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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's Not About Being Introverted

I recently heard a camp leader explain that the poor performance of a group of counselors was because they were introverts. The leader went on to suggest that they couldn't be expected to change their personalities. The implication was that their ineffective performance was both inevitable because they were introverts and irreversible because it was who they are

While personality does impact how counselors do their jobs, I'd suggest that introverts can be just as effective as extroverts as camp staff members.

Being a camp counselor involves using a set of skills that with enough practice anyone, introverted or extroverted, can learn. Clear expectations, great training and on going coaching go a long way in helping even the most introverted staff member be successful.

While some of what we do at camp is big group, crazy, high energy stuff, the real impact we have on kids is through the relationships we build with them. While they tend to be quiet in large groups, introverts can be great a building one-on-one relationships with campers.

Many of our campers are introverts who can relate to and might best be served by counselors with similar personalities. The ideal counselor staff is one that includes a variety of types of personalities to match the variety we'll see in the campers.

Take a look at these common attributes of introverts and consider how many are an asset rather than a liability as a camp counselor:

  • Very self-aware
  • Thoughtful
  • Enjoys understanding details
  • Interested in self-knowledge and self-understanding
  • Tends to keep emotions private
  • Quiet and reserved in large groups or around unfamiliar people
  • More sociable and gregarious around people they know well
  • Learns well through observation
As camp leaders our challenge is to take the gifts each of our staff members bring to camp and find ways to help them identify, develop and use those gifts to serve others.