Archive for October, 2011

Play It, Measure It – A unique and useful tool for Camp Leaders

Posted on October 8, 2011 by spreston

Camp leaders believe that the camp experience teaches children how to make new friends, to work cooperatively as a team member and to approach new people, places and activities positively.  We have anecdotal proof that these things do happen at camp, but currently, we lack the research to prove it.  A new book with accompanying CD, Play It, Measure It, available through the American Camp Association (ACA), changes this. (Soon we will have the results of the Waterloo Summer Camp Research Project, which also measures outcomes of the camp experience.)

Play It, Measure It, written by Mark Roark of Utah State University and Faith Evans (M.Ed), combines intentionally designed sequences of themed activities with questionnaires to measure outcomes. The programs are suitable for youth ages nine to seventeen.  Two sets of sequenced activities focus on friendship skills, one on teamwork and another on the affinity for exploration.  The last activity in each program is an invitation to participants to complete a brief questionnaire developed by the ACA to measure outcomes. The accompanying CD provides leader resource materials and an Excel template for data entry and analysis.

The book’s prime purpose is fun.  The added benefit is the ability to measure the outcomes of camp programs.  Consider the benefits of actually measuring results and sharing how well your camp is achieving program goals with staff, parents, Boards of Directors or funders.   Available at the online ACA bookstore on the ACA website.

“ENGAGING” EMPLOYEES AT SUMMER CAMP

Posted on October 3, 2011 by spreston

By Bob Wiebe (Manitoba Representative to CCA/ACC Board)

As I have worked with business and not for profit employers, I have become aware of the concern about “employee engagement”. Organizations of all kinds want workers who do more than punch the clock and collect a paycheque.  There is a strong desire to have employees who truly invest themselves in the company, going above the call of duty as expressed in a “dry” job description. Employers want employees to give a good part of themselves to the organization. “Engagement” is the term used to express this concept.  One way to examine the question of engagement is to ask “how does one bring out the best in people at work?”

I asked my contacts just that question.  The results were fascinating.

Persons felt that they themselves produced their best when:
* the people they worked for took a real interest in them, not only as workers, but as people
* the people they worked for took risks in giving them new responsibilities
* the people they worked for were able to balance between providing the employee with independence and offering help when needed
* the people they worked for treated them more like partners than employees
* the team they worked with provided a climate of support

My learning about employee engagement to this point suggests that in order to bring out the best in people at work, the employers need to bring out the best in themselves.  This starts with personal investment in the organization’s people. Techniques such as incentives, reprimands, team building exercises, etc. all have their place.  Without a real interest in the individual, however, these techniques fall short in bringing out the potential resident in the individual and the group.  Even in the frenetic pace of organizational life today, the prime investment of the leader’s time is in caring about and caring for staff at the individual level.