Category Archives: Gary Forster

Buddy Up!

While visiting many camps, the most dangerous thing I witness repeatedly is lifeguards and waterfront directors who have no idea how or why they do buddy checks, and what they are supposed to be looking for. It almost always goes like this: Me: “Why do kids swim with buddies?” Lifeguard: “It only takes half as long to count them during buddy checks.” Here’s the crux: no matter how often buddy checks are conducted (every 10 minutes, every 5 minutes, etc.), … Continue reading

Posted in Aquatics, Blast From The Past, Camp Business, Columns & Features, Departments, Gary Forster, Issues, Mar/Apr 2011, Writers | 2 Comments

A Recipe For Magic

Summer camp for youth has been around since 1861. How could anything continue to be so popular for so long, with such passionate proponents in every generation, unless it has real magic? Most of my previous Camp Business articles have dealt with a leadership dimension–making wise choices based on listening, caring and measuring–creatively borrowing ideas that have proven successful (in camping and elsewhere) and taking action. But is there something more elemental than that? Could much of the success of … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Gary Forster, Issues, May/Jun 10, Programming | Leave a comment

It’s Hammer Time

The last few weeks before camp opens are hectic for anyone working on maintenance and facility projects. What seemed like plenty of time in the fall has now become a mad dash to be ready for the first-session campers. Some items have to be ready, like patching holes in screens and replacing toilet parts. But some would be better if you didn’t do them. I don’t mean not do them; I mean have someone else do them, and not just … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Facilities + Grounds, Gary Forster, Issues, May/Jun 09 | Leave a comment

If I Had Three Wishes

There’s only one reason kids want to return to camp–friends. Yet when I tour camps and ask what staff members do to specifically help kids make friends, I find out why the average camper-return rate is so low. We think it happens automatically. We focus on “fun” instead. Kids have been making friends “automatically” at camp for decades. But in an effort to be safer, our risk managers have eliminated many of the times and places where kids and counselors … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Gary Forster, Issues, Mar/Apr 09, Programming | Leave a comment

Camp Bathrooms And Showerhouses

I see thousands of parent evaluations of summer camps every year, so when I ask, “What’s the single biggest complaint you get?” I already know–the bathrooms. Calling them KYBOs (Keep Your Bowels Operating) or other cute names doesn’t give you any help with the fact that kids and parents aren’t satisfied, especially with cleanliness. Why? Because if we can’t get something as simple as keeping bathrooms clean, how in the world can they expect us to do something so much … Continue reading

Posted in Camp Business, Facilities + Grounds, Gary Forster, Issues, Nov/Dec 08 | Leave a comment