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camp hacker bringing your world into focus welcome to our podcast brought to you by camp hacker this podcast is dedicated to what many camp professionals believe to be the most important time at camp no matter what you call it staff training orientation or leadership training this critical time period prepares your staff to fulfill all the promises that you make to parents and customers throughout the rest of the year the series will focus on helping you create and facilitate the most effective staff training so we as an industry can raise the bar for professionalism and preparedness for our staff we have our hosts back here today so Gabby wanna start us off sure yep my name is Gabrielle rail and I’m one of the camp directors at Camp whirl camp our was an all-girls camp with the linguistic program French and English situated in northern Quebec and I’m Beth Allison I was a camp director for many years with my husband Travis Allison and we were located in Muskoka in Ontario Canada and now we are consultants we have a company called Camp hacker and my specialty is leadership training and I’m Ruby Compton I’m the summer camp program director at Green River Preserve we are an environmentally based summer camp in Western North Carolina House on thirty four hundred acres of private wildlife preserve we are all really excited about our topic today because it is teaching boring topics in innovative ways and as we’ve been preparing for this just kind of been throwing out some ideas on what some boring topics are and gab what would you classify some traditionally boring topics in the camp world um I think I think pretty much traditionally boring topics can be policies and procedures the camp day do these talking to parents a lot of different to you know things are just the mundane stuff about about camp that we have to talk to her staff for legal reasons and also just for fourteen reasons but i think really at the end of the day all of them could be boring if they’re not presented well so true so true so let’s start with you Beth what ideas do you have for taking some of those boring boring topics and presenting them in fun innovative and creative ways well for us it was always a tricky way to come up with a creative design for presenting policies and procedures on an annual basis so near the end of my camp directing career of course we did a lot of that online before staff even arrived at training so that they could get those kinds of things out of the way but we had to make sure that they knew what the policies and procedures were so one of the things we have done before is to choose different board games and to make them come to life and we’re talking big board games and to divide the staff in half so that they’re on separate teams and we have done large tic-tac-toe so when a staff member answers a question correctly they then get to go be the X or the oh and I have a huge board game out in the middle of the floor or the field or the the beach and to see if they can win at tic-tac-toe by answering questions correctly we’ve also done a connect for which was much trickier because we had to stack tables but thankfully our dining hall was really high ceilings so that worked really well and we’ve also done battleship so we did that in the water with a long long piece of fabric in between the two teams canoes on either side and specific members sorry specific people in the canoes so some canoes had two people some had for some had one to represent those various battleships in the game and when one team got it right another the other side had to take one of their people out of the battleships until all the battleships were sunk but that was in their bathing suits and you know in the water so it just made testing their knowledge of policies and procedures a lot more fun cool we similarly we do a big jeopardy review of the staff manual and it’s open book they can bring the staff meeting them and we set it up where our teams were divided up into there maybe three four people in a team so there were maybe 15 teams and each team had a specific noise that was their buzzer so the smart people who played this before will pick who you know other people will be like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and so then we asked you know various things and we set up a jeopardy board so they have lots of different categories so they can pick you know straight from the staff manual emergency procedures Leave No Trace what will get you fired that’s where we typically pull that stuff into rum and they have to answer in the form of a question which nine times out of ten is the reason that people get it

wrong but it was it was a fun way to review the policies that they were expected to have known at that point but if they didn’t know they looked him up and then our Final Jeopardy question this year was to simply write the address to camp without looking it up which surprisingly a lot of staff did not get right we only had about two teams that got it right so I’ve heard several other camps use a jeopardy style game to do a review gab do you guys do anything special for policies and procedures um yeah the board game the board game is is very good one of the things that we have is also try to stump the leadership team member so they have to come up with questions about our policies and procedures and our leadership team have to their quizzed on it and then and then our the owner of the camp is there and she you don’t you don’t get points you get points deducted from from the lira and so it’s a it’s a fun way of shaming your superiors hi yeah but we of course do a mini session beforehand and then we do we can do we do that so they look forward to it a little too much it was a lot of thought into these questions oh that’s great yeah good good um this year we ran an entire day of policies and procedures and we called it safety patrol day and so it was I mean it was everything it was the Jeopardy game we did emergency procedures we did fire drills we did hand-washing lost camper drills we had our EpiPen certification that I mean it was everything and so the morning started off this was all very secretive the staff didn’t know what was coming but we started off the morning pretty normal and then as we were doing our breakfast announcements and whatnot had a staff member get up and she’s giving a very serious announcement and one of the male staff members started cat calling her and being like whoo yeah Laura you were looking good today you know and everybody was kind of going what happened to Adam and so he keeps going and all of a sudden there’s whistles blowing and the admin team is running in we’re wearing lime green t-shirts that say safety patrol on the back of the logo on the front and we arrested him we’re like this is sexual harassment do this you’re writing you a ticket we’re hauling you off and so we had scenarios like that all day and for the rest of the day the administrative team all had on these safety patrol t-shirts and you know we stage one in the dining hall with a camper going into anaphylaxis we had a vehicle scenario you know lots of different things but just trying to create kind of upbeat like you know yeah we’re doing these policies and procedures we’re going to kind of approach it in a fun way and make it be something special and at the end of the day after the evening program all the staff got their own safety patrol shirts because they’d survived the day and it was so funny because they were just like this is so great I love this and that was one of our staff shirts and I think it was great because you know even on closing day you have parents taking their kids out and you know all the staff are wearing these shirts that say safety patrol and it made it very clear that that was something that’s really important to us and we had a pretty safe summer so it was a lot of fun I have to figure out a way to do that again next year be a little different I had somebody talk about the risk management robot so I think I’m gonna roll in that theme I don’t know that’s nice so but do you have another idea for us yeah one year we did something called each one teach one and I use that quite often in training but we gave each group a certain part of the policies and procedures manual and allowed them time to come up with an entertaining interesting and interactive way to teach it to the whole group so we saw them teach things through song that they had written and they sang to us through skits through interpretive dance which was one of my favorites through artwork all kinds of different ways but it allowed them to really understand one portion of it themselves and to take ownership over that and if I can just add on quickly to what you’d said before Ruby where you let them do it with open book even if they haven’t got the whole thing memorized and ours used to be like 150 pages so that’s a lot to memorize at least it with open book they would know where to go to find it when they needed to know the question so I think that that’s a great idea but each one teach one was a fun way to do it whoa gab what about you for policies and procedures or anything or for anything um well I this was something we did for the first time last year and it was great it was a day of camp in an hour and so this okay so key for this is that the director or whoever’s in charge has to run with the staff but basically the entire staff has exact same schedule and we have to run from one point to the

other and the and there’s somebody that’s at the bell that rings it at a certain time so you’re going from engineering to rock climbing to checking on your kids to dining room putting water and glasses to you know you’re doing this and I was running with a camera because I wanted to capture it which was in retrospect I wish I would have ended up leaving my tripod somewhere I was like I’ve done with is it tripod and we had said we had team leaders that were like all right with our chose to go here and so and so forth I had a cat that’s just summed up on my table there Joe wondered what that can I and then I was like no I have to announce it cuz weird but it was it was great and this was something that you know at the end of staff training we asked what are the sessions that stood out for you the most what did you wish you would have learned a little bit more about and that kind of stuff so a little bit of a survey but that one stood out and they’re like I I kind of loved it but I really understand so it was it was great and then I captured it and there was a lot of weird sweaty faces we put it up at the end of our our staff training and so I really like that we’re gonna be doing that again next year this sounds awesome yeah cool yes um I think a really common fix for the camp tour which you know here’s the cabin here’s the infirmary all that stuff as scavenger hunts at seen that several different places and in different forms one of the ways that I’ve seen that I really liked was the scavenger hunt where you’re given a photograph of you know like a really zoomed in something or other that you wouldn’t notice otherwise and they have to go to those locations maybe there’s something at that location maybe that has the next photograph or a clue or maybe tie into a podcast we did recently maybe it has a piece of your mission and you have to go collect up all the pieces of the mission and put it together and this i also found I was on a staff one summer that was almost entirely returned staff and so the director made a scavenger hunt that was full of things that you walk by every day but you never noticed so like what is the name of this building that we all just call the dining hall but it actually has a specific name like the hearthstone watch and so that was really cool looking for some of those things that you again you see and walk by every day but it doesn’t really register with you that they’re there and they have names um I think that was pretty cool and I think I think with that Ruby just building on it wouldn’t it be cool you know we’re always thinking about our new staphon or you know we don’t want to return stuff to hear the same old information want to be cool to do a session with some of your newer staff about camp you know or take a normal tour of camp and have your returning staff maybe have a couple of alumni come up that are older alumni that have some behind-the-scenes background about and they give your returning staff a tour and and then take it a step further where that returning those returning staff members make signs around camp and say did you know did you know and you’re not flooding your news now but you have like and you know what you know what I would love to have an alumni if I you know if I was right even today of course I would love to have an alumni come and say tell me weird stories about what happened here and here yeah you know and and that’s gonna be their tour you know that’s a that would be very that’d be very very cool I think for sure for sure what about you Beth um well it was always a difficult every year to come up with creative ways to do these things but that’s our job as camp people and so one year we decided to give our new staff an actual tour on a tour bus and so they were someone came into the dining hall dressed as a tour guide at lunch and called out the names of these people and had them line up and then gave them costumes to dress up like tacky tourists and we put them all on the camp bus and drove them around as much of the camp as we could the whole time acting like you know the funny tour guide with the microphone and all that kind of stuff and then had them get out and walk certain parts where bus wasn’t going to go we took lots of photos of them in those various spots like you do with tourists and then put them on the camp photo board later and then we even had dollar store souvenirs that they could buy in the tuckshop we gave them to them of course at the end of the tour so that was kind of fun and another tour that we used to do for first-year students so students staff members who weren’t necessarily new to camp but they were new was their first year on staff so what we would do is during rest our we would put them all in a car so sometimes we had to do this every day so that we would get everybody taken care of and obviously not everybody would go each day and but we took them into town and so the closest town to us is

Huntsville as 20 kilometers away and we had them driven around town showing them where all the best stores were the best places to get ice cream where the movie theater was you know all those kind of inside things that you don’t know until you’ve been on staff how to get a taxi if that’s if you don’t have a car of your own all those kinds of things and taking an opportunity in the car to talk about how as a staff member you behave on your day off as a representative of camp in town and then they got an ice cream for the ride home so that was just a nice way to kind of let them know some of those things rather than talking about it they got to actually see where you know the pizza pizza was or that kind of stuff in town and they were back for the next session at the end of the hour cool good stuff um one question i have is i know for a CA from your camp association accreditation you have to present on what is a CA and a little bit about standards and that process that can be pretty dry do you guys have any suggestions for that um I think I mean our Sarah tees do a tour of we give them a section of the best practices book from the OC we have two associations that we fall so the acq which is Quebec camping association in the OCA Ontario camping Association so we give them sections of those books and they they go and explore if we’re actually following these standards and then they report it back to us so for for our CI tease that’s something that’s something that we do and it’s a very very big eye opening experience and we always pair them into and and and then they they share like what was amazing about that experience or what was sort of eye-opening about this experience most of the time they’re just in shock and how much we prepare and how much we have to follow some of it they think is ridiculous they’re like you really have to have three inches between this and this and we give them like measuring tape and all that kind of stuff for the mate the the site stuff and but yeah they love it that’s great that’s have you guys ever done anything we’ve done the exact same thing as gab and and I think that any time you want to make something creative at camp you need a character and you need costume you need things for you know I mean once you put a hat on you can transform anybody into anything so when we sent people out on a risk management tour to do the same sort of thing in preparation for accreditation and we did that and so they became you know risk management specialists and we gave them all tape measures and we did all that kind of stuff and have them talking funny accents and you know just those sorts of things anything to make it creative and interesting and and any I think you know ways that you could do it more quickly or some sort of a competition where there was you know some friendly wager of some sort to get it done more quickly or again a scavenger hunt type of thing so when they got to the canoe docks and they measured all the things we were supposed to do and made sure we had all the life jackets and paddles and all those things that the OCA for us ontario camping association was looking for then maybe there was a piece of a puzzle that they had to find as well so just doing something to to make it fun and exciting cool i I went to one training where the way that that was presented I think this was an activity actually have distributed by da CA and I’ve done this with other topics as well just kind of a press conference style and you have a panel or wonderful great during the questions and the best part of it is like planting the questions in the audience and telling the those people like there’s going to be a queue I’m going to rub my ear and that’s your cue just to be like you baby baby baby baby right and and it’s fun because sometimes the staff will really get into it and I think just makes that a little more interesting especially if it’s um it’s a little drier where you’re just kind of your needing to just get through some information but you can do it a little more interesting way I guess I’m so looking gap do you have any other kind of interesting fun creative ways you’ve presented some stuff well don’t I uh and I think it we did one of my favorite things where we divided our staff into about five teams depending on how big your staff is you want about eight people and this is for first aid and throughout camp we have first aid scenarios and so there and and we give them bandanas and so they all have different colors and so one group will be the injured group and they get a card and they find out when their day is and when the scenario is and we also tell you know today’s a team blue so whenever there is a you’re in charge of taking care of it but we always announce so if Team Red is the you know I’m injured they’ll say I’m

in a scenario and then they’ll start because when we didn’t do that once that was a problem and there’s a real chaos and a lesson learned thanks guys so canario was a very important part because we wanted to be spontaneous throughout the day and then we evaluate it but as you know like when you’re part of the scenario and when you do first aid things things stick in and what we did was not just once but we did it twice for each team and that was really really important the second time wasn’t big first aid stuff it was actually a lot more sub were things that we really want staff to pay attention to bug bites sunscreen brushing their hair you know like there they had to sort of dig to figure out what was going on things that we really want them to pay attention to on camp care so the first part was more like first aid the second part was camp care and and they took it really seriously and it was a lot of fun and it broke up sessions to for you know sitting around they always had a moment where they would stand up and get going and everybody else had to watch and observe and express what they saw that’s great I got that better you guys done anything with first aid in scenarios yes absolutely and one of my favorite ones was we involved our local firefighters and our paramedics so for many camps they’re out in cottage country and you often have volunteer fire departments and that sort of thing if you’re not close to a big city and so they were really excited to get involved so they came out and helped us run scenarios and so we did all the kinds of things that gab was talking about but at the end of the first aid session the staff got to play with the equipment so they got to you know try the hoses out and try all the equipment and they had relay races with all the gear on and they got to sound the siren over and over and over again in the fire trucks now I will tell you that we learned the way and so if we ever brought the fire trucks again for that purpose or for camp you know for peewee campers to to get to know local heroes we sent an email out to the Cottagers Association to let them know that that would be happening because we didn’t do it the first time and people were very worried that the siren kept going off at our camp because we were on elevator so everybody could hear everything so anyway but it was really fun to involve them and they got right into it and you know really did their part and played up you know scenarios were awesome with firefighters so and it was really great to involve them and they were really happy to come and do that sort of thing and of course we gave them all camp t-shirt so they really liked that too yeah we did the same thing and it it’s awesome it’s great they the firefighting department I they’ve always come being really happy teaching our staff and our staff get to you know use fire extinguishers which many of them are never used before and ya know it’s wonderful it’s I really that’s something I think that if you can do it it’s a great idea we did this past summer we did an entire crisis drill and there were three crisises that happened so a breakfast that day everybody got an envelope and had their name on it and it said or I told him at breakfast do not open this envelope until you hear the emergency signal ring and so that happened some point later on the afternoon we were kind of divided up into various trainings and it was like I said it was threefold so the first crisis that we had was we had a bus crash was what we were simulating and that was really just not that any of the staff knew about it that one was really just for the admin team so we’re working through like this is how we would mobilize people this is who would make the phone call just to make sure we had that all good to go and then during that we decided to we needed some of those staff to help us with the recovery so we rang the bell to signal for everybody to convene together at the dining hall so that was their cue they open up their envelopes and see what they are so it would say their name and it would say you know Johnny you are a camper you were at archery you need to find your counselor Joe right and so when they convene into the dining hall the counselors all have this list of kids that they’re supposed to find and the kids have the counselors are supposed to find well naturally there was one camper missing because that’s what happens and I told him ahead of time like when you hear the bell go hide in the woods and he did and you didn’t tell me where he was either and so then that we you know played with the process of how long does it take us to figure out that we’re missing a camper I had one camp I had one staff member who role played as a camper who was in the infirmary which you know that’s a really common thing that happens everybody convenes together but maybe they didn’t think to check in the infirmary for that camper that was

lost so he did that and so as part of our lost camper drill right we have some of the staff stay with the rest of the campers and lead games which they did and some of them went off to to help with the search and so that went on for a little bit as they were looking for our lost camper and then there came a point when we signaled to one of the admin team who was kind of running and observe during the chaos if you will and he signaled and got everybody together and said okay now you guys thank you for role-playing as campers you’re all going to role play a staff now and help with this lost camper situation that we have and as soon as he did that one of my staff members dropped down with a cardiac arrest oh let me tell you and apparently I wasn’t in there to see it but apparently it was just like deafening silence everybody was just standing there going what do we do and we had a phenomenal debrief after this just talking about that moment of something happens and you’re going do you go do I go like what do we do you know right um and and it was the thing that I think my staff came away from training they told me like I feel so much more prepared to deal with the situation just cuz we’ve kind of gone through this took a lot of work to set up on the front end but it was a lot of fun too so nice other ideas Beth you have another idea you wanna share and well as if you don’t know yet you’ll know later that I’m really big on acronyms and we created something called burps which took place right after meals and so a burp is a blurb for understanding responsibilities perfectly and so after each meal there would be a burp sometimes too but usually we we could keep it to one and this was a great way to teach all of those little nitpicky things that everybody has to know but you just don’t know how to sort of teach them creatively so it was you know everything back in the day to how to use the pay phone which is an issue anymore and to how to do laundry and you know how you keep your staff lounge how you sign out on days off you know all those kinds of things and burps always were delivered by characters they were you know characters often were reoccurring through the week we always felt that if you have a theme every week for your kids you have to have a theme of the week for training as well so those characters would sometimes create those burps and they would come out in a nice funny creative way and explain all those little kind of things how to do duties for example you know how to clean the washrooms properly how to do dish all that kind of stuff and they were all done in burps after a meal and one year Travis had them all put into groups and they had to create a duty duty and so they had to come up with a song that explained how to do a duty and so those are still sometimes used I don’t hear them so much anymore but they were pretty big for a couple of years but burps are a big thing for us that’s great how much you have anything uh yeah I would it serve leads into what I was going to say um and I knew that it would yeah um side track of duty Diddy and I was like we’re it’s on we’re so sometimes it’s really hard to rhyme toilet so you have to be care yes in your duty days um so okay so with one of the things that I am I like to do is every year we divide our camp staff again into into teams it’s not the same as the first aid teams different teams and they’re responsible for two things meal crew and review crew so review crew is a where they they’re assigned to a session and at the end of the day or the next two depending if it’s the sessions later in the day they review that session in a form of a skit and there’s it’s fairly structured meaning that we only allow them for three minutes they have to highlight the you know five points staff need to know what they need what to do with this information like why is this information important to me so we structure it out but the same framework works for all of them and for the the meal crew they do a similar thing as the burps but it’s just did you know so they’re in there in costume they they come up with a fun way of dividing up the staff and no suiting them at the different tables they come up with a fun way of presenting these did you knows like we have something called the

Laurentian leak which means basically there’s a lot of minerals in our water which means you’re going to pee a lot more there’s nothing wrong with you so you’re like why am I paying so much is like solar engine leak so the digi knows but they have to say it in in sort of a fun way we realized that the meal crews don’t work very well at breakfast so we’ve limited it to lunch and dinner which is nice because breakfasts are all sort of coming in a little bit of a sombre way but one thing that we’ve added is the feedback friend and the feedback friend is a leadership team member who provides them with the feedback on their under meal crew duty and as well as on the their review crew and that’s been really really helpful because you can see also a shift if they didn’t do so well at the meal time you’ll see that it’s a lot better the set helps with the quality basically so the feedback friend is really really helpful and they start to get used to getting feedback from leadership team members so I liked it and that I want I’ve talked to traps but recording it and sometimes it’s just not possible to record it but I wish I had almost a full camera crew record some of the review cruise because they’re really really good yeah excellent um I know paperwork is something that can be a big struggle you guys have any good tips for what to do to teach all the forms and paperwork that’s required we’ve done a couple of things with paperwork and the first was it happened after rest hour so everybody had left the lodge area and they were all in their cabins are hanging out so we had turned the dining hall into a board room and had put name plates at every spot everybody had a glass of water and a pen and they were told when they arrived in center camp after rest hour to dress in business attire Travis and I came in fully decked out in suits and ties with briefcases glasses on didn’t wear glasses you know and we held the whole thing like a business meeting and we had coffee and doughnuts and you know all that kind of stuff and we went through all of the forms making sure we had everything filled in from health forms parental forms for staff under 18 TD ones which we have to fill in here in Ontario for in order for them to get paid you know all that kind of stuff another paperwork meeting that we did once we dress as characters from the matrix and during rest our I actually shaved Travis’s head and he put on a long black leather coat and came in as morpheus and we talked in in matrix language about the blue pill or the red pill and bending the spoon and all those kinds of things so it just took the edge off of you know you have to get the paperwork done but this was just a way to do it in character well and they were quite stunned that they’d seen him in a full head of hair at lunch and then he was pletely bald and hourly here but it wasn’t the freaky shave just had a lot at camp so for various characters but nice what about you Gavin have you ever done anything interesting with paperwork um one of our staff members is very very funny and Beth as met her name’s Emily Trudeau and she worked in our office now yeah she’s great she’s won awards for like improv and stuff like that it’s amazing she she justs up as a really really angry Dutch woman and throws paper and has a big sort of bulletin board and she yells no no yes no and she does this huge like thing and she’s like points to me and says you will not deal with her you’ll not deal with her you are dealing with me okay um I guess the only thing I can really the thing that I think is about is is very important as having examples of what you’re expecting and and how to do it and that their support if you don’t know how how if you can’t do it I was somebody that was really not good at paperwork but I stayed up late trying and it was kind of pointless it was taking way too much time and it was kind of like if I just SAT beside somebody and dictated it then they could write it down so their support and but telling them how it can be done and their expectations you have the opposite side where people spend way too much time has a perfectionist um um but we just color code our sheets that has become very very helpful and regular regular on this day this is when this form is due on this day and just keep that always regular on on day so it’s not like oh it’s this tuesday and then the next time it’s going to be on a thursday in the afternoon and and all the paperwork goes to one spot when you’re done it goes into this one box and somebody sorts it’s not like then you give it to end to this person so I think it’s just being really clear with it and of course having somebody kind of funny or doing a boardroom thing or you

know Jessica Alba’s people from matrix is like that just gets your attention and it might like it makes it’s very good role modeling on how you can make something boring it’s something awesome and your staff will do it for the summer so yeah those are excellent plan love it love it excellent um another one that I’ve seen in several staff trainings is the age group characteristics you know talking about six year olds vs 8 year olds versus 10 year olds I know this year we took kind of a straightforward approach to it but I divided up my staff into different groups like the four kind of main age groups and then gave them a couple resources about each of those age groups and assign them to put on a skit displaying the characteristics of those of that age group to teach that group teach that age group of skill and they were assigned that skill so how to sweep or how to set the table and to show how to discipline that age group as well so they they were charged with you need to find a fun creative way to present that and so then we all came back together and presented skits and then share it a little bit after each age group kind of sharing you this is something I’ve seen this was spot on here’s some other things you might see and I think that worked pretty well but I’m certainly looking for other ideas on that so what I’ll do you all have 0 1 year I intentionally intentionally paired staff members together so new people were meeting returning staff members and so on and I told them congratulations you our parents and you have just given birth to a and I let them decide where there was a boy or a girl and they got to choose one of the four age groups that you were talking about their Ruby and then i gave them half an hour to create this child so i gave them really big sheets of newsprint and they create they drew their child they got to put you know whatever clothes they wanted on and have whatever style they wanted they had to name the child and they had to tell us lots about the child what he or she liked disliked how they behaved what sorts of things they were into all those kinds of things so the exercise was twofold because we got to talk about age group characteristics and how seven year olds like certain things and our concrete thinkers etc whereas 11 year olds are starting to question authority in yadda yadda but it also then led once we had sort of debriefed all of that and it was amazing to watch these people do this by the way like the names they came up with were hilarious and they so loved this piece of paper child you know and they could tell because they had to present to the group and tell us all about their child then we got moved it into dealing with parents and we talked about the fact that if you are this attached after half an hour with a piece of paper how important is a real child to his or her parents and therefore what would their expectations be in terms of your care so it was kind of a fun thing to do but they really enjoyed it and they got right into it so it was a nice way to just do it a little differently Oh gap do you have one well i have a similar activity that links to the importance of caring for children and what it’s like for a parent to drop off their there a child but we ask all the staff members to bring something precious in evening to the lodge that’s precious to them and if they don’t feel comfortable bringing something that that they have on them they can like you know bring a representation of that something so maybe your grandmother’s locket you want to keep it under your pillow or maybe it’s at home but you can bring something represents it and then we pair also a certain staff members that that we choose together and they walk around can’t serve arm and arm length the whole time they talk about their item and why it’s so important why it’s so special to them and so that’s a really nice team building way it’s really nice I’m getting to know each other thing in it you know it’s a kind of a beautiful activity and they also get to walk around camp and we sort of just let tell them let your feet take you you know where your feet want to take you so if you want to get off path and if you want to then that’s but the only thing that we ask them to do is keep moving then we ring a bell and we have candles in the lodge and it’s all set up in a nice way and and then we talk about all right if you’re comfortable feel free to hand over and exchange your item with the person that you’re just talking to now some staff do it and stuff some stuff are like absolutely not it’s not going to happen and so then we just talk about those feelings even the ones that handed over their kind of reluctance are there or they’re totally trusting you know what because I had this opportunity to talk to you I feel like you can you can take care of my objects for a little bit some of them were like I don’t know like I know you but this and then we talked about what parents are feeling

and and so we link that to to it so what what do we do to make our parents trust us in that in some of them it’s it’s it’s literally 20 seconds you shake their hand you help with the luggage and the parents are gone so what do we do what are some of the things that creates distress where some of the things that create trust but of course at the same time we’re building we’re building friendships and we’re building a team team trust in itself so that’s unlike Daniel I love that idea we don’t do it every year that’s the other key it’s not to you can’t do it every year maybe every three years works well yeah because they all go oh I know what this is about you have to wait for the turnover I’m glad you know cuz if you don’t remember that’s something I’m glad that’s a great yeah that’s a great exercise I will definitely use that this year so it’s 10 it’s really lovely cool it that one actually made me think of one that I did my first summer at Green River that was a part of it was led by an outside facilitator and you know how there’s there’s this temptation to have at least out about 20 minutes set aside or 30 minutes for everybody to go around and say their name and so you at least kind of get to put a name of the face and so we had the assignment to we had a few minutes to go back to our residents and bring something back to market ourselves so that there’s no way anybody would ever forget who you are based on this object or this thing or this presentation that you give and and it it was really good it was everything like I’m Ruby and I can solve a rubik’s cube so I brought that in I remember one guy he stacked Rock’s and I will ever think of Evan as stacking rocks we had the girl whose name was jen and she wrote GI n on a piece of paper and said this is the only appropriate alcohol reference i will make you know and one girl who had a really flat head she put a water bottle on her head but I will never forget the she’s Carolina and she has a flat head so it’s just a little thing and it went pretty quick but it was a lot of fun because you saw talents you saw neat things he saw creativity and it was very effective for learning those names pretty quickly nice that’s great my idea is not so much about that and mine is about doing scenarios creatively so for kind of letting campers our story counselors deal with scenarios that might happen with campers in a safe way and sort of getting rid of all of those you know what do you do when you wake up and you smell pee in your cabin because somebody’s Pete their bed or something like that and so we came up with something called good idea bad idea and I stole the title from the animaniacs cartoon years ago and so the resource staff would always get together and we prepared quite far in advance for this because they were pretty well done and we would always present the bad idea first so this is how not to handle what you you know when you wake up and find that somebody has peed their bed and then we would invite the counselors to come in and get up and try the good idea but the scenarios got so funny that you know people just kept asking when is good idea bad idea when we get to hear that because they it would just be you know so amusing and such a great way to do things and some of them were so stellar that staff ten years later still talk about that time you know that Travis did something particular in a good idea bad idea scenario so just a fun way and trying to keep it far more amusing than really not appropriate when you’re presenting the bad idea but it’s a good way to kind of relieve tension too when you’re dealing with some sometimes difficult topics yeah and I think that I think that you said like you want to keep it sort of appropriate not let it go to 22 crazy yeah but and you saw about just telling them that I I heard somebody told me once that if you present bad ideas and then when the scenario actually happens they’re only going to think about the bad idea and I think that person is crazy I think that you review when you paint what you shouldn’t be doing sometimes there’s a little bit of truth to that right and you’re like oh and I really shouldn’t be doing that that’s not accepted here and and that this is how this is even though we’re laughing at it so hmm whoever says that I for me it works really really well um so there but we do we do a good day bad day and great day and that’s a personal reflection piece which is what do I look like on a good day what do I look like on a great day and what do I look like on a bad day and it’s about your you know it’s about how you are around your teammates and how you are in front of your campers on on bad days basically is what it comes down to and what do you need to do so we can move

into the good day sometimes I have great days sometimes I’ll have good days and yes sometimes I’ll have bad days but it’s about being aware of it’s about being it’s about letting your teammates know I shut down on when I’m not feeling good I you know what do you need a five minute walk so it’s getting them to problem-solve a little bit ahead of time it’s also telling them that we all have our our bad days but we have to take responsibilities about it it’s not about pushing it down and creating a fake smile it’s about being aware of it and saying like I need a little bit of assistance i’m not doing so well so sort of similar of the terminology um yes it was a good segue I thanks good excellent guys any yeah a little better so I think we have time for one more each so Beth you have one more good innovative way to teach a boring topic well this is the way to get senior staff members who are teaching sessions not to teach topics boringly and so for us it always not always some sessions is not appropriate to have a character but having characters having costumes having music all those kinds of things so we would give a sheet out to our senior staff members who were in charge of leading particular sessions at training and we would ask questions and they would have to fill the sheets in and them in to us and we would go over them before training began so it would be things like my creative session name is because the session on the schedule was never you know first aid skills it was something creative and so half the fun with staff trying to figure out what the session was they were about to go to my musical selection is if it was appropriate my costume will be what I am doing to make it memorable how i’m using the wisdom and knowledge of returning staff what is the supplies that i need here are my handouts all those kinds of things to really get them thinking in terms of creativity and ways that they can involve other people and really get them understanding that we as camp people we’re a creative crew and we talk about kids using their imaginations and we want kids to step out of the box and try all these new things so that means that that we need to do that ourselves when we’re running training nice all right you go um sort of been a little bit of guidelines for our staff that are doing staff training we they have to fill out these four things which is basically why why are you teaching this at what are you teaching so just in a couple of bullet points why why will staff care and how will you make sure it sticks in their brain and so that’s a takes a little bit of work when you when you’re trying to figure out you know how to talk about home lonely campers what are the specific keys to that and then the other sort of guidelines that we have are you can’t speak more than 15 minutes at a time you need to use visual cues need two ways that is going to be absorbed can’t just be visual and it can’t just be you know verbal and one one thing that we have is we never ask does anybody have any questions sort of sets up for a fall so we say please write your questions down or um come up with one thing you wish you would have known more about in the session cool good stuff yeah we’ve also done the piece of paper marker board something that is the question board this year we had a question box and it’s just anything everything don’t be shy about asking I had a director once that would it was every day at lunch like he had cheesy little music that came on he would come out with the microphone like a game show host and you know what’s your question and would answer a couple here there and you know worst case scenario you sneak in at certain points when nobody else is in the lodge and write some questions up there if nobody has to get the ball rolling but it is so important to encourage our staff to to ask questions when they don’t know the answer because that’s going to be the case throughout the whole summer so I think that’s really key well they know I have a lot more tools I’m excited about working on staff training that much more now yay um so gab do you think you could provide us with a recap of some of the stuff that we talked about today absolutely Ruby I’m gonna start with burps um so burps listen to the podcast will tell you more about it large board games and safety of spontaneous activities that happen around camp and each one teach one campaign an hour a zoomed-in scavenger hunt a fun facts

about your tour tour camp a touring camp tour bus Oh press conference which I love team scenarios involve firefighters they are always a good time 15 minute lectures no more this is an adult only podcast kit spits on how to teach and create a child scenarios you always wear hats and fun costumes if you want to get people’s attention or almost always and make sure you know what you want your staff to get at the end of your session that’s our recap for this podcast excellent thanks so much so we want to encourage all of our listeners to get involved and join us on the hashtag camp hacker train so please tell us via Twitter Facebook however it might be what topics you would like for us to discuss any guess that you’d recommend that we have on the show any good leadership training tips that you want to share things that innovative ways that you have done boring topics or anything at all that you think is an innovative way to lead that leadership training we just love to hear from you because we are so lucky to work in an industry that is all about sharing and I just want to go around will real quick and have each of us share how you can get in touch with us so Beth do you want to start us off absolutely you can get in touch with me on twitter at at Camp Camp hacker and you can email me at Beth at walking maverick calm or you can find us at camp hacker TV cool um you can get in touch with me gabriela at on twitter at Gabrielle rail or you can check out where i work at worldcom and i am reachable via email especially this time of year Ruby are you be why at Green River Preserve org follow my adventures on Twitter reveal in 85 and Beth I can’t wait for you to share what are we doing on our next podcast our next podcast will be how you can continue to train and develop your staff the other 10 months of the year so training beyond training and before we continue any further I just want to give a shout out to Etienne cobalt lafave who is editing our podcasts he is a camp alumnus who still understands the importance of camping and so we thank him very much for his time and doing this our final segment on each podcast is a best practice for leadership trainings and we would love to hear some of your memorable moments or most effective tips and you can tell us what they are using hashtag camp hacker train but Ruby why don’t you share with us this podcast best practice sure and I think this is actually one that I got from a camp hacker podcast a while ago and it stuck with me the idea of providing additional all training sessions outside of your required scheduled things so for instance this summer we did some morning archery sessions morning climbing offering morning yoga and that wasn’t even necessarily just training it was just an opportunity for the staff to recreates and to get more skills and more practice especially in some of those activities that the the staff are going to gravitate towards wanting to do and maybe wanting to do in place of the campers doing them throughout the summer so I think it’s a really great idea to find opportunities to offer those those times for your staff whether it’s during staff training or maybe even throughout the summer I know I always have staff that are flocking to the pottery studio and I’m having to chase them out of there and so to set up some organized times that our pottery teacher comes in and gives a pottery class maybe during a rest hour or after the campers have gone to bed when one camper when one staff member can leave the cabin is is a great way to provide some recreation some fun and continual development of skills for your staff so that’s this month best practice and thank you so much for listening and once again please join us on the hashtag camp hacker train you

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