Over the years I've had the opportunity to work at several camps and visited many others doing accreditation visits. One phenomenon I've noticed through these visits is that despite tremendous variety in how camps operate, often times the camp leadership and staff assume that all camps run like they do. Their way of doing scheduling, programming, meals, etc. is viewed as the norm. Their approach is "camp." Too often they've never considered that alternative approaches exist (and might even be better.)
This "our way is camp" perspective is understandable given that many camp staff grow up in and then go to work at the same camp. What you know of camp is what's always done. It feels comfortable and like the right thing to do. You may never have been challenged to look at what you're doing and consider alternatives.
Broadening your perspective is critical to growing as a leader and developing other camp leadership. Find ways to visit other camps. Talk with other camp professionals. Look at other camp's marketing materials and web sites. Get involved in on-line camp leader forums. Attend conferences and other professional development events.
If you can continually ask questions, challenge assumptions you've always held about how camp operates and explore new ideas you'll grow. You'll also, more than likely, find opportunities to take the great things you already do at camp and make them even better.
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.