Effective Evaluation

One method of concurrent control that has been extremely successful is to have the camp staff members collaborate with an ombudsperson.

The ombudsperson must be an approachable problem-solver who can work with staff members to identify changes in camp operations/programming that will enhance the camping experience for every member of the camp.

Each staff member is trained to self-monitor and enter a brief description in a journal of what went well and what didn’t after each activity.

At the end of the day, the staff member writes a summary of the triumphs and the glitches and submits these to the camp ombudsperson.

The ombudsperson can determine whether there is a need to institute a change across the entire camp to take advantage of the triumph or to eliminate the glitch.

The ombudsperson may need to observe the camp staff member’s approach before determining this. But, what probably is most important is that the ombudsperson must be sure to include the appropriate staff people in developing the solution.

A case in point would be using the concurrent control process to solve a problem with camper e-mails. Say a decision was made to address last year’s camper survey request to be able to send and receive e-mail from camp.

Once the service and the security checks were in place, the demand for e-mail access far exceeded the staff’s expectations. The camper appetite for e-mail created a logjam in the computer lab after meals.

Because of the ombudsperson’s ability to cultivate problem-solving ideas from the staff members, campers were assigned specific access times to send and receive e-mail. The campers appreciated the ease of access and the staff members felt a strong sense of pride because of their role in solving the problem.

Beyond the value of immediately tackling problems and sharing what works among staff members, the data collected over the entire camp season by the ombudsperson can help the camp owner develop more meaningful end-of-season evaluation tools.

People who respond to the formal evaluation tools will probably recognize the relevance of the questions and might also be more forthright and insightful in their responses.

Concurrent control is an investment in staff training and facilitating that can yield phenomenal dividends in both staff and camper satisfaction and that can cultivate a collective mindset for constant improvement of camp offerings.

It also could be a catalyst to jumpstart a more effective and positive evaluation experience for the entire camp.

Dr. Susan Langlois has more than 20 years of experience as a college professor, athletic administrator, camp director and sport facilities consultant. She is currently the Dean of Sports Science at Endicott College. Her undergraduate education was at the University of New Hampshire in physical education. She earned her Master’s and doctoral degrees from Springfield College. She is active in several professional organizations including NASSM, AAHPERD, ISCHPER, AAUP and NACWAA.

Sharman Hayward has directed sports camps at every developmental level, and has coached intercollegiate field hockey and lacrosse for 11 years. Sharman earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Colby-Sawyer College and has a Master of Science Degree in Athletic Administration from Springfield College. Sharman currently serves as Associate Director of Athletics at Endicott College.

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  2. Breaking Through
  3. Commitment to Excellence
  4. Off-Season Risk Management
  5. The Right Foot

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