I’ll be honest, there’s nothing quite like Staff Training. Don’t get me wrong: Summer Camp is amazing, but every spring, all the staff at NaCoMe put in a lot of hours seeking out and hiring the best summer staff we can find. Then, just before summer, we round them all up and spend a couple of weeks in training. From learning the basics of safety and the order of the verses in “Princess Pat” to sorting through and fleshing out our summer curriculum, these college age staff pour their hearts into preparing for the weeks of summer that are just ahead. And I’m always surprised at how mature, committed, and engaged the group can be.
At NaCoMe we value new ideas and we ask for more out of our summer staff than most camps. Our summer staff become part of our creative process, helping to design many of the programs campers will enjoy in the coming weeks. Allowing staff to create and imagine with us also means that we’re teaching them to allow campers to do the same thing. That’s part of what makes a NaCoMe experience special.
Along the way, we try to set as few boundaries as possible. I wanted to share with you the main decision making tool; we call it the 4 S’s. We only allow ourselves to do something if we can answer “yes” to all 4 of the following questions:
1. Is it SAFE?
2. Is it SMART?
3. Is it good STEWARDSHIP?
4. Does it SERVE campers/others?
I’m writing this from my office, where I can hear the summer staff just outside my door working through a session planning an All-Camp Game we’ll play with campers this summer. Without prompting, they’re using this model. They’re working together, solving problems, and figuring out the details to a brand new activity that no one has ever done before. And these kids are smart. It’s making me more and more excited to see them in action in just two short weeks. If I had to guess, it looks like we’re heading for our best summer yet…
-Ryan "Flash" Moore, Director