Wading Through Possibilities

Objectivity. This is incredibly important when selecting equipment and gear.

Networking. This is important when the person doesn’t know the answers to questions. Does the person know of other resources in order to find the answers?

Curriculum development. Can your expert help develop a curriculum? Participating in an activity and developing a curriculum are very different skills.

Equipment purchasing. Purchasing a kayak and purchasing a fleet of kayaks are also different experiences.

Staff hiring and training. Does your expert know where to find qualified staff? Are there local colleges that have a club that features the activity?

Camper supervision and safety. Has your expert ever supervised a large group of participants doing this activity? This is important when factoring in the cost of running the program. How many staff members are needed to keep campers safe?

Budgeting experience. Does the person know what it costs to keep the activity up and running on a camp scale? Can the expert factor in the appropriate wear-and-tear that a camp season will inflict?

It can be difficult to find one expert who has all of the criteria above. It is OK to use the combined knowledge of several experts for a comprehensive look at an activity.

Recommendation/Sales Phase

It is now time to make a recommendation and/or sell the idea to a supervisor. It is important to know how your boss thinks. What is he or she most concerned with—upfront or ongoing costs? Will a supervisor want to see the program curriculum or just the cost of the program? Is there an interest in knowing the process used?

The more you know about how your supervisor makes decisions, the easier your sell will be.

A new activity on the waterfront is exciting, but it shouldn’t be an “impulse buy.” Take the time to make the correct decision so the activity lasts, with a positive impact on campers and staff members.

Good luck and happy planning!

Todd Lennig is the director at YMCA Camp Timbers in Saginaw, Mich. Reach him at tlennig@saginawymca.org.

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