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, August 9, 2012

Staff Engagement

Are your staff passionate about what they're doing or are they just going through the motions. Are they putting everything they have into their work or doing just enough to get by? Having a staff that is highly engaged is critical to the success of a camp. In camps, each staff member has a significant impact on the quality of the camp's activities and the relationship built with and between campers. A staff member's level of engagement can make or break a camper or even a whole cabin's experience.

What can camp's do to promote staff engagement?  Ross Tartell writes in the July/August issue of Training that there are six key leverage points that affect the level of engagement of employees. These are:

1. The quality of interaction with the direct supervisor.
Supervisors need to find regular opportunities to talk with staff in a caring, supportive manner that sends a clear message that they value and are there to help the staff member.

2. Individual alignment with the organization's strategy and objectives.
Hire staff who share the same passion you do about your mission. Regularly share with them the importance of what you do and the impact it is having.

3. Meaningful work. 
Make sure staff know what they do makes a difference. Give them opportunities to make decisions, be creative and help shape your program.

4. Developmental opportunities.
Create opportunities for your staff to learn, try new skills and be challenged.

5. Adequate resources to get the job done.
Make sure your staff have the supplies, equipment, support and structure needed to do what you ask of them. 

6. A culture of support, ethics and performance. 
Intentionally structure your camp and its leadership around core values that focus on helping staff succeed, doing what's right and setting high expectations.