Supporting Staff Mental Wellness - CampHacker #107

Your camp staff's mental wellness is a priority. Period.

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How many of our camp brochures or websites preach that our camp teaches kids about grit and resilience?

Okay everyone, put your hands down. 

Now, home many of us can say that we put that same effort into fostering grit and resilience with our staff? Sure, we may have staff check-ins and encourage staff to write motivational notes to each other, but although those are great, the times when just that was enough are likely coming to a end.

Before we continue, let's check ourselves remember that the world that we grew up in, in the 70's, 80's and 90's is very different than the one where our staff are growing up in now. The pressures of the world combined with the increased expectations of parents and peers, all lumped in with a toxic social media culture, makes for one of the most tumultuous times to be a youth.

We've grown and changed as an industry in so many ways. Now, when it comes to addressing the mental health of our staff, it's time to grow again. We would never leave our campers who are missing home and mentally struggling, so why would do it to our staff who are missing home, camp and mentally struggling in other ways?

This is a challenging episode, and honestly, it might be one of our heaviest yet, but we hope you'll stick with it and let this sink in.

Joining Travis, Dan and Gab in walking down this road is the fantastic Amanda Grassick from Camp Woodeden. Amanda has been working hard to make their staff's mental health a priority at Woodeden, and after a tough start in their first year, Amanda is starting to see some results thanks to what they've put in place.

This is more than a "get a pen and paper" type of episode. It's a "get a pen and paper, and ready to grow" type of episode. We know you'll enjoy it.

What are you doing to look after your staff team's mental health? Let us know in the comments below!

Bonus Resources

Mental wellness isn't something we can just "figure out" on our own (like you "figured out" how to jerry-rig that leaky toilet, you genius you!). Get professional training and approach this issue like a professional. These links will get you started.

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: The Power of Moments: Chip & Dan Heath

Dan: Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Gab: Find someone to talk to that’s not family or friends also this book  Loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

Amanda: Smartsheet

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Proven Summer Camp Marketing Methods - CampHacker #106

Marketing That Gets The Bums In Bunks

    Podcast: Subscribe in  iTunes    |  Stitcher

   Podcast: Subscribe in iTunes Stitcher

It's that time of year again. Registration has been open for a bit, staff applications are rolling in and school groups are calling to book for Outdoor Education.

You've made that first big push. Way to go!

Now, let's get at it, shall we? 

Summer Camp is the main reason why most of us are here. We believe that every camper deserves a week at camp. We believe that every camp is great, but we're REALLY proud of our camp and we REALLY hope that kids will come.

Unfortunately, hope isn't a very high-yield marketing scheme. That's why in this time of year, you're going to be getting a LOT of emails from Camp Marketers (ahem...), who have an absolute bumper-crop of ideas to help you raise camper numbers for the summer of 2018.

While they (ahem...) may have a lot of great ideas, it can be a little overwhelming to not only implement them, but even just choose one in the first place!

Well have no fear, the CampHackers are here! Three of our regulars, Travis, Gab and Joe are joined by the meme-staff-hiring-posting-guru and all around great-guy Marc Cooper from Camp Tamarack are here to give you ideas that WORK.

Tune-in to hear these CampHacker's talk about their first principals, what their insider tricks are, what they are surprised to hear other Camp Directors aren't doing, and even more awesome tips for rocking registration this year!

These are easy to implement, or even better, easy to delegate to the rest of your team (board, staff, alumni, etc!). Get your pencil and papers out, y'all!

What are your Marketing miracles? What have you done that have really got registrations rolling? Let us know in the comments below!

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: - Tie your Amazon and Kindle apps into a searchable database & email digest.

Gab: Pegboard for your office - Make your office space match the clean, excellent marketing you do. 

Joe: Klein Tools Voltage Tester - Because your camp likes you better not shocked to death.

Marc: Mematic app - Step up your staff hiring post game.


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Unplug at Camp - CampHacker #104

The reason behind your no-cell phone policy

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Camp is counter-culture.

Camps (for the most part) don't care about fashion, we encourage people to embrace what makes them quirky, and we don't have cell-phones at camp.

Now, policies differ, and some camps are even experimenting with plugged-in weeks at camp, but we can all agree on is that there is indeed a benefit that we give to our campers when we ask them to unplug from tech while they are at camp.

What? You don't believe this un-named, rogue blogger? Well fine. How about Dan Weir?

Yeah. THE CampHacker Dan Weir.

Dan was the keynote speaker at the Society of Camp Director's dinner this year where he shared his findings on the importance of unplugging both at home and at camp. Dan has done some pretty extensive research, not only in terms of the clinical benefits, but has been actively experimenting with how the unplugged culture at Frost Valley has given campers (and their parents) a much needed tech-free space. 

On this episode of the podcast, you'll find the audio of his talk.

Dan was even gracious enough to share his slide deck for all of you. Click or tap here. Hey. Thanks, Dan! 

No tool of the week this episode, but if you missed it last week, Dan references Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi. Definitely worth a read or listen!


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Encouraging the Next Generation of Camp Pros - CampHacker #103

Because you won't be around forever.

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Okay, that was harsh. You'll be around for awhile. We're sure of it. We love you.

That being said, the reason that we budget, vision and innovate is so that camp will be around for a long time, or as Joe says, "for today's camper camper". That means you need to take a second to think about the type of person you want to be the future stewards of your site and program.

It's a humbling experience to think about a future at camp without you. What makes that humbling experience also comforting is when you know that you've intentionally fostered the people who will take up the torch.

We had the rare opportunity to have Travis, Joe and Dan all in the same room leading up to the Society of Camp Director's dinner, so of course we were going to record an episode! Can you believe we've been doing this for 10 years and it's the first time Dan and Joe have met? Our 3 CampHackers are joined by our producer Matt Honsberger (who feels slightly awkward typing his own name in right now) to discuss their stories of being mentored into their current roles as well as the things they do every day to set the future of camp and the industry up for success.

Take a quick second to think about how you got to where you are today. Who planted the seed of possibility in you? Make sure you thank them and then tell us the story in the comments below! 

Tool of the Week – Make Yourself a Better Camp Director

Travis: - Amazon price tracker
Dan: Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi
Matt: The Better Board - Message Matt for a more detailed explanation
Joe: Google Photo Scan - iOS - Andoid

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