A 'TSA HINT' for Your Camp from Joanna Warren Smith

When you see something at summer camp, say something!


This version of the TSA quote is my mantra for the summer.  Too often, Execs, Owners, Directors and Lead Staff report that they walk by ‘situations’, realize that something is ‘not quite right’ and then they ASSUME that it will be corrected or fixed.

But that’s not what happens!  Once Leadership has noticed but not addressed issues, Counselors and Activity Heads perceive that as ‘permission’ for the program/routine to continue.  As a result, poor execution exacerbates and by the second session, it’s the norm. 

Too often Arts & Crafts run low on supplies and there are fewer arrows at archery.  Both items are in storage, but staff do not think to request restocking and the camper experience is compromised.

You get the idea.  Be vigilant and intentional about the details of your camp experience to deliver the best possible program, increase retention and encourage a strong ‘Ambassador Factor.’


  • Empower each staff member to ‘Say Something’! Encourage awareness and an attitude that their input will contribute to a higher quality product which is better for each camper.

  • Distinguish between routine and urgent elements. To the novice eye, they may look similar while the impacts on the community are totally different.

  • Provide methods by which to report. Critical items require immediate action while routine elements can be shared with senior staff at meals, in a suggestion box or when campers go to bed – as long as the input is monitored every couple of hours.

  • Track issues. Perhaps it is the responsibility of the reporting counselor to put the concern in writing or the senior staff to which the item is shared, but the ‘log of issues’ helps develop a true picture of the camp experience and a guideline of ‘must teach better’ items during staff training.

  • Give credit. The culture of ‘seeing something and saying something’ will develop powerful traction if staff realize that they are critical to the process.

Please don’t wait until 2020 to launch this approach.  It’s a simple mind set paradigm shift to develop a partnership with your staff to create a culture of awareness and action to heighten each camper experience.

Joanna Warren Smith

Joanna Warren Smith

Issues? Call 310-451-1876 or email me at campconsulting@roadrunner.com

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/)

Travis Allison