Many of your seasonal staff this summer will be working their very first job at camp. This summer is your opportunity to give them training and work experience that will set them up for employment and success in the future.
Staff training is also when your returning staff meet your new staff. Not only is it a time to get to know one another, it's a critical time to teach them how to work together as a team. Good staff and good staff training will result in a good summer! Here are some ideas for your staff training this summer:
Start training in the hiring process.
How you craft your job postings for your summer camp staff positions will help determine the type of candidates that apply for the job - and you want the right candidate for the job. Keep in mind that you can train someone to teach archery or clean up the dining hall, but you can’t train them on character. Your job postings should indicate that this job is one that matters, that will make a difference in the lives of children and that is a good opportunity to grow leadership skills.
Talk to your returning staff before the new staff arrive.
Your returning staff love camp and are back again for another great summer of service. Be sure to prepare them for any changes that might come up this year so they don’t interfere with training with a “but we’ve always done it that way” attitude. You also want to ask them to refrain from comparing everything to last summer for the first few days of training. You don’t want to create a set of expectations for the new staff that might not be applicable to this summer. To help welcome the new staff, give your returning staff an opportunity to lead at least one thing during staff training.
Try a regular camp-task activity at staff training to break the ice.
We heard of a summer camp that has all of their staff cook dinner together on the first night of staff training. While everyone is cutting veggies, making sauce and setting the tables, they are free to talk to one another and get to know each other in a more relaxed atmosphere. To make things a little more exciting, you can also hide all of the ingredients for the meal around camp and set up a scavenger hunt as an ice breaker. Not only will they have fun getting to know each other, the new staff will get an informal tour of the camp property.
Play lots of games.
In the first 24 hours of staff training, play lots of games. Not only do games help break the ice, they are great team building tools and teaches the staff how to work together and how to lead games with campers. Learn some great ice breakers for staff training here.
Resources for Staff Training
The Alberta Camping Association has many resources available to help you with your staff training. Click on the links below to read more:
Do you have any helpful staff training ideas, ice breakers and getting-to-know-you activities that you would like to share with the Alberta Camping Association? Feel free to post them on our Facebook page!