Day Camp Staffing - Part 1 - Day Camp Pod #9

Staffing Your Day Camp Like A Pro

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Where are the camp staff?

It’s a question that a lot of camps find themselves asking in the Winter and Spring of 2019. With reports on Generation Z working less and less in highschool and college, it seems that the summer camp world is not invulnerable.

That being said, our industry is full of ingenuity. This apparent staff shortage is a new opportunity for the camp industry to lead the way and recruit the best that this generation has to offer.

To help YOU find the best staff this summer, The Day Camp Pod’s triumphant trio (Andy, Sam and Ehren) are joined by the brilliant Kim Aycock and the ingenious Will Pierce from Pierce Country Day Camp. This episode will definitely give you some new ideas to think about and will help you up your staff recruiting game this summer.

Listen in to find out about:

  • How to effectively cast the net to catch quality candidates?

  • What are some ways to think outside the conventional employees and conventional hiring methods?

  • How can we incentivize staff recruiting other staff?

  • What internal methods are you doing to “grow” staff starting at a young age?

  • How do we work with the current generation of staff to help them see themselves working at camp?

What are you doing this year to be intentional about recruiting quality staff this summer?

 

DCP - DAY CAMP PROGRAM IDEA OF THE WEEK - LEVEL UP YOUR DAY CAMP!

  • Andy: “For Those Who Work at Camp” incentive shirts (paperwork and orientation attendance)

  • Sam: 3rd year jackets, My boss thinks i am kind of a big deal.

  • Ehren:  “Gluck Bucks”

  • Kim:  Appreciation Envelopes for Staff (5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace)

  • Will: Iced Coffee and Light Breakfast for the staff in the AM


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Episode Transcription:

Matt:            This is the Day Camp Pod from Go Camp Pro bringing you the best ideas and strategies and discussions in the day camp industry. You can find our show notes at daycamppodcast.com.

Andy:            Welcome back day camp friends to episode nine... Is it nine already? Of the Day Camp Pod. I'm Andy Pritikin the director of Liberty Lake in the Philadelphia suburbs of New Jersey.

Sam:            I'm Sam Thompson. I'm from Crystal Lake Park district northwest of Chicago.

Ehren:            I'm Ehren Gluckstein from camp Robin Hood located just outside of Toronto, Canada.

Andy:            And we are joining forces to provide a forum for day camp pros to share ideas and best practices across North America and beyond. For today's episode, we will be discussing day camp staffing in 2019 with the help of Kim Aycock from Camps to Camps Learning Solutions. And Will Pierce from Pierce Country Day Camp. And before we meet them and before we get into what will probably be part one of day camp staffing because there's so much to talk about, I want to let you know that the Day Camp Podcast is brought to you by CRS, Commercial Recreation Specialists to find purveyors to the best waterfront waterfront, a splash pad products in the world. Check out their website at crsforrec.com. CRS is serious for fun and this Go Camp Pro podcast is also sponsored in part by the American Camp Association in New York and New Jersey. Dedicated to preserving, promoting and enhancing the quality of the summer camp experience. Their professional development includes the one and only Tristate Camp Conference coming up as well as many other conferences that can be found at acanynj.org. All right, day camp staffing. Successful day camp staffing in 2019 part one. And this will not be a bitch session my friends. We're going to have ideas. This is a positive thing. Actually Will Pierce is on the podcast and when I brought this up to him, he was like, yeah, you know, I don't have that much bad to say I have good things to say. I was like, ah, that's what I want to hear because we're all, you know, we walk around and we just hear people griping, oh nuts. That's what we do, we're day camp people. we're used to hearing people griping. Right. Our camp vows as such, but anyway, the day camp landscape of 2019 times have definitely changed. There's no doubt. I felt like when the recession first kicked in and like 2006, 2007, 2008, we were spending so much time worrying about campers and it seemed like there was a lot of staff around, primarily because I think that a lot of the the workforce, the older workforce was, was taking a lot of the jobs that, that are college students were looking for. And, and it just seemed like they were more available. And it was a nice little time. And then all of a sudden it just sort of transited to having issues, a lack of fish in the pond. And I went to a session, American Camp Association, a workshop with this woman, Lindsay Polica, multigenerational workplace expert and she was talking about how generation Z, which is basically like 23 and under the high school and the college students that we have, that we're pulling, our staff are on a lot of our staff that they, this is the smallest generation ever, well for a long time. And besides there being less fish in that generation, the smallest percentage of them are working than ever before. So she said that about 35% of these young people are actually in the workforce. And that's about half of what it was back when I was their age. And you can say it's because parents are so focused on getting their kids a level up in enrichment programs and internship and stuff like that and whatever the reasoning is, it is a serious reason and I think that we've all seen the implications from it. Right. You guys agree?

New Speaker:            My friends. Any thoughts on that?

Andy:            So what are the many things we're trying to accomplish with staffing. All right, Kim, you were so helpful, you wrote a nice little outline here and casting a net. I'm just going to hand it off to you and you can start on your little list here because it's wonderful. All right,

Kim:            Absolutely.

Andy:            Hold on. Before we start with Kim Aycock, I want you to introduce yourself for those of you who don't really know who you are and let us know how you got into this staffing thing, where, where you've really taken it upon yourself the last few years to really try to understand and help people and figuring out how to, how to communicate with staff better and how to figure out this, this camp, like desert that we've all of a sudden found ourselves in.

Kim:            Sure. Thanks. So I guess I entered the camp seeing myself as a staff member, so I never was a camper. And then I worked at a large camp where I hired let's say close to 150 staff per summer. And so I just really have always been focused on the staff piece of, of camp. And just over the last few years when I finally joined Facebook and I started really paying attention to the summer camp Facebook professionals group, um, I just was noticing all of the angst and the, the staffing challenges and people were, you could just feel them pulling their hair out on the other side of that message. And so I was like, why is it so hard? What is, what's going on? And so it's kind of been a, a big, you know, conundrum to get, get hands around and trying to understand and there's not, there's a lot of pieces to this. As you mentioned, this is part one. So we're going to do our best to give you, you know, the thoughts on....

Andy:            It's like the overview episode

Kim:            Yes, that's right. We're just planting some seeds. So, I think one important thing to know though is I think we're, just to make people feel better, is camps are not the only people that are struggling with this. And so there's been, I've seen articles written and there was one in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about, you know, resorts in Minnesota. They're struggling to hire seasonal staff. So it's not just us, but there's so many other people who are, want to have, you know, hands in the, in the same, that small population that you mentioned. So, yeah,

Andy:            So we're going to start off by talking about crasting a net of getting these applicants, you know, the good ones, the ones that are going to stick with us, the ones who can be thriving here in this, you know, it's a combination, right? It's finding these good people and then finding the ones that want to work in a camp, right? Because there's so many other things they can be doing out there. And we're going to start at some point, we'll talk about how the imminent $15 minimum wage across the country, which is not going to make it easy for us either. So Kim, you wrote something about the college students I thought that's very interesting. That, it's a lot different than it was. Right. You know, when I grew up, and we were, you know, when I was a staff age person, we were basically just pulling from the regular kind of four year colleges. And now, I'd say that maybe a third of my staff probably goes to two year colleges at least initially.

Kim:            That's very true, and so if you look at the demographics of today's college student. I actually used the resource on the Gates Foundation to pull my information from and it, they had done some really cool statistics on this and it's, just to really understand today's college students, so almost 40% of them are over 25 years of age, which is a huge percent. Over half of them are working while they're in college and about a quarter of them are raising children. So just those three statistics alone, if you looked at the faces on the people on this call, they're all not like, wow, this is new news to me. And so, and also another interesting thing is that I'm speaking with my colleagues in higher ed where it used to be more about 50, 50 male female split. It's now 56, 44, 56, a female, 44% male. So I know that's another hard challenge trying to find staff who are males. And Andy you mentioned the two year programs, so close to 40% are doing the two year versus the four year. And so, and I can even say I have two nephews, one of them started a traditional four year school and then he decided, he told his parents, my brother that, you know what, you're wasting your money, mom and dad and I'm going to figure this out on my own. So he's sort of hacking college and not even going to a traditional two year or you know, he's taking courses and just kind of piecing it together, getting what he thinks he needs.

Andy:            Right. If you think about, you know, the percentage of people that actually go to camp in this country, you know, the last I saw it was like one out of six kids goes to camp and if that means five, six of them don't really understand camp, understand the value of camp because they didn't go through the camp system and their parents didn't go to camp. It's a hard sell for us to get to do this when, like you were outlining a lot of these people, money is a big deal to them. You know, whether they're helping themselves get through college, or if they're hacking as you say. You know, we have to figure out how to get to these people, to show them the value of what they will learn from us, right? The leadership skills and all those kinds of things. And, and another thing is vocational schools that are out there. I think there's going to be more and more kids going to vocational schools because the regular four year colleges are just so expensive. And being a liberal arts major with $200,000 in debt is not the greatest idea, to a lot of people. Whereas getting the skills, you know, whether it's an electrician or whatever, and by the time you're 21, you can have a real job and be making good money. I think that more and more people are going to be going that way. And I know that as our day camp, we have our own food service, we have our own maintenance crew and all that kind of stuff and we are definitely trying to focus on these vocational schools. Anybody else there out trying to do that.

Sam:            I'm lucky that we have a community college right now, five minutes away from our town. So we do pull a lot of two year people from there. So that's, that's worked out really well. You then you can keep them during the school year if you have a before and after school program because they're local.

Andy:            One thing that this woman Lindsay was telling us about the workforce, cause like Kim said, it's not just camps. This is happening everywhere. Is that there are a lot more retirees getting back into the workforce that a lot of these retirement village, villas, right, that have like 500, you know, little homes and then they have pools, they can't find lifeguards to staff those pools. They're getting 60 year old people to take their life guarding, certifications to get them working at those pools. And, I think that's something that what's going to happen as we're looking at how hard it is to hire these Generation Z people that we're going to be looking at Baby Boomers to fill some of those spots potentially.

Will:            Andy it's Will from Pierce Day Camp. And that's funny you mentioned that. We were actually featured an article in Newsday about three summers ago where we see a lot of retired teachers who are really well accomplished people that always wanted their summers off, that now have retired, enjoy working with kids and want to get back into the workforce. And we've actually hired quite a few of those people on our staff and they've been fantastic. And they've also been a nice gateway into referring a former students that they know that I've gotten to education, or former students that maybe they've only been retired a year or two and they were high school teachers who are in college. So it's actually been kind of this fun part of Camp we've had where we have people who are in their late fifties, if they retired on pension earlier or early sixties, who are really vibrant and have all this energy, to commit to camp because they've had the 10 months off that they haven't had before. So we probably have on our staff probably about 10 people in leadership roles, whether they're running a specialty area or you know, supervising different areas of camp that have been really vital and not really a cohort in the past we look to hire. That we've actually found to be, you know, not going to solve all your staffing - well, it's not like there's a huge number of people out there that are interested in that - but we've had really good success with that, which was surprising and a fairly recent development probably over the last four or five years.

Andy:            That's very interesting.

Ehren:            Will, can I just ask a question? We're not, we haven't explored that realm of the workforce, although we have had people over the years that have approached us -retired teachers. We run programs with schools during the year, so sometimes we have teachers who are saying, and I'm going to retire in a year and I would love to do this and just in terms of the, the pay structure and you know, contractual obligations that, you know, 16, 17, 18 year olds have versus these older staff members. What are the arrangements you've made?

Will:            So, yeah, it's a great question. So, we basically, at our camp anyway, we have a pretty set pay scale structure based on age, number of years you've been at camp and experience. So the good news is they come in towards the top on the experience side, but they don't have a lot of history at camp. And what I'm really finding is the focus, for a lot of these people, especially coming out of the public school system is a lot less on the money, but more on the experience of having something to do, you know, it's a 39 day season, it's not a huge commitment and getting to work with children. And then the big challenge is from a camp director perspective is placing them in an area where they can be effective because, you know, we do have the 95 degree day where they're outside. So, you know, maybe, you know, running a basketball court by yourself wouldn't be the best fit. But we have, you know, gardening club, we opened an area called Lego land, which has been, you know, staff by, someone who's retired out of the, out of the teaching realm. And those have been really good fits. So it's definitely has to be the right fit or the right job. But, you know, we've had, we've had pretty good success and they've, they've been pretty nice additions to camp. And the nice thing is they come in with that, you know, professional teaching background, and lots of energy because they haven't just been, you know, our staff here in New York, we have a lot of staff that they finish their teaching job on Tuesday and their first day of camp is Wednesday. We find they hit the ground with, with a lot of energy and passion.

Kim:            The benefit to the kids also is a lot of them don't have extended family nearby anymore. So I have a few older people, that are kind of a grandma age and it's interesting to see the reaction of the kids, but like you said, they have to be in the right portion of the job to make them effective, but it's a benefit.

Andy:            Right. But like Will mentioned a lot of these people are retired and they have a pension or a security and that kind of thing. And money isn't a big deal with their marriage. So, I think they're doing it more for the quality of life and for the experience and, having these grandma kind of people around you can see like the, the buzz they get off of working with the kids. Like they really super enjoy it. It's a nice thing. So, Will when I first asked you about doing this, this podcast you mentioned to me that, you know, you were one of these people that complains that much about, about staffing and I find that interesting because I'm going to guess that you hire at least 400 people at Pierce, if not more.

Will:            All right. So you know, I'm a numbers guy and so in front of preparation for this podcast, I actually put together a few numbers cause I think we have some unique things that go in our advantage well, which I think we don't face some of the challenges, some of the other camps face. We might get there soon, but so I think the numbers tell a little bit of the story. So we have a seasonal staff of 500, for our camp. But we have a very high return rate as far as day camp staff goes, it's about 65% last year. But the main way we source our staff is actually referrals from current and former staff members. So I put together some numbers. So for example, of my 500 staff members last year, 57% of them had found us by being referred by a current or former staff member. 78 themselves were alumni, one of the advantages of having a big camp that's been here for - this will be our 102nd summer. 53 were other, which means they were referred by an alumni or live in the area. And then only 5% we found on internet search. And we did a lot of internet advertising last year, which I thought was really interesting that it's that low. And so kind of the ethos behind my whole family and the way we approach it, which you know, it's not the type of thing you can do in one year, but we spend a lot of time and energy connecting with our current staff and kind of leveraging them and making them part of our family. We're a family run and owned business and we do a lot of investment with that upfront. And I think one of the things that you mentioned earlier, which really resonated with me is the people in our area.

Speaker 4:            We happen to be in a socio-economically, you know, um, very well off area. Most of the people that interview with me that are college kids are graduating high school kids don't have to work, their parents aren't asking them to work. They're here because they heard it's a really great way to spend the summer. And if I liked the person they interview, I always make sure I spend a lot of time selling them on why should you work here? And a lot of it has to do where normally the whole interview is about how is this person going to take care of kids. But I probably spend the last five minutes of the interview just telling them why you should work here, cause what do you get out of it? Which is very different from kind of the interviewing style I even used to use when I first came back to doing this, you know, seven years ago or so. And I've found that that's actually been a little more successful when I actually spell it out for them. And really taking care of taking care of that staff. And for example, so we have 500 staff, so we're hiring about, you know, 200 every year based on our return rate. But, so me and my cousin who is also my partner/co-owner/director, her and I are the two people that do every single interview. And you know, it takes a ton of our time. And when I look at my, is this the best way to spend my time? I think about it every year. I've kind of come down to yes it is because when we get these great people, we need to make sure that, you know, if I interviewed 10 people that I like an offer job contracts to, I need seven or eight of them to say, yes, I want to work at your camp in order to, to make my numbers. And we've been successful at that, but there's not been much of a shortcut. It's really been just spending a lot of time with them in the interview and really making them want to come to Pierce instead of one of the other camps. And that's probably the big thing for us that we focus a lot of time and energy on as well as the experience here at camp.

Andy:            That's awesome. You know, it's funny. So, what Will's saying is that he and his cousin, who are the directors of this camp, do all the interviews, right. And our friend Ross Coleman at Coleman, he tells me he does most of the interviews also at Coleman Camp too. A lot of staff as well just like you guys. So one thing he mentioned, yes, his camp has been around for over a hundred years. His Uncle Doug's email address is camp 1908...right?

Will:            1918, yup camp 1918.

Andy:            Camp 1918 that's his email address. So they have a hell of an aluminum base. Right. But I think another part of things, which doesn't matter if you're in an affluent community or not, is growing your own. And I know that from, for myself and my camp is now in its 18th summer that it's really been an awesome thing. We've turned the corner now to be able to have an influx, you know, to basically you have to turn away staff, you know, who are former campers, which is by the way are the worst part of my job, hands down. But it's nice to be able to do that. You have a large camp, you have a lot of people flowing through, right? So I know that at my camp we actually have a teen leadership program we don't call it a camper in training or counselor training program because we don't want to actually imply that you're going to get a job here. You know, if they go through that two years of entering ninth grade, entering 10th grade years, there's a very good chance that they're going to have the skills to be hired by us. But you know, it, when they get up to that age, you know, whether they're playing sports or they're in theater and all these kind of things, it's a lot of things pulling them in different directions. It's hard for those, those kids to be able to commit. But let's talk a little bit about growing your own. What do you, some of you guys do out there to help grow your own staff?

Sam:            One thing with growing your own, I do a program similar to you to have them come to camp and stay with camp through high school. It gets them an interview, but like you said, not necessarily a job. The other part of that is legacies. People that either their parents were a camp counselor or their sibling was a camp counselor. A lot of times family talent runs through the whole family. Not always, but, sometimes you, I had 20 years of Walker brothers because each pacing was perfect. So that was one went out and they were all very good. So, that's been a good way to find them. And then with the referrals, like you were talking about, I always tell them, don't give me your drinking buddies. Give me somebody that you'd be proud to work with. So, that's usually helpful because then you do get their friends who are of a similar value system.

Speaker 2:            Right, so what are you guys doing out there in regards to incentivizing referrals? Do you, are you paying off people? Are you giving them a $50 Hoodie? You doing anything like that? Ehren?

Speaker 5:            We've done, we've tried a few different things over the past few years, but I think that's the sort of hybrid cash, like giving a gift card, which is like a hybrid between cash and, you know, swag is, has been a fairly effective, tool. Although I don't know necessarily, you know, what the statistics are. We haven't taken numbers on it, but I think that the people who are generally referring staff are not doing it for the gift or for the, you know for the incentive. But the fact that we have the incentive program and we're mentioning that we need people and we need their help. I think that's really where the benefit is. It's not necessarily, like I said, the, the actual item that's being given out. And there's a, there's a certain element of pride. We tend to...how we specifically, the owner tends to mention the names of people who have referred staff, you know, in front of the entire staff. And people, you know, get, you know, feel proud and are happy that they're able to contribute to the overall, you know, good of our organization. And, I just, if you don't mind, I'm just gonna jump in just about, the topic we were talking that we were talking about a second ago, Sam was mentioning just about the growth from inside. You know, just for us, I think that, and I'm sure a lot of people out there, the swim staff are a big thing. So I've really been trying to push this of, you know, those younger staff, you know, really getting their swim qualifications, doing it through our system because we do have a pretty good swim program, it's a pretty integral part of what we do is the swim program. So making that swim... Filling that swim void through our CIT's and our staff that are up and coming, is a good, has been as a good solution for those roles that are the most, for us, the most difficult to fill.

Andy:            Okay. That's interesting. Anybody else about, like the camp ambassador idea of like having people at colleges that are actually, you know, working it for you, you know, as opposed to having it be organic? Go ahead Kim.

Kim:            I can say, I'm just talking to some other camps. I know some camps who are doing this and it's almost, it's almost like you have to apply for the ambassador position. And so it's not just something that everyone, but they really, you know, work to give this, this group, you know, almost like some training and some tools and some things to take with them so that you can, you know, remember to think at one of your organization meetings at school, you know, to bring it up and what you might say and those kinds of things. And so I think making it a little bit more formal, some folks are definitely having some, you know, some more luck with that and then incentivizing it. And one of the things that just occurred to me, because I think this is something that's becoming, I don't know if you know, noticing like when you go run a car or even it's happened to me staying at the Hampton Inn, you get to choose what it is you want your, you know, I rent a car and then they send me to zone 3 and I get to pick any car in zone 3 or I go to the Hampton Inn and I get to check in and then I pick what floor and you know, do I want to be next to the elevator? Next to the vending machine? Or whatever. So what if one of the incentives was you get to pick, do you want cash? Do you want a gift card? Do you want to that Hoodie? That might be another way to sort of make it more personal to the person who, who's actually, you know, going out there so that it's more meaningful to them. So that to kind of just occurred to me as we were talking.

Andy:            Yeah, no, that sort of segways into the next thing, we're going to talk about the messaging and how to get into these people's brains because they are wired a lot differently than a lot of people who are doing the hiring themselves. Right? Just one last thing about the growing from within, the thing is, I visited Camp Coniston an awesome YMCA camp up in New England a few years ago and their team leadership program, the last year that you're a teen there, you have to be there like a minimum four weeks or something like that, six weeks. And they cross train you. They actually give you like, you know, certain amount of time in the kitchen a certain amount of time working waterfront amount of time in the bunk house or certain amount of time doing like maintenance kind of things to give people like, you know, an idea of what all the jobs are that are out there and that helps them, you know, pull their counselors for the proceeding the upcoming year. So anyway, I thought that was pretty cool. All right. So anyway,

Sam:            I do have one other thing about quality. You're looking for the best quality. If you pick out the people that have studied abroad or done a mission trip or work their high school best buddy program. I don't know if other people have that, but it's working with special needs kids during high school. Then they've had to think on their feet. They've had to get along with the team that they just met and they've had to be outside of their comfort zone. So those qualities are really nice camp qualities that we're looking for. So they translate pretty well.

Andy:            I think a big difference between high schools now versus high school's 20, 30 years ago is that it seems like most high schools actually have programs like that. Have programs where some of their juniors and seniors are getting experience, childcare experience, right. Whether it's like little littlest preschoolers or even working with elementary school kids. And, and if you can get into that, again, it's how do we get into the heads of the five sixths of the people out there who have never gone to camp before and can see us as a useful way towards their career to gain skills where their toolbox, right. So got to find the ones that match up. All right. So, Kim, I'm going to hand this off to you again because you have a nice little section you wrote in our notes about messaging and I think just some good stuff in here so you could start us off.

Kim:            Sure. Well one thing I learned, and I'm pretty sure this was Travis Allison sharing this with me at some point. He said definitely having the word summer jobs as searchable part of your keywords because who is going to Google work here? You know, so you want to have summer jobs. That's just one little hint that can maybe be a big, a little thing that can be a big thing. I think also understanding that a lot of our high school and college age students because they're not working, they're also not, families are pretty small today compared to what they used to be. So you don't have that older siblings taking care of a lot of younger siblings. And so having a lot of child experience is not necessarily a common thing anymore. Or even babysitting. I think I was 11 when I babysat and I would babysit three kids who in their right mind today is going to let an 11 year old take care of three children. We're just not seeing people come with that experience. But I think one thing that they are looking for is leadership development. I know that's sort of one of those buzzwords I think, or phrases that you can use too. They're seeing that in high schools and colleges where they're having to do some sort of experience that provides them that leadership opportunity to develop their skills in that kind of way. So the other thing that I've been really listening and really thinking a lot about it has to do with, I don't know if any of you guys have listened to the podcast, the StoryBrand. It's all about having a clear and concise message. One of the things that really resonated with me that they said that I think we camps need to do better, and that is, I think we're really good at telling our story, our camp story. But unless the person we're telling the story to doesn't see themselves, and this can be a camper or a staff member, if they don't see themselves as a key character in your camp story, then it's like given that they're the hero in your camp story, not you being the hero. And so how do we invite staff in or potential staff in? So they see themselves as part of the story? I've seen some really interesting ways that camps have done this. That to me is what this is kind of what I'm talking about. So for example, on Instagram I saw camp who had one of their posts, and this is by the way, a staff only Instagram. So more camps are doing that, having both camper and staff, because two different audiences. And so one of the posts they had on there was a video and the video the opening messages is now hiring you. And so when you see that video, it's like, oh, you can see yourself because it's like now hiring me, they're hiring me. They also have all of their staff wearing their like whatever college or school they're from, they're wearing those jerseys or sweatshirts or, or some sort of gear. So any college student or could see out, even if it's not your school, you're like, oh, but these are college students, these are college students like me and maybe now we need to put the two year schools in there and some of those others, but you have to see yourself in that story. So I just thought it was really interesting. Another person mentioned, I just saw this yesterday, I think it was they were doing, and it's another way of inviting staff into your story. It's taking a picture of a normal scene at camp where you have this great staff member, and then, but you cut that person out of the picture. So that could be anybody. So you see yourself, oh, this could be me, leading this group of kids, or this could be me, you know, mentoring to this, this group of Campers or leading this activity or making an an impact. Pretty, pretty powerful stuff.

Andy:            I think a big part of what you're saying is visual, right?

Kim:            Absolutely

Andy:            We're trying to message to this generation. It has to be visual. When I'm trying to explain this to people of the older generation, I just say think of Instagram because that's literally how they think. It's the small snippets, right? It's pictures and small videos. And I see camp's over and over making these long videos, which are great. They're like feature motion pictures. But you know, if you're, if you're 23 and under, 45 minutes and you're done, sorry 45 seconds in, you're done. Right. And another way to sort of have them be part of the story, which I gotta find this link and put it on the show notes, but Catalina Island Camps did an amazing video. I know that Ross's daughter I think is a film former film student at UCLA and she made a video, they made a video of a counselor. Well I guess it was from a kid's perspective. It had a Gopro on the kid's head and it was the first day of camp and it was seeing the counselors like coming at them kind of thing and how they were interacting. And it was so cool. And it's a short, relatively short video, but it ends with that kid like transported in time. And that kid is now a counselor and sees a kid coming off the boat, you know, for the first day of camp. And man I get goosebumps just thinking about it. It was so awesome. But creative ways to get them to be part of the story. And thinking in that quick visual kind of thing. Right. Do my millennials want to chime in on this

Ehren:            I was just going to say along the lines of I hate, I don't like, I shouldn't say hate, but I don't...

Andy:            It's not negative Ehren, it's a compliment..

Ehren:            No I know, I'm just kidding. But you know, there is a, there is a disparity between the older millennials and the younger ones. When I look at the process of, you know, just if you do get somebody interested in, in camp and then you send them to your website to either read a whole bunch of details or fill out a a long application. We were using Camp Brain for our staffing and our registration. And you can see the number of applications that have been started in the system and people that haven't completed them. And there's a large number of people that started the applications and don't follow through on, you know, on, on the completion. And I personally feel that, you know, a lot of that is just the length of involved and the commitment of sitting down for 20 minutes to complete an application might be too much. So, you know, just thinking of creative ways and we're looking at some stuff maybe to, to streamline the process. One thing that I actually saw it at Mcdonald's, I was on a little road trip and I was at some, some ups, I don't even remember, I think it was in Virginia, some part of your country over there that I was in. They had a, they had a very interesting thing on the, the Mcdonald's job board where they just had like snapchat something to a, you know, scan this thing with your phone. I'm not, I'm not a snapchat user, so I don't know. I don't know it, but you know, scan this thing and a receive, you know, your application by doing that. And I know snapchat's kind of on the way out, so maybe Mcdonald's wasn't you know, with what they needed to be doing. But along those lines of, you know, being able to just text quickly to get the information or a quick, you know, send your phone number and email to us and we'll get you the rest of the information or we'll send you a video or you know, a drip campaign will start coming to you with a bunch of different videos from the director. You know, those are the kinds of things that we're, that I, that I'm thinking that we're going to try to, you know, approach with our staff moving forward just because if we can get them in the door and get them through that process in some easier way so they don't have to spend 20 minutes sitting down in front of their computer. Then I think we might have a better chance of getting some more people.

Andy:            Yeah. Well think about the call to actions that we put on our websites for our camp parents who are mostly millennials now, right? We're just trying to capture basics, right? Name, email, town you live in, like just want to get you in the pipeline, right? So I think it's a super idea if you were able to take out your smartphone and put it over, you know, one of those, those whatever cones, you know, and have it send you something that sends them something or something like that. I think that's super idea. What do you think Will?

Will:            All right, so as the other begrudging millennial, on this, on this call, you know, it's a few interesting things or this, and I actually feel in a lot of ways, I'm very split on this, which, the point that's brought up that is about the incomplete applications today, I think is great. When I look, I probably have as many incomplete applications in a given year as I do people that complete it. So we've streamlined our application keeping with the thesis that the attention spans are short. We want to make it easy to apply and then we'll really assess in the interview. But the flip side of that is how badly do I want someone that can't give me 10 minutes on a job application, right? So what we have kind of done as splitting it in the down in the middle, which is maybe they just got distracted and we'll actually send an email to people who are incomplete. Say hey, we noticed you didn't finish here, click this link and pick it back up and finish. But we've actually made the decision to actively not pursue them any harder than that because I kind of have the feeling that I don't want someone that, you know, is that wishy washy about applying, which, you know, that's a, it's kind of like finding that balance. Same thing with, we talk about the attention span. So I actually did some testing on, advertising on Facebook with my camp last year. Some of it for jobs, most of it for parents. It didn't work very well, but we learned some things about it, which was, and I thought that was very interesting. Facebook and Instagram and our parents are on Facebook and our staff is on Instagram by and large now that's starting to cross over. But the optimal length of the video where you can keep someone's attention, so where you had the best success of people actually like clicking through and learning more and we tested video clips from 2 minutes to, you know, 10 seconds was 18 seconds. You have about 18 seconds to make the impression to get someone's attention to commit to either, hey, I want to check this camp out, or hey, I want to work here. So, you know, when you think about that, that's not a lot of time to differentiate ourselves, but it is exactly as everyone was saying,I completely agree the reality of where we're at. The other thing I thought that was really interesting like that Kim was mentioning about is making sure they can see themselves at your camp, especially for people that didn't go to camp, like you've been talking about Andy. You have these opportunities so you're marketing to draw the parallels. But what I find is equally important is drawing that parallel for them when they're sitting in front of you, which is always, oh, where are you going to school? Well, yeah, we have five or six kids from there you'll get to meet friends from there. Again, not something I used to have to be doing in my interview to get them to come want to work at camp because I would say, well you want to come work at camp to take care of the kids. But I now have to do that as well to give them another reason to appeal to them to work here. We've had some success with this too. I've actually started hiring a lot of kids, so we're located on long on long island. Um, and I've actually started getting a decent number of staff from the Bronx, which is not kids that grew up going to camp. Um, but there, this generation is service oriented. They liked the idea of taking care of children. And you know, the Bronx is a very urban environment. We're about 15 miles away and it's a much more suburban and camp in some ways it's even rural environment. And one of the big things when we interviewed the these applicants is I can see they're hesitating on like, will I fit in at camp? What is camp? And I always like to make sure that we draw some kind of parallel with some sort of past experience they've had and matching it up at camp. And now my first hires out of, out of the Bronx for probably like three years ago, and now we probably have like 15 staff. They've all referred their friends, they love working here and they've become like this really vibrant part of the community. That kind of self sustains by, okay, now they're graduating college or they're going off to college and they can't do it without the little brother is coming with his friends. And kind of, I think it was Sam that was mentioning is getting those people with those similar value sets who aren't traditional camp people and just finding ways to draw those parallels as often as you can and not forgetting that oftentimes that's as big a motivation. It's just, I love camp went to camp or I love working with kids and I want to make a positive experience it's also how do they fit in? There's like a fear of not of not fitting in a lot. I find with this generation.

Andy:            This generation like Will said Service oriented also they're into experiences, right? More people of honestly millennials and the younger generation, they'd rather have a really cool experience then get a great birthday gift, right? They want that. They want the experiences and they're into experience accumulation, right? So I think that posing what we do as a real challenge, as a real adventure, you know, for people who are neophytes, I have no idea what we do. I think that is a really good angle. You know, Will says he spends the last part of his interview trying to really show what an awesome place this is and explain for what you're doing. There's camp directors out there that do the opposite, that spend the last 10 or 15 minutes almost like discouraging and telling you how hard of a job it is because they want that person that's going to be like oh, I could do it. I can, I can do it. You know, I just read an article in the New York TImes about these two guys that just walked across Antarctica. Right. That's the kind of thing that a lot of people go, wow. Like, you know, I'd love to be able to do these, climb a mountain and that kind of thing. Well, working at camp anyone that's done it before and knows it is like, is it like a marathon? It was like climbing a mountain, right.

Sam:            When Will was talking earlier about how much time you spend on interviewing. Really finding the right staff saves you time over the summer because you're not putting out as many fires. So I think that front loading the time you're spending on it is a good thing usually.

Will:            Yes. And we have no time during the summer. So what better time to spend it even though, you know, the lead up is pretty intense too. It was before camp. I totally agree with you.

Andy:            Right. So the next bullet points that we have in our notes that Kim put is a creative alternatives to the way it's always been done. And I really find that in the last five or 10 years, it's been a whole lot of changes of the way it's always been done. I can just tell you that when I first started in camping over 20 years ago, you know, one of our policies, I was working at a camp on Long Island. Everybody had the policy, you wouldn't hire anybody with any visible tattoos, right. Can you believe that was literally one of the policies, right? And now it's like, well, maybe if it's on the neck and it's not up to the ear, you know, it's where it's such a different world. So one of the things is being creative with scheduling, right? We get all these awesome people, but a lot of them are not able to commit to eight weeks. And we used to be a lot more firm and stern with that. And I know that there's a lot of camps that really try to hold line still, but that's really not, you know, 21st century thinking, right? Think about the workplace nowadays, how so many people don't even go into work, they're telecommuting and, and all that kind of thing. There's flex time, there's this and that. Like the world we're in is not such a black and white cut and dry, eight weeks, eight hours a day, or nothing kind of world. Right? So I'm curious what you guys are doing at your camps, if anything, when you're coming across these situation, if you're bending more than you've ever done?

Will:            Well I'll go ahead. I'm definitely bending more than I've ever done, but I remained as inflexible as I can get away with. The way I describe it there's certain jobs for us that are not negotiable you have to be here every day. We've made exceptions for obviously college orientation and we've started collecting that data really early on in the hiring process so we can place people appropriately but that's kind of the thing you can't really hold that against somebody if their college starts early. Like that's obviously an obligation. So we do that one, but we do vet it and check that everything checks out. And then we only will make exceptions for people that have worked with us previously. So as someone who's returning and then we only have certain classes of jobs that will do it for and I always liked to find out, is this going to be just this summer or is this going to be an ongoing thing? And that I think is a big thing. I think if there's an opportunity that someone has, you know, the amount of goodwill you get by being flexible and working with them and letting them go do that with the upfront conversation of, okay, but you know, how important your job here is, can I count on you for next year? And by having that conversation up front, that works really well. I mean, I've started being more flexible. I had a guy make the world series of poker last summer who's a long term, but like, how do I not let him go? You gotta let him go. And then I said, if you make the final table wear a Pierce hat and you know you got to get a little free marketing out of it, but, you know, all kidding aside. So I really kind of take it on a case by case and I just try and be fair by applying the consistent rule across which jobs we'll do it for and that's for returning people and that's for quality people.You know, I think everyone on staff appreciates, you know, when you have some people that are really great, if you'll be willing to work with them as long as it's kind of fair parameters, but it's definitely a balancing act and the fear is always that once you open that door, is it going to be the flood gates? We've cracked it open a little bit and so far so good. But it's the type of thing where, you know, I'm always kind of hesitant to expand it more because it does disrupt camp in some ways if you're not letting it happen in the right areas of camp.

Andy:            I think you articulated that pretty well. It's a balance.

Sam:            Yeah. We have some job sharing like that too. Yeah. Where they're quality people once studying abroad and then he comes back but then his partner has to leave to go teach. So that group worked out well, you know, one tag teams the other. Kim put down a new app that I'm going to try this year called window work. Do you want to tell more about that?

Kim:            Well, I actually learned this from somebody who was working at a large day camp and the Nashville, Tennessee area. And she was noticing with her staff that they were, knew exactly sort of how to play the system where somebody would come to work, but then they would have a doctor's appointment. So they'd worked just enough hours to be counted as fulltime for that day. And then she ended up paying double for people because then she'd have to have somebody else to come in to cover that shift or whatever. And so it was just costing her organization a lot of money. So they looked into, and so they started using this when to work app and hired. So the idea though is they overhired which you're like, what? I can't even find enough people to fill my camp, you know, to staff in the first place. How am I going to over hire people? But the way it works is you guarantee those, the sort of extra people a certain number of hours this summer. So there's certain times that you absolutely know that you would need them. And then it kind of reminds me of like an Uber App. So when somebody is going to be gone, they post it on, you know, this app that I can't be at campus day cause I have a doctor's appointment. Well you are going to miss camp the whole day and then the first person who wants to pick up your shift can take it and it's all scheduled through this app. And so saved organization, tons of money and just was able to keep, you know, a lot of headaches at bay because of that. So that's something that's super creative I guess.

Sam:            I guess I did hear too that you can set your what power you have over the subbing. So if you're kind of a control freak like me, I guess that you can put it where I would still have to approve it, but at least it's out there and then you're finding out the interest quicker.

Kim:            Absolutely.

Sam:            I'm going to try it.

Andy:            Yeah. I use something like this for my kitchen staff and maintenance crew, we use a similar kind of APP that does this kind of thing, there's a bunch that do that. And for those kinds of jobs its fine. It gets interesting when you're talking about group counselors and things like that. If you really want to do that. And excuse me, Will brought up some really good points. By the way I had to leave camp one summer when I was a young division leader at Harbor Hills because I was on Star Search. So not the World Series of Poker. And I did not wear my camps hat. The last thing we're gonna talk about in regards to the creative thinking kind of things is parent involvement because that's another thing that back in the day we used to 100% if a parent of a staff person called we would not even take the call, you know, kind of thing. And, and now what these, you know, multigenerational workplace people are telling us is that these younger folks that their parents are their best friends plain and simple, right? And very much influential to them. And you know, we're going to do a part two on this and we're going to talk about camp staff that quit and staff that don't show up and all that kind of thing. And I blame a lot of that on the parent influence on this. And what, what these experts are saying is that therefore you need to forge a relationship with the parents just as much as with the kids, right? And especially when you're working at a camp where you're getting paid relatively peanuts at some, you know, some of these entry level jobs and the parents don't quite understand what's going on, that they need to be educated on this also. And they need to be part of the process. They need to understand the kind of commitment that we're asking them about. And don't just assume that the kids are telling them, you know and to, show this point in a way, this woman Lindsey that was Lindsey Pollak was telling us that at Linkedin, which employs like 90% millennials and younger at linkedin. All right, they actually have a bring your parent to work day there because they think it's so important to have that sense of family and community with the parents. And they showed pictures of it. And it is fascinating because you can tell like the typical college student nowadays calls the parent every day, all right? Or certainly texted him multiple times a day. I mean, so much different than my generation where there was a payphone in our hallway and you, they're called collector. You had a ton of quarters, you know, I know you weren't talking to your parent otherwise. So that kind of...

Ehren:            What's a pay phone?

Andy:            And it had a thing where you actually have to spin the numbers around to get to the numbers. It's pretty cool. So, I just want to add one last thing that my friend Sam Burrock over Woodmont Day camp, he shared with me a document he created where now when he sends his paperwork off to the kids, he maybe a day later he sends a thing off to the parents also that explains what their child has committed to kind of thing. So I think it's an interesting idea.

Ehren:            I'm just gonna jump in for a second just because you know, as a camp that builds, you know, a significant portion of their staff from the, from the camper base it's, it is very, you know, it is, it is a fine line to tread if you're cutting the parents out of the, you know, out of the mix completely as I know a lot of us have tried to do. And I think, you know, we've tried to steer away from parents as much as possible over the years and just, you know, educate the staff and parents and parents about the fact that we're in a process here with the staff of learning and growing and developing independence and you know, a safe environment to make mistakes and do things on their own that they're not going to get that experience, they're not going to get it in a future job which might not be the case. You know, as we move forward, I think more and more jobs are experiencing the same thing. You've been in a professional office setting or in the same boat with a lot of these young people. But you know, we're definitely moving in towards that kind of, an approach where there's maybe, there's definitely some email communication or an orientation even for the staff to bring their parents in and and learn about the importance of the job. I think the parents are the ones that are saying, don't work here because you're only making $500 or $1,000 or whatever it is. Instead of saying, you know, you went to camp, I was paying, I was paying $10,000 for the summer and now you're actually going to get paid to go and get that experience and actually further develop your growth. So you know, the parents used to be on board with that and I think there's a way, I think we have a way of getting them onboard and educating them to the benefit and the power of the camp job but there's no magic solution for us at least.

Andy:            Yeah. Any final thoughts on parent intervention?

Will:            We try and hold that line pretty tight. I feel like a big part of the experience for a lot of these you know, younger staff members is gaining skills and having mom or dad not over your shoulder managing every aspect of your life. But we have lightened up a little where it used to be, well we'll only talk to the employee. Now what I generally have, you know, my staff that worked the phones say to parents is we're happy to talk to you about it, but your son or daughter needs to be either on the phone with you or come in for a meeting or for emailing. It's, I'm not emailing with you directly without your child involved because we really want them to take the lead and take ownership of this. You're fully entitled to have all the information, but this is what's good for your child. 9 out of 10 parents are like, yeah, I agree they should be doing that. And then you got your 1 out of 10 who don't care but we just say it's fine. You can have whatever conversation you want, but we're not doing this without our actual staff member being involved. And the only time it gets a little tricky is like you have that leadership program that you don't call CIT, we're the same, we call it fast track where they're making that bridge from camper to staff member where sometimes the parent has trouble wrapping their head around that their child is now on the other side of that fence but we just, we stick to it as, as best we can. But definitely lighter on that touch then we used to be, which was, sorry we don't speak to parents only staff numbers, click now it's sure but let's get the staff member involved in the conversation as well.

Andy:            Right. Any last thoughts, Kim? Yeah,

New Speaker:            I was going to say so one of the books that I've read and one of the first books out on, the Gen Z, is Gen Z Goes to College. And one of the things that they, how they described parents, you know, we used to talk about helicopter parents and this generation's parents are more like copilots. And so that's why they're consulting, more consulting, checking in to see sort of. So having the family on board can be huge in terms of support and I think it, if there's some front loading that can happen on both sides. So when you see those parents who are picking up, you know, it's their last summer as a camper, you can sort of have that little conversation with them you know, this is, this is awesome. You guys don't have to fill out the paperwork anymore. You are done! It's now your son or daughter's turn to, you know, fill out this application for a job kind of thing.

Kim:            And then also letting the perspective staff member when they're still, you know, campers with you, let them know what that process looks like so they know, because for many of them, as you mentioned Andy, they're not going to work so this is maybe their first job or their first interview. They don't really know how this all works. And so I think also letting parents know that just because your son or daughter is not going to be a camper anymore. It's not like there's this magic line that they cross and then we don't care about them anymore. No, we still care about them and we're still helping with their development. It's really important development. It's just going to look different than it has in the past. So I think just kind of helping with some of that can be beneficial to getting the parents on board and not too much.

Andy:            Got to do it intentionally. It can't be something that just sort of happens organically. Got be really smart about it. So Kim, why don't you just tell us a little bit about the trainings that you do and how you've worked with camps. Give yourself a little plug.

Kim:            Well, thank you. So I work mostly with camps during staff training and so my website is just Kimaycock.com and I'll be at lots of different conferences coming up - ACA National, Tristates, New England, and a few other regional conferences. And so I love working with staff, this is my favorite group. And so just anything I can do to help. And, and also one of the things that I'm learning about this is, you know, training is looking different too. And so we're looking at more of those micro learning opportunities and ways to really engage staff that looks different than maybe what you've done in the past. So thank you for having me.

Speaker 2:            Yeah, we'll have to do a staff training episode soon. There's no doubt about it. All right, so before we go to our camp program tip of the week, which we'll all chip in real quick, I just want to say that the program tip of the week is brought to you by our friends at AM Skyer,, the leading insurance broker for the finest camps in America for almost a hundred years. AM Skyer's been a strategic partner with summer camps ready to support any needs arising in PR, legal issues, health, facility and more. Experience the AM Skyer difference. All right, so we're almost out of time here. I'm sure the Gen Z people have clocked off about 40 minutes ago and so we'll keep it to like a minute, minute and a half. Everybody, all right, so program tip of the week. I'm going to start off and go in the order that's on our little sheet here. And so I got this from somebody I couldn't tell you where I steal ideas all the time, borrow like a jazz musician and in trying to get people to have all their paperwork done by the start of orientation and getting people to all be at orientation because we as day camps, we aren't as lucky as our sleep away camp friends where they're hijacked and kept up in the mountains for a week and there's nowhere there to go. Our people have graduations and this and that, all this kinds of stuff and it's so hard. So I really think that offering these little silly incentive kind of things works, it's a great cheap, psychological trick and I designed these really cool shirts last year, look like ACDC shirts, but they say LLDC which is my camp and it said underneath for those who work at camp and it was just a really cool like concert looking shirt and they got that shirt and if they have all their paperwork in and attended all the orientations, perfect attendance to orientations. And I think we gave them to about two thirds of the staff, which is I think pretty darn good. Certainly way better, especially with the paperwork than we had ever had. It. Paperwork was almost like a 95% by the time camp started which was awesome. Another incentive thing we do with the camps, just a little, throw it in there, we do a perfect attendance halfway through the summer. We give them, literally a $10 Wawa card. Wawa is like 711 around here, right? A $10 gift card. If they have perfect attendance for the first four weeks and then one for the second four weeks and the second, four week one, we put their name in the hat. If they get both, first four, and second four weeks, we pull a name out of the hat and they could win a hundred bucks cash a little kid pulls it out of a hat and it's just these little things. They get people thinking about it and it just works. It gets on. I've got to get that card. Oh, I got to get that tee shirt, that kind of thing. So that's mine. Moving onto Sam.

Sam:            Okay. So mine's kind of similar and we have a shirt they can earn every summer and the one that was the most popular said on the back, 'my boss thinks I'm kind of a big deal.' So this year I'm thinking about going maybe with strong and fearless on the back of the shirt. So I'm looking for another fun thing to have on there. The directors decide what they did to earn the shirt. Maybe they're the ones who cleaned up when everyone else walked away or, you know, they did a really good job with a really hard camper that day. And then the other thing I do for retention is after three years, they get a jacket and the jackets to, you know, wear in the morning with the breeze off the lake, that's Kinda cold. But they have to be there three years.

Andy:            Nice. Nice. All right. Gluckbucks

Ehren:            The name is not endorsed by me, but it derived from my nickname, which is taken from my last name, so it's Gluck, but basically we use, I created these dollars, dollars made out of cheap paper, I just cut out photocopy paper and we give them out, when we get together for staff meetings. And it's an opportunity to recognize some people, but we don't do it as us recognizing the staff. We do it as the staff recognizing each other, so they have a chance to acknowledge something that their peers did. And if basically somebody says something that was done me or my program director gives out a buck for each thing that's called out. And we really make it pretty loose and say, you know, anything that you've done, you could say that you got a glass of water for, for somebody or you, you know, save the kid's life, whatever it was, just just call it out and it gets a conversation talking people feel part of the cohort during that conversation. And the idea that was the initial idea has evolved. And you know, last year we were actually got to the point where people were exchanging bucks between each other throughout the day and throughout the the season. So people would say, you know, this, this person did something, you know, great for me, or this person's having a bad day. And it was really cool to see what they did. And so they're handing a box around and at the end of the season or half way through, we'll say the person with the most bucks can buy one of these 25 five year old tee shirts that we dug out of the storage or these water bottles that we found or whatever. We'll have a little auction and make it fun. There's usually enough stuff to go around so everyone can get something. But just a way to build camaraderie and have some fun with this, with the staff. And so it's been great. It's been a great addition.

Andy:            Cool. All right, Kim?

Kim:            I was going to share what I call appreciation envelopes, and I actually am buying this from somebody else. And when I went to give this person credit he said, well, I got it from somebody else too. So as good camp people, we share what we have, but basically taking an envelope, like one that has the clasp on it and you have them write their name, the staff write their name on it. And then on the left side of the envelope they write down how they like to be appreciated or shown appreciation in a way that is free. And then on the other side of the envelope, and you can set the limit, some camps I know struggle with, with budgets. And so sort of if you somebody who was going to spend under $2 or under five to whatever that money amount is for you how do you like to be appreciated in that way? Because let's face it, we all like to have a little something, you know? And so then you post those in a staff only place, whether it's a office area or lounge area or whatever. And I'm envisioning if you have a very large staff that you would not do this for everybody at one time. Maybe you have divisions, you know, areas for divisions. But then it turns into a mailbox. So for those people who like notes, that's their way that they like to be appreciated for free, people can drop notes. And then you can see if somebody likes to you just said spend quality time with them or maybe they like you to, they really get excited if you help them clean up or whatever it is. So kind of like what you were saying, Ehren, where you can empower other people to show appreciation to each other. It's not all on you and so it just kind of creates that culture of appreciation. And then if they happen to bring you, you know, diet coke, dark chocolate or ice cream than it's even better!

Andy:            Nice and you also posted a link to the school book, the five languages of appreciation in the workplace. I was checking it out. It looks like an excellent resource.

Kim:            Yes. And that shows that people like to be appreciated in different ways. And so again, if you can speak their language, then it's even more meaningful to them. So...

Andy:            Right. Some people don't want to be embarrassed in front of everybody. Some people want like...

Kim:            Exactly.

Andy:            So all kinds of things like that. All right Will bring it home baby.

Will:            All right, here's the tip of the week. Keeping with the staff theme for us. This one sounds silly, but it was a big hit last summer we started having our camp chef put out iced coffee every morning camp starts at eight 30 so we'd put it out between seven 45 and eight 15. So if you got here a little bit early, it was ice coffee. And when we have our daily bread delivery, we ha we just tacked on some danishes and croissants. So not very expensive. Because we started realizing a lot of times when our staff was like coming in late, every one still had the ice coffee in their hand, which then of course we'd be asking them to throw out because they can't have something in their hand when they're greeting campers. So we figured we'd kill two birds with one stone. We'd supply it for them. They could come here and have their ice coffee. Hopefully they wouldn't be making that stop at Dunkin donuts or Starbucks that makes them that extra 10 minutes late. And one of the unexpected consequences of it was a big hit and we started in the having like large groups of staff gathering around the table where we had an ice coffee in these danishes and even if they were running late, they could just come straight here and grab breakfast when they're on the go. And it actually became kind of like a nice little hangout every morning when I, you know, making my rounds, I would see that the group, the early group at seven 45 and it would just grow until eight 15 and it kind of was a nice way to have all of our staff ready to rock and roll with a little caffeine in their system. And it's a perk instead of spending that three bucks at Starbucks and the time on the way you have it here and ice coffee, we a great chef who was into doing it. It was a little more work for him, but he proves a bunch of coffee, puts it in the fridge the night before and we put it out in coolers. And it was a good twist on we used to offer hot coffee, didn't nobody drank cause it's the summertime. And so that one little change for very little money actually created kind of a cool atmosphere. And I think the staff just thought, wow, there they're thinking about us. They know we would like this. And they did it for us and it was it was inexpensive way to just show the staff. We appreciate them a little bit. They liked it.

Andy:            I am stealing it. Absolutely. Great idea. And I'm sure you don't like spend the extra money to get like the turbo dunkin donuts. They get the extra caffeine, so they're even more caffeinated than they think they are.

Will:            We can always improve, Andy. We can always make it better.

Andy:            All right, well thanks a lot everybody. I want to thank our executive producer, Travis Allison for helping us get this show on the road for you. And our special guest today Will Pierce from Pierce Country Day Camp and Kim Aycock who will be speaking at ACA National. I hope you can see her there. Check out our show notes and other episodes at daycamppodcast.com and feel free to send us some feedback and new ideas for future pods. And like I said, we're going to do a part two of this at some point soon about keeping your staff engaged throughout the year and keeping them from saying, hey, sorry for the inconvenience but I can't work this summer even after they've committed. So you don't want to miss an episode of the Day Camp Pod, subscribe on Itunes or wherever else you get your favorite podcast. And don't forget to show your daily, your day camp brothers some digital love and give us some nice rating reviews. We'll be back real soon. With our next topic, we're going to be doing a debriefing of ACN National and the Ontario Camp Conference. So enjoy your winter. It's going to snow again here in New Jersey tonight. And thanks again for listening. This has been the Day Camp Pod.

Matt:            The Day Camp Pod is brought to you by Beth and Travis Allison summer camp leadership training and marketing consultants. Thanks for listening, friends.

Matt:            Hey, camp pros. We love that our industry is built on sharing. In order to foster that spirit, we hope that whenever you share an idea that you learned from the Camp Hacker Podcast, conference, summer camp professionals group, or wherever else, then you're quick to give credit where credit is due. That way we can all encourage more camp pros to share the tips and tricks that will make camp better.