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.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Five Keys to a Successful Crafts Program

Making crafts is as iconic a part of the camp experience as is making s'mores around a campfire. Yet too often, crafts are planned with far less attention than other program activities. Planning crafts often is no more than finding a "crafty" staff member, sending them into a "craft hut" filled with a random supplies and expecting them to magically create fun craft projects for campers. 

How do you create a successful, high quality crafts programs? Here are five keys to building a great crafts program:

1. Know your goals - Know what you're trying to accomplish. Are you trying to teach skills and if so which ones? Are you trying to encourage character development? If so, what traits? Is the goal to encourage interaction and relationship building or focus on individual effort?

2. Plan, Plan, Plan - Plan what you're going to do, how you're going to do it and what you'll need beforehand. Don't just throw things together. Take the same detailed approach to planning crafts you would for planning an out of camp trip or other complex activity. 

3. Hire the right person - Yes, you do need a "crafty" person. Find someone who has a passion for crafts. Get the person who loves to be creative and wants to help kids experience the joy of creating.
Great planning and organizing skills are also essential.

4. Get "real" resources - Sure you can make some crafts from donated and recycled materials. But to provide a quality experience you're going to have to spend some money. There are basic tools of the trade and materials that every quality crafts program needs to invest in to support their program. 

5. Make it a positive experience for kids - While crafts can be fun and rewarding, they can also be boring and frustrating. Plan for success. Can a project be done in the available time frame? Think about age appropriateness. What appeals to boys in addition to girls?

For crafts ideas for camp check out crafts4camp.com.