Category Archives: Staff Training

The Importance Of Candid Feedback

Be honest with parents when discussing a child's challenging behavior at camp. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / goldenKB

While the biggest worry for a camp counselor may be coping with a particularly difficult camper, the second-biggest worry is how to tell that camper’s parents—either at the child’s pick-up time after an especially trying day or at the end of a resident session. Certainly a camp staff’s responsibility includes not only caring for campers, but also providing opportunities for growth. This is best accomplished when parents are drawn into a partnership with a key staff member, which occurs only … Continue reading

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Provide Like A Parent

There is no greater act of service than to care for a child. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / michaeljung

Look at this photo. Beautiful, isn’t she? I look in those big blue eyes, and I see hope, happiness, and joy. That is why I named this child Leelou Joy. It’s how I felt about becoming a parent. But looking back, I realize there have been other times before Leelou when I was a parent. Like many of you, I have been there for someone who needed me. Sometimes, it was something simple—a hug and a pat on the back … Continue reading

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Be There To Show You Care

You have to do more than just wave a magic wand to get good behavior out of children. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / darrin

It’s time to have a conversation about young people and all the things they do that are wonderful, inclusive, respectful, and responsible. Unfortunately, these aspects are often overlooked. And when we do see them, we either don’t identify them as a choice or we are surprised that we “caught” children being good. Of course, even youngsters with severe misbehaviors spend a lot of time behaving well. It is our job as adult caregivers to see as much of the good … Continue reading

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Children On The Autistic Spectrum

A little understanding goes a long way in helping autistic campers succeed at camp. © Can Stock Photo Inc. / jhandersen

“How’s Max holding up?” I ask a camp director who recently agreed to host this camper with autism. “Um,” she says before pausing. “He did pretty well after the first day. But it’s still not going great with the boys in his cabin.” “Uh oh. What’s up?” I thought of 10-year-old Max’s wild first day at camp—dashing off to do some unauthorized wading in the lake and an impromptu redecorating of his cabin with paint from the craft shop. “Well, … Continue reading

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Bridging The Gap

Working with Generation Y staff can be challenging -- but also rewarding and fun! © Can Stock Photo Inc. / iodrakon / summoners

Generation Y has come to be known by several different titles: The Internet Generation, Echo-Boomers, The Boomlet, Nexters, and most commonly, Millennials. The different classifications suggest the generation is open to many interpretations. As a result, many older camp directors have been left wondering how they can understand the working behaviors of their younger adult staff. As an extension to a recent conference workshop discussing staff entitlement, camp directors acknowledged similar difficulties in how they might “deal” with the enigmatic … Continue reading

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