The summer camp season has flown by and many of us are in our last week or two of camp programming. This can be a bitter sweet time for camp professionals. We happy for the upcoming rest (until fall programming starts!) but are sad to see the campers and seasonal staff go.
Your summer camp staff have had a very busy, tiring and likely amazing summer. Having a good debriefing session can help you determine what went well and what didn’t this summer, so you can make changes and improvements for next season. It’s also a great time for your staff to share their experiences, connect and prepare to move on to whatever awaits them this fall.
Start a discussion.
Gather your staff and start a debriefing discussion. You can facilitate the conversation by asking a series of questions. This will help your staff open communication and give you good insight on how camp went and how you can make it better. Here are some questions to help you get the conversation flowing:
- What do you think campers enjoyed the most this summer?
- What experience was the most beneficial or meaningful to you?
- What is the biggest lesson you learned this summer? How did you learn that lesson?
- What part of camp (programming, facility, policy, etc.) do you think hindered the camper experience?
- How would you change the things that didn’t work?
- How well did the staff work together? How can the staff team work even better together next year?
- Did you get any feedback from parents this summer? Whether positive or negative, please share.
- Do you have any ideas for camp (programming, training, operations, etc) that we should implement next season?
As your staff are answering these questions, write them all down on a flip chart so everyone can see. You should also have a senior staff member taking notes on a computer, so you can review them later. After the debriefing session, compile the notes and ideas into a report to submit to your board and to your returning staff members. You can also refer to the report next year during staff training to ensure any new ideas are implemented with an action plan.
Have some fun with debriefing!
Before or after your discussion, some debriefing activities can be effective in team building and having a little fun. During these activities, your staff should feel welcome to share their opinions, discuss ideas and begin the process of making camp even better for the future! It will also help staff unwind from a busy camp season and prepare them to move on.
Check out these fun team building debriefing activities.