind me to touch base so no one got lost in the hiring flurry that is May.

Give your recruiters a sample schedule:

a. Day 1 – email a quick intro to the potential staff member. Include your social media handles and encourage the recruit to check out and pics you posted from last summer. Schedule a time to connect via phone. Cc camp on first email.

b. After call, follow recruits social feeds.

c. 2 days after 1st phone call, text a short, “hey, its xxx. Just checking in to see if you have any questions from our call”

d. Drop a text, email or comment on a social media post every week.

3. Pay your recruiters

Money is always best. Swag is second. Either way, show that you value your returning staff’s time and effort. If you or your board is having trouble justifying the added cost, compare the cost of a last minute international hire for that position through an agency and the time delay getting that person into camp when someone you hired in February ghosts you opening day.

If you still need further convincing…The bonus for your staff training week is that every new staff member will already have a connection when they roll into camp. We all know that those personal connections are what get staff to return the following season. 

3 Staff Recruiting Lessons from NCAA Signing Day

photo credit Camp Weequahik

If you think recruiting for your summer camp staff team is time consuming and sometimes frustrating, how would you like to have spent time and effort recruiting someone from 8th grade through 12th grade only to have them take a “better” offer at the last minute?

College coaches are facing a lot of the same challenges we see in summer camp. How can we cut through the noise and be seen by recruits? How can we retain our veteran staff? How can we insure that our new staff actually follow through and show up to camp? 

We took a good look at the processes college use to recruit and picked our 3 Best for summer camp staff recruiting.

Assign a designated recruiter

Good recruiting requires a major time commitment. Most of us spend a few months each spring in full pursuit of top staff recruits. Top college sports recruits are often pursued for years. The way colleges handle this daunting task, if to divide and conquer… literally. College sports head coaches assign their assistant coaches and coordinators to run point on individual recruits, giving each recruit a one-on-one connection with a knowledgeable, passionate member of the program.  247 sports even tracks the ranking of the top recruiters.

Ok, so camps aren’t working with multi-million dollar recruiting budgets (if you are, give CampStaff consulting a call, we might have an idea or two on how to spend it – lol) or identifying prospects in the 8th grade for jobs 4 years away, but you do have passionate, knowledgeable returning staff that can be involved in recruiting. Read how to turn your returning staff into your top recruiters.

Celebrate your returning staff with a press release

College coaches never forget that their veteran players have other options. Gone are the days of a recruit committing to a program for 4 full years. Particularly top rated players have the option to transfer to another program at anytime or for the very best, leave early for the pros. When a top rated player opts to stay another year, the press most often sees this a positive reflection on the quality of the program. Schools promote this heavily to future recruits by issuing press releases that basically say “this such a great place to be, that Player X decided to choose us over simple $”. Your staff may not be leaving you for a multimillion dollar contract but they do have the option for a pay raise at another camp or even just a better fit for their own goals. 

So when staff do opt to return to camp over the (really) countless other opportunities they have, make a BIG DEAL out it. It’s really easier than you may think.

One of the best we’ve seen is Camp Weequahic’s Staff Instagram feed. We’ve blogged about starting a staff specific instagram feed, and this is the perfect place to post a staff press release. A couple of things we really like about Weequahic’s format are: 

  • Hometown – We think they get 2 powerful boosts.
    • 1. Camp is about making personal connections, potential staff from in this case, NE Texas have a pre-camp connection.
    • 2.  Here’s a Texan returning all the way to Pennsylvania for a job – pretty solid endorsement for camp!
  • Why Weequahic – “I spoke with a returning counselor.” Says Weequahic is a welcoming place, concerned about the individual. Very powerful stuff, in a subtle delivery.

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Another format we really liked is Camp North Star Maine’s (@cnsmaine) “Welcome Back Wednesday”.  

  • One, we like the regularity of a weekly announcement. It keeps the camps returning staff in front of their Instagram followers and gives all staff something to look forward to.
  • Two, we like the graphic with the ability to simply plug in pics of the week’s returning staff. It’s clear and easy to spot when we scroll through our daily feed and when we go to Camp North Star’s page. A simple write up on the 2 staff members in the post caption is all that’s needed, along with tagging the pic.

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Hold a press conference for new staff hires

You’ve seen it on TV and online, a new signee wearing the logo’d gear of their new school answering a few questions from local media. Colleges make a big, public deal out of new commitments. One reason is to showcase who they’ve signed to other potential signees. Another reason is that its a little harder to back out once the whole extended school community starts embracing a recruit. We think camps should definitely use this concept. Do a little bragging PR about how great your new staff is and get your camp community onboard welcomes the new staff.  It may be a lot easier than you think. Here’s how we’d do it…

  1. Mail your new hires a hat, t-shirt or sweatshirt song with their new hire packet.
  2. Include an interview script. Include name, hometown, university. Have them answer your best icebreaker question. We LOVE asking, “What’s your super power?” (ie, I can identify a car model by its headlights at night or I can name every Super Bowl champion.) 
  3. Ask your new staff member to video themselves wearing your camp gear, answering the questions and send you the file. Better yet, have them post on their own social and tag you.
  4. Post on your social media feed and ask all your staff to like and share.

Not only do you have a chance to really welcome new staff into your camp community, your camp community has a chance to get to know each other before camp even opens.

Camps looking for summer staff? Camps can join CampStaff.com and search through thousands of staff applications. We’ve been connecting summer camps and summer camp staff since 1996.  Let CampStaff help you find the perfect summer camp staff.  Looking for nurses? Visit us at CampStaffNurses.com.
Staff looking for a summer camp job? Campstaff.com is a free, single application website connecting staff with thousands of summer camp jobs at hundreds of summer camps across the United States and Canada. 
RN’s, LPN’s, student nurses, and other medical professionals, CampStaffNurses.com has summer camp nursing jobs across the United States at some of the most beautiful summer camp locations.  Spend your summer working with great co-workers. Many camps offer the option to bring your family to camp. Apply today for free with a single application at CampStaffNurses.com.

2 Useful Facts if You are Considering Being a Camp Nurse

Thinking about being a camp nurse this summer, but not sure if it will work for you? Here’s two facts about working as a nurse at camp that may help you with your decision. You can also read our blog post on the truth about being a camp nurse if you’d like to find out more about camp nursing.

 

Fact #1: You may work as a nurse in a state other than the state where you currently hold your license.

Great news for nurses out there considering working at summer camp this year!
If you thought you were bound by the confines of your state boundary, this will come as great news to you. With just a little bit of effort, you can be enjoying your summer working in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado or the beaches of California (or the state of your choice!) while earning an income.

If you are licensed in a nurse licensure compact (NLC) state, you can practice in other NLC states without having to obtain an additional license. To check if your state is a NLC state, check out the easy to read map at NCSBN.org

If your state, or the state you wish to work in, is not a NLC state, don’t be dismayed – you may still easily apply for a license of reciprocity in which you are able to become licensed in time to work at summer camp. 

So, how do you go about finding a camp job now that you know all this good information about licensing?

  1. Register at CampStaffNurses.com (it’s free!) to gain access to hundreds of summer camp nurse jobs available for this summer. 
  2. Once you find the camp of your dreams, talk to the camp about how best to go about your licensing. If there is payment due, many camps will pick up the cost of this as part of your compensation 

Start now. It may take a few months to get your employment taken care of in addition to any licensing paperwork. 

Fact #2: Many summer camps will hire nurses for part of the summer if you are not able to commit your entire summer to camp.

Ideally, you work at a camp and can make the start date somewhere in early-June and stay all through the summer until the end date, sometime in mid-August. However, if you cannot commit to the full summer because your job at home mandates that you are home, still consider working at camp this summer. Many camps are flexible about the dates for nurses to work and will consider 2-4 week stints for their health care staff. Again, find the camps you are interested in and contact them with your questions in mind. Camps may be willing to work with your schedule!

Questions? Email us at staff@campstaff.com

photo credit Camp Towanda

 

Like to Win Free Camp Stuff?

Follow CampStaff and CampStaffNurses to win.

How would you like a chance to win this sweet camp mug filled with fun camp stuff? To get everyone in the spirit of summer camp – and to kick off the un-official start of the camp staffing season – CampStaff and CampStaffNurses are giving away a gift packs from our holiday gift ideas lists to our social media followers. All you need to do is complete the 2 Steps below:

STEP ONE:

“Like” @CampStaff or @CampStaffNurses pages on Facebook.

OR

“Follow” @SummerCampStaff or @CampStaffNurses on Instagram

OR

“Follow” @CampStaff or @CampStaffNurses on Twitter.

STEP TWO:

Comment on or share a post from one of the feeds each week. Every week that you comment or share a post, you are in the contest!

What are you waiting for?  This week’s prizes are below and will be awarded Monday!

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Every Monday beginning January 21, 2019 we’ll announce a winner!  Everyone can participate with all of your social accounts – use your camps official feed and your personal to be double entered!  We’ll be giving away fun camp related merchandise all staffing season long!

 

Camps looking for summer staff? Camps can join CampStaff.com and search through thousands of staff applications. We’ve been connecting summer camps and summer camp staff since 1996.  Let CampStaff help you find the perfect summer camp staff.  Looking for nurses? Visit us at CampStaffNurses.com.
Staff looking for a summer camp job? Campstaff.com is a free, single application website connecting staff with thousands of summer camp jobs at hundreds of summer camps across the United States and Canada. 
RN’s, LPN’s, student nurses, and other medical professionals, CampStaffNurses.com has summer camp nursing jobs across the United States at some of the most beautiful summer camp locations.  Spend your summer working with great co-workers. Many camps offer the option to bring your family to camp. Apply today for free with a single application at CampStaffNurses.com

4 Things to Do Today to Find the Best Summer Camp Staff

photo credit Camp Wayne for Boys

Camp staffing season is fully underway for great summer camps across the US. Each year, the competition for hiring summer employees gets more and more complicated and challenging. Savvy first time staffers are willing to compare and contrast camp job opportunities to find the one that best suits their personal wants. Experienced staff are willing to change camps as they collect experiences to meet their goals. Sometimes these can make it seem like there are fewer people interested in summer camp jobs based on direct contacts. However, that’s not the case…thanks to the wealth of information on the internet, staff are vetting camps much more thoroughly than ever before.  With websites like CampStaff.com and CampStaffNurses.com job seekers can zero in on exactly what they are looking for and match that criteria with camps that are looking for staff exactly like them.

Of the 185 camps represented by CampStaff and CampStaffNurses, we are fortunate that the vast majority are more than willing to share observations and ideas. Here are some of the best things we’ve learned…

Upgrade your Camp Website:

In the early years of CampStaff (the late 90’s and early 2000’s), camps were just beginning to understand the importance of their websites. Staffing specific sections were almost always a side note. As a result staff primarily used CampStaff to request by email, more information from a potential camp. (We actually had to set a limit on the number of request emails a staff member could send at one time.) Fast forward to today, staff still use CampStaff to zero in on specific jobs, only now they almost always click the link to the camp’s website to explore more before sending their profile. The upside for camps is less wasted time on less interested staff; the downside is that in many cases the serious seekers are judging your camp before you get a chance to turn on your full staff recruiting sell.

What you can do: 

Have someone evaluate your staff section your website. If you can afford it, hire a summer camp staffing professional to consult and offer recommendation. If not, ask someone from outside your camp circle to walk through the hiring process and help you fill in any gaps in your information. Your goal should be to maximize the first impression a staff visitor has. Everything in your phone interview pitch should translate to the webpage. We know you already do this for your camp clients/families. If you are having trouble justifying the expense of upgrading your website for staffing, remind your board, camp owner or yourself that 1.Camp doesn’t open without staff and 2. Any time saved on staffing means more time to find cost and quality efficiencies for summer planning.

Activate your Camp Social Network

You can read plenty of posts in our blog on upgrading your online social network. Here we are talking about your real world camp social network.

What you can do:

Make your whole staff Assistant Staffing Directors. Your staff is diverse – geographically, culturally and socially – use this to make personal connections with job seekers. Before you freak out, we aren’t suggesting you give hiring authority to your whole staff. We are suggesting that you involve your staff in the recruiting process by having the opportunity to connect with job seekers from their school or home state or area of interest or even age group. Send everyone a prepared script covering the basics of camp, along with an evaluation form. This can save you serious time when the final interview is scheduled.

First, we all know that personal connections are the number reason staff return to camp a second year; it only makes sense to give the opportunity to start these connections as early as possible. 

Secondly, keeping your returning staff involved and thinking positively about camp during the off season can help cement their commitment to return. It also lends the opportunity for your returning staff to take responsibility for the summer success of their interviewees.  

And third, what we learned form our initial CampStaff Experience podcast interviews is that staff questions and concerns vary greatly. In episode Elyse, we learned that Elyse from rural Louisiana needed reassurances from someone in her area who had already worked at camp before she could fully commit. 

Strategy for International Staffing

As recently as Jan 8, 2019 CNBC once again put the spotlight on the J-1 visa program as a potential victim of immigration politics. Our Google alert set for “J-1 visas” yields several articles each week on seasonal industries across the country voicing concerns for the program. Everyone from coastal vacation destinations to mountain resorts are feeling the pressure.

We believe that international staff are a major part of the total camp experience. Many of our favorite camp directors began their camp careers as J-1 visa participants. If you haven’t voiced your support of the J-1 program to your congressional representatives – especially anyone with new Congressman/Congresswoman or a new Senator.  Please do so!

What you can do:

Hire more diverse international staff.  Hire the same number of international staff as you have in the past if the cultural exchange component is an important part of your camp’s identity, just spread the jobs out to more areas. Let say you normally hire 10 Camp Counselor J-1 participants. Rather than have 5 of those employees at swimming and 5 at tennis, spread the jobs out over several areas. That way if the J-1 programs hit with any political fire, your programs are short staffed, not so understaffed they must be shut-down.

Master CampStaff

CampStaff.com had over 36,000 unique visitors last year with a less than 10% bounce rate. 28,000 of those visitors came between Jan 15 and May 15. Summer camp jobs are the only thing that CampStaff does so this means people ARE interested in summer camp jobs and NOW is the time to start hiring them.

Not every camp fully utilizes CampStaff. Some camps are extremely efficient, taking full advantage features like customized email replies, writing and frequently updating thorough descriptions and highly targeted staff searches for one-on-one recruiting. A quick browse through listed camps will give you an idea of what can be accomplished.

What you can do:

Refine your CampStaff skills. Every camp staffs differently. Take time to go through the CampStaff tutorials and see which features work for you. Over the years, the one of the most effective methods has been targeting individual position needs. For example, make this week basketball week. Search for staff with basketball skills that meet your criteria and reach out individually.  Everyone wants to feel wanted and to being recruited by a camp pro makes it even more powerful. Remember that new staff register or update their profiles everyday.  Keep checking back for your targeted needs.

Refine your CampStaff descriptions. CampStaff allows staff to browse short descriptions of camps before committing to registering. About 25% of staff visitors to the site, will browse these listing. Make yours count! You never know, someone browsing may make a connection with your content (especially descriptions listing specific job openings) and come directly to you, bypassing the whole CampStaff process and giving you the exclusive chance to recruit and hire them! As you needs change over the staffing season, change your description.

10 Things that Require Zero Talent

This week at my daughter’s basketball game, another mother shared this piece of scrap paper with me. It states, “10 Things that Require Zero Talent”. We talked about how this list relates to a student athlete. I couldn’t help but think how the list relates to a summer camp counselor; a compilation of the intangibles you learn while working at summer camp. More often than not, you will learn these lessons without even realizing you are learning them during your summer camp experience. Or, if you are already pretty good at the items on this list, camp will provide you a place to hone these skills:

  1. Being on Time
  2. Work Ethic
  3. Effort
  4. Body Language
  5. Energy
  6. Attitude
  7. Passion
  8. Being Coachable
  9. Doing Extra
  10. Being Prepared

I did a little research and found out where the notes on this little scrap of paper came from. It was shared by Molly Fletcher, a former college athlete, sports agent, and motivational speaker. If you have time to check out her website, it’s well worth the visit for some inspiration on being your best self. 

Putting yourself in the camp environment, you are surrounding yourself with other people who are working on these skills, too. These words actually become part of your daily vocabulary and conversation. Camp people talk about these skills beyond orientation and beyond the handbook. Let’s take a look at them. 

1.Being on time. So, as a counselor (or working in any other position at camp), you will find it necessary to be on time to be even sort of successful.  Being late with a group of campers to lunch is the worst (for so many obvious reasons). Being late to activities makes you the bad guy with the person leading the activity, and being late to putting your kids to bed just results in cranky kids the following day. After your first week of not being on time at camp, I promise you that you will perfect your skills of being on time. The effort of doing so pays off and you’ve learned a new habit!

2. Work Ethic.  What Molly is referring to here is the discipline of showing up consistently, and making the best decisions that lead to peak performance. Sooooo many opportunities at camp to not only show up, but to make decisions that lead to peak performance. Specifically, you will be in charge of a group of campers daily. Make great decisions as a role model and help them make great decisions, too. 

3. Effort. You can do a job. Or, you can do a job with effort. You can go the extra mile. Pick up trash when you walk by it. Make intentional eye contact with your campers when they speak to you. Ask your supervisor if they need any help. We’re not asking you to be a genius. We are asking you to put some effort into your work. You’ll feel good you did. 

4. Body Language. Camp is like a small laboratory for reading body language. You want to know if your camper is mad; just look to see how they have their arms crossed. Happy? Jumping up and down. Stressed: hand on the back of the neck. Lying to you? A quick look at the ceiling or floor. You’ll not only get to study the habits of your campers’ body language but become aware of what your body language says about you!

5. Energy. Energy is contagious at camp. Really. And contagious in a way that cannot be conveyed at a conference table or by waiting tables. All out body moving, dancing, leaping energy. Not all the time of course. That would be nuts; you’d be exhausted. Just like 98% percent of the time. Sometimes at camp you’ll be the one taking your energy from others and sometimes you’ll be the one to pass your energy on. 

6. Attitude.  I’m sure you have an attitude of some sort. Camp will just help bring out your best attitude. The “can-do, problem solving” attitude; the “count my blessings” sort of attitude; the “I can do this really hard something” attitude; the “I’m pushing myself farther than I thought I could go” attitude. Want some of this attitude? Go to camp!

7. Passion. I learned recently that being passionate about something does not mean you have to be happy with it all the time. It means you are willing to put the work into it even when it is hard and overall, you love it. It’s fair to say that camp offers this environment. Overall you love it AND it may be hard at times, AND totally worth it in the end. 

8. Being Coachable. Great life skill. You can be coached in many jobs. Thing is, the people that will coach you at camp are the people that value the skills itemized on this list. This means your coaches at camp will prioritize your strong work ethic, your high energy level, your can-do attitude, and putting in the right kind of effort. 

9. Doing extra. Extra work and preparedness fosters confidence. I love extra work at camp; it may mean blowing up all the balloons for carnival, it may mean leading a card tournament, or it may mean being a really patient listener. Extra work at camp doesn’t actually feel like work; it feels more like being your best self. 

10. Being prepared. Show up to camp on day 1 prepared with some campfire stories and know the rules to Capture the Flag. Know your campers names before they arrive on the first day. Being prepared even means you know what cool trip you are going to take on your first day off!  

Short lesson: if you want to actively work on the above skills in an environment where others value them, too, camp may be the perfect place for you this summer!

Camp directors….we see a great orientation staff training session here!

Up Your Social Media Game to Up Your Staff Return Rate

What’s the main reason your staff return to camp each summer? We know it’s not the reasons “real world” HR believe in… 4-day work weeks, high pay, flex schedules, telecommuting, in house barista, etc, etc. In the summer camping world, we know that the #1 reason staff return to camp is for the relationships created the previous summers. 

With contracts out to staff invited back for another summer, now is the perfect time to remind them about these great relationships. A solid social media strategy that pulls on emotional heart strings, might just be the trick to pulling a few more great staff back to camp.

We’ve blogged a few times about creating a staff specific instagram feed.  If you haven’t done so, start with that.  Reason: 61% of Instagrams almost 1 billion monthly active users are 18-34 year olds – isn’t that your camp’s staffing sweet spot?

Staying in front of your staff with relevant content might be the thing that tips an on the fence staff member your way or even better helps them to recruit a friend to come along with them to work at camp. Here’s a link to our blog post on getting started with Instagram; Instant Staff Recruiting Upgrade with Instagram.

Use your new (or current) staff feed as a reason to touch base with staff 

Email your staff a link to your new staff Instagram feed and ask them to follow you and share their favorite camp photos from the summer.  This will only take a few minutes assuming you have good staff contact software. Read our blog post How to select the RIGHT summer camp management software  for guidance on your camp software. You can send this to staff from previous years also, but we HIGHLY recommend only reaching out to staff asked back.

Sharing photos in Instagram is simple. Just open the picture in your own feed, click the paper airplane icon and select who to send the pic to. Best part of this is you get to curate which shots make the feed and avoid any inappropriate shots, like those boozy days at the beach shots, if you want. 

Spice it up and hold a staff photo contest. Offer some cool camp swag for prizes, awarded based on who collects the most “likes” and comments. 

Be sure to include a link to the staff social media feeds within the staffing section of your website. You definitely want potential staff to find this feed. If one of your staff or camper families say, “check out our camp, its a great place to work” you can bet that your website is the first place they will go. They will then click your social media icons (don’t believe us, ask you web master for the click analytics). If you only have the highly curated camper pictures, that’s all they will see about your camp. While smiling, happy, safe kids can be a huge selling point to camper families, it may not be enough for a 20 year old college student looking for an experience in the mountains. Show staff what your staff is really like. 

Have your summer social media staff keep this feed active during camp. Parents of staff members love to see what’s going on with their kids. We all know that parents are very involved in this generation of college students life and have input on how they spend their summers. Reference our blog post 5 Reasons you should get a summer camp job (and get your parents support!) to get an idea of what parents are seeking in a summer job for their kids. You have a great opportunity to “sell” to the current staff families and build content for the next group.

The bottomline is that everyone in camping needs to be promoting summer camp as a great place to work. We spend a lot of effort as an industry promoting the benefits of camping experience for kids via social media. With just a little more effort we can all make a huge impact on promoting the wonderful benefits and opportunities that camp staff jobs offer also.

Photo Credit Tripp Lake Camp, Maine