Rally the troops, it’s time for summer camp! And by troops, I mean your camp counselors. Although, before you send them out into the field, make sure they are prepared for what may come in the week ahead. With that being said, here are some tips to help you prepare your counselors.
1. Schedule a pre-camp counselor meeting.
Schedule the meeting two hours before campers check-in. This time frame should allow you to have plenty of time to speak with your staff AND allow them to prepare for campers to arrive. Start your meeting off with some getting to know you activities. Have your counselors introduce themselves and share an interesting fact. Then, dive into the material. Discuss the camp schedule and what you are expecting from your counselors (such as leading small groups, supervising free time activities, etc.). Next, go over emergency contact information and the severe weather emergency plan. Because let’s face it, there is usually at least one severe storm during camp. Dive a little deeper by going over some camp scenarios, such as what to do if a camper is homesick, gets injured or is physically sick. By going over these typical camp situations, your counselors will feel more confident in helping a camper if these events do occur.
2. Create a binder.
Create a binder for each counselor that is chock full of information they will need while at camp. Such information could include the following:
- A property map
- Camp schedule
- A fill in the blank, free-time supervising schedule
- Emergency contact information
- Severe weather emergency plan
- Small groups material
- Cabin devotions
- A list of campers that are in their cabin/room assignment
- A list of campers that are in their small group
3.Schedule daily counselor meetings.
Based on your camp schedule, plan a time when you can check-in with your counselors. Even if it is only for 5 minutes, this is a great way to make sure everything is going ok or to provide any updates/schedule changes.
Whether your counselors are veterans or rookies, some pre-camp training is always a good idea. Obviously, if your counselor roster is made up of people from your church, it is easier to schedule some training prior to camp check-in. But if your volunteers are a mixture of friends and church members, try your best to prepare them. How much and what kind of training is obviously to your discretion. Although, to help ensure that your campers AND counselors have a great time at camp, some form of training should be on your radar.