Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Leading College Football Players...and Camp Counselors

This past year I had the opportunity to attend an event where several professional and college football coaches were speakers. Derek Dooley, head football coach at the University of Tennessee, talked about the challenges of leading a group of 18 to 22 year old young adults who are away from home for the first extended period of time and who suddenly find themselves with a great deal of responsibility. Sound familiar?

Dooley labelled this group the iY Generation. As described by Dooley, this group exhibits four characteristics:
  1. Overconnected - poor social skills and low emotional intelligence
  2. Overprotected - raised by risk adverse parents, schools and society
  3. Overserved - overinflated opinion of their own importance 
  4. Overwhelmed - challenged by decisions and problems of day-to-day life
In order to successfully coach this generation of player Dooley has had to adapt his leadership style to meet their needs. He described five solutions he sees as essential for leading generation iY.
  1. Belong before believe - focus on belonging and relationships
  2. Experience before explanation - capture their imagination first
  3. Cause before course - sell the big picture, overarching goals
  4. Play before pay - want results without effort so find short term results
  5. Use not used - create environment where their ideas matter