Category Archives: The Week-Ender

Zero Tolerance Makes Zero Sense

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There is no reason for any kid at camp not to be cool.

I have a 7-year old daughter who takes Lyrical Ballet every Tuesday. She doesn’t like when I watch, so I don’t (until the last 5 minutes, because then it’s too late for her to get mad at me). The dance recital is next week, so right now the class is working on perfecting their moves. Some of the kids are pretty good, some are OK and some are all over the place—but what struck me more than anything is that … Continue reading

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Weak End Or Week End?

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Get outside and play.

At camp and school conferences, I talk a lot about leadership-by-example or LBE. I’m impressed and inspired by so many of the adults I meet: directors, deans, headmasters and youth leaders of all sorts who have devoted their lives to young people. I have great respect for that vocational choice, so it’s with some trepidation that I offer the following observation: As a group, we’re not in great shape. Professionally, we strive for perfection, so we’re in decent cognitive shape. … Continue reading

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Getting to Know You: 20 Questions to Start Great Staff Conversations

The beginning of summer means the start of of another camping season and a fresh crop of camp staff. Whether the majority of your leaders are previous employees or new hires, creating a cohesive, bonded staff unit makes for a stellar camping season. Giving staff time to get to know each other can pay dividends by developing trust and a collegiality that strengthens over the course of the camping season. Make conversation between staff more meaningful by bypassing the usual “Hi, my … Continue reading

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This Is A Real Job, These Aren’t Pretend Kids

Validate and elevate the way staff members view their job.

Why is it still that I am leery to tell my relatives that I have chosen a career in camping? I presented my many summers at camp to them as a way to let loose and be silly between college semesters, a chance to live on a lake and make great friends. All of these things are true, but we need to validate and recognize the work and the importance that makes a summer camp counselor different from the ride attendant … Continue reading

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Role Reversal

Students find themselves at camp.

As soon as I discovered my school was taking a three-day camping field trip, I signed up as chaperone. Never mind that I knew very few of the kids attending and that I hadn’t been a cabin counselor in at least 15 years. This was camp. The worst day of camp is always better than the best day of school, and I took it as my mission to instill this value into my very energetic group of 11- and 12-year-olds. On … Continue reading

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