Summer camp jobs - a place to grow!

Welcome everyone to my blog. Running a residential camp (Maine Arts Camp), as well as MySummers (a staffing site) and Camp Finders (a summer camp referral service), I have gained a unique perspective about sleepaway camps. I first attended camp in 1970 in Maine; I'm still at camp and love it!

Rick Mades

Friday, April 29, 2011

Preparing for summer camp jobs

Wow, it's the end of April and we'll be leaving for Maine in less than two months. Camp is close, yet there is so much to do. We are pretty much done staffing at Maine Arts Camp and focusing on how to get staff ready for the summer. As we all know, summer camp jobs are extremely rewarding, but lots of work. Getting the staff in the right mindset before they arrive at camp is key. There are various resources out there to help staff prepare for the summer. We are once again using Expert Online Training, a web site full of great videos by experts in the camp industry. I have been watching videos all week, deciding which ones to assign to various staff. Chris Thurber is the driving force behind the site, but there are lots of great speakers. One of the speakers, Jack Erler (from Maine) has run a staff training session 3 times over the past 6 summers for our camp. He is great in preparing staff to think about any legal issues they may have as a camp counselor. At Expert Online Training, there are modules or children with special needs, camps thinking about diversity and inclusiveness, homesickness and so much more. We also have purchased the ACA magazine that comes out every year about staff training. It is usually their best issue and we'll be mailing the issue, along with our staff manual, to all of our staff. Camp jobs are so different than any other job and these tools can help new and returning staff to start thinking about the summer and challenges they may face. I was thinking back to my days as a tennis staff/cabin counselor in the 80's and there was no internet. The amount of information and resources have increased, but the job of a camp counselor, for the most, hasn't changed. Camp counselors need to be there for the campers 24/7 and put their lives aside for a month or two. Especially with all the technology out there now (cell phones, Iphones, laptops, texting, Facebook, etc.), staff can benefit and grow just as much as campers can during the summer. If anyone has suggestions for other good resources for staff, please add a comment. Have a great summer!

Rick Mades
Owner/director of Maine Arts Camp
Owner of MySummers (the best resource for summer camp jobs) &
Camp Finders (helping families find the right overnight camps & teen programs since 1994)