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, May 12, 2015

Skill Practice... A Better Approach to Role Playing

Role playing has been a frequently used technique in summer camp staff training. Unfortunately, too often traditional role playing devolves into silliness and distraction that detracts from rather than facilitate learning. Fortunately there are ways to take traditional role playing and make it more effective.

In the world of corporate training role playing is known as skills practice. Just the change in the name implies something different. Instead of acting out parts in a imaginary situation, skill practice is just what the name implies, practice to learn a skill.

In skill practice participants are put in groups of three. One person will practice the skill, another will be the person being practiced on and the third will be the observer. The skill practice uses a predetermined scenario which helps keep participants focused on the topic.

Here's how the skill practice works:

1. Divide participants into groups.

2. Groups get and read aloud their scenario.

3. One participant practices the skill on another participant while the third observes.

4. The session is debriefed in the following order:
    - The participant practicing the skill evaluates their performance.
    - The person who was the subject of the practice gives feedback.
    - The observer gives feedback.

5. The roles are rotated and the process repeats itself.