Tis’ the season for summer planning, hiring staff, creating curriculum, solidifying programs, training all those amazing staff, and so much more. How is your planning going? Do you feel overwhelmed? Behind? Ahead? Wherever you are in your planning, we are holding you in our prayers and would like to support you in this process. So, how do you plan for staff training? Do you use the same plan every year or try to shake it up?
Staff training doesn’t need to be sitting down at tables with a stack of papers listening to someone drone on and on. Staff training can be fun and exciting. It can have energy, build your staff community, and set the tone for your summer. So, how do you make staff training fun?
Get the staff moving! Before jumping into policy and procedures do some icebreakers or team-building activities. Get the blood pumping and get the brain engaged. One of my favorite things from staff training was the “bucket draw”. There were two buckets, one full of initiatives or icebreakers and one full of staff names. Before a session, a name was drawn and then the person drew an activity out of the other bucket. For the first few days only returning staff names were included in the bucket and after the session on “How to Lead Activities” was complete all staff names were added in. This active participation really helped the new staff ease in and learn some of the activities and how to lead, while also building community and a collective sense of purpose.
As you dive into the sessions make it so you aren’t just a talking head! Think about different learning styles and how to incorporate them into staff training. Allow those that need more movement to stand up in the back or to the side. Have coloring supplies and fidgets available for those who need to doodle or have something in hand for focus. Use handouts for not only visual learners but also to be used throughout the summer as a reference. Side note: encourage your staff to apply these different learning techniques for each of their camper groups this summer. As a former counselor, having a small kit of activities (playdough, fidgets, coloring, cards, string, and other small objects) in my backpack was helpful to bring focus during Bible studies or when waiting for an activity to start.
Recycle and Revamp Ideas
Share ideas with other camps. You are not alone in planning staff training. If you have a great idea on how to lead policy & procedures, community building, initiatives, or another topic then share it with your fellow network members. You can share on the Sacred Playgrounds social media. Adapt ideas to fit your camp.
There are professionals in your local community who are great resources. Reach out to pastors, youth leaders, therapists, law enforcement, or other specialties to lead a portion of your training. Many of them will lead for a small stipend or some might even donate their time. This is a great way to build relationships with the community. Another option is to hire a consultant to lead a session! A little Sacred Playgrounds self-promotion time: we love working with camp staff and helping them prepare for the summer. We are available to lead a variety of sessions. More information coming very soon!
Staff training doesn’t end once the campers arrive. Staff training is continuous throughout the summer. Support your staff throughout the summer with times to build their community, resources to support their faith, and ways to rejuvenate. The Sacred Playground’s Holy Ground is a great resource to assist with staff training during the initial weeks and throughout the summer. Holy Ground begins with resources for staff training and then has daily devotions to be used each week of the summer. The back portion consists of resources to support your staff.