Hospitality 102: The Friendly Greeting

Hospitality is vital to anyone in Christian camping, and it is one of the most valuable resources every camp staff member has available to them.  The basics of hospitality are simple, but getting into the details of how hospitality should look on your campsite becomes progressively more difficult.

One of the first steps in the process of being hospitable is greeting people well.  On the surface, this is a simple task (and it really is), but often goes wrong.  Why is this difficult?  A few distractions prevent people from offering hospitable welcomes to their volunteers and guests.  A few of the most common are:

  • last minute problems
  • phone calls
  • interruptions from other staff
  • stress
  • need to rush

Overall, one of the biggest hindrances to good welcomes is the excessive amount of work staff have to handle.  Camp staff are pushed to their limits, and it can be almost impossible to step away from other important tasks to take time to welcome individuals properly.  But you need to remember that the reason your camp exists is for people, and therefore the people should get first priority in every way possible.  Here are a few things you can do to prevent these common distractions from preventing you from welcoming people well:

  1. Plan welcomes into your schedule.  Too often staff leadership schedule important meetings and activities into their schedules, and don’t include welcomes among them.  Welcomes are not given priority in the schedule, and then aren’t seen as priorities elsewhere.  Putting welcomes into the schedule will help remind you of their importance and encourage you to accomplish necessary tasks before guest arrivals.
  2. Turn your phone off.  Just for the first few minutes of greeting, but make a point of not allowing rude interruptions to be the first impression of your guests or volunteers.  Turning your phone off, instead of putting it on vibrate, will also discourage you from rushing through introductions so that you can get to your phone calls.
  3. Put all staff on the same page.  If everyone has the same idea of the expectations when greeting people, you will be less likely to have to deal with staff interrupting you with questions and concerns.  If staff do interrupt, bring them into the conversation and introduce them to your guests.  If necessary, step away for as little as possible to solve the problem; if possible, ask to see them later to deal with the issue.  You want your guests to feel more important than the problems that arise on a daily basis.
  4. Remember your purpose.  Your purpose is not just to run a campsite; it is to affect lives.  Your job is about transforming people and relationships.  Because your job is about people, you need to remember that people should come before tasks whenever practical.  Consistently remind yourself that every positive interaction you have with a guest, volunteer, or staff member advances the mission of your campsite.  Greeting people properly is worth the extra time and effort.

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Hospitality 101


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