The 3 Needs: Safety, Value, Enjoyment

Every person you come across as camp staff will have different needs and expectations.  You will never be in a position to provide for all of those needs, but there are 3 needs basic to everyone that you should always strive to provide to the people among whom you work.

Safety:  Anyone who enters your campsite, or does any sort of work for your camp, has the desire emotional and physical safety.  They will only come to, and return to, your organization if they feel safe.  This means that your role is to try to understand the needs of your clients, staff, and volunteers, and push them only slightly out of their comfort zones.  Asking a shy volunteer to run an activity, for example, is not likely to make that volunteer feel emotionally secure.  Having a beach without lifeguards is unlikely to comfort parents.  Forcing campers to speak in front of everyone is a bad choice.  Think carefully about how you can keep everyone feeling as safe as possible.

Value:  People want to feel like the what they do and who they are matters.  This means they need to understand the vision for the organization as well as see where they fit into that vision.  They want to know people have taken time on them and appreciate them.  In addition, volunteers and staff need to feel as if others appreciate their work.  Consider what you and other staff members can do to make everyone feel more valued.  Do you write thank you notes on occasion?  Have a yearly banquet? Plan the best activities possible for your campers?  Invite volunteers to some staff outings? Reply to parents promptly? Anything you can do to remind people of their value to you and your organization will keep them coming back.

Enjoyment:  It’s quite simple, people need to like what they are doing.  It doesn’t necessarily need to fit into the category of  ‘fun’, but people do need to enjoy themselves.  Your campers want to have a good time, your staff want to be excited for work, and parents want to feel good when they are on your campsite.    It is vital that you consider the how much people are going to enjoy their time with your organization; the more they enjoy it, the more likely they are to return.

It isn’t until after these 3 needs are consistently met that campsites should begin focusing in other areas.

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