I Lead, I Motivate, I Inspire
As a camp director, I interview dozens and dozens of staff each year prior to the start of camp. It is one of my most favorite parts of my job. I like to hear firsthand about the person who will be working directly with the campers and know they have the same goals as I do for their summer experience.
One of my favorite interview questions is, “Do you remember any of your counselors you have had at camp?” I then ask them to describe the qualities that person possessed. I would say 90% of the candidates remember their counselor’s name and the reason why that counselor made their summer so special. For me, I still remember my counselor, Laura, at overnight camp. I was very homesick as a camper. Laura played backgammon with me every day during rest hour. She would invite my friends and me into her sitting area where we would learn to play the game. At that time, I thought it was so cool to be with my counselor. Looking back I now, know Laura went out of her way to provide me with the extra attention I needed during that part of the day.
Similar to my memories of Laura, I want every one of my campers to have a lasting memory about a special staff member. At J Camps, we don’t leave this to chance. We actually train our staff to become people who go above and beyond their job responsibilities to make sure that campers feel special, are cared for and have the most amazing day camp experiences.
During orientation and throughout the summer, we discuss with our staff what it means to:
- LEAD by example, by being a positive role model and mentor for that child
- MOTIVATE a child to try new things, and take a risk in a safe environment
- INSPIRE them to dream.
We believe that these three principles are so important that we put these messages on our staff t-shirts. The shirts are a constant reminder to everyone at camp what our expectations are to be an exceptional counselor, swim instructor, activity specialist or unit head. When our staff model the Lead, Motivate, Inspire Philosophy, we see an impact on campers’ behavior too. The kids become more likely to take on new challenges, support their friends and be involved.
At all nine J Camps, we are so fortunate to have the beautiful grounds and excellent facilities, but, without the staff to set the spirit and be role models and mentors for campers, we wouldn’t have our amazing camp communities. Don’t get me wrong; the activities and events are awesome, but the counselors are what the child will remember decades from now.