Giving out tours is likely an almost daily occurrence at your campsite.  You not only have campers and their parents wanting tours, but you have donors and community members.  New staff and volunteers need more extensive tours, and board members like the occasional tour as something changes.  All of these people are important to your campsite, and all of them are interested in different aspects of the camp.  That means that all of your tours should not be the same.  Each tour will have a few similar aspects, but then they will become more personalized.

General Tours

A general tour is appropriate for parents when they drop their children off.  It is also appropriate for community members who are interested in the campsite, but are not otherwise involved.  This tour includes a brief glimpse in the main buildings, the main activity areas, and the cabin they will be using.  It is about giving people a basic feel for the campsite and, with parents in particular, letting them see how well-kept and put-together the campsite is.  In a general tour, there are also specific areas that should be avoided.  Staff only areas, maintenance areas, and other general working areas do not need to be included; these spaces are usually more disorganized and less professional looking than the public areas and will negate your main purpose for the tour.  Also, avoid the monotony of touring each cabin and giving detailed tours of the buildings.  Parents and community members aren’t really interested in every room or bathroom available; they just want the general feel.

New Staff and Volunteers

New workers still need to see the general campsite, but they will be much more interested in the behind-the-scenes look of the camp.  When giving tours to new members of the team, make sure to show them everything they may have reason to use and explain the rules related to it.  You don’t want them to be wondering where the staff bathrooms are after three months of volunteering.  You want them to immediately feel valued and part of the work team; knowing as much as possible about the space will help with that transition.

As much as possible, explain rules and expectations in the same areas of the campsite as they will be using them in.  Psychological, we are better able to remember these rules if they are explained to us in connection with the place we will be using them.  Bring them to the staff lounge and explain fridge rules and how people are expected to clean up.  Show them the kitchen and where to go to get an apron and gloves, and what the rules for the kitchen are.  Bring them into maintenance areas and show them where to find common tools and supplies.  Go out to the waterfront when explaining how it works.

Board Members and Donors

These two groups are hugely influential, and often expect to see absolutely everything about the campsite.  But what they usually want to see is a perfectly organized, tidy, nothing-out-of-place version of the camp.  Donors want to see that their money is going to good use, and board members expect to see a perfectly run organization.  People working at campsites know that the version these people hope to see just cannot always be reality.

And so the question comes up of what tours should look like for this group.

In general, this group should first be given just general tours.  A general tour is all board members and donors really need to see, and gives a good overview of the camp.  If, however, someone requests to see more, or is particularly involved in day-to-day operations, then expand the tour.  These people deserve to have as much insight into the campground as they want, so don’t hold anything back.

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