A 'HINT' to Encourage Counselor Buy-In - a HINT from Joanna Warren Smith

Your Summer Camp Product is Never Finished


That is to say, the experience you provide campers can always be tweaked and fine-tuned to be even more impactful.  No camp is perfect from day to day, session to session and most assuredly, not from year to year.  But change, just for the sake of change is not the goal.  There’s too much tradition and ritual involved.  Rather the goal is to be intentional about all that you do.

Last summer, many shops concluded their staff meetings with counselors sharing good things about the camp experience.  We all love to do that but think of the empowering impact if staff were encouraged to ‘share better ways to do the things over which they have control.’   Let’s call it a ‘Culture of Innovation’ where staff are sensitized to seeking excellence and energized to take on as much as they can.   


  • Teach the basics in orientation.  Avoid assumptions that staff know how to Start an Activity, Engage Kids, leverage Staff/Camper Ratios, influence Program Value, ensure Fun and Stop on time.

  • Solicit staff input.  During the 2nd week of camp, survey staff to see what can be done to make the experience better for their campers and how you can help them be more successful at their jobs.  You will be amazed at the quality and practicality of the suggestions.

  • Institute Quality Control.  When you and your Leadership Team are consistently attentive to product delivery details with ‘omnipresence’, staff will be more eager to meet expectations because people respect what you inspect!   

  • Mentor staff to elevated performance.  Counselors tell me that they DO NOT WANT to be left to their own devices.  Most are eager to know how they can do their jobs even better. 

  • Survey and debrief with staff.  Make it a priority to get front-line input from those who are dealing directly with your kids. 

Develop a solid, working partnership with your counselors and staff to create a ‘Culture of Innovation’ that will enhance your product, increase retention and referrals.


Want to hammer out the details of your communication plan?
Email Joanna at 
campconsulting@roadrunner.com or call 310-451-1876.

Hello Camp Mavericks! If you're interested in this post you'll LOVE the "10 Commandments of Camp Marketing" that Joanna and Travis have written. Download it here, now, for free and get a free subscription to the Go Camp Pro newsletter AND Joanna's HINTS email.

(Note from Travis:  We are so thrilled to be posting the always brilliant HINTS from camp consultant Joanna Warren Smith! If you don't already you should sign up to receive these HINTS in your email - in the left-hand column of Joanna's website: http://camp-consulting.com/)