After two weeks of summer camp, and visiting 4 of our 9 camp teams/locations, there’s one word that I’ve heard over and over when I’ve asked people (staff, parents, and board members) how the first two weeks of camp have gone, and that word is “smooth”. I’ve heard things like “it’s going remarkably smooth, maybe the best week one ever” or “the smoothest first opening day we’ve ever had”.
Now granted, because of my position within SpringHill, you might be thinking that our team could be tempted to say camp’s going great because they know that’s what I want to hear. But a leader must always avoid being tempted to rely only on what’s being said without also experiencing it firsthand. That’s why I spend so much of my summer visiting our SpringHill teams and seeing the SpringHill Experience in action.
So what’s my assessment of our first two weeks of camp? Well our team’s spot on when they’ve said things have gone remarkably smooth. So how do I make such an assessment? When I’m “out and about” I look for a few key indicators which provide clues into how things are going.
First, I look at the demeanor of our staff, beginning with our leaders. Are they calm or do they seem frazzled? Are they focused on people (each other, parents, partners and especially campers) or scrambling to get tasks down?
Second, I observe the cleanliness and orderliness of our camps, activity areas, offices, etc. It’s hard for things to go smoothly when behind the scenes it’s chaotic and the small things aren’t taken care of.
Third, I watch campers and their parents. Are they genuinely excited, warmly embraced, actively engaged, and completely safe and confident in the camp experience? Or do they look lost, confused or plain unhappy?
Finally, I combine the testimony of our staff and leaders, my own observations, and our weekly key indicators to arrive at my assessment of “how camp is going.”
In my next post I’ll share some of the essential elements that have led to our “smooth start to our summer.”