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Summer Camp Director Job Description

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As a camp director there are some job requirements that are obvious.  I’m going to touch on some of the things you might not be ready for or weren’t thinking of.  If you’re aware of most of the jobs of a Summer Camp Director, than that’s great and if not I hope I could help you.

 

  • The Runner: I always have what I call the runner.  This person is simply one of my counselors that is not assigned to a particular group.  Their job is to do everything and anything.  Answer the phone, help an injured child, pick up lunch, find the ball lost in the storage room etc…. What you might not know is that you as the owner/director will end up as the runner more times than not.  I was born to coach/teach, but as the owner, I find myself ending up as the runner all the time, because I will get whatever needs to be done faster than everyone else.

 

  • Advertising: Half of the work you do for a camp is already done before the first day of camp begins.  Did you advertise? Website, Town chat rooms, flyers, emails, street fairs, camps signs in town.  How early did you start advertising?  Believe it or not most people think about their Summer plans in the winter.  You can steal my winter flyer that I send out every January “Summer Will Be Here Before You Snow It”.  Yes corny but effective and also let’s everyone know my camp will return.  I just have a little bit of information on my flyer just to give them a taste of what’s coming.  It doesn’t have to have every detail of your camp just yet.

 

Camp Prepartion

 Aside from advertising as part of your preparation there are many other things to take care of.  The key to a successful camp is preparation.  If you do a lot of the necessary work before camp begins, not only will you have less work to do once it starts, your camp will run smoother.

 

  • 1  Are you keeping track of all your campers info in a file for computer?

 

  • 2 Did you make a sign in sheet which includes what each camper will have for lunch?

 

  • Did you buy enough soda, juice, water, napkins and plates for the kids?

 

  • Do you have an option for kids who need gluten free or allergies?

 

  •  Do you have clip boards, whistles and walkie talkies for your counselors? Do not buy the school whistles with the pea.  The new style without the pea is so much louder!

 

  • Did you make extra registration forms to leave on your sign in table so kids/parents can sign up for more weeks?

 

  • 7 Are you certified in cpr, aed and heat exhaustion?

 

  • Did you purchase insurance for your camp? I use kandkinsurance in New Jersey, but it may be different in your area.

 

  • Did you create a waiver in your registration form to cover yourself?

 

  • 10 Did you buy band aids, ice packs and medical supplies

 

  • 11 Is your classroom/lunch area prepared for your campers with tables, seating, tv and movies?

 

  • 12 Did you copy your tip sheets? (this is info for the campers to take home each day, which states some of the important things they learned that day).  Good visual for the parents to have.

 

  • 13 Make sure you buy prizes for your competitions.  examples: candy, free slice of pizza, free drink, toy’s (something small), kids happy meal.  Sometimes a local place will give you something, because it will help promote their business a much as yours.

 

  • Are your campers happy? If you separate your campers by age into 3 groups such as K-2, 3rd-5th and 6th-8th this may be perfect for most of the kids.  What if you have an extremely athletic 5th grader that would prefer to play with the 6th-8th grade group.  You need to make your campers aware that they can come to you if they’re not happy.  It could be the difference between a kid coming to your camp for years or never returning again.  Remember the request must be within reason.  If a 2nd grader wants to be with his 5th grade brother, it’s not a good idea.

 

  • Business bank account: If you turned your camp into a LLC, which is not necessary but if you did I recommend setting up a separate business bank account (debit).  It’s a great way to keep track of your expenses/income.

 

  • Sprinkler: Some of the expensive sleepover camps, may have a pool, but for your average 3-6 hour day camp you probably won’t.  I recommend buying a sprinkler.  It’s always a great option to have on hot Summer days.  Tip: Since my campers take water breaks inside an air conditioned classroom after every game, I never let them use the sprinklers at the end of an activity.  You don’t want to send kids home sick because they were soaking wet in a cold room. Also, I control the sprinkler and/or hose to allow them to cool off but not get soaked.

 

  • Scheduling: Print out a schedule of all daily activities for your camp prior to the start of the first day.  Make sure your counselors come in either the day before the campers arrive to review scheduling, rules and game rules.

 

  • Lunch: Make sure the local pizzeria or whatever place you choose is aware of your schedule and when you need the food each day.  Have the kids pay for food/drink when they sign in, so the pizzeria has time to cook and get everything over to you on time.  I allow my campers to pay each day, weekly or in advance prior to the start of camp.  It’s up to the parents.  If you don’t accept credit cards, than make sure you have plenty of singles, fives, etc….

 

  • Visibility: Make sure the kids/campers get to see you each day.  There’s a good chance that they’re attracted to the camp because of you.  As the owner/director it’s tough to be everywhere at once.  I make sure that I teach at least one activity to each age level once a day.  If I don’t get a chance to work with one of my groups, I make it a priority to be with them the next day.

 

  • Counselor’sMake sure you hire enough counselor’s and make sure they have the right personality for the job.  Happy and out going is a good start.  Always good to INTERVIEW.

 

I hope all this information was helpful an didn’t give you an overwhelming feeling.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

5 Comments

  1. Danielle Packer

    Thanks for that information! I really want to become a summer camp director and this helped me know what I’ll actually be doing when I get there. And thanks for the tips, they will definitely come in handy when I am there 😀

    • Mr. L.

      Hi Danielle,
      I’m so glad I could help! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you any questions now or down the road. Have a great weekend!

      MR. L. aka MIke

  2. Kevin Paul

    A really helpful checklist! With two family members who serve as camp directors, I can attest to the importance of checklists–and how long they often need to be! Good tips about planning for a lunch and the importance of communicating numbers to a caterer ahead of time. It’s amazing to me to hear stories over the years of how often this point is overlooked! And I think your last point is one everyone working at a camp should think through carefully: the importance of leaders of a camp making some appearance at at least some event each day. In my view, it doesn’t take much. But just some regular appearance really does help with continuity and confidence of campers (and parents!) as they navigate their camp experience. Thanks again for the good tips!

    • Mr. L.

      Hey Kevin,
      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post! If ever have any questions don’t hesitate to ask and at the same time I’m always open to get tips and views from someone with camp experience. There’s always room to learn. 🙂

  3. balletdad

    Really helpful checklist! Having two camp directors in my family, I can attest to the vital importance of having well thought-out (and sometimes long) checklists. Good advice about arranging lunch and letting caterers know things as far in advance as possible. It’s amazing to me to hear stories over the years of how this point can sometimes be overlooked! Also a thoughtful point about leaders at the camp making some appearance at at least some activity each day. In my view, it doesn’t take much. Just some regular appearance to provide continuity and confidence for campers (and parents!) as they navigate their camp experience. Thanks again for the good tips!

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