Happy Thanksgiving from Camp Network!
We know you work hard at what you do, and we also know you don’t always get enough appreciation. We want to change that. Here to say “thank you” to the camps that helped shape them are 10 grateful campers.
Michelle (Dallas, TX)
My college application essay was about the impact someone I met through marching band had on me. So... I pretty much got into Vanderbilt because of band camp. Thanks!
Adam (Philadelphia, PA)
At camp, I got the chance to own that I’m just a naturally loud person. Like, all the houses had their own cheers, and the male houses usually did haka while the female ones did parodies of pop songs. One year, we mixed it up by doing a Beyoncé parody which devolved into whale calls.
Neethu (Chicago, IL)
When I was in 3rd grade, I went to a ranch with my Girl Scouts troop. Even though I was away from my parents for the first time, I had a blast learning how to ride horses and sleeping in a cabin. That summer was amazing, and I'm so thankful for all the experiences it gave me.
Leah (Fairfax, VA)
One of my favorite moments was when we were all stuck in the same place and forced to bond together. But it worked, so that was cool.
Talie (Nyanza, Kenya)
Something magical happens at camp. We get taken away from our usual surroundings, classmates, and friends. For a time, we can reinvent ourselves and allow ourselves to be free to be who we are meant to be.
Jess (Baltimore, MD)
Camp taught me how the most unexpected thing can turn into the best part of your day. It also taught me that nothing is as fun as a seventy-person game of dodgeball!
Emily (Granville, NY)
I’m thankful for how dedicated my counselors were—they were always up for making lanyards, staying up late eating s’mores, or playing cards with me and my friends.
Kaitlyn (Newport News, VA)
I went to a bunch of camps every summer growing up, and the thing I am most thankful for was the friends I made! While I'm not close with any of them now, they helped me to grow and I'll never forget them.
Michelle (Birmingham, AL)
Camp gave me a chance to explore somewhere new, meet people from all over the world, a chance to bond over shared passions, and a laid back but thrilling atmosphere!
Daniel (Buffalo, NY)
In many ways, camp was an oasis. School without homework. Friendships without worries. There was something about the aura of the place that made you feel okay about waking up at seven in the morning, never quite sure what the day would bring. Most of all, I see summer camp as a breeding ground of nostalgia. One can't help but yearn for those simpler times when summers were for fun instead of career-development and when games like Capture the Flag and Tug-of-War were played by school children instead of nations.
At its core, an interview is research. It’s research into a person and how they could benefit your organization. Research into a new insurance provider would provide similar information. So why is interviewing so much greater an imposition?
For one, it requires interacting with others through an unbalanced power dynamic. When you are interviewing someone, they know you are responsible their future (or lack thereof) at your organization. What could have been a casual, friendly conversation is now tense and awkward. To make the situation more difficult, the information you need isn’t always clearly available. When conducting research prior to the acquisition of any other asset, you can check provider websites, aggregate review sites, message boards, and more, getting up-to-date, fact-checked data. All the information you need has already been collected. In an interview, you’re the one doing the collection.
To make interviewing new employees, from directors to counselors, a more painless and efficient process, make sure you know how to get the right information.
Step One: Figure Out What You’re Looking For
Obviously, you will be looking for different qualifications in those applying for different positions. Determine what qualities you need someone in a certain position to possess. For instance, a counselor might need to be friendly, outgoing, organized, and trustworthy. They probably don’t need to know Python, unless, of course, they’re teaching a programming course for your program. In order to find the perfect candidate, define what “perfect” means for that position.
Step Two: Figure Out How to Get That Information
Once you know what your perfect candidate looks like, you need to determine which applicants fit the mold. While interviews allow the most freedom for gaining new information, other avenues can be quite useful. If your candidate must have strong writing skills, ask for writing samples. You can discuss their verbal acuity all day, but only their writing can actually show you how they write. To determine their character and personality at work, ask for references. Speaking to previous coworkers and supervisors can give you a good idea what working with the candidate might be like. Once you have your background research done, go into the interview with questions prepared. Ask questions that result in answers to what you really need to know: can this candidate do this job. Ask about anything that raised red flags in your earlier research, try to gauge how they would fit your organization’s culture, have them explain why they’re interested in the position. Why they think they’d be a good fit.
Step Three: Organize That Information
You’ve determined what information you need and gathered it. Congratulations. Now you need to do something with it. In order to make a rational decision based on the information you gathered, you need to organize it. Make sure to take notes on relevant information you gain during interviews and prior research, and take the same type of notes for each candidate. If you commented on one candidate’s tone of voice and the other’s experience, it becomes awfully difficult to make a rational comparison.
Step Four: Make a Decision
Once you have all your interview data synthesized and know what qualities your ideal candidate needs, it’s just a matter of comparison. Memories fail, so use notes to make the best decisions. It’s difficult to compare someone you spoke with a day ago to someone from a month ago, especially when both were strangers beforehand. This is why you took notes. Look through the information you gathered and determine who best meets your criteria. Then you call them up and make their day.
“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
If the world were a perfect place, decision making would be easy. There would be a good and a bad option. You’d choose the good option. That’d be it.
Unfortunately, the world is not so perfect. Too often, the choice isn’t between good and bad; it’s between bad and worse.
So how do you choose?
The first thing you need to do in such a situation is understand what the options are. Sometimes you’ll find a shiny new third option, often you won’t, but it’s worth the time spent checking either way. You need to properly understand your situation.
In the 2012 film Argo, which tells the true story of Tony Mendez and the Iran Hostage Crisis, various CIA officials spend weeks trying to make a plan to extract six Americans trapped in Tehran. They consider ideas ranging from escaping under the guise of journalists to biking 300 miles to the Turkish border. Mendez looks at the situation and comes up with another plan: pretend to be a Hollywood film crew. As he puts it,
“There are only bad options. It’s about finding the best one.”
Aileron, in a 2012 article for Forbes, came up with a broad, although obviously not all-inclusive, set of difficult decisions.
There is no formula for making these decisions, for deciding which option is bad and which one is worse. In order to make an effective choice, you need to determine two things: what you would most and least like to lose, and how much risk you’re comfortable with. Your priorities should guide your decision. After taking action, know you did the best you could and deal with the fall-out, good and bad. Remember: no choice is made in a vacuum. It’s how you act over time that matter most, regardless of a few difficult decisions.
Camp Network provides online registration, website design, and marketing for camps, clinics, tournaments, and more. We work with some of the biggest universities and organizations in the country because we offer a quick, simple, and an extremely affordable solution. We automate the whole registration process so you and your staff can focus on running the event.