Improving Summer Camp Staff Training

What is the goal of your staff training? You want your summer camp staff to gain knowledge about your camp and its daily operations, develop a positive attitude and a strong belief that what they’re doing at camp is important and ensure they're confident in daily camp operations. sent out some resources on reframing your staff training. We have highlighted some of their points in this blog article.

General - Staff training session

Orientation for staff prior to staff training

You should start giving your hired staff as much information as possible, starting at the interview, to help them better prepare for staff training and the summer ahead. You should lay out your expectations and make sure they’re very aware with what it will be like to work at camp and for your camp in particular.

This is the time to provide them with any written material that will help them learn about your camp including staff manuals, newsletters, brochures that go out to camper families, written history, your website and get them connected with your camp’s social media channels. You can also send your hired staff any materials you plan on using during staff training so they can look them over.

What your staff needs to learn about your camp

Some of your staff members will be returning, but for the new staff it’s important to review the basics of your camp at the beginning of your staff training. They should know everything about your camps schedule, facilities, culture and community as well as the basics like living at camp. This will help your new staff to learn about how a regular camp day will flow, get them involved in different areas of camp and help them learn about things like specific program areas, camp lingo and culture, rules for different areas, where things are located and supplies are kept. It’s also a good reminder for returning staff.

Topics to include in your staff training sessions

There is so much to go over and so little time! Here are some suggestions for session topics you might choose to include in your staff training:

  • Going over the staff manual
  • The duties of a camp counsellor
  • Managing camper behavior
  • Leadership and supervision skills
  • Health and safety
  • Emergency procedures
  • Camp policies, procedures and rules
  • Activity and Program Training. This would include specific instructor training for your activities such as climbing wall or horseback riding instructor as well as any specific activity procedures and skills.
  • How to deal with homesickness
  • How to deal with sensitive issues
  • Teambuilding skills

You can breakdown each session and ensure it is covering all the things you need to cover by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What should we cover and why?
  • Does this session teach specific skills?
  • Does the Alberta Camping Association, provincial, federal or municipal law have specific requirements about this topic?
  • What goals should be met with this topic? What do you hope the staff will learn?
  • Where will the information come from and who will present the session?

Opportunity to grow as a team and a community

Your staff training is the first time many of your staff will meet each other, or the first time returning staff will be reunited since last summer. This provides a great opportunity to develop and grow meaningful relationships, build team work skills and start creating that awesome camp community we all love!

Kick things off with a few fun ice breaker activities. We have some ice breakers for staff training ideas here as well as effective and fun staff training activities that will help get things started.

Encourage staff to get to know new people by partnering returning staff with new staff for some of your activities and sessions. Make a rule that participants must walk to meals with a person they’ve never met and give them some ideas of things they could talk about as they walk around property during staff training. You can also start some discussion on some of the returning staff’s favourite memories from the summer before, creating a bit of excitement for another great summer to begin!

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Categories: Staff Training