As the summer approaches so does your staff training weekend. This years recruits will all arrive on Friday night. Some will be giggly and eager to see their friends from last year. Others will be shy and awkward, about to work at camp for the first time. All will be excited for the awesome weekend you have planned for them.
So you gather them in the main lodge for some ‘getting to know you’ activities. 20 or more high school and college students sit in chairs in a circle starring at you blankly. A few of the new staff tap their feet nervously. Others start to fiddle on their smartphones, some are whispering to each other about snack. It’s all on you. How do you break the ice?
Ice Breaking Staff Training Activities:
The Story of Your Name
Everyone has a name. Every name has a story! Some of us are named after a family member, someone famous, perhaps has a nickname or a significant middle name. Go around the circle and ask each person to share the story of their name. How they came to have it, if they like it or not, any nicknames they have or have had in the past, or what they would have been called if they had been born the opposite gender.
Have everyone end their story with “Please call me....” so that everyone knows how they would like to be addressed. This activity gives nervous staff a chance to introduce themselves in a positive way and can be very powerful.
Circle of Connection
One person starts (this could be you) by placing their hands on their hips and sharing what part of camp they like the best. They might say “I love going on trail rides, singing silly songs, and eating jello!” The first person who also enjoys one of these activities links arms with the first, introduces themselves and states what parts of camp he enjoys, and so on.
Keep the circle going until everyone is connected together. The last person continues to list things they love about camp until the first person can connect to them. That’s when you get to say something really profound like “Those things that link us together bring us a bit closer to each other as well!”
Two Truths and a Lie
Classic icebreaker activity! Everyone gets a pen and paper. Go around the circle and have each staff member share with the group three interesting facts about themselves. Two will be true, one will be a lie. Example: I have climbed to the top of Mount Robson, I have a twin brother, in high school I was voted athlete of the year.
Then conduct a vote among the group asking them to vote for each item, yes that is true, or no that is a lie. Afterwards have the participant reveal the correct answer. Those who guess correctly get a tally on their paper. After everyone has shared their three statements find out who has the most correct guesses and they win!
Do you have any helpful staff training ideas, ice breakers, getting-to-know you activities, energizers and games that you would like to share with the Alberta Camping Association? Feel free to post them in this blog’s comment box or on our Facebook page!