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, April 24, 2012

Planning Staff Training: Environment Analysis

(Note: This is the fifth in a series of posts that will be published in the coming weeks to provide an overview of a systematic approach to developing summer camp staff training.)

The final step in planning staff training is to analyze the learning environment. During this step the goal is to identify environmental factors that may impact training. Any outside forces that constrain what you can do with your training need to be identified. 

The first environmental factor to look at is time. You need to determine how much time is available for training. Consider what the overall time frame is for your staff training, how much time other non-training activities will consume and what is left for actual training. You also want to consider when time is available as it might influence what type of learning activities can be done. If much of your available time is in the afternoon and you’re in a very hot climate it may limit how much physical outdoor activity your training can include.  Nighttime training might restrict some of what can be done and where it can done. 

The type of facilities available will have an impact on your training. Look at what space is available, both indoors and outdoors. Consider how that space can or can’t be used. Identify maximum capacities. Also look at limitations such as lack of lighting for nighttime training or lack of power for projectors.

Understanding what resources are available is also an important consideration when planning training. Identify what supplies and equipment you might need and whether they are available. Review the budget if one exists for training to ensure you know how much money is available to support your training.

Mandated Requirements
Another factor that may influence your training are requirements mandated by your organization, state licensing or your accreditation. During the analysis process spend time researching and building a list of these mandates so they can be added to the information generated in your task analysis. If your organization requires a four hour training on preventing and reporting child abuse it’s important to identify that requirement as you begin to develop your training.

The five steps in the planning process create a framework around on which your staff training will be build. You’ll have clearly defined overall goals for your training. The job and task analysis will yield a comprehensive list of topics to be taught during the training. Through learner analysis you’ll understand the characteristics of your staff and how they impact your training. You also will have identified any environments factors that need to be considered. With this information in hand you’re ready to design your staff training.