Category: Staff Training
This week, Steven and Brooke, along with other members of our Leadership Team will be heading to Atlantic City, New Jersey, for the 2018 American Camp Association Tri-State Camp Conference. The conference is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world! Over 3,000 attendees will come together to learn at over 200 educational sessions, find new products and services at the 300 booth exhibit hall, and best of all, spend time with like-minded people who are dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of children.
Speakers lead the educational sessions with topics including staff training, creating new special events, using social media, managing risks and emergencies, and healthcare. Some sessions are led by fellow camp professionals while others are experts in psychology, social work, marketing, education, law, and medicine. One of the biggest takeaways is sharing and discussing best practices of operating a summer camp with camp directors from around the Unites States to keep making camp safer, more fun and more rewarding for campers and counselors alike.
The exhibit hall is filled with vendors whose merchandise include art supplies, food service, athletic equipment, waterfront products, wearable apparel, outside entertainment, popular trip destinations and more. This is the same venue where in the last few years we purchased our Rock-It and Jungle Jim for the waterfront and new GaGa courts.
One of the highlights of the conference are the two keynote speakers. Dr. Shefali Tsabary is giving the opening keynote on Tuesday. She will outline how camp directors and parents can raise resilience levels within children and help them achieve their most authentic selves. Oprah Winfrey has hailed Dr. Shefali’s work as revolutionary. Thursday’s closing keynote is by Billie Jean King. In addition to being the winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles, King has long been a champion for social justice and equality. She will be discussing the unique opportunity in the workplace for generations past, present and future to work together in an inclusive environment.
What’s the common bond that Denzel Washington, Michael Eisner, Michelle Obama and Carly Simon share? They are all former summer camp counselors. Spending a summer at camp won’t transform a staff member into a celebrity, but it will give them valuable experience and teach them skills that will help them succeed in life.
This summer over one million college students and recent graduates will pack their bags and head to camp for work. Camp North Star’s team of directors, counselors, coaches, instructors and support staff will work together to provide our campers with a safe, supervised, rewarding and memorable summer. It’s also a fulfilling experience for our staff.
A summer camp job offers invaluable skill-building, leadership, training and enrichment opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else. The experience allows staff to learn and develop skills that will enhance their job marketability. The corporate world recognizes that the experience as a camp counselor translates into excellent management and personnel skills.
If a staff member’s career goal is working with youth in some capacity, then camp is the ideal place to gain experience with children. Counselors are able to learn how their campers react to new environments, handle homesickness, gain a sense of independence and learn how to form friendships with other campers that were strangers before the summer began.
There’s a misconception that spending a summer working at camp will only benefit you if you’re headed towards a career as a teacher or similar youth development job. That’s simply not true. Being a summer camp counselor and working directly with children teaches staff numerous skills that will benefit them in any future profession.
Leadership – There are endless opportunities to become a leader. Instantly a group of campers look up to their counselors and seek guidance and wisdom from them.
Problem Solving – Plans can change at a moment’s notice at camp. A rainy day can turn an outdoor activity into an impromptu indoor game.
Teamwork – At Camp North Star our staff is a diverse and talented group of counselors from across the United State and around the world. Counselors learn how to communicate, compromise and lend a helping hand to their co-workers.
Work Ethic – Working at camp may be one of the toughest jobs around. Long hours, hot days, challenging campers, all while keeping a genuine smile on your face.
Time Management – Counselors at Camp North Star are supervising campers from wake-up at 7:15 AM till bed time. Be on time for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a six-period activity day. Don’t be late for camp meeting. At the end of the day, staff are able to convince campers when it’s time for lights out so they have enough sleep to do it all over again tomorrow.
A job at a summer camp is much more than being a counselor. It’s being a teacher, role model and hero. Spending two months at Camp North Star can be the most rewarding experience in a staff member’s life. It’s a unique opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of so many people—campers, fellow staff and themselves.
Summer camp professionals are often asked the question, “what do you do all offseason?”. Time is definitely needed to recharge your batteries after a long camp season. However, there’s also significant time spent on professional development. Yes, summer camp directors go to school too for professional development and training.
Later this month, several of Camp North Star’s directors are headed to the ACA Tri-State Camp Conference in New Jersey and the ACA New England Camp Conference in New Hampshire. These are just two of the numerous conferences, workshops and seminars that our leadership team attend during the school year.
The ACA Tri-State Camp Conference is the largest gathering of camp professionals in the world with over 3,000 camp directors and staff spending four days in Atlantic City. The conference is highlighted by over 150 educational sessions, an exhibit hall with 300 vendors and 2 keynote speakers. The ACA New England Conference offers similar sessions and an exhibit hall too. This conference is on a slightly smaller scale with just under 1,000 attendees.
Both exhibit halls are filled with vendors whose merchandise include art supplies, food service, athletic equipment, waterfront products, wearable apparel, outside entertainment, popular trip destinations and more. There’s always a few new things purchased to enhance Camp North Star’s activity program, special events and facility in Poland Spring, Maine.
The keynote speakers this year are Susan Cain and Brandon Stanton at Tri-State and Michael Brandwein at New England. Susan Cain is chief revolutionary and co-founder of Quiet Revolution and the author of the bestselling books, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, and Quiet: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Brandon Stanton is the creator of Humans of New York, the photoblog and book that features street portraits and interviews collected on the streets of New York City. Michael Brandwein is one of the top speakers and bestselling authors in the camp industry. Former keynote speakers include Hilary Clinton, Michael Eisner and Henry Winkler.
The most meaningful part of any conference are the educational sessions. At both the Tri-State and New England Conferences, leaders in a variety of relevant fields present workshops. The topics include childhood development, behavior management, emergency preparedness, staff training, healthcare, and leadership training. The knowledge gained at these workshops are shared with our entire Leadership Team. Then, incorporated into our own staff training. Ultimately it is used day-to-day during the camp season by our entire staff so we can provide our campers with the most meaningful and well-rounded experience possible.