Ask and Ye Shall Receive

Above all, staff should be trained to ask. Ask how the drive was. Ask how the summer has been so far. And, of course, ask parents to share something about their child.

With a few practical and polite tools in hand, your staff can make even the most apprehensive parents feel comfortable and confident at the opening day drop-off.

Of course, maybe this is all just forlorn musings from a parent who blogs about staff training. When I picked Dacha up that afternoon, he said, “Mr. Wilson is so cool. He makes his own surfboards!”

Score one for Mr. Wilson.

Dr. Christopher Thurber is a board-certified clinical psychologist, father and author of The Summer Camp Handbook, now available online for free at He is the co-creator of, a set of Internet-based-video training modules for camp counselors, nurses and doctors. He can be reached via e-mail at

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3 comments on “Ask and Ye Shall Receive

  1. Kirstie Wills on said:

    I appreciated this article as a camp director – it’s truly important to give parents a sense of security and confidence about where their children are spending the day, and who is taking care of them. I agree that, if possible, sunglasses should be taken off for greeting people; however, I have to point out that there may have been a reason the sunglasses didn’t come off. The teacher may have a medical reason for keeping sunglasses on. As a person who feels near-blind without glasses on, I certainly don’t take my sunglasses off unless I have my regular glasses handy. This teacher erred on many fronts, but I hope people don’t rush to judgment just because of sunglasses staying on.

  2. Bill Stoldt on said:

    I too appreciate this article as an aspiring camp director. I have printed it out for future reference in my own life let alone for staff training. I really like these Week-Ender articles and I am starting to look forward to seeing them in my email box!

  3. Evan Heltay on said:

    An excellent article with some simple tips that can make the families first experience a lot more pleasant. Youth development professionals can benefit greatly from this information as they will most likely be less experienced and a lot more nervous then Mr. Wilson was on day 1. These little things can really add up in making parents, and as a result their children, more comfortable in having someone new look after their children.

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