Your camp relies completely on the staff members dedicated to it. Make sure their training builds an environment campers and staff alike will be proud to be part of. With that, creating and maintaining camp culture is key.
Why camp culture is important
Building camp culture is like building your brand. It creates the feelings that will stick with campers and their parents.
Those feelings keep your camp alive in their memories. This can lead to them sharing your camp with others, making camp culture an essential part of your word-of-mouth marketing.
Additionally, having a cohesive and positive culture keeps campers engaged and enthusiastic at camp.
Establishing camp culture during staff training
Here are four simple ways to create camp culture while training your staff. To make these even more effective, make sure your training takes place on its own designated days instead of trying to rush it right before camp starts.
1. Brainstorm shared values
Team values are stronger when they’re decided on together. Staff will feel invested in the culture since they had a hand in creating it.
Spend some time at the beginning of your training coming up with camp values in small groups. Use a whiteboard to write them all down. The board may get crowded, but that’s part of the fun!
Once the board is full, go through the words one by one and have staff vote on their top three. The three values with the most votes will be the core of your camp culture.
If your camp already has established values, use this time to review them as a group. How were they chosen? What do they mean?
In small groups, camp staff can discuss what the values mean to them and how they want to instill this culture in the campers.
2. Thoroughly review the camp schedule together
Knowledge builds confidence, and this includes knowledge of when and where everything at camp is supposed to happen. After discussing camp culture, review everything on the schedule and how it fits into those cultural values.
For example, let’s say one of your camp’s major values is community. On your schedule you have a sports competition planned. How does this activity instill a culture of community? How can you go the extra mile to emphasize that value?
Repeat this process for everything on your schedule. You can even discuss meals and break times to see if staff have ideas for connecting “downtime” to camp culture.
3. Conduct team-building activities
Team-building activities may seem basic, but there’s a reason so many companies do them again and again. They’re effective!
Ice breakers, group puzzles, team games, and improv acting exercises are all examples of activities used by professional management groups to bring teams together and create a cohesive culture.
4. Host recreational events after training
After a long day of training, create some camaraderie by doing something fun with staff. Take them out to dinner, go to a local music show, or do a big group activity like laser tag.
Having fun together kickstarts a positive and inclusive culture for staff that will be a great example for your campers.